Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2019 Gabriel Hearn-Desautels. All rights reserved. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department

First Advisor

Megan Brown

Second Advisor

Bruce Dorsey


Philadelphia’s first, charity-run public bathhouse was established in 1898 by the Public Baths Association of Philadelphia. By the turn of the century, bathing had become inexorably linked to a series of social beliefs, particularly regarding hygiene, morality, and domesticity. In this paper I examine the development of these beliefs and discuss the ways in which the PBA’s first bathhouse became a site in which they were simultaneously upheld and challenged. In doing so, I hope to shed light on the relatively ambivalent nature of bath reformers’ feelings toward the city’s poor.

Included in

History Commons