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Gill H. Boehringer, writings of A former Dean of Macquarie Law School, Sydney Australia; and, an inter-disciplinary scholar.

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Old 05-20-2013, 02:07 AM
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Default Myth, Tradition and Narrative in a Restorative Community



Professor Gill H. Boehringer

MYTH, TRADITION AND NARRATIVE IN A RESTORATIVE COMMUNITY

Gill H. Boehringer
Department of Public Law
Macquarie University
NSW, Australia 2109
gill.boehringer@mq.edu.au

Introduction
My paper arises out of an ongoing historical study of an institution, Bethany Childrens Home, which was founded in 1863 in Southwark, Philadelphia but has been located in the heartland of the Pennsylvania German peoples at Womelsdorf, since October 1867. [1] Historically restorative practices were a part of the regime instituted at Bethany from the beginning, though not in the forms which today dominate the literature of the restorative justice movement; and today it is very much a community steeped in restorative practices. Since the beginning, Bethany has been keenly aware of its role in the (re)integration of children – orphans or others – into civil society and the importance of preparing them for that eventuality.

My co-presenter, Jon Henning, will discuss the current programs at Bethany and the commitment to restorative practices to which they hold in the management of everyday life, including the inevitable conflicts and disputes which arise in such an institution.

I will argue that the existence of appropriate myths and traditions in an institution like Bethany are important in the construction of an institutional narrative which can provide an important foundation not only for developing but also maintaining a restorative practices community.

I use the concept of restorative practice, including restorative justice procedures, to indicate the wide range of activities and relationships within an institutional community such as Bethany, which contribute to the development of youth who are prepared, in both senses, to take their place in and contribute positively to civil society beyond the institutional community.

I see the fundamental purpose of restorative practice as contributing to the long and arduous task we face in developing a “good society.” In such a society citizens relate to each other according to norms of civility and fairness which are worked out, or negotiated, in processes which are prefigured in our experiences of restorative practices in local communities and institutions of many different kinds, but importantly schools and homes such as Bethany. Thus I am trying to build on the work of Strang and Braithwaite [2] and Wachtel and McCold [3] in their concern to broaden the understanding of the applicability of restorative justice. For example, Wachtel and McCold argue that we must widen our conception of “the relevance of restorative justice practices – such as conferencing and circles – beyond their limited use in criminal justice systems. Used widely, restorative practices can significantly contribute to the grander project of enhancing the civility of society…the potential of restorative practices goes beyond resolving specific incidents of wrong-doing to providing a general social mechanism for the reinforcement of standards of appropriate behavior. Restorative practices demonstrate mutual accountability – the collective responsibility of citizens to care about and take care of one another.” [4]

In discussing the potential of restorative practices I am not unaware of the dangers of ignoring the “hidden dimension” of social stratification and inequalities of social power in our society, and the resultant effects on our individual and collective lives; but the question of how to deal with those structural problems is outside the scope of this paper. Suffice to say, that task may be made easier in some part if it is undertaken by citizens who have been awakened by the experience of communities which have instituted restorative practices as a moral basis for social action. Again I find especially useful the view of Wachtel and McCord: “If we are serious about conceiving of taking responsibility as a democratic virtue, then it will not be enough to cultivate restorative practices in formal criminal justice institutions. Restorative justice concepts ‘…are directly relevant to the harms suffered in the course of everyday life and routine conflict, and where the event is not classified as a crime’ [5] People also need this kind of involvement in disputes in schools, workplaces and elsewhere in the community.” [6] They then pose the question which points the way we must travel: “How can society move beyond current formal restorative rituals to incorporate restorative practices into everyday life?” [7]

By myth I mean an account of the past, origins or beginnings, which provides inspirational understanding of motives, plans, and hopes of those who gave of themselves to get things started. It is mythical because it does not attempt to be a “true,” objective, comprehensive account grounded in reality. In some measure it may be a myth in the ordinary contemporary usage – just not very accurate. [8]

By tradition I mean the working out of the institutional practices, the lived experience of those involved, the establishment of the specific, accepted “way things are done.” Traditions are also dynamic, and respond to both internal and external pressures for change. Nevertheless they provide a foundation of experience which in turn provides a normativity to everyday life in a community. Put differently, we are talking about the custom of the community.

By narrative I mean the way in which a story is crafted over time, melding the other two elements into a complex unity. The narrative is at one moment backward looking, while it also looks forward. Thus it not only confirms the oneness and consistency of tradition and myth, locating institutional achievement in that complex of myth/tradition. It is also forward looking in that it explains not only what and how the institution has begun, survived, developed and achieved, but the continuing relevance and value of that history. Also of great importance in constructing our narratives is what is forgotten or “left well enough alone.”

Narrative is interpretive. [9] The narrative provides explanation and justification. It gives meaning and strength. It provides a barrier against the pressures, internal or external, for precipitous and/or unwarranted change. Of course this does not mean change is always unwelcome, prohibited or even prevented. Narratives, as with traditions and myths, are subject to modification over time, for various reasons.

The Basic Bethany Origin Myth
According to a number of accounts [10] a certain young man who was to have enormous influence on the history of the Home, emigrated from Germany to the USA in the late 1850s. Little is known of his past. This man, known as Emmanuel Boehringer, arrived we know not when precisely, though it was probably in the last months of 1858. Nor do we know on what ship nor at which port he disembarked. It may be that these matters were known at the time to some of his close friends, even acquaintances, though we cannot be certain as in all contemporary subsequent accounts the information is missing. Unless we can find historical records, not that easy due to the millions of immigrants in that period, the lack of records and or the destruction of many, the knowledge has been lost. Although much was not known about this new arrival, it came to be known he was Swabian, born in May 1823 in Buergach, near Stuttgart in the Duchy of Wuerttemberg, southwest Germany. There were some anomalies in the information he apparently gave at the time. Thus the name of the town of his birth was Birkach, not Buergach. [11] Further, the date of his birth is given as May 23/29 in early accounts while contemporary research of Church documents in Birkach shows it was May 31st. [12] It might also be noted that although he quickly made friends with a number of Swiss German and German émigrés it is not clear that he sought out other Swabians. [13] Certainly amongst those close friends of which we are aware none was Swabian. It is also interesting to note that it is not recorded that he spent his early life in Wiernsheim, near Pforzheim an important trade centre west of Stuttgart, nor that he had last resided in Isingen, not far from the historic University town of Tuebingen. It seems this information was given to no one as the contemporary accounts are silent on these matters. [14]

Not long after settling in at Philadelphia (we know not where nor how he survived early on) he was joined by his wife, known as Cristiana [15] Boehringer with their four German born children, and his mother Anna Maria who came to be known as Mother Boehringer. With her came one or possibly two sisters of Emmanuel. There seems to be no record of the arrival of Christiana and the children. In regard to his mother and sister(s), although current research in official records indicates they may have come from Bremen on the “Elisabeth” to Philadelphia, arriving on the first day of December 1860, there is no contemporary account which mentions any details of the arrival. [16]

Emmanuel Boehringer is then a somewhat mysterious figure about whom so little was known, a kind of Everyman of the mid-nineteenth century German migration to the USA. He soon began to make his mark in the German Reformed Church community of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania. Though in the earliest accounts there are no specific details of his education or vocation in Germany, [17] he must have had some educational accomplishment as he was able to study for the ministry privately with his friend and mentor, the gifted Swiss-German Rev. Johann Gantenbein [18] and was ordained within about a year from the time of his assumed arrival in Philadelphia.

In 1860 the Rev Boehringer was sent as a missionary to German immigrant communities in Virginia (Norfolk and Richmond) and also, it appears, traveled on duty to Salisbury, North Carolina. With the eruption of the Civil War, he was cut off from the Church authorities in the North and for nineteen months nothing was heard of him nor was he able to receive any monies. His success was marked [19] and the good Christian communities he served must have provided support for the Boehringer family. It seems that his wife and the children were with him. There is at least one reference by him to his wife going south with him though nothing is mentioned about the children. [20] It seems to have been assumed they traveled with their parents.

In mid-1862 with the war raging around the Virginia countryside, it seems Rev Boehringer decided to move back to the North. It is said that he made his way through the lines of the armies to Baltimore where he visited with his friend Rev. Kuelling, who had officiated at his installation in Norfolk, and who helped him and his family on the way north. He returned to Philadelphia in November 1862. [21]

According to accounts of this period, as a result of his time in the South he had developed a strong commitment to establishing an orphanage for the Civil War orphans who were the inevitable result of the carnage which he knew the war to have wrought. This is the core of the Origin Myth. [22]

He was soon given the editorship of “Der Lammerhirte” (the Shepherd of the Lambs) by Rev Gantenbein its founding editor. It was a German language “Sunday School” publication of some substance which had a readership in the eastern states of about 9000. Having discussed the pressing need to care for orphans of the war with his friends, including the Revs J Kuelling (in Baltimore), Gantenbein, and W A Helffrich (of Fogelsville) [23] Rev Boehringer, using his newly acquired editorial position, began to publicize the idea of an orphanage [24] and to seek financial support for the project. [25]

Although not all of his friends and counselors agreed, and the Church had not yet given authority for the establishment of an orphanage, Rev Boehringer was determined not to delay any longer. And so, on the 21st of September 1863, a Civil War orphan, Caroline Engel, was welcomed into the family home which the Boehringers were renting at 702 Morris Street in the lively quarter of Southwark in Philadelphia’s inner south. Thus began the Orphans Home of the Shepherd of the Lambs (which was re-named Bethany Orphans Home in 1873). At the time there was in the “Treasury” $21.50. By now there were 5 Boehringer children as there had been a birth on 21 September 1862 (a sixth was to be born in late summer of the following year). By Christmas there were 12 orphans, 7 from the Civil War, which meant 2 adults and 17 children sat round the dining table in their small abode.

In order to support the Orphanage, and his family, Rev Boehringer contributed his salary as a Chaplain with the Christian Commission (later the YMCA). He continued to seek support from the greater German migrant community and, of course, from particular church communities of the Reformed Church which had in October 1863 given approval of the establishment of Orphanages in general and in particular Bethany as the first such institution. He and his close friends and advisers, Revs Gantenbein (now at Kriedersville), Kessler (of Allentown) and Kuelling (of Baltimore) also planned a money raising campaign from Philadelphia businessmen and other luminaries. Rev Gantenbein in particular was busy visiting Church communities in eastern Pennsylvania and proved effective in raising money and support. The four Reverends established an informal Board of Management consisting of themselves, with Rev Boehringer designated as the Superintendent of the institution.

By the following July there were too many children for the Morris Street tenement and the annex which had been acquired in nearby McIlvaine Street where the bigger boys slept and the first formal school had been established. Thus after a property was acquired in Bridesburg, a village about 5 miles north of Philadelphia near the Delaware River, the orphanage was moved on 13 July 1864. Thirty seven orphans and five Boehringer children made the move to the larger property with its much larger house and several other structures.

A few weeks after delivering her sixth child, Christiana succumbed, probably from a combination of fatigue, the strain of childbirth and jaundice. Ironically, the date was a familiar one: 21 September (of the year 1864), just one year from the date of the admission of the first orphan and the second anniversary of the birth of her fifth child, the first born in her new country. In passing, she left the six children and nearly 47 orphans to the care of Emmanuel. In this emergency his Mother apparently came up from Virginia to assist. There were at the time several widows helping. [26]

At the dedication ceremony for the Orphanage, on 13th October, Emmanuel felt poorly and soon after retired to his bed with a fever. For the next 12 days he remained abed as his condition worsened. He died, apparently of yellow fever, on 25 October with his mother and sister at his bedside. When asked what would happen to his children he said that they should remain in the orphanage. At the graveside amongst the other mourners there stood about 50 orphans and of course five Boehringer children, while the sixth was cradled in the arms of the family.

That is certainly a wonderful, inspiring Origin Myth to remember and build on. It is an account which could hardly be bettered if one wished to found a Childrens Home and provide an inspirational account which would reverberate down the years. Indeed, it has been the basis for the development of the Bethany tradition and the Bethany Narrative. [27]

The Bethany Narrative
Basic elements of the Narrative include the saint-like selfless Founder and his wife [28], together so generous and hard-working to the point of exhaustion and death: martyrs to their commitment to the cause of the children whom they treated as family in an “ordinary” home environment. Indeed, it is the notion of a Christian family living together in its home which has been central to the Narrative.

Many of the children were not full orphans and were placed in the institution because they were “neglected” by their parent(s) or relatives, or were seen to be dependent on the charity of others. In most cases, the Church Elders in the communities from which they came were concerned about their present well-being and likely future difficulties in life. It was through being supported in their new “family” that the children would be given opportunities to take their place in society as they grew older and left the Home. Thus at the core of the Narrative was the concept of regularizing or stabilizing the children’s family relations in a positive environment where Christian love and care would provide them the supportive framework in which they could grow to maturity and take their place in civil society.

From the beginning Emmanuel had emphasized the importance of family and a family structure in the Home. Point one of his 12 point plan was “The inmates of the Home shall constitute a family.” [29] In fact while he saw it as necessary for some children to be cared for in an institution, he acknowledged the best place for children to grow up was in a good Christian home. In his first (and last) Annual Report [30] when outlining his philosophy and some of the sources of inspiration he had received from the example of others before him, he poignantly describes putting the young children to bed and the “good nights” called back and forth between the orphans and his own young children.

A further element of the Narrative was the visionary and man of action, the missionary and risk-taker willing to put himself (and family) into God’s hands, confident in his faith that all would be well. This of course linked well not only with the beliefs of the Churchmen and Churchwomen who have been associated with Bethany from the beginning, but perhaps also with the myths and Northern narratives of the Civil War which are so important to the people of Pennsylvania historically. [31]

Bethany also has continued the tradition started at Morris Street of placing emphasis on education [32] and practical training, although there has been an understandable shift from work on the farm and industrial experience with machinery, etc. to learning – and earning from – the skills of the new service economy.

Spiritual training was stressed by the Founder, who was critical of the limited availability or indeed the superficiality of that offered in the state schools. [33] He made it clear that a combination of education and spiritual training were fundamental for the Home to provide an appropriate program which would produce good, law-abiding, useful citizens in this country so new to him but towards which he was very patriotic.

A final part of the tradition arising out of the Founder’s vision was the understanding that obedience and respect for others was essential in the early formation of citizens in the making. For this German pastor, it may not be surprising, was a firm believer in discipline [34] and a degree of corporal punishment which seems to have been generally accepted in the state at that time (and for many decades thereafter as I can attest from my experience of Pennsylvania Public Schools in the 1930s and 40s!). While care and love were essential, so too were methods of discipline which would bring obedience. Thus, he advocated the use of “the stick” as a part of the controlling apparatus. What he said was quite interesting and of course resonates in contemporary debates in our own world.

“We had many natural forces to tame, and we had to use a stick here and there, and the gentle stick had to be replaced with a punishing stick…” Further he noted, “We must also consider that some, but not all, neglected children have entered…in whose upbringing there was, and still is, much to be caught up with. We try to stay away from false sentimentality in the upbringing which is prevalent in our times, and can lead to terrible damage.” In the same report he refers gratefully to the “friendship and love” offered to the children by a young assistant who had helped the “house-mother” Christiana. [35] Clearly the Founder had a concept of dealing with children based in both Christian love and retribution (in the sense of discipline as necessary and proportionate to the offense). I believe this remained the practice in the Home and forms a basis, without the corporal punishment of course, for restorative practice at Bethany today.

Corporal punishment and restorative practices? Can these truly be linked? Am I suggesting that even in such a regime as existed in Bethany at the beginning, restorative practice can be discerned? In fact that is what I am arguing. I think it is important when we discuss restorative practices – shaming, retribution and sanctions generally, the importance of contrition, etc – that we do so in the knowledge and appreciation of the specific historical or contemporary circumstances which provide the framework wherein different methods, techniques, processes are intended to work for, and do work for, the reintegration of those who experience them. That is, I am arguing that we should avoid the abstraction which allows us to posit specific practices – usually what we see as appropriate in our interactions today – as historic universals and as trans-culturally valid and all else “beyond the Pale.” I am not suggesting a return to corporal punishment, which is internationally proscribed. [36] However, I am suggesting that perhaps we need a bit more modesty in our claims and judgments.

Narrative, Continuity and Change
In my introduction I argued that an institutional narrative could be important in providing continuity in regard to institutional policies and practices over time. We might call it the internal steering mechanism during eras of relatively little social change or external pressures for change. However we must now look at the institution when it is under severe pressure to change from transformed social conditions. In this part of my paper I want to argue that the narrative is highly important in maintaining the relative autonomy of institutions which are threatened by these pressures for change and which are organized politically through the state.

I think Robert Cover’s concepts are useful here. [37] If we think of the historical Bethany, it could be likened to what Cover called the paideic or nomic community. That is, a community which creates its own normative system, and narrative, [38] outside a state or public sphere. To the extent that the Home was largely autonomous in the beginning, being only loosely connected with the Church, having a “self-constitutive” Board of Managers, with relatively little state surveillance or regulation beyond its incorporation by statute with Charter, we might say that the Bethany community was in some respects similar to a paideic or nomic community. However in the modern world, nomic communities come under considerable pressure from what Cover calls the imperial state with its ideology of universalism. We might call it the regulatory or interventionist state, even the welfare state in times past. For various reasons, the imperial state seeks to regulate more and more of the activity of the nomic communities within its jurisdiction, even to the extent of prohibiting them or forcing a transformation of the community or institution. And institutions such as Bethany are no exception. Cover talks of the judges of the imperial state as men of violence operating jurispathic courts whereby the nomos of the paideic communities may be killed off. Of course the state also operates through its bureaucratic departments, e.g. those dealing with the care and welfare of children.

The history of Bethany from 1863 to 1938 is a period of relative freedom from government regulation as well as relative continuity in social relations throughout civil society. However in 1938, responding to political pressure and socio-economic conditions the Federal government introduced further “New Deal” legislation which amongst other things dramatically effected working hours and conditions and those also of children’s schooling. The implications of such legislation on the financing and the program of institutions such as Bethany were significant.

After 1938 it was clear that a new framework of governance was being put into place. And the social effects of Depression, War and the booming recovery economy, would force a re-consideration of Bethany’s future path. Thus, if we look at the subsequent history of Bethany we can see the institution under pressure to change as a result of two conditions: first, the developing process of governmental regulation – from county up to federal; and second, substantial changes in the social relations of civil society following World War II. Nevertheless, the pressures on the Home to change were recognized, analyzed and managed carefully by the Bethany leaders. To some extent they were able to resist, slow and to some degree withstand those pressures. I would argue that a significant part of that institutional resistance was based in the historical Narrative constructed by the Bethany community in the early days and which was maintained through the following decades.

The changed circumstances meant it was time to review critically the appropriateness of the policies and practices of the institution. The task was taken up by Rev Ray S. Vandevere the Superintendent, himself a former Bethany boy (1900-1912) and later a house-father and teacher at the Home. In 1946 he submitted a report on admissions policy to the Board of Managers. [39] He prefaced his findings with a statement of the existing policy which allowed for “the admission of full orphaned or half-orphaned children, boys and girls up to twelve years of age, of normal health and normal mentality: children of families belonging to the Evangelical and Reformed Churches.” [40] The main point he makes: the number of orphans cared for had been declining over the past few years (1939 had seen the highest number of children in residence ever reached, 252, a large percentage of whom would have been orphans or half orphans) and would continue to decline due in large part to new government welfare policies (e.g. orphans would have subsidized alternatives to traditional institutional care). And new social conditions were developing which were producing a massive rise in divorce while the new category of “broken homes” was assuming great significance in public discourse. [41] Also, “illegitimacy” was rising rapidly, thus the increasing number of children of unwed mothers was being recognized as a “social problem” to which institutions caring for children might address their attention.

Vandevere concluded from his research observations that if the decline in available orphans continued, which he anticipated, then “in future years Bethany shall have to consider extending care to other types of needy children if she is to use her resources to the full.” [42] He recommended the extension to children from broken homes and from unwed mothers, “And since these two areas are already receiving attention from a number of agencies we might need to consider in the distant future further extensions of service.” [43] In this context he discussed the potential areas of further extension by noting what policies the other institutions of the Reformed Church (and some others) had adopted or were considering e.g. the care of children with one or both parents disabled, the children of “delinquent or irresponsible parents”, and children from broken homes (divorce or separation). Most of the other institutions were developing new more generous admission policies to adapt to these perceived new child care needs. Those which had not were generally being depopulated.

Vandevere recommended that the Board re-affirm its historic commitment to caring for children, “endeavoring to fulfill the emotional and moral, as well as physical and mental needs of children as they would be fulfilled in a Christian home. To this end we must continue to think of each child as a person in himself with his own particular needs and hopes and destiny.” [44] One of the interesting but apparently short lived innovations he made with a view to preparing the children to fulfill that destiny was the establishment of a system of “self-government” at Bethany. [45]

He recommended that the Board continue to give primary consideration to admission of orphaned and half-orphaned children. And in view of his research findings, that the Board “receive for admission children of unmarried mothers…each case to be decided on its merits….the Home should not become a refuge for irresponsible parents.” Also, the Board should “receive for admission children from broken homes…careful consideration to be given to each case.” He further recommended admission of “children of parents both of whom are disabled or in special instances where only one is disabled.” [46]

The Superintendent was very much aware of the developing governmental network of agencies dealing with child care and placement of children into a range of settings, some of which were institutional but others were non-institutional, such as foster homes and adoptive parents. It was this network to which Bethany would need to connect in the new era. He also was well aware of the need for the use of specialist social workers, having been instrumental in employing the first full-time social worker at Bethany several years before. Thus he notes one or more qualified welfare workers should be employed and that “It is our conviction that a welfare worker should become informed with the many phases of child placement, courts, placements, childrens’ agencies, and be in a position to counsel and guide pastors with childrens’ placements.” [47] Further he recommended that “In view of the fact that many new conditions have arisen in recent years affecting the care of children…that the Board review…studies on adoption service; policies having to do with placement, home finding, rehabilitation of children from the home at different age levels, institutions with foster home service, temporary shelter, court placements, types of service to children of the church other than that which Bethany as an institution can offer, and related subjects.” [48]

The Report is a transitional document of amazing dimensions and acuity. Not only does Vandevere call for a rationalization and professionalization of many of the practices previously adopted on an ad hoc basis, (almost all of his recommendations as to admissions and placements out had been adopted from time to time in the discretion of the Superintendents over the previous 75 years); but he points generally to almost the entire array of programs (without specifics of their implementation) which would be developed by his successors in the following decades. Nevertheless, while doing so he also reminds the Board of the Bethany traditions at the core of the Narrative.

The Report was a harbinger of things to come. One of which, in 1958, was the change of name to Bethany Childrens Home. Interestingly this change occurred about 6 years after the suggestion had been put to Bethany by a Pennsylvania State Visitor. The change had been resisted by the Board of Managers, which illustrates perhaps the strength of the Narrative, but might account in a negative way for a mistaken belief perhaps that orphans would still need institutional care in substantial numbers.

After five years in office Vandevere’s successor, Rev. Garnet O. Adams, provided the Board with another significant report in 1960. [49] By this time the children in residence had dropped to 175 (only 3 are full orphans and 34 are half-orphans). And, according to my analysis, the proportion of children in residence to those cared for was now down to 78%, whereas in 1946 it was 91%. [50] In other words there was a perceived trend of decline in the traditional long-term residential program and a decline in the proportion of those children to the number of children being cared for in all programs. Clearly, Bethany was undergoing change resulting from Vandevere’s analysis and the steps which he, and especially Adams, had taken. Thus, the 1960 report was used 1) to explain to the Board in more detail what was happening, and 2) to point out that Bethany needed to continue to develop new programs and services or lose numbers and eventually be threatened with closure, as had happened to a number of child care institutions.

Adams explained to his Board that the children then coming into care generally are no longer the “normal” dependent, especially economically dependent, children of twenty years ago; children who could be expected to benefit just by being exposed to the home/family tradition which was maintained in the small cottages with their house parents. Now he says, we are receiving children who are delinquent, troubled, disturbed – “the greatest majority of them have emotional disturbances” – and therefore they need more than just cottage care. Many of these kids, he thought about 75-80%, are “all fouled up” (Adams had been a Navy Chaplain!) and therefore the need was “to try to help them to face their problems and to overcome them.” [51]

He agreed with his predecessor that the Social Work profession was important in these rapidly changing circumstances and that Bethany needed to beef up that side of its staff. Children came at an older age and stayed for shorter periods, thus a lot of work was required in getting them in and out and arranging a variety of services for them. The task of the social worker, he explained, was like a social engineer. They had to individualize, implement and evaluate each child’s program, with a view to helping the child “to return to normal living in a community.” However, Adams here (and later) expresses his ambivalence to these modern methods which he sees as generally necessary to suit the needs of the new troubled child being produced in greater numbers as the years roll on. He comments, “I still believe that every child who comes into placement is not a “case” or a problem child…often in these matters we tend to create more problems for children by expecting them to have problems or be different.” [52]

After his 1960 Report, Adams remained in office for another 25 years. During that period many further changes occurred. Interestingly, one of the most significant was the implementation of the Bethany Counseling Mission (in 1981) which is an off-campus program which provides a range of services to children and others in need of guidance, counseling and other services, but who live in the community. A second, less successful but well intentioned innovation for Bethany, in which he was instrumental, was the taking over and operation of Harriet Tubman House, a Group Home for young troubled women in Philadelphia. [53]

Though ambivalent about the changes which he was convinced were necessary, Adams was responsible for the introduction of the Individual Service Plans Program in 1982 and a number of other innovations. In addition to the implementation of a Short Term Residency program which represented a significant shift in orientation from Bethany’s traditional Long Term Residency program, Adams oversaw the development of an Emergency Care program, was in discussions with the government about an Adoption service, and was building up the Social Welfare staff which would be followed by the part-time appointment of a psychiatrist.

He also required, and received, an assistant. The administration of all these new programs and the extra time needed to deal with the more complicated circumstances in which Bethany was operating required someone who had the specific task of hands-on management of day to day life on the campus. His assistant, later his successor, Rev Harold Henning, supported him in these and other changes, indeed was responsible for their implementation.

In 1985 when he was about to retire, and of course with the advantage of hindsight, Adams made his final annual report to the Board of Managers. [54] It is an interesting comment on the task with which he was faced in the 31 years of change and development at Bethany under the external pressures bearing down on the management of the Home. By this time the proportion of children in the residential program compared to children cared for during the year was down to 53%. This represents a very significant transformation which, it appears, was handled effectively by Adams and Rev Henning, who was now to succeed him as Superintendent.

Adams made the point that the basis for his administration had been “to provide love and care in a Christian home environment for boys and girls who need special love and care.” He then refers to the many changes “in the physical plant, in the boys and girls admitted to care, in the total program, and in the staff” but that “it has been my determined effort to stay true to the convictions…provide a home for boys and girls, not as patients and clients…boys and girls will be helped through good relationships with staff members and a total living situation rather than through tricky techniques, therapy procedures, or controlling schemes of one kind or another, even if we did employ such helping techniques.” [55] He continued “Home” is not merely a “treatment center” or some form of a hospital setting…we always recognized the needs for special help…it is important this “home” concept be maintained and continued if at all possible in the future.” [56]

While overseeing new initiatives including changes in programs and admissions, Adams was always interested in the full development of the children and the attention he paid to their physical and recreational needs was impressive, as was his concern for their educational development. In these ways he worked within the Bethany tradition. But he was well aware that there were modern methods associated with child care that he had not embraced as had others. Indeed he commented that not all the modern developments in his era were positive or progressive. Thus he took a shot at “modernization” by which he meant commercialization, indicating there were some programs he avoided because he thought they were not appropriate for Bethany. Indeed he felt vindicated by the swing of the pendulum back towards residential care and away from the “deinstitutionalization” which had marked the earlier period of his tenure. Like so many others, of course, he felt that “legalization” or government regulation had gone too far. [57]

Despite demonstrating a degree of flexibility and innovation, he still wanted to maintain the strong Bethany Long Term Residential program at the core. Family and home were his beacons, as they had been since 1863. However it is of some significance that when he rhetorically asked himself what he would do differently if he had it to do over again, he responded “Public relations.” [58] Adams knew that to be successful in the contemporary period (and he lamented that Bethany, with between 90-115 children in residence, had not been at its full capacity which was then 116) there was a need to sell one’s program in the community and to government agencies, including the courts; especially, if it was more traditionally orientated than others.

In the years after Adams, his successor continued the development of new Bethany programs, e.g. Emergency Shelter facility open 24/7, Special Education, Alternative Education, Short Term Intensive Treatment, Infant Child care for working parents (a community service) But he had always to tread the tightrope of government (and other) pressure to adopt holus bolus the “medical/treatment model.” Like his predecessor, Rev Henning resisted the shift in nomenclature and what he saw as the inevitable changes it would bring to be known as a “treatment” facility. [59] His continued resistance flew in the face of state inducements, in particular financial, and friendly advice from colleagues at conferences and other events, that to be a “treatment center” would end any problem of filling up to capacity [60] (a point Adams had also recognized in his 1960 report).

As it turned out, “the Rev” as he was affectionately called, was not just committed to Bethany’s residential family/home tradition as its core program, he was an excellent leader who implemented the kinds of professional and technological innovations, financial management and capital development, and public relations that were needed to build on the foundations laid by his predecessors. As one old Bethany hand put it “He came in as a Reverend and left as a businessman.” [61] Another, that he had “brought Bethany into the modern age.” [62] We might say he “boxed clever” and maintained the central core while ensuring that Bethany also answered the needs of the troubled children about whom the government was perhaps most concerned.

Instead of following the lead of state agencies, and many Homes which transformed their programs by adopting the treatment model with an emphasis on psychiatric therapies for which there was a big demand and a financial premium, the Rev insisted in maintaining Bethany’s “holistic” model, using social work and psychological counseling and guidance where called for. He noted that he was essentially forced to add psychiatry to the Home’s offerings but this was always on a part-time and, inevitably, a back-up basis. Thus he revealed an ability to play the politics of child care with flexibility and a considerable degree of adroitness. His comment on the state regulation of child care institutions would be seconded no doubt by many others: “They are like super personnel managers. They want to tell us how to run our institution.” [63]

An interesting insight into those politics is the necessity to remain close to one’s community and financial base. Thus Bethany has maintained, and under Henning deepened, its traditional close links with the Reformed Church (now the UCC) and the still largely Pennsylvania German people of the Eastern Pennsylvania region they have served for so many decades. By maintaining its core program and caring for the children in need in that community, Bethany has been able to rely on the contributions, financial and otherwise, which have always been necessary, even in an era when the state is providing substantial funding for children in care, because that state funding is insufficient to cover the costs. [64]

As a long time member of staff commented on the commitment by Bethany’s leadership to the historically proven Residential program in the face of pressures to develop a “new Bethany,” “Many organizations do not resist the temptation to jump on every bandwagon going. This can cause them to lose their focus. This can get to a point where they do not know what they are, what they stand for. Of course, to not do this, not to jump on the bandwagon can also present serious problems. You look old and crusty, not moving with the times.” [65] The words of another long-time member of the Bethany community sum up very nicely how the relationship with the state has been effectively and successfully managed in recent years: “The state has put pressure on the Home over the years so that we would become a treatment facility. However the Board has resisted this transformation. There are many children in the community who have had “bad luck,” kids who just need a stable home life. They don’t act up especially, don’t need special treatment. Bethany continues to take care of these, and does it well. The state now recognizes the need for such institutions. Now they seem to believe they have enough treatment centers.” [66]

Sticking to the Last – Refurbishing the Narrative
The nearly 150 year old Narrative of Bethany’s foundation as a family home for Civil War orphans (and others in need) which has continued to be strongly held by the Bethany community has, I believe, provided a barrier to the imposition upon the institution of the state technocratic treatment model in circumstances – social, political and economic where the refusal to “get on the bandwagon” was not the easy choice. Of course the barrier was not impenetrable, and ground was given. But in great measure changes were slowed, cautiously introduced, and not allowed to overwhelm the core program. In the event, the institution was able to “stick to its last.” [67]

It may be that as a part of his strategy of resistance to the total transformation of his institution Superintendent Adams began to elaborate on the Bethany Origin Myth. This elaboration, probably in the 1970s (its first appearance has not yet been dated) may have served several purposes. First, enriching and making less abstract the original mythical character of the Founder, the Everyman, who took orphans into his own home, might have been a way of strengthening the resolve of those in the Bethany community to maintain the traditions. A kind of ideological cheer-leading exercise. Second, it may have been a story, as one person long connected with Bethany has suggested, [68] which the Superintendent found useful to tell in his many appeals and speeches he delivered for the purpose of encouraging donations from various groups and institutions. Those who knew him all agree, he could tell a good story.

Certainly the elaborated myth is another fine story. As we have learned above, Emmanuel Boehringer was in fact working as a missionary in German communities in Virginia, was cut off from the North by the Civil War and was not heard from by his Church authorities, nor could they get his salary to him for nineteen months. According to the major account of the Adams’ Elaboration, [69] the Orphans Home was “Born on a Battlefield.” According to the author, “Rev. Boehringer was making his way north from Norfolk, Virginia through Confederate army lines…on his way to Philadelphia…. Arriving at Sharpsburg, Maryland in mid-September, he was confronted with the Battle of Antietam’s horrifying aftermath. 25,000 dead and wounded lay scattered across a ravaged countryside. Helping to dress wounds over the next few days, Boehringer heard the heart rending fears of the dying. Showing him photographs of sons and daughters, they asked, “What will become of them?” On Antietam’s battlefield, the dream of an orphan’s home was born. Arriving in Philadelphia, Boehringer began to show colleagues the tattered photos collected at Antietam. “Veterans homes, veterans’ hospitals, but what about the children?” he asked. Confident that help would come, he began taking orphans into his Philadelphia home at 702 Morris Street. On September 21, 1863, Bethany’s first resident, six year old Caroline Engel, arrived at the Boehringer home.” [70] This is essentially the story which is represented in a relatively recent series of paintings which hangs in the Bethany Board Room. [71]

What a wonderful inspiring story. But there is no evidence that Rev Boehringer ever got anywhere near Sharpsburg let alone that he was there on the dates of the battle, 17-18 September 1863 or in the aftermath. We don’t know when he left Norfolk, but accounts seem to agree that he arrived in Philadelphia in early November. We also know two other facts. Somewhere his wife gave birth to a fifth child on 21 September 1862, almost at the time of the battle. We also know that the family traveled North together, and that they stopped in Baltimore to visit a friend, Rev J Kuelling [72] (the man who had officiated at his installation in a German Reformed Church in Norfolk nearly two years previously). The possibility that Boehringer was “on the road” – and it would have been a rough and dangerous road at that time – in western Maryland, some 65 miles west of Baltimore at the time his wife was due to give birth, is less than slight. It is also unlikely that he would have been traveling west to Sharpsburg (into country laden with armies from both sides) in order to get to Philadelphia which lies to the northeast about 100 miles. [73]

There are other reasons for believing that the Adams’ elaboration is mythical. Perhaps the main one is that Boehringer never referred to being at the Battle, though he did briefly mention the trip north in his Annual Report. Also in that account he gives a quite different description of the origins of the orphanage both in his past (the only time he seems to have mentioned his life along the Neckar River of south west Germany) and in Philadelphia, which was much more a collective effort involving other members of the Church (e.g. the Revs Gantenbein, Kuelling, Kessler and Helffrich). [74] Further, Rev Bernard Bausman, the President of the Bethany Board for 41 years, never referred to the story even though he had been at Sharpsburg and saw the Battle’s aftermath, and wrote several accounts of his experience there and more generally during the Civil War. [75] Again, the Antietam story was never mentioned by Boehringer’s contemporaries, in particular by the Board of Managers in their 1869 publication [76] those who succeeded him as Superintendent (Gantenbein and Heisler) and had occasion to write about him and the origins of the Home, and at least in the former’s case, from personal knowledge. Biographical accounts, remembrances and obituaries of Boehringer (including the obituary he wrote at his wife’s death) all omit any reference to the story which Adams’ apparently over active imagination seems to have crafted.

The Bethany Narrative – a new dimension
In this final section I want to briefly give an account of the lineages of Bethany based on research carried out in the past three years. This will be another Elaboration on the basis of the work of a number of researchers working collectively across three continents. [77]

The Fall
Emanuel Christian Haehl was born in 1823 in Birkach in the Duchy of Wuertemberg, near Stuttgart in southwest Germany. He spent the first 14 years of his life in Wiernsheim, west of Stuttgart where he was confirmed in 1837. We lose sight of him until 1850 when he arrived in the small village of Isingen, some 100 miles south of Stuttgart. He is a qualified teacher. After about two years of teaching he moved on, presumably to a better paid position, also teaching, in Weissach, between Stuttgart and Wiernsheim.

In 1853 he was invited to return to Isingen to replace the Mayor who had recently died. Haehl took up the offer and returned to Isingen with his wife Christiane, formerly widow Blank, whom he married 28 March 1853. His election as Mayor was on 17 April.

In December he arranged to lease, with the option to buy, the sizable Steinefurth Hof-Stony Ford Farm. According to local history [78] his salary as Mayor was insufficient to support his family; therefore, he decided to supplement it by farming. He and his wife were starting a family. The first child would be born in January 1854. At about this time his Mother and a number of brothers and sisters joined the Mayor and were helping to run the farm on a commercial basis.

Haehl purchased the farm with its 13 hectares (approx.) in November 1855. He then began to buy up small properties which bordered or were in the vicinity of the Farm in order to consolidate them into one large farm property. He purchased 55 of these, the last, of about an acre, in May 1858. He arranged a loan through a somewhat medieval system then in use, the pfandbrief system. In order to obtain the money he had to get signatures from a group of the village councilors. Two such documents were organized by Mayor Haehl. The documents were negotiable and were later sold to a man from a small town about 20 miles east of Isingen.

Mayor/farmer Haehl had a vision. His plan was to establish an agricultural school for the teaching of local farm boys, “poor orphaned or abandoned boys aged 12-17,” [79] in the latest methods of scientific farming. In pursuit of his plan he arranged for the purchase of lumber and even had specific standing timber in the local forest designated for the construction of the buildings necessary to house the project. We learn from the regional newspaper that the scheme was being publicized and meetings held. Contributions were sought and a “temporary committee was elected and commissioned to take the necessary steps to further the efforts of this undertaking.” [80]

Apparently Haehl was a successful and well respected Mayor. He seems to have worked assiduously to ensure that traditional forms of welfare, and perhaps some innovations, were operating in order to assist those in the village who were struggling to maintain themselves. There had been three successive bad years – two of incessant rain when the crops rotted in the field, followed by a bad drought. The result was that a number of villagers had difficulty in feeding themselves. It was also the case that the German economy – including that of the Duchy of Wuertemberg – had bottomed out in the mid-50s so that businesses were bankrupted, and properties sold at public sale for reduced prices. His concern for the welfare of his fellow villagers was of course no surprise to the villagers of Isingen. While a teacher there previously, he had apparently written a poem(s) “for the blind little Hansgeorg and published it so that this poor blind man received a modest sum.” [81]

Life in mid-1858 may have appeared to be going well for this active, energetic and charitable man, surrounded as he was by his family and village friends who seem to have admired him. His four children had been baptized in the beautiful local, historic church of St Martin’s. All of this must have been a great satisfaction to this one-time “illegitimate” boy, whose parents had married just before his birth, thus causing the rather rigid pastor at Birkach to label him “spur” (for spurious or illegitimate) in the Church registry, which presented problems for his father when trying to arrange his baptism. And thinking back, he would remember that his own father had disappeared after 9 more children were born into the family.

But Haehl harbored a dark secret. And on 14 August 1858 his secret became public knowledge. The Sulz District Royal Superior Court authorities issued a Warrant for his arrest for “the crime of forged mortgage notes in a very significant sum.” He was reported to have been last seen on 6 August in Stuttgart. It was said that he “has without doubt set out via Heilbronn [82] enroute to America.” [83]

It seems that Haehl had learned of his coming exposure and turned to his good friend, a god-parent of his children, Karl Frey, the owner of the village inn and stables – the Red Horse Inn. Apparently Frey took him out of the village late at night in a horse drawn carriage from his stable.

So far as can be determined, Haehl had intended to pay back the money borrowed with the pfandbrief, but got caught in the economic squeeze which was putting so many of the villagers under severe financial stress. Somehow a holder(s) of the notes must have discovered, after nearly three years that the notes had been forged. In subsequent court proceedings it was concluded that all of the names of the other town councillors had not been placed on the notes deliberately by those men. In some way, Haehl had gotten them to sign these documents without knowing they were signing mortgage notes, or he simply forged them. Either way, he was now a fugitive from justice and they walked free.

The Rise
The next we know of Haehl is when he turns up in late 1858 in Philadelphia. Only now the wanted man Haehl has become the well thought of young German immigrant, Emanuel Christian Boehringer who was studying for the ministry privately with the highly respected Rev Johan Gantenbein. In order to make his escape from Germany, Haehl had taken his wife’s maiden name. And when his Mother and sister(s) arrived, as well as his wife and children, they were all known as Boehringers. [84] He was now on his way to being ordained as a minister of the Reformed Church in the United States, and eventually to founding the “Orphans Home of the Shepherd of the Lambs” which, of course, was to become known as Bethany Orphans Home and later Bethany Childrens Home.

In a history inspired by the search for the Founder’s early life in Germany, the Isingen historian [85] has said: “The more I deal with the life of Emanuel Haehl/Boehringer and now also know about his social acts in his new homeland, the more I hold this admirable man in high respect. Surely he had left his family, his old homeland, the work he had commenced at Steinefurt as a rueful sinner with oppressive feelings of guilt and a lot of grief… Whatever induced him to get money in an illegal way, it is not consistent with his real nature and way of life. In his short life he was always anxious to help and to cultivate other people; as young teacher in Isingen, as mayor and farmer with his planned agriculture school, or as pastor and missionary in Virginia, and as incorporator and head of the Bethany orphanage… Judge not that you be not judged.” (Mathew 7:1)

Our research has uncovered a new and very surprising account of the early life of the first Superintendent of Bethany. I believe it adds a rich new dimension to the Bethany Narrative; at the same time it is possible to see it as a tale reflecting elements relevant to contemporary Bethany, for it is the story of a young man in trouble with the law. He was given, or more accurately took, the opportunity to reinvent himself in the eyes of those who will, in another place, constitute his community. If he had lived out the drama which was being constructed for him in Germany – the shame, stigma and sanction of his inevitable progression through the criminal justice system into prison, there would, of course, be no Bethany Childrens Home.

In my view it is a marvelous story of redemption, and reintegration into civil society. It is a story which deepens our understanding of the man who risked so much to establish the institution; but also reminds us of the importance of a sympathetic understanding of the history of those we seek to assist during their journey back into civil society. It is, of course, a dramatic empirical example of the potentially positive effects of diversion from the criminal justice system which, at this stage in our development, is an important part of restorative practice.

Conclusion
I have argued that an important element in building and maintaining a restorative practices community is the commitment to a narrative which encapsulates the myths and traditions of the community as they have emerged in the practices and reflective understandings of members of the community. In doing so, I have analyzed the history of Bethany Childrens Home as a case study.

Bethany has developed a strong narrative deriving from its founders’ commitment to providing loving care for dependent children in a Christian family home environment. A part of that narrative is based, as I have attempted to show, in myth while other more significant parts are based in the reality of the founding couple’s [86] practice, one in which they took children into their own home and treated them as part of their family. In this way they intended to (re)integrate the “other” [87] into society. We might also say that they intended to restore these “victims” of the Civil War.

I have noted the changing social, economic and political “conditions of existence” which the Home has experienced over nearly 150 years, and have argued that while those conditions have in large measure, and inevitably, determined the development of the Home and its programs, nevertheless the Bethany Narrative has provided leverage whereby those entrusted with its direction have been able to maintain a significant degree of continuity with past tradition.

Finally, I have argued that our understanding of restorative practice must be widened beyond the criminal justice system and also beyond those contemporary techniques and procedures which seem to be widely used today. And I have suggested that restorative practices need to be evaluated as they operate in specific social contexts. In my case study, I have argued that Bethany has been a site of restorative practice from the beginning, but that over time the specific practices were modified, or dispensed with. Thus I am suggesting the need for caution in assuming the universality and/or transcultural validity of particular practices. [88]
References
[1] The major reason for moving to Womelsdorf was because the orphanage was too far from the center of the German Reformed Church community it was meant to serve. It was also considered an unhealthy location, and there was less space than they required by this time.

[2] In H Strang and J Braithwaite (eds) Restorative Justice and Civil Society (Cambridge University Press, 2001) 1-13.

[3] T Wachtel and P McCold, “Restorative Justice in Everyday Life,” chap. 8 in Strang and Braithwaite, op. cit.,114-129.

[4] Ibid. 114.

[5] Wachtel and McCold, note 3 at 114-115, quoting D E Peachey, “Restitution, reconciliation, retribution: identifying the forms of justice people desire” in H Messmer and H-U Otto (eds) Restorative Justice on Trial (Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992) 551-7.

[6] Wachtel and McCold, note 3, 115.

[7] Ibid.

[8] see e.g. K Daly, “Restorative Justice; The Real Story” in E McLaughlin et al (eds) Restorative Justice: Critical Issues (London: Sage Publ., 2003) 195-6; and her reference to D Engel, Origin Myths: Narratives of authority, resistance, disability and law” (1993) Law and Society Rev., 27:4, 785-6.

[9] See R Cover, “Foreword: 1982 Term, Nomos and narrative” (1983) 97 Harvard Law Rev. 4. See also R Berger and R Quinney (eds) Storytelling Sociology: Narrative as Social Inquiry (Lynne Rienner: Boulder, 2005).

[10] See e.g. H Harbaugh, The Fathers of the German Reformed Church in Europe and North America (Lancaster: J M Westhaeffer, 1872) vol IV, “Rev. Emanuel C. Boehringer,” 433-438.

[11] I am informed by Swabians that their dialect might have accounted for the difference in spelling. Thanks to Liz and Joe Christ, researchers extraordinaire.

[12] Again thanks to the Christs for the research which uncovered these and other irregularities in records and accounts of our man’s life.

[13] There were ads in the Swabian newspapers in Germany to entice them to settle in farmland Pennsylvania in this period and it appears many came from Swabia to escape poor economic conditions especially for the farmers.

[14] Harbaugh, note 10, says nothing. In such an authoritative work by a man with resources and records available to him, the omission is surely significant.

[15] Christiane in the German records

[16] She came steerage. The Duchy subsidized trips to America for those who were economically dependent. This links up to the circumstances of his departure. as we shall see below.

[17] Harbaugh, note 10, states “He received a good education, having been designed for the responsible profession of a school-teacher…Whether he ever pursued his profession in the fatherland, we are not able to say…” at 433.

[18] See C E Schaeffer, The Man from Oregon (Philadelphia: The Heidelberg Press, 1944).

[19] See generally Harbaugh, note 10, 434-5.

[20] See Annual Report of “The Orphanage of the Shepherd of the Lambs”, presented at the First Anniversary celebration of the Home, 13 October 1864. Published in German in Der Lammerhirte, December 1864 (translated from the German by Liz and Joe Christ.)

[21] See generally Schaeffer, note 18, 39 and Harbaugh, note 10, 435-6.

[22] The myth was not mentioned in the earliest publication from the Home, see “The Orphans Home at Womelsdorf, Pa”, (Reading, Pa.: Board of Managers, 1869) an 8 page brochure which seems to have been used to publicize the work of the institution in the community generally, and to solicit contributions of “goods or cash.” However as subsequent historical accounts were written the Origin Myth becomes more significant, see e.g. J Ph Stein, “Historical Sketch of Bethany Orphans Home” Reformed Church Messenger, 30 August 1900; and J N LeVan, “1863 – Bethany in Word and Picture – 1938” (Bethany brochure for the 125th Anniversary); – and see Vandevere, note 24,1; see also the “Oratorical Discourse “ delivered by G O. Adams, Superintendent of Bethany Children’s Home, 21 May 1975, excerpted in E. Ibach, The Hub of the Tulpehocken (Lebanon, Pennsylvania,: Boyer Print. Co., 1976) as “A Summary of Bethany’s Services to Children,” at 433. As we shall see the Origin Myth was to be further elaborated in the years since.

[23] Helffrich was a leader in the Church and therefore an important counselor in the matter. He and Gantenbein are said to have contributed $100.00 to the project at this stage, Schaeffer, note 18, 42.

[24] His 12 point plan for the administration of the orphanage was published in the August 1863 issue of Der Lammerhirte. It is reprinted in R S Vandevere, A History of Bethany Children’s Home (1963), 2-3.

[25] The first contribution of $1.50 came from Jacob Planz of Niagara Falls, New York. Jacob, a former orphan, was moved by the opportunity to support the kind of work which had given him an opportunity to be (re)integrated into society.

[26] He was already thinking of establishing a Widows Institute to be organically connected to the Home, along the lines of what had been done with the Brothers House at the famous “Das Raue Haus” established by Dr Johan Wichern near Hamburg, Germany. This was one of the models for his thinking, as was the group of Homes established by Reverend (and successful businessman), Dr Gustav Werner, in southwest Germany; it seems he also was aware of the work of Dr Passavant in Pittsburgh, Pa, with the Diaconal Sisters working at the orphanage he had established. See Annual Report, note 20.

[27] As I have researched it by talking to former Bethany boys, cottage house parents and other staff, administrators, Superintendents past and present, Members of the Board of Managers, local historians in Womelsdorf and by extensive research in records and archives. Bethany was entirely open and co-operative, and extended me the great privilege of living and working at the Home for two most interesting and enjoyable months.

[28] Though relatively little honored, it is interesting how from the beginning the wives of Superintendents have been an integral part of Bethany’s history.

[29] Vandevere, note 24, 3. For many decades the children were referred to as inmates. But they were also referred to as children, persons, boys and girls (all of these in the 12 Points), orphans and even scholars.

[30] Annual report, note 24.

[31] Joe Christ reminds me of the Allentown “First Defenders” who rushed to fight at Antietam.

[32] Several of the first employees were teachers. Point 4 of his plan was “A school shall be conducted in connection with the Home,” while Point 5 was “One hour or more shall be devoted each day to industrial education.” Point 6 reflects attitudes common at the time, “The girls shall be instructed in all household duties.” Point 3 referred to the “family conversation” being in German while “at the same time enough English shall be taught to make the children equally conversant in that language.” See Vandevere, note 24, 3.

[33] This was made clear in his Annual Report, note 20. Point 2 of his Plan was “All persons connected with the Home shall assemble every morning and evening for family worship…” See Vandevere, note 24, 3.

[34] Point 7 of his Plan reads “The discipline of the Home shall be founded on Christian love; at the same time the words of Holy Writ shall be remembered that “whom the Lord loveth, He chastiseth.” See Vandevere, note 24, 3.

[35] See generally his Annual Report, note 20.

[36] By the International Convention on the Rights of Children.

[37] See Cover, note 9.

[38] Examples from Cover would include the Mennonites and Amish. Paideic, from the Greek, referring to the educational function which is central to their existence.

[39] Statement on Policy of Admission: Bethany Orphans’ Home, 9 October 1946.

[40] Ibid. 1

[41] Interestingly Vandevere does not make the point that Adams, his successor, makes in his report in 1960 that there was a very substantial decline in overall numbers of orphans since the early years of the Home.

[42] Vandevere, note 39.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid.

[45] See Vandevere, note 24,136-7. There were “cottage councils” introduced in the 1930s by Superintendent Gebhard, but whether there was any connection between the two is not clear. Perhaps not since Vandevere makes no mention of them in his book.

[46] Vandevere, note 39.

[47] Vandevere, note 39. Historically almost all Bethany admissions had come through Pastors of the Reformed Church in eastern Pennsylvania.

[48] Vandevere, note 39, 6.

[49] G Adams, Bethany Children’s Home – Its Present Ministry and Future Mission, October 1960.

[50] The numbers in Residence at the time of the Annual Reports were always lower than those who had been cared for throughout the year, nevertheless with changes in the programs and the type of child entering, it seems that the changing proportions are a useful indicator.

[51] Adams, note 49, 24-8.

[52] Adams, note 49, 27-8

[53] This was a difficult and troubled experience for Bethany. It is a story in itself. Suffice to say that trying to run a Group Home in far off Philadelphia would have been difficult in any case. This one had had a troubled history, and was located in an area where crack houses were common and the community suffered a substantial number of social disadvantages. In the end the house was mysteriously torched and after years of litigation Bethany was able to withdraw.

[54] Adams Superintendent’s Report, Minutes, Bethany Childrens Home, Board of Managers, Minutes, 8 Oct. 1985, at 2486.

[55] Ibid. It should be noted that in his Oratorical Discourse in 1975 (see Adams in Ibach, note 22) Adams does refer to a “treatment oriented program” but I do not count this as a considered analysis of the Bethany offerings, rather a comment on aspects of the program for some of the “troubled” youth being brought into the institution in recent years.

[56] Ibid. at 2487.

[57] Ibid. He dealt at greater length with this issue in his penultimate report, in particular the great drain on resources by the amount of governmentally mandated reports etc, Annual Report 1984/5.

[58] Adams, note 54, at 2487

[59] Not surprisingly, according to a senior member of staff, (interview by the author) the new programs brought in had resulted in a near tripling of staff in 20 years, many of whom were part-time employees, and there had been “a big impact on staff, structures, concepts of mission, attitudes etc.” Nevertheless, he said there was a general commitment in the Bethany community to keeping the Residential program at the core of the Bethany mission.

[60] Interview with former Director of Bethany, Rev. Harold Henning, by the author.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Interview with a staff member by the author.

[63] Interview with a senior staff member by the author.

[64] Interview with a senior member of staff by the author.

[65] Interview with a senior member of staff by the author.

[66] Interview with a member of the Board of Managers. One staff member suggests the Bethany program is balanced now “somewhere in between” the “treatment” model and the “family” model. (Interview with senior member of staff by the author.)

[67] Last means here of course doing what you know how to do, as with” the shoemaker and his last.” The dictionary definition provides a double metaphor: “A model of the human foot on which shoes are repaired.” Interestingly in this context, a second dictionary definition of last is also apposite e.g. “to continue in time; to endure; to remain unimpaired in strength or quality;…lasting, as durable; permanent; and from the Old English, “laestan,” to continue on a track.” See Webster’s English Dictionary, New Revised Edition (Melbourne: Budget Books, 1988) 213.

[68] Interview with a senior member of staff by the author.

[69] J Flurer, Historic Bethany Children’s Home (unpublished paper, 1991)

[70] Ibid. 1. Engel was a civil war orphan, as were many of those taken in in that first year. As Flurer points out, “It would be more than a full year before the State of Pennsylvania founded its first home for Civil War orphans.” (At pg 1 of his paper.)

[71] I am told by Joseph Christ, former Chair of the Bethany Alumni Association, of a single painting which hung in the boardroom of the previous administration building in the mid-1930s which captures the sense of the current series and the Adams elaboration. Nevertheless, I have not found any written or oral account of the elaboration until Adams’ story as re-told by Flurer and others now at Bethany.

[72] See the account of his travel in the First Annual Report, note 20; and re Kuelling, see Schaeffer, note 18, 39.

[73] Of course it might be argued that he had first tried to go from Norfolk, or Richmond, north to Sharpsburg intending to get into Pennsylvania and then on to Philadelphia, but changed his route after Antietam and went to see Kuelling in Baltimore. This is unlikely, especially since Schaeffer reports that Emanuel discussed with Kuelling the plight of orphans and his idea for an orphanage, yet there is no reference to Antietam. See Schaeffer, note 18, 39.

[74] See his Annual Report, note 20, and also the accounts given in Schaeffer, Harbaugh and Ranck (infra, note 75). For access to these and other materials many of which would be unavailable elsewhere, I wish to acknowledge the privilege of working in the Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society library at the Lancaster Theological Seminary Library and the generous and efficient services provided by Ms Dianne Russell, Librarian, and her staff.

[75] See generally about Bausman, Bethany and the Civil War, H H Ranck, The Life of Reverend Bernard Bausman (Phila.: The Publication and Sunday School Board of the Reformed Church in the United States, 1912, reprinted 1935).

[76] See note 22 and other sources noted there.

[77] The research started with the work of Bob Wiedemer of Richmond Virginia, a former Bethany boy; was taken up by Liz and Joe Christ (another former Bethany boy) of Coopersburg, Pennsylvania; then by the author of Sydney, Australia; and numerous people in Wuerttemberg, Germany including Willi Frommer and his family, and Fraucke Wendel. It should be noted that Willi Frommer is the great grandson of contemporaries of my great grandfather Emmanuel Haehl. It was a joy to meet him, his family and others in Isingen, and to consummate an historical restoration and reconciliation which he made possible by his respectful, thoughtful and forgiving history of the fugitive Mayor of Isingen.

[78] From the speech of a later Mayor of Isingen, Jakob Schmid, 1919, in W. Frommer,The History of Isingen’s Disappeared Mayor Emanuel Friedrich Haehl
(Rosenfeld, Wuerttemberg: Self published, 2004). Translated by the Christs.

[79] Schwabisch Chronicle 6-3-1858 Translated by the Christs.

[80] Ibid.

[81] Schmid speech, note 78. (It is called in another translation “a small anthology of poems.”) Hansgeorg may have been one of his students. We were unable to find a copy of the document.

[82] At the time a major railroad station, not far from Wiernsheim.

[83] The “steckbrief” or wanted poster. In Frommer, note 78. Translated by the Christs.

[84] Although his mother traveled under her real (married) name, Anna Maria Haehl, she was known in the Bethany community where she lived for a number of years as “Mother Boehringer.” Even in the official Biography of Emmanuel Boehringer it is stated that he was the son of Emanuel and Anna Maria Boehringer! And his wife’s maiden name is said to be Blank (her name from her first marriage). See Harbaugh, note 10.

[85] Willi Frommer, note 79, in the Epilogue. Translated by the Christs.

[86] It is, I believe, time that we understand the founding to have been a joint undertaking of both Emanuel and Christiana.

[87] We should not forget the desperate plight of, and stigma attaching to, those who occupied the role of “orphan.” In a significant sense they too were victims who needed to be restored.

[88] A warning which of course can be found in recent debates about the use of restorative justice e.g. in indigenous communities, and also in particular kinds of criminal victimhood such as women suffering from domestic violence. See e.g. H Blagg, “A Just Measure of Shame?” in D Roche (ed.) Restorative Justice (London: Ashgate, 2004) 313-334; Cunneen, “Community Conferencing and the Fiction of Indigenous Control,” 292-311; see also articles by Cunneen and others in Mclaughlin, note 8, and see J Stubbs,”Domestic Violence and Women’s Safety: Feminist Challenges to Restorative Justice” in Strang and Braithwaite, note 2.
http://www.iirp.edu/pdf/beth06_boehringer.pdf


More Gill H. Boehringer writings with Shortcut Links

www.atD21.com/Gill

www.GillBoehringer.com


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