Social Work Pioneers: Edith Abbot & Harry Kitano

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Social Work Pioneers: Edith Abbott & Harry H.L. Kitano Abstract Edith Abbott and Harry Kitano have both influenced the way social work is regarded today. Their contributions in the field of academic research as well as their efforts to change policy have left an impact on how social work is the responsibility of all. This paper shows a brief overview of their historically influenced circumstances, their challenges and how they have overcome these barriers to bring about a positive change for those in need. Introduction of Pioneer Edith Abbott, together with her younger sister Grace, was one of the leading social reformers of her time. She earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska in 1901 and her postgraduate degree in economics from the University of Chicago in 1905. On September 26, 1876 Edith Abbot was born as the second child to Elizabeth Griffin and Othman Ali Abbott. She grew up in a civic-minded family, her mother a supporter of feminism, abolitionism and women's higher education, while her father worked as a lawyer in Grand Island, Nebraska after having served a two year term as the first lieutenant governor of the state [ (Nebraska State Historical Society - Abbott Family, 2006) ]. In 1893, Edith graduated with honors from Brownell Hall with plans to continue her studies. Due to a severe drought and the resulting financial crisis that impacted her family as well, Abbott was unable to go to college and instead became a high school teacher in Grand Island. It took her a combination of summer sessions, correspondence courses and full-time work to obtain her degree from the University of Nebraska in 1901. One year later, she met Thorstein Veblen and James L. Laughlin during a summer class at the University of Chicago, two economists whose influence guided her toward the subject of political economy. She completed her

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