Online Exhibits@Yale

The American Plan - The Administrators

At the federal level, the American Plan was overseen by the Commission on Training Camp Activities (CTCA), which was led by the reformer Raymond Fosdick. Fosdick attempted to bring several prominent female reformers into the CTCA, including reformatory matron and probation o∞cer Maude Miner. However, a number of these women, including Miner, became disillusioned after witnessing the American Plan up close. Another woman who worked for the CTCA, social reformer Ethel Sturges Dummer, even thought about suing the federal government, even though she eventually declined. Following the end of World War I, the CTCA dissolved, but its activities and personnel were absorbed by the Interdepartmental Social Hygiene Board (ISHB). When this Board lost funding in 1922, the American Plan ceased to be a federally administered program, but state boards of health—enabled by state and local laws—quietly continued to arrest, examine, incarcerate, and forcibly treat women—for decades.

Photograph of Raymond Fosdick

Photograph of Raymond Fosdick, 1910.

Raymond Fosdick (1883-1972) was the head of the Commission on Training Camp Activities (CTCA), one of the federal agencies that oversaw the American Plan. In this position, Fosdick influenced policy on a national level, emphasizing incarceration over attempted preventive work. Following the dismantling of the CTCA in 1919, Fosdick became the first Undersecretary General of the League of Nations, and later the President of the Rockefeller Foundation.

 [I was able to obtain several of Fosdick’s out-of-print books through the library’s Interlibrary Loan program.]

The American Plan

American Social Hygiene Association. “The American Plan.” 1919.

This is the cover of a short pamphlet published by the American Social Hygiene Association (ASHA), a private agency bankrolled by John D.

Rockefeller that provided much of the funding and personnel for the American Plan. The ASHA, chartered in 1914, pioneered many of the investigative and legal techniques employed by government agents in the administration of the Plan. This pamphlet gave a brief, optimistic overview of the components of the Plan, including: “Measures necessary to protect the general public and particularly the delinquent girls of every community, including measures for their rehabilitation.”

Maude Miner to Raymond Fosdick, Resignation Letter

Maude Miner to Raymond Fosdick, resignation letter, April 9, 1918.

Maude Miner, a New York probation officer and reformatory matron, became the head of the CTCA’s Committee on Protective Work for Girls, which was intended to intervene and “save” women who were “immoral” but not yet prostitutes. Miner quickly realized, however, “that the protection of girls was not really the thing which was sought by the Commission”—that the CTCA’s work was punitive and discriminatory. In this April 9, 1918 letter to Raymond Fosdick, she resigned her post, writing, “I beg to be released.”

The American Plan - The Administrators