From Social Reform to Politics
The original purpose of women’s clubs, many of which were founded after the Civil War, was to give women secular opportunities for companionship, self-improvement, and philanthropy. By the turn of the century, women’s clubs had become more interested in politics and reform, increasingly so as women’s suffrage neared. Confident of winning the vote at the fall election, they wanted to create an environment in which women could study and debate political issues. During the early 1900s, many social workers and social reformers gravitated toward politics. Walling, an upper-class socialist and reformer, paid Henry’s expenses in Eastern Europe during the summer of 1905 so that Henry Moskowitz could teach him German and some Jewish dialects. Expressing a view with which Moskowitz concurred, that only reform initiated from within the district could succeed, Goldstein persuaded Moskowitz to serve as East Side Neighborhood Association chair.