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Howard W. Hopkirk papers

Identifier: sw0132

Scope and Content

The Howard W. Hopkirk papers document his work in and concern for child welfare. Prominent issues reflected in his papers are standards in child care; church-related child welfare programs; and the relative merits of placing children in institutions with cottage mothers supervising them versus providing foster homes and individualized attention. The are no personal papers which might reflect Hopkirk's relationships with family and colleagues.

The papers also contain Hopkirk's writings, most of which deal with child welfare as well as practices and standards in child care institutions. Included are: The Housemother's Guide(1946), written with Edith Stern for staff members in child care institutions; book reviews, personal notes, and annotations for a revision of Institutions Serving Children(1944); articles on child welfare, child labor, and child protective laws written for encyclopedias; and a defense of public welfare that was published in The Christian Century. Also included in the collection are papers and sermon outlines from his time as a student at Union Theological Seminary and notes from a lecture series on child welfare that he gave at Alabama College in 1927.


  • Creation: 1922-1963

Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Open for use in Archives reading room.


Please contact the Archivesfor copyright information.

Biographical Note

Howard W. Hopkirk was born in Montrose, Iowa, on March 21, 1894. In 1920, he received a Bachelor of Arts from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He also attended Union Theological Seminary from 1920 to 1923 and studied part time at the New York School of Social Work from 1922 to 1925. In 1919, Hopkirk was married to Ruth Hathaway. Hopkirk's social work career focused on child welfare. Between 1921 and 1934, he served as a consultant on child care institutions for the Child Welfare League of America. From 1935 to 1939, he was the superintendent of the Albany Home for Children. Hopkirk was on the staff of the Child Welfare League of America, serving periodically as executive director between 1940 and 1948 and as senior consultant from 1948 to 1952. In 1944, he authored Institutions Serving Children. From 1952 to 1959, he was Superintendent of the Louisville and Jefferson County Children's Home in Louisville, Kentucky. At the time of his death on May 16, 1963, Hopkirk was a planning consultant for children's welfare services in Corpus Christi, Texas, and chief supervisor of the Corpus Christi City-County Welfare Division.


10 linear inches (16 folders)


The papers of Howard W. Hopkirk, who served periodically as executive director of the Child Welfare League of America from 1940 through 1948 and was superintendent of a number of children's institutions. Hopkirk's professional efforts focused on child welfare, especially standards in child care, church-related child welfare programs, and the relative merits of institutions and foster home care.

Arrangement of Records

The Howard W Hopkirk papers are arranged in two series:

  1. Series 1. Professional Correspondence, Speeches, and Writings
  2. Series 2. Personal Correspondence and Papers

Other Finding Aid

Unpublished inventory available. Please contact the Archivesfor more information.

Acquisition Information

Howard W. Hopkirk's papers were received from the Child Welfare League of America, with which he was associated between 1924 and 1952. Additional materials were received in June, 1980, as a gift from Hopkirk's widow, Mrs. Ruth Hopkirk, and the Hopkirks' daughter, Dorothy Hopkirk (Mrs. Eugene) Ackerman of Minneapolis.

Related Materials

The Social Welfare History Archives also holds the records of the Child Welfare League of America.

Howard W. Hopkirk papers, 1927-1963
Pamela J. Matson
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Social Welfare History Archives Collecting Area