From the first newsletter of the Committee on the History of Social Welfare, we learn the following about the birth of this organization:
At the 1956 meeting of the Council on Social Work Education a paper on "Social Values and Social Action - The Intellectual Base as Illustrated in the Study of History," was presented by Karl de Schweinitz of UCLA and immediately aroused great interest. An informal discussion at a later hour attracted nearly a hundred people, out of which came the suggestion that some method be found to maintain continued attention to this subject.
An organizing committee, under the chairmanship of Dr. de Schweinitz, met in New York in July, adopted a program and selected officers to serve until a membership body could be assembled and take more formal action. With officials of the American Historical Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the Council on Social Workers participating in the organizing meeting, it was agreed that since the new organization's purposes relate, on the one hand, to the teach of social welfare history and, on the other, to the encouragement and facilitating of historical research, it would be best, for the present, that the Committee maintain an independent identity and to seek close relations with the AHA, the NASW and the CSWE.
Over its 59 years of existence, the Social Welfare History Group has consistently encouraged the teaching of history and the value of doing historical research on social work and social welfare through presentations at conferences, publication of bibliographies and articles and dissertations. The organization has created the "place" were those most interested in history and preservation of social work's record can meet and exchange as professional historians. Each year an exciting history symposium is sponsored at the APM of CSWE. Members present in other forums like BPD and Policy Conferences. In recent years, members have consulted on special projects like "Legacies of Social Change: 100 Years of Professional Social Work in the United States," the film produced by CSWE and NASW in 2001 celebrating the centennial of the profession.
Social Work and social welfare history is an important endeavor for educators and practitioners alike. Insuring that the teaching, doing and preserving of social welfare history continues is why SWHG exist.