BOOK REVIEW

More Than A Roof:
The Development of Minnesota Poor Farms
and Homes for the Aged

By Ethel McClure

 Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul  1968

The description printed on the jacket of this book (copied below) explains the book very 
well.  However, we would like to comment on its place in documenting and interpreting the 
history of poorhouses and other poor relief.

Ms. McClure's research was very thorough. It went far beyond merely documenting the 
existence of poorhouse in Minnesota. She provided many of the missing links which can 
help us understand  and appreciate why and how poor relief in the western United States 
differed from the institutions and practices established earlier in New England and the rest 
of the eastern part of the country.

"More Than a Roof" is a very valuable and necessary tool for any student of the history of 
either poorhouses or the broader area of social welfare and poor relief.  It has been said by 
political analysts that "all politics are local"; it is equally true that if one wishes to really 
understand the the realities of our country's social welfare history we must look carefully
at how such policies have been implemented in practice at the local level. This book provides 
an excellent opportunity to do that.  It is also very well informed about (and effectively relates)
historical national trends. This make it relevant far beyond the borders of Minnesota.
                                                                                                                         PHL

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