Item description for THE POOR HOUSES by Henry M. Hope...
"The Poor Houses history stands as one of the finer traditions of Western civilization. One moves back, and back, from the American South, to New England, to Old England, the European Continent, the abbeys, the Christians of the late Roman Empire. The end of the journey is Jesus Christ Himself. "- Clearly the Savior of mankind taught that the strong must help the weak. The Poor House principle of doing good to those who were unable to give anything in return, was a reflection of this teaching of Christ. This principle was carried out only through the caregivers' self-sacrifice, which was sometimes extreme. One may even say that it was a faint portrayal and reminder of Christ's sacrificial dying to provide eternal salvation for the many." Henry Hope is an author living in retirement in metro Atlanta, as a sixth-generation resident of this city. He was privileged to visit thirty-one countries, lecturing, teaching, or preaching in six of them. Missions, his primary ministry interest, led him to join Mission India, after spending years in Presbyterian pastorates. He and his wife Betty have two children and six grandchildren, all likewise based in the metro area. In addition to The Poor Houses, Henry has written an adventure-and-romance novel, which will be available shortly.
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Reviews - What do customers think about THE POOR HOUSES?
History of and reason for care for the poor Sep 29, 2009
If you like Dickens and 'Oliver Twist', or if you like to be an instant expert on many subjects, this book will help you gain knowledge of care for the poor in Europe, England and the US, the problems encountered in developing a satisfying program for them in one US city, the impact of the Civil War on United States' benevolence activity, and the development of the city of Atlanta itself. Included are profiles of several historical personalities, some famous, some simply very interesting characters. All this is accomplished in about 250 pages of engaging writing. You will enjoy this learning experience. Try it out.
An Amazing Poor House Sep 4, 2009
The Poor Houses, which is recipient of the Christian Choice Book Award, is a meticulously researched and expertly written story of the amazing Poor House and Farm in a once-rural section near Atlanta, and of its heroic superintendent and resident physician, Dr. Robert Lawson Hope, whose devotion to the project spanned almost three decades--from 1881 to 1909. When Dr. Hope took the helm, the Poor House consisted of around seven run-down two-room shanties. Under his guidance, and with cooperation of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, bricks made on the site by convicts were used to construct a very impressive two-story Poor House, which became the pride of the county. The Poor House residents, at one time as many as 155, were poor, sick, blind, lame, feeble-minded, elderly, insane, mothers with children, and female convicts. All able-bodied residents worked on the farm, which provided vegetables, fruits, and meat for the tables, and kept the Poor House operation cost to the county at a modest sum. In light of operations of today's institutions, Dr. Hope's task seems truly mind-boggling, and his fulfillment thereof nothing less than saintly. The Poor House comes alive with stories of some of its most interesting residents, including highly-educated and once-well-to-do men whose luck ran out in a big way; two women well over 100 years old, with spirits still young; and a hunch-backed dwarf who fell in love with several female residents, and angrily exclaimed, "The Devil take him!," when a county commissioner failed in his promise to bring him a license to get married. Dr. Hope resigned his post in 1909, citing failing health. He was once diagnosed as having only a few months to live, but proved the doctors wrong and lived nearly another three decades, devoting himself to the cause of public education and other worthy ventures. The Poor House also tells about "almshouses" in America and Europe in times past, and is framed in a fascinating look at Atlanta through the years. The author, a grandson of Dr. Hope, is a sixth-generation resident of the Atlanta area. He spent 30 years in Presbyterian ministry and another 20 with Mission India. He is an excellent writer, and I look forward to his next work.
the Poor Houses Aug 30, 2009
While, as a former Atlantan I was particularly interested in the finely rendered details about Atlanta, her history, and the Buckhead area in particular, The Poor Houses will appeal to any reader interested in charity and public service. Dr. Robert Lawson Hope was a unique man and his character was a gift to his era in the city. I recommend this book as one you will want to read, keep in your library and give copies to friends.
Penelope Irby Lyle
Unusual Atlanta history Mar 12, 2009
Much of the detail of daily life of a century or more ago has vanished into the dusty pages of old newspapers or letters. The Poor Houses by Rev. Henry Hope covers an aspect of America's response to poverty, homelessness, and even mental disability which was basically unknown to me before reading this book.
The general impression most of us have of almshouses or poor houses comes from the bleak world of Charles Dickens. Henry Hope's book gives an overview of the origins of poor houses before he shifts his focus to the application of that system in Atlanta, Georgia. It is an interesting story that moves quickly. Most of the tale centers around Dr. Robert L. Hope, an ancestor of the author and clearly the inspiration for this history.
All the evidence indicates that the Atlanta Almshouse (or, more accurately, the Fulton County Almshouse) was in many respects unique because of the rare combination of personal characteristics found in Dr. Hope. The indigent "inmates," as they were called, were actually blessed in their adversity that such a man as Dr. Hope was found to head the institution. He was a physician as well as an administrator. This was a wonderful combination and, as a result, the poor were rather well-cared for.
Woven throughout the story is the saga of Atlanta, the Phoenix city of the South. The Poor Houses incorporates the kaleidoscopic progression of the city: pre-War Atlanta, the destruction of the city by William Sherman, and its remarkable revival after "the War." Dr. Hope brings the institution into the twentieth century and the author carries the tale up to the closing of the establishment in the 1960s. If you know Atlanta, and particularly Buckhead, the author is careful to identify present-day landmarks to give the reader a check to get his bearings. I found that very helpful.
Additionally, plenty of incidental history about Atlanta is included in the book that helps bring context to these events and even the political struggles involved in charitable work.
Since the author is a retired Presbyterian minister and missionary, he does not overlook the often-forgotten relationship between charity and faith. In this, I am confident that he reflects the view of his main subject - Dr. Robert L. Hope. The book is not a consciously religious book; rather, it is a history which reflects the values of Dr. Hope and his time and shows an explanation for the actions of those who have done something to fight poverty and privation.
I have not read another book quite like this one. While Atlantans will find much interesting local lore, it is a good read for anyone.
Martin K. O'Toole, Marietta, Georgia
The Poor Houses Mar 1, 2009
This is an important and timely book, well written and informative. It is not simply a recitation of facts, but is interesting, fascinating reading as it traces the history of compassionate community care for the poor, aged and infirm from the Biblical age to the present. Relevant historical context and culture of the different times are discussed in detail. Many colorful vignettes bring the story to life. Of particular interest to Atlantans and Georgians is the story of the Fulton County Poor House, otherwise referred to as the almshouse, county home or county farm. Its operations in successive facilities were exemplary for over 100 years, from about 1859 to 1977. Although it became obsolete because of a strong economy, government entitlement programs, available nursing homes and other alternative facilities, I cannot help wondering if the current global economic crisis and increasing numbers of homeless may not once again create a need for community supported "poor houses." This book is inspirational and motivating; I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Richard A. Smith, M.D