Women of Valor


New York Immigration Commission

Lillian Wald, 1867 - 1940

"Out they pour, the little hyphenated Americans, more conscious of their patriotism than perhaps any other large group of children, unaware that to some of us they carry on their shoulders our hopes of a finer, more democratic America, when their old-world traditions shall be mingled with the best that lies in our new-world ideals. They bring a hope that a better relationship—even the great brotherhood— is not impossible, and that through living love and understanding we shall come to know the shame of prejudice."

Wald was an advocate for immigrants and their rights. When New York's Governor Charles Evans Hughes visited the Settlement in 1908, Wald told him about the exploitation experienced by her immigrant neighbors. In response, Hughes appointed her to a commission to investigate the "condition, welfare, and industrial opportunities in the State of New York." Wald and the other commission members traveled 1286 miles in fourteen days to investigate working conditions among immigrant laborers at highway and canal project camps. Their report, which called for the creation of improved living and working standards for the workers and their families, led to the formation of a State Bureau of Industries in New York.

  1. "Out they pour..." From Lillian Wald, The House on Henry Street. (New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc. 1915)67-8.
  2. "condition, welfare, and industrial..." R.L. Duffus, Lillian Wald, Neighbor and Crusader. (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1938)108.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Lillian Wald - New York Immigration Commission." (Viewed on April 16, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/wald/new-york-immigration-commission>.