During the 1930s many Americans lost everything they had and found themselves in dire straits. Local, state and federal government scrambled to offer food, shelter and create jobs. Within this structure of developing social service were the poor farms or poorhouses. In Kansas these institutions, often run by county governments, had been around in some counties since territorial days. They were called poor farms, poorhouses, county farms, etc.
In 1935 The Kansas Emergency Relief Committee published a report on poor farms reviewing the effectiveness of the system. The report pointed out problems and the need to overhaul the social welfare system in the state. The report starts with this statement:
"Herewith is presented a report on an old public problem, the county poor farm, which shows again that a public function without citizen attention degenerates."
You can view this booklet online at the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library. A link is available below. We're also supplying links to other Kansas Emergency Relief Committee publications at KGI and links to information/articles provided by the Kansas Historical Society and Kansas Genealogy Trails for those interested in further research.
Other publications by the Kansas Emergency Relief Committee in KGI
KANSAS STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
"Social Services in Kansas, 1916-1930
" / by Mary Scott Rowland
Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains (Autumn 1984): 212-225
(Article provided online by the Kansas Historical Society)
KANSAS GENEALOGY TRAILS