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Mary C. Jarrett Papers, 1900 - 1961 (Bulk: 1900-1961)
6 boxes (2.8 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 83

Psychiatric social worker, founder and associate director, Smith College School for Social Work, professor, social work researcher. The papers primarily document Jarrett's professional life. Material relates to the initial formulation of the theory of psychiatric social work and to its use at the Smith College School for Social Work. Includes Jarrett's research, writings, and correspondence. Also of note is material relating to Jarrett's work at the United States Public Health Service and the Welfare Council of New York City.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works of Mary Cromwell Jarrett. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission must be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note
Mary C. Jarrett, n.d.

Mary C. Jarrett, n.d.

Mary Cromwell Jarrett was a psychiatric social worker, educator, and the founding director of the Smith College School for Social Work. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland circa 1876, earned an A.B. from Goucher College in 1900, and for the next several years held teaching and tutoring positions at schools in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

From 1903 to 1913, Jarrett was employed by the Boston Children's Aid Society, and it was there that she first ventured into the field of social work, specializing in delinquent children and unmarried mothers, as well as serving as a probation officer in Juvenile Court. Jarrett went on to become Chief of Social Service at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital (1913-19), where, in collaboration with Dr. Elmer Ernest Southard, she first defined the relevance of social work to psychiatry. As an outgrowth of this work, she subsequently developed an apprentice course to train social workers in providing aid to shell-shocked soldiers returning from World War I.

In 1918 Smith College President William Allan Neilson, seeking a way for the college to contribute to the war effort, invited Jarrett to implement her program there under the auspices of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene. This was the first session of the Smith College Training School of Psychiatric Social Work, which became the Smith College School for Social Work. Its immediate success led the Board of Trustees to make it a permanent program, and in 1919 Stuart Chapin was appointed Director. Jarrett was named Associate Director, and served in that capacity until 1923.

While at Smith, Jarrett continued to conduct research and to write, notably The Mental Hygiene of Industry (1920) in which she articulated the relationship of mental health to productivity and the role of the social worker in maintaining the former. She also published The Kingdom of Evils (co-authored with E.E. Southard), a landmark book which helped establish psychiatric social work as a credible and useful adjunct to established medical practice.

In 1920, Jarrett organized the Psychiatric Social Workers' Club, which later became the Psychiatric Section of the National Association of Social Workers. From 1923 to 1925 she worked in the division of Field Investigations of Mental Health, United States Public Health Service, where she conducted a comprehensive study of the mental health of immigrants. Jarrett went on to work for the Research Bureau of the Welfare Council of New York City from 1927-43 where she directed two major studies, on health services and chronic illness. She also conducted documentation and a study of two Works Projects Administration projects: the Housekeeping Service and the Homemaker Service for the aged and the chronically ill (1935-40). After leaving the Welfare Council of New York City in 1943 and until her retirement in 1949, Jarrett conducted studies, surveys and consultations at the municipal, state and national level, specializing in old age, chronic illness and the importance of social work in helping communities and individuals to cope with these conditions. She died in New York City on August 4, 1961.

Jarrett was known for her role in developing the concept of "psychiatric social work", an outgrowth of the larger mental hygiene movement which swept the nation in the early part of the twentieth century. In Jarrett's words, as psychiatrists learned more about the nature of mental disorders, "the social problem of public mental health...increased from a matter of providing hospitals for the sick to an endeavor to promote mental development and prevent mental disease." Jarrett was initially interested in how the properly trained social worker might facilitate the work of the psychiatrist, first by obtaining a detailed history from the patient's community (as an aid to correct diagnosis) and later by helping to bring about changes in the patient's environment necessary to his or her mental well-being. However, although social workers had long been versed in assisting people with physical, mental and emotional impairments to function on a basic level, Jarrett believed that social work was destined to become "a professional art in its own right, based upon a body of sociological theory" and incorporating basic psychiatric principles.

The course of study that Jarrett developed, and implemented at Smith College, therefore was firmly grounded in sociology, psychology and social psychiatry, as well as the traditional subjects of hygiene, occupational therapy, and the writing of records and reports. Jarrett also conceived and implemented the "block plan", a novel approach to curriculum in which students alternated academic course work with internships in the field, a system still in place today at the Smith College School for Social Work.

Jarrett was certain that the same principles of psychiatric social work proven effective in treating shell-shocked veterans were also applicable to other kinds of mental distress, and she was influential in the evolution of social work into a respected profession and a viable alternative to hospitalization or institutionalization for the aged, the chronically ill, and the mentally and emotionally disturbed.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Mary Cromwell Jarrett Papers consist of 2.8 linear feet, dating from 1900-1966. The collection primarily documents Jarrett's professional life after her graduation from Goucher College in 1900. Material from the years 1913-23 relates to the initial formulation of the theory of psychiatric social work and to its general acceptance as a methodology at the first session of the Smith College School for Social Work. Correspondence, photographs, publications and newspaper clippings pertaining to the founding of the School for Social work are also included. The letters of William Allan Neilson and Mary Vida Clark on this subject, located in the Professional Activities series, may be of particular interest.

The collection also includes Jarrett's research materials and published works relating to the study of mental hygiene in industry, commissioned by the Engineering Foundation during her tenure as Associate Director of the School for Social Work (1919-23) and conducted in collaboration with Dr. Elmer Ernest Southard. It offers insight into evolving views on the nature of labor/management relations and on the potential effect of mental factors on job performance, turnover and hiring policies in industry. The Correspondence series contains letters from Lillian Moller Gilbreth, who took a keen interest in this research. Also of note is material (located in the Writing series) relating to the resulting book, Kingdom of Evils (1922), the first published work to explore the concept of psychiatric social work.

Documents generated during Jarrett's term of employment at the United States Public Health Service (1923-25) both reflect and illustrate contemporary mainstream attitudes towards immigrant populations, in the context of the social work profession.

The records of numerous studies that Jarrett conducted while employed by the Welfare Council of New York City (1927-43) contain a comprehensive evaluation of the Works Project Administration's Housekeeping and Homemaker Services (including photographs, manuals and written reports), as well as studies and reports on chronic illness and aging. Manuscript material from 1943-47, when Jarrett was a self-employed consultant, documents her ongoing interest in social work as an alternative to hospitalization or institutionalization for the elderly and for people facing chronic or debilitating illnesses. Also of interest are studies and reports commissioned by numerous municipalities and private organizations as they sought to manage an expanding population that was living longer due to advances in medicine.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The papers are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to unpublished works of Mary Cromwell Jarrett. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission must be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Mary Cromwell Jarrett Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

Mary Cromwell Jarrett donated her papers to the Sophia Smith Collection prior to her death in 1961. Katrine Collins added to the collection in 1961 and 1962, as did Howard J. Parad, a former Director of the Smith College School for Social Work.

Processing Information

Processed by Burd Sclessinger, 1997.

Additional Information
Contact Information
Smith College Special Collections
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Series Descriptions
1.2 linear in.

Resumes, chronologies, clippings, obituaries, memorials, correspondence, awards, citations, and medical reports.

3.6 linear in.

Professional correspondence pertaining to Jarrett's career. General correspondence is filed here, while letters pertaining to Jarrett's writings or to specific professional activities are listed as subgroups within those series.

2.4 linear in.

Correspondence, excerpts, reviews, and journal articles.

2 linear ft.

Correspondence, photographs, journal articles, newsletters, brochures, clippings, and published writings. Since, prior to his death in 1920, Elmer Ernest Southard collaborated with Jarrett on the mental hygiene of industry research, material pertaining to him is listed as a sub-series of that study.

2.4 linear in.

Brochures and newsletters.

Contents List

Resumes, chronologies, and clippings,
1919-61, n.d.

Box 1: folder 1
Obituaries, memorials, and correspondence about Jarrett,
1961, 1964, 1966

Box 1: folder 2
Medical reports, by Dr. Edward Hartung,

Box 1: folder 3
Awards and citations,
1939, 1943, 1948, 1951, 1954

Box 1: folder 4

Box 1: folder 5

Professional contacts and letters of recommendation,
1900-46, n.d.

Box 1: folder 6
Professional criticism from colleagues,
1924, n.d.

Box 1: folder 7
Psychiatric social work,
1920, 1937, 1939, 1952, 1960

Box 1: folder 8
General correspondence,

Box 1: folder 9-13
Gilbreth, Lillian Moller, (includes pamphlet by LMG: "The Heart of the Home")
1919, 1926, 1950, n.d.

Box 1: folder 14
Pratt, Dallas,

Box 1: folder 15

Published works

Kingdom of Evils,

Excerpts, reviews, correspondence, and list of interviewees,
1922-32, n.d.

Box 1: folder 16
Journal articles,

Box 1: folder 17
Journal articles,

Box 1: folder 18
Miscellaneous correspondence with publishers and editors,

Box 2: folder 19

Boston Psychopathic Hospital

1917, n.d.

Box 2: folder 20

Box 2: folder 21
Chronology, proposals, and reports,
1913-17, n.d.

Box 2: folder 22
Smith College School for Social Work

Correspondence to and from Mary Jarrett

Day, Florence,
1954, 1957

Box 2: folder 23
Neilson, William Allan,
1918, 1922, 1943

Box 2: folder 24
Parad, Howard,

Box 2: folder 25
1918-61, n.d.

Box 2: folder 26
Correspondence to and from William Allan Neilson and others

Chapin, Stuart,
1918, 1931

Box 2: folder 27
Clark, Mary Vida,

Box 2: folder 28
Dunton, Edith,
1918-21, n.d.

Box 2: folder 29

Box 2: folder 30
Newsletters and brochures,
1919-62, n.d.

Box 2: folder 31
1960, n.d.

Box 2: folder 32
Commencement address by Doris Silbert,
30 Aug 1960

Box 2: folder 33
Social case work study


Box 2: folder 34
1917-32, n.d.

Box 2: folder 35
Mental hygiene in industry study

Plan of study,
1919, n.d.

Box 2: folder 36

Box 2: folder 37
Reports by Jarrett

"The Psychopathic Employee: A Problem of Industry,"

Box 2: folder 38
"The Mental Hygiene of Industry,"

Box 2
"The Practical Value of Mental Hygiene in Industry,"

Box 2
"Nervous Women in Industry,"

Box 2
Miscellaneous pamphlets,

Box 2: folder 39
Elmer Ernest Southard,
1876-1920 (colleague in mental hygiene research)

1919, n.d.

Box 3: folder 40
1916-20, n.d.

Box 3: folder 41

Box 3: folder 42
United States Public Health Service

Immigrant study


Box 3: folder 43
Reports by Jarrett

"Factors in the Mental Health of Girls of Foreign Parentage,"

Box 3: folder 44
"Social Case-Work in Relation to the Mental Health of Immigrants,"

Box 3
"Factors in the Mental Health of Boys of Foreign Parentage,"

Box 3
Welfare Council of New York City

1927-42, n.d.

Box 3: folder 45
Reports, bulletins, and newsletters,

Box 3: folder 46
Chronic illness study

Reports by Jarrett,

Box 3: folder 47
Committee on Chronic Illness

Correspondence and official documents,

Box 3: folder 48
Quarterly and annual reports,

Box 3: folder 49
Study and Report of Housekeeping Service (WPA project)

Reports by Jarrett

"Report on the First Year's Work of a WPA Project for a Demonstration and Study of Home Care of Chronic Patients in New York City, October, 1935 to October, 1936, "

Box 4: folder 50
"Housekeeping Service for Home Care of Chronic Patients,"
31 Dec 1938

Box 4: folder 51
"Exploring Some Potential Uses for Housekeeping Services,"

Box 4: folder 52
Reports by others,
1934-37, n.d.

Box 4: folder 53

Housekeeping Service, Field Supervisor's Guide,"

Box 4: folder 54
"Housekeeping Aides Workbook,"

Box 4: folder 55
"Care of the Patient: Simple Methods for Care of the Sick",

Box 4: folder 56

Box 4: folder 57
Study and Report of Homemaker Service (WPA project)

Reports and directories,

Box 4: folder 58
Miscellaneous publications,

Box 4: folder 59
Convalescent care proposal: correspondence and draft,

Box 4: folder 60
Consultations, surveys, and reports by Jarrett

"A Survey of the Care of the Aged of Rochester, NY,"

Box 5: folder 61
"Care of the Chronically Ill in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County,"

Box 5: folder 62
"A Brief Review of Counseling and Placement of Practical Nurses in New York State,"

Box 5: folder 63
"Report on the Care of Chronic Illness for the Metropolitan Health and Hospital Survey," Metropolitan Health and Hospital Survey, Washington, D.C.,

Box 5: folder 64
"A Method of Determining the Number of Medical Social Workers Needed for Case Work in a General Hospital,"

Box 5: folder 65
"The Care of Chronic Disease in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County,"
1947, 1959-60

Box 5: folder 66
"The Cost of Specified X-Ray Examinations,"

Box 5: folder 67
Poliomyelitis study

Report, (2 copies)

Box 5: folder 68-69

Box 5: folder 70
Proposal, correspondence, "special problems," and publications,
1948, 51, n.d.

Box 5: folder 71
Professional associations

Commission on Chronic Illness

1949, 1956

Box 5: folder 72
Publications, bulletins, and reports

Box 5: folder 73
National Health Assembly,

Box 6: folder 74
National Association for Mental Health,

Box 6: folder 75
American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers,

Box 6: folder 76
National Association of Social Workers

Social case work study publications,
1957, 1959

Box 6: folder 77
Miscellaneous publications,
1952-61, n.d.

Box 6: folder 78

Aged and aging

Brochures and newsletters,
1943-60, n.d.

Box 6: folder 79-80
Chronic illness

National Health Survey,

Box 6: folder 81
Brochures and newsletters,

Box 6: folder 82-83

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • Aged--Care--United States--History--20th century--Sources
  • Chronically ill--Care--United States--History--20th century--Sources
  • Clark, Mary Vida
  • Gilbreth, Lillian Moller, 1878-1972
  • Industrial hygiene--United States--History--20th century--Sources
  • Jarrett, Mary C. (Mary Cromwell)
  • Neilson, William Allan, 1869-1946
  • New York (N.Y.)--Social conditions--20th century--Sources
  • Psychiatric social work--United States--History--Sources
  • Smith College. School for Social Work--History--Sources
  • Social case work--United States--History--Sources
  • Social work education--United States--History--Sources
  • Social work with immigrants--United States--History--Sources

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