The Charitable Impulse: Philanthropic Values from the 18th Century to Today

Image at top showing the arms of the Foundling Hospital in London in black against a blue-gray background, below it are the words Knight Errant of the Distressed in gothic font, followed by Horace Walpole’s Philanthropy in Eighteenth-Century London in italicsDetail of William Hogarth's Arms of the Foundling Hospital engraving featuring two female figures, one with multiple breasts who represents the goddess of fertility and the other representing Britannia, flanking a shield showing an infant reclining unde
Wednesday, September 21, 2022 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
Dwight Hall
67 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

In the eighteenth century, charitable acts and societies in England and the American colonies were motivated by an understanding of moral and ethical obligations of the “better off” to do good works on behalf of the “needy.” Philanthropic organizations from this time reveal historical attitudes toward the benefit to the individual and the public of charitable activities.
This panel will explore how views on privilege, agency, status, and the responsibilities of members of society to others have evolved over time, and the ways in which certain implicit understandings of why and how people should care for others remain unchanged.

This conversation is jointly organized by the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, and Dwight Hall at Yale: Center for Public Service and Social Justice, in conjunction with the exhibition “Knight Errant of the Distressed: Horace Walpole and Philanthropy in Eighteenth Century London,” curated by Dr. Andrew Rudd, Senior Lecturer, English Department, University of Exeter.

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