Breckinridge, Sophonisba P.

Breckinridge, Sophonisba P.

Bio: (1866-1948) American sociologist. Sophonisba Breckinridge was the first woman to graduate in law in the United States and the first woman to receive a doctorate in economics and political science from the University of Chicago, where she later taught social work. Breckinridge is considered the founder of the academic discipline of social work. She studied problems of juvenile delinquency; the social security system in the United States; the position of women, and the attitude of the state towards the family. She helped the founding of the Women's Trade Union League in Chicago. She strongly advocated that the state must take an active role in creating public social protection programs. In the book The Delinquent Child and the Home (1912a), Breckinridge shows that poverty and life in overcrowded urban neighborhoods are the main sources of delinquent behavior among children. She also reveals how delinquent children, from different classes, experience different fates - while children from poor families often go to juvenile correctional facilities, at the same time, children from rich families are sent to expensive boarding schools. In the book The Modern Household (1912b) she explores all the roles and jobs women have to perform in the household. Women who work outside the household are not at all relieved of all those household duties performed by women who do not have formal jobs.


Main works

The Delinquent Child and the Home (1912a);

The Modern Household (1912b); 

Public Welfare Administration (1927); 

Women in the Twentieth Century (1933);

The Family and the State (1934).

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