New York Times


The Unadjusted Girl. With Cases and Standpoint for Behavior Analysis. By William I. Thomas. Foreword by Mrs. W. F. Dummer. 261 pp. Boston: Little, Brown & Co. $3.

This volume is the fourth in the series of Criminal Science Monographs authorized by the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology. Its author has long been a student of both in this country and in Europe of facts, theories and methods in sociology. The work is largely devoted to scrutiny of nearly a hundred histories of individual cases which have been compiled by the author under the direction of Mrs. W. F. Dummer, a well-known social welfare worker in Chicago, who made possible the Juvenile Court of that city. She contributes a long introduction setting forth some of the results of her own wide observation and careful thought on the question of the causes and treatment of youthful delinquency, especially with reference to girls. The very title of the book is significant of the tremendous change which has taken place during recent years in the attitude of sociologists and of those responsible for the enforcement of social standards toward women who fall below those standards, and break social laws. For the title indicates that the purpose of the book is to find the cause of moral delinquency in the girl’s lack of adjustment and harmony with her environment.

The life histories upon which the volume is based are of the greatest variety, and tell the stories of all manner of women, from drunken prostitutes to married women of unquestioned social position and unsmirched reputation who confess wither some secret lapse from the standard of virtue they wished and endeavored and were supposed to maintain or some partial succumbing to temptation. But these case histories are only the basis of the work, which discusses them and their significance to society and remedial measures past and present, with the desire to discover in them some illumination for the general problem, investigates the fundamental causes lying deep in human nature that produce these abnormal results, considers the agencies by whose means society is trying to cope with the problem and, finally, draws some interesting conclusions from the investigation. He notes in this section that “very rapid and positive gains are being made in the treatment of delinquency,” but it is his opinion that “for a fundamental control and the prevention of anti-social behavior a change in the general attitudes and values of society will be necessary.”


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