Carel B. Germain papers
Scope and Contents
Note: Some research and subject materials that were originally filed in a single folder were divided into two or more folders for preservation purposes and for ease of handling. In addition, since Germain used teaching materials, research materials and general subject files for books and journal articles coterminously, there is some overlap in the contents of these files; therefore, the purposes of some researchers may require consulting Series III, V, and VI.
Dates of Materials
- 1922 - 1998
- Majority of material found within 1970 - 1995
- Germain, Carel (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
Germain is perhaps best known for her pioneering work in the "ecological" or "life model" approach to social work practice. She first developed the concept of an "ecological perspective" while teaching at Columbia in the mid-seventies, and later elaborated upon it in collaboration with a colleague, Alex Gitterman. Social work theory and practice had traditionally been based on a Freudian psychotherapeutic model in which diagnosis and treatment focused primarily on the psychology of the individual client and the dynamics of the immediate family. Although clinical social workers had long been aware that people exist in a more extensive social and psychological matrix, the profession lacked a conceptual framework that linked broader environmental and cultural influences to difficulties faced by individual clients. Using metaphors borrowed from the biological definition of ecology ("the relation between living organisms and their environment"), Germain laid the foundation for the needed structure. As she and Gitterman wrote in the 19th Encyclopedia of Social Work, "The ecological perspective makes clear the need to view people and environments as a unitary system within a particular cultural and historical context. Both person and environment can be fully understood only in terms of their relationship, in which each continually influences the other within a particular context. Hence, all concepts derived from the ecological metaphor refer not to environment alone or person alone; rather, each concept expresses a particular person: environment relationship, whether it is positive, negative or neutral." (Germain and Gitterman, 1995) Over time, Germain and Gitterman found that, in addition to its applicability to work with individuals and families, the ecological perspective was also relevant to larger groups, organizations, communities, and to political advocacy in general. They elaborated on this expanded concept in The Life Model of Social Work Practice: Advances in Theory and Practice, 1996.
40 boxes (14.4 linear feet)
Language of Materials
- I. Biographical
- II. Education
- III. Professional Activities
- IV. Correspondence
- V. Writings
- VI. Subjects
- Oversize Materials
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
This collection contains materials received from the donor in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request access to this digital content.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The contents of computer media in this collection has been copied to networked storage for preservation and access; the original directory and file structure was retained and file lists were created. Some floppy disks were unable to be copied. See the log files linked in the container list for more details.
- Developmental psychology -- Research
- Dubos, Rene J., (Rene Jules), 1901-
- Electronic records
- Environmental psychology -- Research
- Family social work -- United States
- Germain, Carel
- Gitterman, Alex, 1938- --Correspondence
- Hartman, Ann--Correspondence
- Human ecology -- Research
- Lee, Judith A. B.
- Rabinowitz, Denise Germain
- Reynolds, Bertha Capen
- Social service
- Social work education -- United States
- Social workers -- United States
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American
- Carel B. Germain papers
- Finding Aid
- Burd Schlessinger
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2005-09-23: mnsss24 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
- 2017-07-26T17:48:14-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
- 2019-04-18: Made 2 paper FA pencil-edit changes (listed in descr. surv. spreadsheet).
- 2020-07-15: Description added for born-digital content.
- 2021-07-09: Content description added from accession inventory
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
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