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Wald, Lillian.

Windows on Henry Street.


Wald, Lillian. Windows On Henry Street. With drawings from life by James Daugherty. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1934.
8vo.; illustrated; front endpaper offset; brown cloth; brown illustrated dust-jacket with very light wear and a tiny chip to the heel of the spine.
First edition of Wald's sequel to The House On Henry Street (1915). A presentation copy, inscribed by Wald at the request of her cousin: Elmor Schwarz, the author's cousin, wants Samantha Hay, his classmate to possess this book and sends it with all good wishes which are the sentiments also of Lillian D. Wald. House-on-the-Pond Saugatuck Conn. June 23-1934.
Wald justifies this sequel-first suggested, she claims, by Van Wyck Brooks-as an attempt to respond to "the eagerness with which, in this period of change, men and women wish to look through windows that have been opened upon a moving world" (p. xi). She explains in her first chapter that Windows on Henry Street "is the story of the House on Henry Street since 1915-the years that saw war, peace, boom and depression, Russian Revolution, prohibition; it is attempt to show the place of a settlement in the movements of the day" (pp. 4-5). Though the settlement had grown exponentially between the time of her first explanation of its mission in 1915 and this retrospective account of its progress-the length of her acknowledgements in this volume is perhaps evidence of this-Wald chooses to tell her story narratively, only occasionally calling up facts and figures for support. She concludes her opening chapter:
…My real hope is that I may have the good fortune to encourage people-particularly young people-to participate more widely than they do in the affairs of the going world . . . . An interest in culture and justice, especially if it be accompanied by an effort to further them, constitutes an art of humanity. It is to encourage that art that this book is written. (p. 11)
Wald is successful in her showing how wide-reaching individual spheres of influence can be. She contends that when these spheres are infused with the support of enough individuals, they can congeal into communities empowered to maintain the change brought about by organizations like Henry Street. After recounting the challenges her settlement overcame through the Great War and the Depression, examining not just change within this community but also addressing the status of such issues as "Education and the Arts," "The Child and the Law" and "Nursing and Health" nationwide, Wald concludes:
All the varied experience of intercourse with the many races, those who are expressive and those who are not, and who wait upon others for a formulation of what lies deep within their racial traditions or religious promises-such experience points to the inevitable: that people rise and fall together, that no one group or nation dare be an economic or a social law unto itself. That has been the lesson we have learned in the years on Henry Street. (p. 338)

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