Wellesley College, 106 Central St, Wellesley, MA 02481
Oak Grove Cemetery Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts, USA
Margaret Frances Byington (August 3, 1877 – August 17, 1952) was an investigator of steel workers' living conditions.
The daughter of missionaries, Margaret Byington was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. She was graduated in 1902 from Wellesley College. She was a member of the staff of the Pittsburgh Survey, headed by Paul Kellogg, editor of the magazine that changed its name to the Survey.
Byington's monograph on the project, The Homestead, the Household of a Mill Town, appeared in 1910 and became an early case study of a poverty-stricken community. She became a member of the staff of the Russell Sage Foundation and specialized in problems of the community. Her best-known book, What Social Workers Should Know about Their Own Community, became a best seller after its publication in 1911, and 100,000 copies were sold up to 1929. She also headed an investigation of the schools in Gary, Indiana. After serving with the American Red Cross in Washington during the First World War, Byington established the Community Chest and Council in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1919, which set the pattern for community chests throughout the country. Leaving Hartford in 1928, she joined the faculty of the New York School of Social Work and taught there until her retirement in 1938. Her theory was to have social workers approach individuals in relation to the community.
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