Gladys Kraft

Gladys Salpeter Kraft supervised many of the programs at Friendship House from 1946 to 1950 and later served on the Board until 1968. 

Although never a resident of Capitol Hill, she was a career social worker and educator. In this interview she offers insights on the "settlement movement" and social group work as background for her memories of Lydia Burklin and the programs offered at Friendship House before integration. Highlights include reminiscences of supper clubs, planning the Christmas pageant, and the value of a good maintenance man like Harold Mansfield. Her memories of the Board reveal some of the "tricky" issues of the time as she reflects on the challenges facing community-based organizatons. She also talks about the Martin Luther King March and the Poor Peoples' Campaign in 1968.

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Interview Date
June 11, 2015
Paula Causey
Paula Causey

Full Directory

Interview with Gladys Salpeter Kraft
Interview Date: June 11, 2015
Interviewer: Paula Causey
Transcriber: Paula Causey

Dr. Kraft was interviewed for the Overbeck Project because of her association with the Capitol Hill neighborhood’s Friendship House, a long-time social services agency. Additional information about Lydia Burklin, who was director of Friendship House for many years, her companion Emily Storer, and other supporters of Friendship House has been inserted in various bracketed statements to provide background; this information is taken from Friendship House Association records, Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University, and some other sources.
CAUSEY: We’re here interviewing Gladys Salpeter Kraft at her home in Silver Spring. I’m Paula Causey, an interviewer for the Overbeck History Project. So, Mrs. Kraft, it’s a delight to meet you and we’re so glad that you’ve agreed to be interviewed for Overbeck.
KRAFT: Well, I’m delighted to be able to do so.
CAUSEY: Could we start with a little bit of your background. Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
KRAFT: I was born in 1923 in Rockaway Park, New York, which is actually a part of the borough of Queens, right near the ocean. I lived there until I was about seven. My father died when I was an infant so my mother was left with two young children and we moved in with an aunt who also lived in Rockaway. So I lived there until I was seven years old. My mother had gone back to teaching which she had a teaching certificate for, and she also, as I mentioned before, was taking courses at City College to get her Bachelor’s degree, which she succeeded in doing many years later at about the same time, the year before my sister got hers from Hunter College.
We moved to New York when my mother—to Brooklyn—when my mother got an assistant principal appointment. This was right at the beginning of the Depression, 1930. We lived there—I lived there until I left to go off to—practically until I got married, almost. Let’s see, I then went to … I went to the elementary school where my mother was the assistant principal. That was a very interesting kind of experience because I had a friend there. We met when we were in second or third grade and we were friends all her life. She died just a few years ago. But she, she lived in a house, in an apartment house. They had very little money and her father worked as a presser for a tailor shop. They lived on the fourth floor of a walkup which had no refrigeration. They had an icebox in the window. I remember going there many times after school. We were very good friends and her mother was quite a wonderful lady. She also came to take care of me when I got sick because my mother was working. She would come and check in on me, and cook a meal for me and so forth. That was another whole … and just yesterday, by the way, I had a visit from a very close friend of one of the daughters of this friend of mind. It’s just one of these strange kinds of things that happen. Anyway, we went through elementary school, junior high, and high school together. But when it came time to go to college, this friend Sarah couldn’t afford to go to college, even to a free city college because the family needed whatever she could make in the way of income. So, she got a job as a secretary at $18 a week. She hated math, but she got a secretarial job typing for accountants so that she could contribute to her family. I went to Brooklyn College with a number of my other friends.
CAUSEY: What did you major in?
KRAFT: I majored in sociology and anthropology. I think it was … I had been in college for just half a year. My mother had decided that it was time for her to take a sabbatical, so we … and my sister had just graduated from college. So we, for three months, went on a trip to what was then Palestine. We were gone for about three months, which was just before the breakout of World War II. This was in 1939. Then I came back and finished my college education. Every summer, my mother worked in the school system during the winter, and every summer we went to camp. She was working at the camp, so again I was both the daughter of the principal and the daughter of the head counselor kind of thing.
CAUSEY: Where was the camp? In upstate New York?
KRAFT: It was in the lower Catskills, Port Jervis, New York. A very big camp. That was where I met my husband when we were counselors-in-training.
CAUSEY: Was the camp religiously affiliated?
KRAFT: It was a Jewish camp, sort of with a Zionist approach. I had a wonderful time at camp and made a lot of good friends there. On the other hand, when my daughters came time for them to go to camp, they didn’t like it so much. But, anyway, we had a great time. When I graduated I went to the University of Pittsburgh. I was interested by this time in doing group work. My sister had been doing it, had become a group worker, a social group worker at Western Reserve. But apparently, by the time I came along, the center for group work training was in Pittsburgh, so that’s where I went.
CAUSEY: Could you help me understand, what is group work?
KRAFT: Group work. Yes, group work. Within social work at that time the basic training was in case work, which is what most social workers do, where you work with individuals to help them deal with all kinds of issues in their environment, and in their relationships, and so forth. But, the group workers worked primarily in settlement houses and neighborhood centers, Jewish community centers. It was essentially both a recreation program and an educational program. Where the social work training came in was how do you use the skills that you have to have in order to work in such a setting to help people to really learn how to get along together and to solve their problems, and so forth. It was … the work that I did, the course that I taught at Catholic University was a course in group program skills, which was mostly dancing and arts and crafts and woodworking and drama and anything else related to how do people spend their time when they are not at school or not at work. But, with the focus on what kind of meaning does this have for these people, how does it help them to grow into being, at that time, to being good citizens and to learn how to work together.
The first group I ever worked with actually was while I was still in college. I led a group as a volunteer at a place called Madison House in New York on the lower east side. It was another settlement house. I was working with a group of teenage girls, Italian Catholics, who had never been anyplace but in their own particular neighborhood. So just going on a trip, spending five cents on the subway to go up to the museums or to Central Park … they had never been. So, it was … I remember one incident of taking them up there and we walked across the park to go to the Metropolitan Museum and walked in at the place where all of the old Greek statues were and they were—all of these nudes all over the place—and they were giggling and so forth. I came back and was telling my supervisor about it and I said, “These kids need some sex education.” Well, anyway, so we planned a discussion with the kids and the person who got the education was me. [Laughter] We went to visit some of the families to get to know the parents and sort of get connected. They were in these terrible tenement houses. You would walk through what they called railroad flats, where to go from one end of the apartment to the other you had to walk through every room. There was no hallway to get through. So these kids, in addition to living in crowded conditions, they walked through their parents’ bedrooms. They knew a hell of a lot more than I did about what was going on. It was quite a fascinating experience for me. I was talking about what? What is group work.
CAUSEY: The settlement movement was not that old, it really started right before the turn of the century. Did it always have this group dynamic to it?
KRAFT: I think the people who sort of made it into a professional program, so to speak, they were developing it just shortly before I came along, it seemed to me. Jane Addams and all of the Lydia Burklins were there bringing fairly well-to-do people to live in the community. Their idea was that if you got to know the community and the people there got to know you, you would be able to raise their morale, but also their moral behavior. It was an uplift kind of ladies program initially. But, I think it quickly, I don’t know how quickly, but I know that it was in just a generation before me that this was developed in this particular way. At least, that was the sense of what I was getting.
CAUSEY: Did you ever do anything with the anthropology part of your studies?
KRAFT: No, other than to appreciate what Margaret Mead was writing about and experienced. She, too, she went to live in Samoa—there was this belief in planting yourself in the community. I don’t know where that came from initially.
CAUSEY: There are references in the history of Friendship House to the Toynbee House in England, which was kind of a men’s social club, it sounded like, but that went into the community to expose other people to sort of gentlemanly behavior.
KRAFT: That’s right, but that was exactly what we were there to teach the people in the neighborhood. How to behave properly according to good middle class standards.
CAUSEY: You had only the one sister or did you have other siblings?
KRAFT: One sister, just one sister. [Janet S. Sainer became a national leader in the field of aging and was the Commissioner on Aging for New York City in the Koch administration, 1978-1990.]
CAUSEY: So she had been studying social work as well?
KRAFT: Right, she had studied at Western Reserve. The people there who were leading that program really were the pioneers in starting the whole group work program. She, too, worked at a settlement house, a couple of them in Cleveland. When I went to Pittsburgh, I lived in a settlement house. In fact, when I arrived there, it was a settlement house in what was known as the Hill District, which by this time was an all-black neighborhood. When I got into a cab to take me there when I first arrived in town, the guy looked at me and he said, “Are you in some kind of a show or something?” because he couldn’t believe that I was going to live there. It was in a neighborhood which was still … the settlement house was white, the clientele was white, but the neighborhood was largely black. We still had sort of older people. Actually, I led a group of mothers who were, whose sons were in the war. It was largely a Jewish group, it seemed to me, because I remember their speaking with an accent, many of them. They were supposedly old, but they were, at that time, they were quite middle-aged, I imagine. We also still had some white kids. We were trying to integrate, and the only thing we got to during the short time I was there was to allow the black children to come and play in the playground at certain times. That was it.
The second year I was placed … I still lived at that particular settlement, but I was working at another one called Brashear Association, which was on the other side of the river, on the south side. That was working with people in the steel mill district. This was in the middle of the war. There were a lot of the young kids who were working in the factories and in the mills, because the older men were off at war—but that doesn’t seem to make sense to me. I remember very much that there were these young kids who—young, they must have been at least 16 or something who were working there—and we had a whole group. [The draft age was lowered from 21 to 18 on November 11, 1942.] I remember going with a group of mothers. We were invited one Christmas time to go to one of the country clubs to discuss with those mothers the problems … That must be [noise in background] the mail.
CAUSEY: The mailman.
KRAFT: … to discuss teenage problems. [Knock on door] OK, thank you. [To mailman]
[Short break in recording.]
CAUSEY: OK, where were we … [Laughter] We were going to the Christmas party.
KRAFT: Right, we went to the Christmas party at the country club. On the way back on the trolley. Well, first of all, they arrived there and this gorgeous table spread with two great big samovars, but with tiny little cookies and tea that was served. The women [from the country club] were complaining that they had all of these great facilities, but their teenagers wouldn’t come. Our women were saying, “Oh, our kids come to the settlement house all the time, can’t get them home.” So it was quite an interesting kind of experience. The settlement house there had really been a part of the community. I remember we were having these big parties [at the settlement house]. I had never seen such big bowls of ham salad and potato salad. Heaven knows what. It was a very interesting experience for me to get to know that kind of a population.
CAUSEY: I would think Pittsburgh, like the Hull House, was devoted to immigrant communities to some extent, too, which I don’t sense—we’re sort of jumping ahead—but with Friendship House, that didn’t seem to be the issue, although you had Italian communities and German communities on the Hill, that the mothers were working, so …
KRAFT: It may have served some of those people … that was one of the problems, I felt, that there wasn’t enough outreach to the families of the kids who came to the House. Well, the daycare people, at least they came to pick up their kids, so you saw them. But, no real programming related to that.
CAUSEY: We’ll get back to Friendship House. You mentioned that you met your husband Stephen at camp. When did you get married?
KRAFT: We didn’t get married until after the war. I met him in 1938 and we got married in 1945 when he came home. He was overseas for almost four years.
CAUSEY: Had he had training in art school or graphic design?
KRAFT: He did, but he was really from a very young child … I’ll show you before you leave some old drawings that some friend of the family sent us when we got married of things he had drawn when he spent time visiting them when he was five and a half. So, he was always drawing something or other. He went to Bucknell University, but he was the only art major in the whole place, I think, for most of the time that he was there. He had a very good experience. When he came back from the war, he did go to the Art Students League for a short time and he also … he went to work after graduating from college, he went to work at a place called North Studios, I think. He was drafted from there, so they were required to rehire him when he came back. I don’t even know whether he worked at all for them. He did not want to do commercial art work so he … we decided when he came back. As he said, he took off his Army uniform and put on a tuxedo to get married. He was looking around for a job in a number of different places. There was a very interesting one apparently in Atlanta, I think, in Georgia, but we decided we didn’t want to go that far south. This job came up at a place called the National Institute of Social Relations. It was an educational program which grew out of an Army program and the guy who was heading it up, Julius Schreiber, had done a program in the Army called “Why We Fight.” It was engaging troops in discussions around various issues that we were fighting for, to preserve. He developed this program where they had six cities that they were going to test it out on. It was supported by the American Jewish Committee, I think. Anyway, that went for the three years of the grant and then that was finished. By the way, talking about the investigations and so forth, Schreiber was called in by the, I don’t know whether it was the Un-American Activities or the McCarthy committee. They were trying to prove that there were communists in the military. It was quite a fascinating thing. He was a great guy. He had been a psychiatrist in a psychiatric hospital out in California, I think, and then settled in the east when he came back. I was, just a couple of years ago, reading some of the old transcripts of the testimony and I thought, I can’t believe. I remember that we lived through it, but …
CAUSEY: The spelling of his name? Schreiber?
KRAFT: S, I don’t know whether there is a C. S-C-H-R-E-I-B-E-R. Julius is his name.
CAUSEY: Was the National Institute here in Washington?
KRAFT: In Washington, yes. That’s what we came for. Steve was hired to do all of their graphics work. To design their … they had a little magazine they put out called “Talk it Over.” He had lots of illustrations of the issues they were dealing with: housing, integration, I don’t know, race relations, all kinds of stuff like that. Anyway, he worked there and then he went to work at … he got a job with a graphic design studio and worked there for a few years and then went freelancing until he got the job at the Smithsonian. He worked there for about 16 or 17 years. Then, went back to freelancing when he was doing a lot of work at the Library of Congress and some of the other stuff. He did some very interesting stuff.
CAUSEY: He certainly did, in reading about him, he’s amazing. When you first moved to Washington, where did you live?
KRAFT: There was no housing right after the war. We first moved in with a family on Rittenhouse Street in the District for just a short time. They had opened their home during the war to help ease the housing crisis and so people lived there, and they liked it so they continued doing it. We were there for a short time. Then we moved out to Fairlington, Virginia. A friend of ours, who knew Steve’s father, was head of the Jewish Welfare Board Office here in Washington and helped us to get that apartment. We lived there for about four and a half years. That’s where our first daughter was born in 1950. We had seen some houses like this out in Virginia, at Hollin Hills. But, we decided that we were not going to live in Virginia. It was really too much of a southern place for us. When we would go back and forth, the blacks sat in the back of the bus; we sat in the front. We could never get to vote. I think we were just considered carpetbaggers. We hadn’t paid this tax and we hadn’t done this … I don’t think there was a poll tax at that time, but whatever it was, we could never vote. Then we found out that some houses like that were being built here and we came, looked, and we bought a house here. So we’ve been here since 1951. [Hammond Wood, a sub-development built in 1949-51 in Silver Spring, Maryland, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.]
CAUSEY: Your first job in Washington was?
KRAFT: At Friendship House.
CAUSEY: How did you find Friendship House or how did it find you?
KRAFT: I must have found it through the National Federation of Settlements. Really, the places which were considered to be good jobs in settlement houses were in New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cleveland. Washington was not considered a great place to look for settlement houses. Anyway, I looked into it and Friendship House seemed to be—it was the largest program, I think—it seemed to be interesting, and it was there, so … [Laughter] [Mrs. Kraft later added that Dorothy Sullivan, head of the Group Work Program at Catholic University’s School of Social Work, said she would like to send students to Friendship House if Mrs. Kraft would be willing to supervise them. All graduate social work students were required to spend two days a week in direct practice during their first year and three days a week during their second year in order to earn a masters degree.]
CAUSEY: I’m going to stop right now so we can flip sides.
KRAFT: Okay.
[Blank to end of tape]
CAUSEY: [Testing] How are you today?
KRAFT: I’m fine, thank you.
CAUSEY: That works. We’re getting good, I think. OK, so what we need to do is go back. Your undergraduate degree was from?
KRAFT: My undergraduate degree was from Brooklyn College and I got that in January 1943. I went to Pittsburgh right at that time. Since it was during the war, I was accepted as a student even though the rest of the class had started in September. There was one other student and myself who were in what became a rapid advance program. So that we went to school from January all the way through the summer and all the way through until I got my degree in June of 1944. That was officially a Master of Science in Social Administration, with a major in group work.
CAUSEY: I just saw a rabbit hopping by in your backyard. [Laughter] How delightful!
KRAFT: Yes, yes, we have rabbits.
CAUSEY: So a Master of Science in Social …
KRAFT: MSSA. Social Administration.
CAUSEY: Social Administration. OK
KRAFT: I’ve more recently listed that as an MSW [Master of Social Work] because it became too complicated to explain, but that’s what it was.
CAUSEY: We did talk a little bit earlier [pre-taping], but it would be fun to go back and get … you were fairly active as a student in protest circles or political activism kind of circles. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?
KRAFT: In the couple of years before war broke out, that would have been … it had already broken out in Europe in 1939. But from then until 1941, at the end of 1941, many of us were … I was involved in the movement that said let’s keep America out of war. We had a pilgrimage to Washington. In fact, there were two pilgrimages. The first one, I don’t remember which year exactly, probably 1939 or 1940. Probably 1940. We went to Washington and Eleanor Roosevelt met with us. There was a big gathering at the Labor Department and she spoke to us and seemed very sympathetic and supportive and whatever. The second year we went, we were not received well. I remember, we went and stood on the White House lawn and it was raining. There was a song, a folk song, that developed out of that of “Why do we stand there in the rain.” If I sang it long enough, I’d remember the words. [Laughter] [Woody Guthrie wrote “Why Do You Stand There in the Rain?” in February 1940 to commemorate the protest.]
CAUSEY: I don’t know that one, I’ll have to look it up. But, the mood in the country was changing. This was still before Hiroshima, I mean, not Hiroshima, Pearl Harbor.
KRAFT: Oh yes, once Pearl Harbor came, there was no question. Roosevelt was gradually getting us … I think at the time we were protesting the Lend Lease program that he had worked out with Churchill. I don’t remember, but I do know that that’s what it was.
CAUSEY: What was it exactly that got you called in before the committee in New York?
KRAFT: Just that I was a member of the American Student Union.
CAUSEY: That was suspected of having communist connections or …
KRAFT: They had labeled it as a communist front. Every organization that was at all left-leaning was considered a communist front. There was a very interesting piece there. Just before Christmas, whenever that was in 1941, the Rapp-Coudert Committee [colloquial name for the Joint Legislative Committee to Investigate the Educational System of the State of New York 1940-42] subpoenaed several of us. I was one of the younger ones and I was also one of the least influential of the group, but I had the label of treasurer. I used to go around in the cafeteria and say to people, “Do you have any money for us today?” That was the extent of my knowledge of what was going on there. But, I was subpoenaed along with another gal. Her father worked for the city. She was the first one subpoenaed and she met with them, met with the committee. She, at least, reported that they had said you better talk to us or your father’s job is going to be at stake. Who knows? Anyway, by the time it got to me, my mother was very upset and said, “Well, Glady, just remember you are not the only one dependent on my salary.” That is a phrase I will never forget. And that of course was true. She and one uncle … did I tell you this? She and one uncle out of seven siblings were the only ones during this period who had jobs, who had steady jobs, that weren’t WPA jobs. So, she was supporting a lot of the family in addition to just me and my sister. Anyway, we did go down there and our lawyers, the lawyer for the Student Union, said we did not have to testify because it was a star chamber hearing, which meant that only one member of the committee would be present and we were not obliged to testify with just one member. So the article in the Times, I think, mentioned—I think it had a headline something like the students were—these are not the words, but sort of—they were disappointed because they couldn’t refuse to testify since the committee had already decided they were not going to hear us.
CAUSEY: I think, according to that article that I had found, only one person was indicted.
KRAFT: Nobody was indicted, I don’t think so, nobody was indicted. But what did happen eventually with that committee was that quite a number of the instructors, the faculty, lost their jobs. For either, I don’t know what, for communist leanings, for being members of the communist party, for whatever, but they were some of the very popular teachers at the school. In fact, I was just reading the other day of a guy who was the son or grandson of one of these people, who, I don’t know whether he had died and left some money for something. But I thought, oh my gosh, I haven’t heard that name in a long, long time. It was what we considered a witch hunt.
CAUSEY: Yes, indeed. I can understand. Do you feel that that ever was sort of a cloud over your professional career later on?
KRAFT: No. Miss Burklin asked me all kinds of things and I told her, I had been a member of the Social Service Union when I was working at Bronx House. She accepted that. In fact, one day she called me up. John Lewis was the head of the United Mine Workers and the Mine Workers went out on strike. She wanted to know what did I think of Mr. Lewis. [Laughter] I just remembered that she was more than interested to find out what the heck was going on.
CAUSEY: I am interested in your impressions of her, but let’s go back to what was your first job?
KRAFT: My first job out of school was at Bronx House which was a settlement house in the Bronx, where my salary was $1920 a year. I worked from two in the afternoon until eleven at night because that’s when we worked with teenage kids after school. I was running the teenage program for a while and then I was—I became head of the—I don’t know what it was called, “golden age” or the older adult program. That was a very interesting place. It was a settlement house that did not have a residence as Friendship House did. It was really connected to the neighborhood, so people were … we were very busy protesting. We protested increased rents. I remember there was a campaign to “Don’t buy meat over 69 cents a pound.” It was very active, a very interesting thing. On the other hand, I remember working in the teenage lounge and the one thing I had decided was that I was not going to wear social workers shoes, so I wore high-heels all the time.
CAUSEY: Social workers would wear?
KRAFT: Flats.
CAUSEY: Tennis shoes, kind of?
KRAFT: The tie shoes with the low heels, that was the stereotype.
CAUSEY: The high-heeled social worker of the Bronx. [Laughter]
KRAFT: We had the teenage program and we had the older adult program. There I remember doing one thing with the older adults where we put on a play about the Statue of Liberty which was really a very interesting kind of experience. Quoting from the Emma Lazarus poem about “Give me your … ” Of course, many of these people were immigrants themselves. That’s where they had a lot of the Americanization programs, teaching people English, as well as how to get along, how to get a job, as well as how to deal with the problems in their families and so forth.
CAUSEY: So you were, when you came to Washington … you were at Bronx House for a couple of years?
KRAFT: Just a couple of years.
CAUSEY: So when you came to Washington, you were thinking something similar to that?
KRAFT: Well, that’s what I was hoping for. But, you know, this was a very interesting kind of challenge for me. I certainly felt welcome and comfortable. I remember meeting Lydia Burklin and thinking, oh my goodness, she is Washington’s version of Jane Addams. I mean, I think she was of the same generation, she sort of looked like … I don’t know whether she really looked like her. I never met Jane Addams, just saw pictures of her. But she was a very commanding presence. She really knew what she wanted to do and she ran the place, is what it amounted to.
[Subsequent to the interview, Dr. Kraft provided this additional memory of Lydia Burklin: I also remembered one of the lovely things Miss Burklin did to welcome me to Washington and Friendship House. She took me for a drive through Rock Creek Park—at a time when you had to ford across the creek in two or three places along the way—quite a treat for a city girl accustomed to getting around on the unattractive New York subways.]
CAUSEY: Was there a job opening there or did you start volunteering?
KRAFT: No, no, there was a job. I was hired. I don’t remember … but that’s another whole piece of it. When I was hired at Bronx House I had a contract; when I left I got a goodbye letter, whatever. Things were organized. I had to write a report on what I had done before I left.
Came to Friendship House, there was none of that. The way, administratively, the way I looked at what was going on there was that everything was functioning out of Lydia Burklin’s pocketbook. She had this huge pocketbook. It seemed to me that whatever money came in went into the pocketbook and whatever went out, came out of the pocketbook. That was just my impression. There was, I’m sure there was stuff that had to have been kept as records and stuff, but nothing that I ever saw or contributed to, so far as I know. I don’t think that I was ever asked to write a report on anything that I did, and of course, coming out of graduate school, you wrote a report on everything. One of the things about my training was that we were supposed to know how to work up a budget for any department that we went into. What was included in the budget and what wasn’t and how you handled it. When I asked about a budget and what did we have, because there was the daycare program and then there was, as I recall, the rest of the program which I was supposedly responsible for, but had no idea what there was to be spent or who … you know. It just plain happened. If you asked for something, sometimes you got it and sometimes you didn’t, but I never really quite knew.
When I got on the Board, I remember attending a couple of the budget hearings that we went to with the, I think it was called, the United Planning Organization (UPO). Miss Burklin presented the budget with what was called a “faith figure.” The faith figure actually was the deficit. So here she’d come before all of these guys, these big shots in the community who were handling all kinds of money and budget and they were going to decide how much money we were going to get. She comes with this faith figure. Somebody said to her, “What is the faith figure?” She says, “Well,” and this is in the rather high-pitched voice she spoke in, she said, “I have faith that we will find the money.” And she did, she always found the money. I had my own theories about it. She had a companion, a woman who lived with her named Emily Storer who, I don’t think she worked. I mean, I don’t think she was employed. I know that she came from a very wealthy family in Boston. I think they owned some kind of store there, I don’t know. But I figured well, Emily would make up the difference in the faith figure if that’s what was needed. But, Miss Burklin, really she also cultivated the well-to-do people in the community. She had a lot of people supporting the program and contributing and getting other people to contribute. I mean she really was very good at that. [Emily Storer first became associated with Friendship House in 1925 and became a life-long companion of Lydia Burklin and member of the Board. Her father had real estate holdings in Boston. She was a 1910 graduate of Bryn Mawr College and a resident at the Pine Mountain Settlement School 1919-21.]
CAUSEY: She wrote a history that I found in the files at the GW Library, and she sort of … we were in crisis, and then suddenly …
KRAFT: the money appeared …
CAUSEY: … the money appeared. And that dear friend that I had met years ago came back to help … and it was always sort of fortuitous that things happened. [Friendship House Association Records]
[Subsequent to the interview, Dr. Kraft provided this additional memory after reading “A brief History of Friendship House from 1909 to 1950,” by Lydia Burklin, dated (in pencil) 3/1/51: It felt very familiar, though I don’t recall ever reading anything she had written. She had spoken often of her early struggles to get programs going, of the doctor with whom she worked to found Southeast House, and of the urgent need for the Day Care program. Until reading her account, I had forgotten how devastated she was at the loss of her key staff in the years following World War II—just before I arrived. I never did know what brought about that major turnover, but it clearly changed her world. At times, I wondered if she’d ever get over it. There were two people whom she spoke of frequently, though I don’t recall their names.]
KRAFT: Well, that’s the way she got it. Actually, she did get … I forget what the name of the group was. Well, one group was the Restoration Society. There was another group seemed to me …
CAUSEY: There was a Congressional Circle that …
KRAFT: The Congressional Circle …
CAUSEY: … wives of members of Congress …
KRAFT: Lindy Boggs. I think that he was killed, Hale Boggs, sometime during that period and then she became a Congresswoman. But, they were very active. But, there was a group that ran a Market Day, which must have been at what is now the Eastern Market, but I don’t really recall. In those days, it was not anything like it is now. We had a Market Day where we raised money. There were these great big events that they held once a year. One of them, I remember, was held at Hillwood, the Marjorie Merriweather Post home. I remember going to that. And she had … Louise King, who was on the Board who was a woman of considerable wealth. Her father had invented the, I don’t know whether it was the flat platter to make records with, something like that. His name was Berliner, I forget what. Came from a family of very creative people. There were a number of other people like that. [Louise King, daughter of Emile Berliner, a Washington DC inventor of the gramophone, married Herbert Frank in 1916 and Milton King in 1938. Louise King was treasurer of the Board for a number of years.]
CAUSEY: When you were on the Board, were you the only professional social worker?
KRAFT: I think so. The others had money.
CAUSEY: Fundraising, yeah.
KRAFT: That was another whole world to me. I mean, going over to the Cathedral Apartments where Louise King lived and hearing her talk about things. There was somebody named Tibby Krauthoff, Tabitha Krauthoff, who lived in Georgetown, I think.
CAUSEY: Do you remember the spelling of that name?
KRAFT: Her last name is K-R-A-U-T-H-O-F-F. I don’t know whether it is F-F- or P-F, I think it’s just F. Hans Klagsbrunn, who was president of the Board during most of the time that I was there. There was another guy named Blair. Was he the one who was the president of the Board before that? He must have been there for years. While I was working there, he was the president, I think. [Henry P. Blair was president of the Board for many years. Other Board presidents in the 1950s include Edgar Goodrich and Patterson French before Hans Klagsbrunn.]
CAUSEY: So when you were working, what was your day like? What sort of programs were you involved with?
KRAFT: I don’t know, it seemed to be, we had … I was involved with the group leaders who were running the after-school programs. I’m trying to remember whether we had any parents’ programs. I remember thinking that we needed to have, but we didn’t. [At the November 1946 Board meeting, Lydia Burklin reported that “three students from the Catholic School of Social Work are doing field work at Friendship House under the training and supervision of Mrs. Kraft. Miss Burklin “was especially interested” in the formation of a Southeast Neighborhood Council with Mrs. Parks of Southeast Settlement as Chairman and “our” Mrs. Kraft as vice chairman. Association Files.]
CAUSEY: I don’t recall seeing any list of parents … The daycare from the very beginning and then a Montessori School for a while.
KRAFT: That would have taken over from the daycare.
CAUSEY: And a library—they really started the sort of Southeast Library before it was built.
KRAFT: Oh, there was also … they collected clothing, which was one hell of a mess. It was just such a terrible job to have to go through the clothing to find out what was usable and what was not. Finally, we gave that up. It was mostly the after-school programs, it seems to me, is what I was working with.
CAUSEY: And that was mostly like dance or theater or the arts.
KRAFT: No, these were clubs. We had, I remember, we had a supper club. I don’t know where I put it, where it is now, but I had something written up about it. Not because anybody asked me to at Friendship House, but I think I must have made a presentation someplace else about this is what we are doing at Friendship House. It was a supper club of teenage girls who were really out of hand. These social work students did a lot of the club work. I was working with them. What do you do with them? So we did a supper club which really worked out. It was quite a tricky one but it really worked out quite well, I think.
CAUSEY: They would come and cook …
KRAFT: Cook supper, right.
CAUSEY: And learn then how to serve a proper table.
KRAFT: Well, to some degree. At least learn how to get along with each other which was a primary goal, and certainly with this group of kids. They just were simply out of control. I don’t know how they managed in school, or how anybody managed with them. But, they did calm down and did develop a very good relationship with the group leader, who was really quite good herself.
CAUSEY: Were those young people white at that time?
KRAFT: All white.
CAUSEY: Because it really didn’t formerly integrate all its services until …
KRAFT: No, nothing began until after 1954 with the school decision. I remember one day in that regard, I was … we had a lot of these black kids around in the neighborhood. Some of them came—the way the place was constructed—did you ever see the place before they tore it down?
CAUSEY: Yes, but never went in to see the rooms.
KRAFT: Well, this was outside. There was one courtyard as you came up the steps outside. But then there was another one, sort of a little bit further over. I think that part of the building was an addition. Anyway, there was a courtyard there and these kids were playing with a ball or something. So I thought, oh, my gosh, here are all these kids out there. I went out, took a basketball and went out and played with them. Miss Burklin called me in afterwards to say that that was not really appropriate. I don’t know how she said it, but she made it very clear that they should be going to Southeast House, which was over … actually where the Freeway came.
CAUSEY: Right, on Virginia Avenue.
KRAFT: On Virginia Avenue. And besides, she said, the parents of these children don’t appreciate it because they feel as though we are offering them something that we’re not really going to offer them. It would raise their hopes. Which was true. So, the whole black issue, the whole inter-racial issue was very difficult. There was at one point an effort to open the wading pools, I don’t know where there were wading pools in some of the little parks. Even that was very, very tricky. I don’t know that anything came of that. Which, you know, was the whole issue of the changing times, changing neighborhood. The houses across the street from Friendship House at that time were white. They were selling for about $5000 dollars, but they had no indoor plumbing even. Some of them, I was told, were what they called eight-hour houses. They would rent out beds, practically, for eight hours. It was a very tough area to be in. With the real estate situation what it was, some streets were white streets and some streets were black streets. It was real, I guess what you call red-lining as to who could buy what. Of course, you know, that was one of the complications, I think, in running the house and developing a program and deciding what should be done and how it should be done. The people who were supporting it, where you had the group supporting this project, even the Restoration Society, were really wanting to upgrade the neighborhood. But if you upgrade the neighborhood, what happens to the poor people who live there? Where do they go?
CAUSEY: When you were on the Board it had been integrated?
KRAFT: It was being integrated.
CAUSEY: And there is some record of outreach programs to the housing developments on the Hill and trying to help with food co-ops. Potomac Gardens, Arthur Capper.
KRAFT: I think when Bob Adams came … after Lydia Burklin retired, there were two other people who were heading the place who were not very able. [Lydia Burklin retired in 1954 and served as Director-emeritus until her death on February 26, 1964. Subsequent executive directors include John Guinnessy and Reinhardt Gutman.] I know because I was in charge of the Personnel Committee, or something like that. We were reaching out to the Federation of Settlements, any place we could go to find people. I remember calling some of my old schoolmates to see if they would be interested. One guy just laughed at me, wasn’t going to come to Washington. But, Bob Adams—I don’t know when he came, must have been by the 1960s anyway and he was a very—I thought he was very skilled and able and tried very hard. He came out of Chicago. I was not as involved in the programs at this point, but I do remember that there was that kind of outreach at the time. [Rev. Robert T. Adams became executive director in April 1963; Ernest “Pete” Ward became executive director in 1969.]
CAUSEY: Tape two, continuing the interview with Gladys Kraft. So we were talking about Friendship House kind of beginning more of the outreach to the community as it was changing. Areas of emphasis changed to anti-poverty program, VISTA volunteers came apparently to work there.
KRAFT: I just vaguely remember those, I was not involved particularly, but I do know that Bob was doing a lot of that, attempting to do some of that kind of stuff.
CAUSEY: The neighborhood was really changing rather dramatically at that point with drug issues and crime and what not.
KRAFT: Oh, yes.
CAUSEY: I ran across a photograph of Mamie Eisenhower at the Marine Commandant’s House, but she was welcoming people on behalf of Friendship House for the Capitol Hill house tour.
KRAFT: Well, they did have a house tour, that’s right, which would have been something that the Restoration Society did, I imagine.
CAUSEY: But it was a fund raiser for Friendship House.
KRAFT: Right.
CAUSEY: I also found “stock certificates” that you got if you contributed, which was kind of a novel idea. A thing made up to look just like you owned stock in Friendship House.
KRAFT: By the way, let me ask you something. Lydia Burklin had a house right around the corner which we called little Friendship House, which is where she lived, she and Miss Storer lived in this house. It was on the corner of Sixth and South Carolina. Is that house still there?
CAUSEY: I have not heard that before. What I had read was that after Miss Burklin died, Emily stayed on in Friendship House and I had assumed it was the main house, “The Maples.”
KRAFT: No, she did not live there. I don’t think she ever lived there.
CAUSEY: So, there was another property? They had property on Virginia Avenue they turned over to the Southeast Settlement and that was torn down as part of the freeway project, but I hadn’t run across another property.
KRAFT: I don’t know whether it was part of Friendship House property, but I know that that is where they lived. It was right on the corner, because I was there a number of times, I remember.
CAUSEY: Do you remember which corner?
KRAFT: Yeah, let me think. It was … if you walked from the house [on D Street] to Sixth Street, turned left, it was on the northeast corner.
CAUSEY: Of Sixth and South Carolina, OK.
KRAFT: The properties almost touched each other.
CAUSEY: There are now—because South Carolina is sort of the front for the newly renovated—and there are houses that pick up on down to the corner of Sixth. So, I assume … that’s easy enough to check the records if that house would still be there.
KRAFT: I don’t know if it is still there or if it was torn down or what. [The house is still standing at Sixth Street and South Carolina Avenue SE. A Washington Evening Star entry from September 5, 1937, page 22, reads as follows: “Lydia Burklin, 324 Virginia avenue southeast, owner; Horace w. Peaslee, architect; Marthinson & Co., 1700 I street, builders; to erect one 2-story brick and tile dwelling, 416 Sixth street southeast; to cost $8,500.” According to “A History of Lydia Burklin,” by Emily Storer (written in April, 1954 and archived with the Association files), Anne Hubbard Bancroft Davis provided the funds for the purchase of “The Maples” and the building of “Little Friendship House” in 1936–7; she made other generous gifts, including Miss Burklin’s first car. Her husband, Bancroft Chandler Davis, described as a Washington lawyer and “gentleman farmer” of Weston, Massachusetts, died at their home at 2410 Wyoming Avenue NW on May 13, 1934. Mrs. Davis is also remembered for her $100,000 donation to Goodwill in 1939, which led the organization to change its name to “Davis Memorial Goodwill Industries.” She died on December 13, 1946.]
CAUSEY: So, I thought that she lived at the House. It was part of the settlement concept for you to live in …
KRAFT: We did have residents there. The daycare person, during the time I was there, was living there with her family, with a child and husband. Somebody else who was living there who was—I think there was a game room and she was—there were a number of residents. I’d say there were maybe six residents or so.
CAUSEY: Do you remember whether there was a cook?
KRAFT: There was a cook. I don’t think the cook lived there. There was a cook because somebody cooked for the daycare program. I don’t remember ever eating there, for myself. This was just another kind of thing which was an education for me. Here I come from New York, a nice Jewish girl brought up in Brooklyn. In the public schools, we knew about Christmas. We sang “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” But never sang a real Christmas carol. I didn’t even know them. I sort of had heard a little bit. Anyway, we … I learned that every year at Christmas time, Friendship House had a Christmas pageant which involved putting on a, whatever you call it, a tableau. No, a whole program of the nativity scene. So, Verna Mae Fulgham, who was the head of the daycare, was going to be helping with that program and Father Cooke, who was a social work student, was also going to be helping with the program. So, I’m meeting with them. Getting my education on what this is all about. Part of what it was about was which version of the Bible do you use—the King James version or the Douay version? Do you say peace on earth, good will to men or peace on earth to men of good will? And I thought, oh my gosh. These people were very determined in what they thought ought to be. So we had a long, long discussion about it and I said, “Well, what have you done in the past?” Verna Mae was insisting that these children went to Bible class on Sunday and you didn’t want them having to hear something different from what they were going to hear in their Bible class, so it had to be the one that she wanted, which I assume was the King James version. Father Cooke was going the other way. Anyway, at some point Father Cooke said to me, or said to both of us, “Look,” he said, “if my name isn’t on it, do whatever you want.” So that’s what we did. We went with the, I guess, the King James version. When I was reporting to Miss Burklin about this, I told her and she said, “Oh Gladys, you are the most Christian Jew I’ve ever met.” [Laughter] I looked at her and said Miss Burklin, I assume that’s meant as a compliment, so I thank you.
INTERVIEW: You had mentioned Father Cooke before [pre-recording], what was his role?
KRAFT: He was a student. He was doing his field placement for the School of Social Work. So he was involved, just like all the other students where they were leading groups or whatever else came up. [Terence Cooke obtained his Master of Social Work degree at Catholic University in 1949; went on to become Archbishop of New York and a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.] This was not related to the students, but there was a Camp Friendship which I remember going to. I don’t know who ran the program. I guess I just went out on a day trip. But I know the kids loved going there.
CAUSEY: I ran across a reference. It’s down in Prince Frederick, on the Patuxent [River]. I’m curious as to what happened to that property after it went bankrupt, so I want to check that out.
KRAFT: I have no idea. If they hadn’t gotten rid of it long before. One of the people who should go down in history at Friendship House is Harold Mansfield. Harold was the chief maintenance man. I think he—I don’t know whether he helped to build, or whether he was just there when it was being built, but I think there were a couple of—part of the house was the original “Maples” and then there were some additions on both ends, I think. Harold knew about these. He was there when they happened. He knew where every electrical wire was and he was very skilled at carpentry, at masonry, at everything. That house required a huge amount of care and he did it. And he also took care of Camp Friendship, that’s what reminded me of it. I don’t know how they ever managed once he retired. He was a very sweet guy, so that he also got along with everybody.
[Subsequent to the interview, Gladys Kraft provided this additional memory of Harold Mansfield: [my daughter] recalled my coming home very upset at the time of Harold’s retirement. After all of the goodbye parties, it became clear that he would have no retirement income from either Social Security or a pension—despite almost a lifetime of work at Friendship House. In those days, social workers and nonprofit agencies were among those excluded from Social Security coverage—and the Board had not thought to provide any pension program for long-serving staff. I was on the Board at that time, and felt angry and frustrated (and probably guilty) about it. Although Social Security started in 1935, it took until the 1950s for it to be extended to many lower paying occupations (mostly women’s work), but too late for Harold Mansfield.]
We also had another one on the staff, a fellow named—I don’t remember his first name—but somebody named Snavely. He ran the boys program, or at least he ran the athletics program, which was all held out in the yard in the back, which is now the front.
CAUSEY: Was that a fenced-in play area? Basketball court?
KRAFT: I don’t know that the basketball court was fenced in, but you didn’t get out on South Carolina Avenue from there. All of the play yard equipment and everything was back there.
CAUSEY: You talked about the Christmas pageant, there are some pictures of that in the Association records.
KRAFT: Oh, I’d love to see those.
CAUSEY: Miss Burklin was a deaconess, or I think they called her a “visitor” at a couple of churches. As she tells it in her history, the church had decided to hire a new additional second pastor and abolish her position. At that point, she wanted a job and, I guess, Miss Rochefort and some of the group who had started Friendship House in 1904 said they would hire her. They worked out an accommodation for six months’ salary and so that’s when she came over. I’m curious, coming out of that church tradition, whether she brought a lot of that—it’s very clear from the start that Friendship House is secular. It doesn’t have church support.
KRAFT: It didn’t have a church connection. She was very … she was a religious person. She actually supported me. She even bought a … she wanted to buy something for me, I don’t know whether it was when I left or for some particular event, but she bought me a Hanukkah menorah and she specified that that’s what it was to be. I’ve had it all these years.
The whole religious thing at the Christmas pageant, when we moved out here and our kids started going to public school, they were still reciting the Lord’s Prayer every morning. I remember discussing it with some of our friends because we were not very happy about it. Somebody was a member of the Foreign Service and said, “When you are in Rome, you do as the Romans do.” And I said, “Yes, but we’re in our own homes. We’re in our own country and not all of us do the same.” They did eventually do away with having to recite a prayer. In New York, I remember my mother doing it at school assemblies, where they were permitted to read from the Old Testament without comment. So at the school assemblies, they read from the Book of Psalms, some of the moral teachings in the Bible, but they didn’t mention Jesus and you were not allowed to say anything other than that you read it. That was the way they dealt with it in New York City.
CAUSEY: And now we’re probably overly sensitized to political correctness for any group and what not.
KRAFT: Right, that’s what happens.
CAUSEY: So, what were the years you were on the Board? Did you turn to that immediately after you worked there, or did you go back later?
KRAFT: I have a feeling that it was maybe two years before I went, two or three years. I really don’t remember.
CAUSEY: Did you work anywhere else then?
KRAFT: I did do some field instruction work for Catholic University. I went over to … I think there was a place called Christ Child. No, that’s not the one. Georgetown House, which was another, smaller settlement house. They were interested in having students. Dorothea Sullivan had said if you would go over there we would be pleased to send three students. So I worked there just on a very part-time basis because I had very young children at home. I didn’t really go back to work until they were a little bit older. I guess I worked part time in 1958, but not before that, so I wasn’t working during some of those years. I was on the Board until 1968 and at that point, by then, they had gotten a large number of black members of the Board and there was a great deal of friction and problems. I never felt unwelcome, except that at one point one of the guys said, “It’s time for you people who live out in the suburbs to say goodbye.” And they were quite right.
CAUSEY: Interesting.
KRAFT: I remember one of my last meetings, I don’t remember what his name was. Pete somebody … I don’t know whether he was the chairman of the Board or who. He was carrying, I don’t even know what they call it, it was some kind of a carved stick, a carved wooden stick with sort of a horsehair thing at the end. He was making a point and he was shaking it. I said, “For God’s sake, Pete, just don’t shake it in my direction.” [Laughter] By that time, this was the time of the Martin Luther King assassination and the riots, they used to walk me to my car to be sure that I could get there safely.
CAUSEY: You would meet at Friendship House.
KRAFT: Yes. I don’t know how long Bob Adams was there, I think it was until at least then, but I’m not sure. I don’t remember.
CAUSEY: Do you ever remember meeting Miss Briggs, who was the owner of the Maples, who I gather was still around to some extent in the neighborhood? [CAUSEY error – Emily Edson Briggs owned “The Maples” but she died in 1910. She wrote nationally published columns under the pen name “Olivia.” Her family sold the property to Friendship House.]
KRAFT: How do you spell the name?
CAUSEY: Briggs like Briggs-Chaney.
CAUSEY: She is the person [Correction: see above] who sold the house to Friendship House and sold off the land at the end for the Southeast Library. So people on the Hill will refer to her. Actually, that’s the name I kept hearing associated with the house, more than Lydia Burklin.
KRAFT: Oh, really. No, I didn’t know her.
CAUSEY: No connection with it after you were off the Board?
KRAFT: No. I went to visit one time, I don’t know why, but I have a thank you note. I made a contribution and got a thank you note from whoever was the executive, but I noticed that all they listed in the listing were the Board members, none of whose names I recognized except Charlotte Ehrenhaft.
CAUSEY: I haven’t run across that name. Charlotte?
KRAFT: E-H-R-E-N-H-A-F-T. She was on the Board, but not while I was there. She was a white gal, white woman. Do you know Marguerite Kelly? She was on the Board when I was there. I didn’t have much to do with her, but I do remember her being there and of course, lately, reading her articles in the paper and thinking I ought to give her a call one of these days. But, I see she is retired now. I don’t know how long she was on the Board.
CAUSEY: So, you went back to school in the 1980s?
KRAFT: Right. Let’s see. I went back to work in 1958. I took a job at the Jewish Community Center downtown which was dealing with many of the same issues, interestingly, that Friendship House was. The only people who were coming were men who came to the health club, which they had. Men came from work and went to the health club, which had a pool and tennis courts and I don’t know what, and a Golden Age club for the older people who had not yet left the community. Everybody else had moved out. So I was hired to work with the Golden Age club, which I did for several years, on just a two-day a week basis.
CAUSEY: Where was it located?
KRAFT: At 16th and Q Streets NW. Eventually, I had first been hired by the National Jewish Welfare Board to help them, to be the on-site person to do a survey where they were trying to decide where they should move to or whether they should move or what. It was clear that they needed to move. The old people didn’t want that to happen because they couldn’t move and they didn’t want to have to. Anyway, eventually, I don’t know whether they sold the building or what, but I think the District took it over and they built a whole great big Jewish community complex out here in Rockville. It wasn’t until about 15 years ago that a whole group in the District decided they would repurchase the building and set it up as an active program.
CAUSEY: Is that where Theater J is now?
KRAFT: That’s right, that’s right. I worked there for a while and then I stopped working in about 1967. In 1968, I was looking actually—I didn’t want a full time job—but I was looking for a job and it turns out that’s when I finally went to the School of Social Work in Baltimore and got a full time job there, even though I didn’t want a full time job. I was commuting between here and there. It was a good job, I enjoyed it very much.
CAUSEY: How did you commute? By car? You drove?
KRAFT: Yes. Well, driving in those days … actually it was before I-95, so we went up the Baltimore- Washington Parkway. When they opened up I-95 it was empty, so it was an easy drive. The school is right at the entrance to the city. It’s right on the campus where the hospital is and the medical school is and so forth. You didn’t have to drive all the way through Baltimore.
CAUSEY: What were you doing?
KRAFT: I was teaching. Actually, I was mostly doing field instruction work, working in the field instruction department, and supervising. At that time, the federal government was financing social work education, particularly they were promoting people who would work in the departments of social services. So we had all of the whole first year group of students assigned to do their field work in the department of social services, unless they had already worked there, because it was felt as though that was the place where the need was greatest. I was hired actually to work in a community mental health program which was financed through an NIH [National Institutes of Health] grant. They really needed somebody who wasn’t a typical case worker, somebody who had the group experience that I had because they were really going out into the community. This was when they were closing up the state hospitals and discharging people. Presumably we were going to pick up services for them in the community and that was what the community mental health program was supposed to do. People would come primarily because they needed their medication and we would have groups for them and we had a teenage program. It was stuff that I was very familiar with and had done before and that a regular case worker would not have had experience at. So I was working with a group of ten students there for a few years. When that grant ran out, I stayed on doing work in the field instruction department, educating field instructors and placing students and the whole thing. I was there—when did I go there?—in 1968 until 1982, I guess. But I took off two years to go back to school to get my doctorate. Even though the dean at that time said, “Oh, you don’t have to worry about a doctorate, you’ll always have a job.” But, of course, it was very clear that anybody who didn’t have a doctorate wasn’t going to last very long. So I went back to school. Took off two years and got all of my course work done and then spent the next five years or so working on my thesis. I went back to work there and was there until 1982.
CAUSEY: You were talking about your experience with group work and what not, did the years at Friendship House when you were working there or on the Board give you lessons learned? Were there things from that experience that helped you?
KRAFT: Oh, yes. Both in what to do and what not to do. I felt as though we needed … that people responded well when you knew how to work with them whether they were volunteers or staff, and they could really produce and could really work. But you had to … It was tricky, it was not always an easy thing to do. I felt as though we needed more paid staff who were trained at Friendship House, which we didn’t have. But, I also learned that there are some things that you would like to do and you can be very idealistic about it and think this is what has to be done, but there are so many forces that are working against you, or that are working … Even the same ones who want to go this way nonetheless take you that way. It’s not all that simple. So you have to really tailor your aims a little bit to what you’re really going to be able to accomplish. The others you can hope for and work towards in some ways, but don’t break your heart over them. I remember during that period, in that year before I went to work at the School of Social Work, that was the year of the Poor Peoples Campaign, as well as the Martin Luther King assassination. I don’t remember whether he was assassinated before or after or during. I was active in the NASW which is the … [Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The Poor Peoples Campaign was in June 1968.]
CAUSEY: The National Association of Social Workers, and we were talking about the Peoples …
KRAFT: Poor Peoples Campaign. These were people who came to Washington presumably so that people would pay attention to the needs of the poor. A lot of them were very poor themselves. How they got there, I don’t know. Some of them never should have come. Couldn’t take care of themselves. Anyway, I think in the planning for it, the NASW decided that it would have a little site down there where people could come for whatever particular needs they had. So, I was working with one other person who was staffing that and getting other volunteers to come. It was all a whole volunteer program. That was, it was, a disaster. It rained. The mud was unbelievable. The smell from the mud was unbelievable. Here were these people who didn’t know what to do with themselves. Didn’t know how they were going to get home. Couldn’t get in touch with anybody. So we were busy trying to contact agencies where they came from and trying to get them transportation, or connect to their families, or get them medical care, and so forth. It was awful, because there was … nobody felt good about it, as far as I could see. It was not clear what they were really hoping to accomplish. I felt as though, well, at least we’re doing something to help the people who have come, but not really. So that was a tough one.
CAUSEY: You think back to events like that with inadequate planning and no phones, mobile phones that you could arrange things …
KRAFT: No, we did have phones, it seems to me. We had to have had phones, but working in these awful conditions. People were trying to live in these awful conditions. It sort of … I wondered if that was like what the bonus marchers had when they came down. What was that? After World War I when they were protesting that they hadn’t gotten their bonuses.
CAUSEY: Oh, the soldiers when they got back.
KRAFT: Right, it was just a mess. I don’t know whether that’s what it was like. By contrast, certainly the Martin Luther King March on Washington … that was a very different piece. But that was very interesting, too. My husband and I decided we were going to go and we were just down in Kensington and we thought, why aren’t we taking Judy. Judy is the older daughter, who was by this time 13. She’s old enough to come. So, we came back, got her and we went down to the march. It was really quite exciting and packed. Some lady got sick in the front and they were passing her over peoples’ shoulders because there was no way to walk. But it was a very exciting kind of thing to be in. When they had the anniversary march this past year, both of my girls were here so they both went. Miriam, the younger one, who didn’t get to go, said, “How come you didn’t take me at that time?” For a while, I couldn’t really remember why we wouldn’t have taken her as well because she was nine. She was old enough. But then, I think I began to see some of the old pictures. I don’t know whether it was at Selma or the bombings in the south of the children or whatever it was, but I then remembered that the fact was that as we were marching along on Pennsylvania Avenue and passed the White House grounds and being angry that the President had not supported, had not come out and given support to the march. Then I remembered that the troops had been called out, the FBI had been attacking Martin Luther King. People were being trained in really how to behave non-violently if there was any provocation. So it was a scary time. So I said to Miriam, “Well, it was just plain probably just too scary to take you.”
I don’t remember what was doing at Friendship House in those days particularly.
CAUSEY: Did you go downtown for any of the Vietnam protests.
KRAFT: Oh yes. That’s how my name appears.
CAUSEY: I knew you signed the protest, but didn’t know if you came down. [This is a reference to an anti-war petition signed by DC area social workers published in the Washington Post on page E13, July 29, 1966.]
KRAFT: Then the kids came.
CAUSEY: When you remember seeing troops lined up … a nervous time. Just briefly, your dissertation was on experience among women social workers and whether there were differences by age.
KRAFT: Age differences. Well, the reason for that was that I was doing placements of students where you decide what student should go to which agency to work with which field instructor. You try to match them with what they wanted, with where you thought they would fit. Well, we had a whole slew of women coming from Montgomery County, who were women coming back to school. They were considered the older students. They had their children. They wanted to get a degree. The kids were old enough so they could come to school. So we get these students with some very able, but very young field instructors. The question was how will they fit together where you have a young teacher and an older student? How will you be able to match them up? I was dealing with this enough, with enough problems that had come up with it, that I decided I wanted to do something in that area of age differences and how much does age make a difference. I did my doctoral studies at College Park because I wasn’t allowed to do them at the school where I was on the faculty. My advisor was a psychologist who was doing research and she came from a whole different world than from where I came from. But, she said to me, she said, “You’re assuming that age makes a difference. How do you know? Since that’s what you’re interested in, then you have to go back the next step to find out does age makes a difference?” Eventually, that’s what we worked out. The interesting thing there is she was born the year I earned my MSW, got my graduate degree. So here we were, this younger psychologist working with this older student. So I said, “We’re living out the same kind of thing.” She won out on what needed to be done. [Laughter] I learned a lot; it was an interesting kind of thing.
CAUSEY: You did a lot of interviews?
KRAFT: No, what I did was I worked out … you don’t just say, does age make a difference? I then had to narrow it down to three different personality traits. It was extroversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience, which was a whole new thing that they were experimenting with. So you build on what other people have done before. So, there were various tests that you had to do with people to see how open they were to experience. I didn’t like using the term neuroticism, so I forget what I used, but whatever it was it was the same thing. I developed this questionnaire using some of this already and mailed them out to about 1,000 people, women. I got their names through the National Association of Social Workers. I got a very good return. I got about over 900 people who responded.
CAUSEY: That’s remarkable.
KRAFT: It was really quite nice. So it was interesting. It was a lot of learning for me, a big job, and a huge amount of time, but I got it done.
CAUSEY: And then you went into private practice?
KRAFT: No, I left the School in 1982; that’s when I got my degree. I had been moved into … I’d had some very interesting assignments and then was moved into an administrative job which I did not like and wasn’t very good at and decided to get out while the going was good. I got a job at the Hebrew Home here in Rockville, where I was never going to work, never going to work in a place like that. But there I was. And it turned out to be a wonderful experience. We had a great staff, a good department. I was the associate director of social work there. So, I worked mostly with staff, with family members, and with some of the difficult residents. I was there until 1990 and decided it was time to retire. Then I went back to the School to do just part time liaison work – liaison between the School and the agencies where they had placed students. I did that for a while.
CAUSEY: Baltimore?
KRAFT: Yes, actually I was traveling all over the place because they had students down in St. Mary’s County and they had them up in Frederick.
CAUSEY: And that School is still …
KRAFT: Oh, yes, it’s a big school.
CAUSEY: And then retired?
KRAFT: I probably retired from that in 2003. When I came back to—I’m trying to think, I guess it must have been while I was at the Hebrew Home—I decided to open up a small private practice, which I did more of after I left the Hebrew Home and was working just part time at the School of Social Work. So, I was seeing clients up until almost 2010.
CAUSEY: And would they be for the most part individuals, or were institutions …
KRAFT: No, mostly individuals. I did, when I first started at the School of Social Work when I came back … Since I was one of the few people with group work training, I worked a lot with the one person on the faculty who was doing a lot of group work and I said, “I have to catch up. My last training was in 1944.” This was 1968. And he said “Well, why don’t you go to the Washington School of Psychiatry, they have a very good group therapy program there.” So I guess I started there in 1971and got my training, got certification there, it was a two-year program. That was an interesting experience. And then went on the faculty there after a couple of years. I was on the faculty at the group therapy program until about 2006, I think.
CAUSEY: Some general impressions of people who want to go into social work. Has there been a consistency over your life experiences with the kind of people, or has that changed?
KRAFT: Well, there are a lot of people who want to do psychotherapy. Some of them want to do it because they’ve either had a good experience personally with their own psychotherapy or they are still working out some of their issues. There are a lot of people, I feel, who when it comes to doing groups, they find that a whole different kettle of fish. In one sense, it’s harder to handle a group. For me, it was easier. I liked how people could help each other in groups. The people, I don’t know whether it was the people who came into group work who were different …
Some people only want to do therapy. And some people, and my training involved much more of—and social work generally—focuses on both working with the person, but the person in their whole environment. You have to know what their environment is and you have to be able to know how you can help to influence the environment in order to help the people; it’s not just all what the person can do themselves. I think you get these two different … people with two different sets of experience and therefore two different views of what it is that they want to do by way of being helpful. I think you found more people coming into group work who saw more of the overall social situation and the environmental situation and how do you affect that.
The other aspect of social work training, they had group work, case work, and the other was community organization. It’s the community organization piece which many people don’t want to touch at all, but which can be in many ways, some of the most effective. In fact, Barbara Mikulski, retiring from the Senate this year, was one of the earliest students at the Baltimore School of Social Work. She was very active in helping to prevent more highways coming through the city and destroying the city. As it was, when she was a student, they were busy campaigning to stop one of the highways. One of them did come through and actually cut off the area where the riots were this most recent time with the rest of the city. But, since then they at least didn’t do that with the part that would have come right through what is now the Inner Harbor development and so forth. She was a firebrand even back then.
CAUSEY: Just to go back to Lydia Burklin. In reading what she wrote as her history she seemed to be caught up …
KRAFT: I’d love to see that.
CAUSEY: I’ll make you a copy … in ways to improve the neighborhood. So that was very much a part of her thinking.
KRAFT: Oh yes, I think she really understood it. I think she knew, she had a much better picture than I did certainly of what she was up against. You know, the whole community, well, the whole city was set up with a two-part system where there was a black school system and a white school system. That really astonished me when I realized what a large professional class there was in the black population. In New York you never, as a white person, were never exposed to that, had no knowledge of it. Here, I often wondered what happened to the teachers and to the doctors who got sort of … Did they get picked up by the overall system or did they stop, or what happened? I have no idea.
CAUSEY: She wrote that there was an African American doctor, who was sort of the first person she then worked with on the Southeast Settlement House and working that out. To take at least one of those professionals and move the relationship forward.
KRAFT: She was a smart lady.
CAUSEY: Do you know where she went to school?
KRAFT: I don’t know anything about her background.
CAUSEY: I haven’t been able to find that out. I did find that Emily Storer went to Bryn Mawr, but it didn’t seem to match up with Burklin. [Lydia Burklin as quoted in the Washington Post, page D 7, February 27, 1964: “I had no college education and no degree in social work, but without dedication, all the professional training in the world isn’t going to do any good.” She graduated from Central High School in the District.]
KRAFT: I don’t know where she met Emily.
CAUSEY: OK, I’m going to … [Short break in recording] OK.
KRAFT: When I went to graduate school in addition to my placements at the settlement houses, the group work students were required to have some field experience in a case work agency. I was assigned to Catholic Charities. When I said to Gertrude Wilson, who was the head of the program, I said, “You were going to place me in the Jewish Community Center and I didn’t want that, but that was just because I’ve had too much experience there, but why Catholic Charities?” She said, “Well, we figured you’d get along better with them than many of the Protestant students.” So I went to Catholic Charities and I remember having this case of a woman who came in who had been divorced. I was reporting to my supervisor something about that she had been divorced and this and that, but that she then remarried her husband, her first husband. My supervisor said, “That’s nice because that makes it a lot easier for us since we don’t recognize the divorce anyway.” When I was looking for a job here in Washington I had written to that supervisor and asked her if she would write a reference for me. I think I was applying at the Red Cross to see if they had a job. I got this very lovely note back from her saying she would be glad to write a reference for me and actually they would have loved to have hired me had I been a Catholic.
And then, when I was at the school at Catholic University, one of the things I have in my file here was the letters of appointment for the four years that I was teaching the course in group program skills. I had a couple of priests, a lot of nuns in their habits, as well as the other students, who were participating. I had them down on their knees and had them doing all kinds of stuff with games and dances and what not. It was very interesting; it was fun. Every semester I got a letter from the Monsignor who was the head of the school, thanking me for my service and hoping I would be back next year. The year that Judy was born— I was working up until that time—I got a letter from the Monsignor congratulating Steve and me on the wonderful gift from God that we had received, our daughter. And then a rather long explanation of why they were not offering me a job again, which essentially was that they were looking for a good Catholic. They wanted somebody who was more familiar with the theological teachings of the church and so forth. So, I was dismissed at that time. I was also turned down for a job at Christ [Child Society] for the same reasons. Christ [Child Society], must have been the settlement house or a program of some kind. It was standard operating procedure at that time.
CAUSEY: Indeed.
KRAFT: So times have changed … in some ways.
CAUSEY: Yes, in some places.
[Blank to end of tape]