Mary C. Jarrett Papers
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.