Dr. Gelles, who was a professor at the University of Rhode Island at the time, took a sabbatical in the mid-1990s and went to Washington to work as a fellow on the House Ways and Means Committee. University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice, The Violent Home: A Study of Physical Aggression Between Husbands and Wives. Gelles responded forthrightly to prevent the public from purposefully distorting his research findings on family life. [4] The series includes portraits of her breastfeeding, being on the toilet with children hovering by, and on the floor watching television, noting she had three one-and-a-half periods a week "to do something creative. For ten years Gelles interviewed and photographed over 300 fourth grade students from a range of economic and cultural backgrounds in China, Dubai, England, India, Israel, Italy, Nicaragua, St. Lucia, South Africa, South Korea, and parts of the United States. There he started his research on domestic violence. Dr. Straus, considered the father of the field of family violence research, established that people were more likely to be assaulted by members of their families than by strangers, a finding that fundamentally altered conceptions about crime.

He took his outrage to Washington in the mid-1990s and helped draft landmark legislation that affirmed that the safety of a child should supersede attempts to reunite a family. Among the statistics he cited was this: Of the 2,000 children who are killed nationally every year by their parents or caretakers, half die even though a governmental agency has been monitoring the families. "[8] During this time, Gelles's art photographs appeared primarily in group exhibitions. In “The Book of David” (1996), Dr. Gelles told the story of a mother who suffocated her 15-month-old son. She graduated from Somersworth High at age 16. His Intimate Violence in Families, Third Edition, similarly made a significant impact in the study of child welfare and family violence. The ringtone on his phone was the theme music from “The Magnificent Seven.”, Richard Gelles, Scholar of Family Violence, Is Dead at 73. He was made interim dean of the School of Social Work in [3] He was director of the Center for Research on Youth & Social Policy and co-director of the Field Center for Children's Policy Practice & Research at the University of Pennsylvania. Richard James Gelles (July 7, 1946 – June 26, 2020) was an American writer and sociologist. "I took a Sharpie pen and wrote right on the photographic paper," she said. The new law made it easier for children who were languishing in foster care — because their biological parents still had custody — to be put up for adoption. For example, in a one day residency at Love Park in Philadelphia on October 10, 2009, Gelles and Linda Brenner asked 100 people to create a fingerprint and answer the four questions. Three years later, he was named interim dean of what was then the university’s School of Social Work, which he renamed the School of Social Policy and Practice. At New Hampshire he studied under Dr. Straus, and they became frequent collaborators. Richard and son Jason did so. [15] In 2019, she became key care taker of her husband following his brain cancer diagnosis. "[19] Of her projects involving architectural structures, one gallery observed such "works take a similar taxonomic approach to understanding the politics of space, raising questions about the manner in which our quarters define, connect, and divide us. But after studying the horrific deaths of many children at the hands of their parents, including a 15-month-old whose mother had suffocated him to death, Dr. Gelles did an about-face. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/25/us/richard-gelles-dead.html “Because of the pioneering work of these authors,” Jeff Greenfield wrote in The New York Times Book Review, “we know that battered children become battering parents, that violent criminals were usually abused as children, and that the dimensions of family violence are wider than we had ever imagined.”. “He believed that due to unsupportable adherence to family preservation policies, children were being placed at risk for further abuse and death.”. [16] March 13, 2020 was the opening day for a group exhibit at the Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia. He was a consultant to the National Football League and the U.S. Army on matters of domestic violence. Her husband Richard Gelles died three months later. She also directed a film, "From Philadelphia to the Front," focusing on six American veterans of WWII who had never talked about their years of service and recounted their confrontations with anti-Semitism as enlisted men until they talked to Gelles. [14] The material developed into a curriculum project free for users under the aegis of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia, and has an Exhibits USA touring nationally from 2020 to 2025. Gelles married Judy S. Isacoff, who later became a visionary photographer of domestic life. The new legislation, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, enabled more children to be adopted. Though originally a supporter of keeping families intact, his research leading to The Book of David: How Preserving Families Can Cost Children's Lives forced a change in his position. Her Jewish family was a rarity in the community. He believed in reuniting families even if parents had abused their children — until he saw how often that approach threatened children’s safety. He co-wrote another key text, Intimate Violence and Abuse in Families. He was 73. A lifelong baseball fan and supporter of the Red Sox, he served on the board of directors for the nonprofit organization Pitch in for Baseball. Over a forty-year career, she worked in photography, film and video, installation, and artist’s books. She asked three questions and took portraits of the back of each to protect their privacy. His “Behind Closed Doors” (1980), written with Murray A. Straus and Suzanne Steinmetz and based on a seven-year study of more than 2,000 American families, showed how thoroughly domestic violence was woven into the fabric of family life.

Her photography is known for documenting family and domestic life, especially her own, with an ongoing witty and frank reckoning with traditional roles for women as daughter, wife, and mother. [7], "Domestic Violence: Not An Even Playing Field", https://www.inquirer.com/obituaries/richard-gelles-social-policy-family-violence-abuse-penn-school-of-social-policy-and-practice-dies-died-obituaries-20200706.html, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/richard-gelles-scholar-of-family-violence-and-child-welfare-system-dies-at-73/2020/07/12/e5e4e3aa-c44b-11ea-b037-f9711f89ee46_story.html, "Richard Gelles: oh so magnanimous, and dead wrong", https://www.providencejournal.com/opinion/20200805/my-turn-gerry-goldstein-at-old-ball-game-eternally, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Richard_Gelles&oldid=974813296, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 25 August 2020, at 04:52. "I was the member of a women's consciousness-raising group in the '70s and I had to decide whether I would further my career as an artist or stay as a guidance counselor and make money," she said. [2] She graduated with a Bachelor in Science from Boston University in 1965 to become a teacher. “Rich was an unapologetic critic of the child welfare system,” Mary M. Cavanaugh, dean of the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College in Manhattan, said in an interview. Dr. Straus, considered the father of the field of family violence research, consultant to the National Football League, theme music from “The Magnificent Seven.”. [18], The arc of Gelles's career, from personal to community, from solitary to cooperative, reveals her continued exploration of art for social purpose and personal inquiry.. As Ann Landi reflected, "Gelles has been around long enough to have lived through the many changes that have affected the lives of women, but she approaches her subjects with warmth, humor, and consummate skill. During a sabbatical year, he worked as a congressional fellow on the House Ways and Means Committee. He attended Bates College in Maine, where he developed a passion for sociology. [17] Her husband Richard Gelles died three months later. Another key project was the Florida Family Project, 1982-2014. He was the author of 24 books and more than 100 articles, chapters, and papers. To keep track of what was going on, I kept a daily journal.I soon began writing short autobiographical stories directly onto the photograph. Gelles believed this project could help expand understanding and build bridges around the world. [2] He also used his research to become an advocate for changes in social welfare legislation. She responded to larger events into her work as well, such as portraits of urban Muslim women taken in Cairo after 9/11 and "Word Portraits" including same-sex couples in 2008, an important year in the gay marriage debate.

In subsequent editions he examined elder abuse as well as violence by adolescents toward their parents. Gelles did not foresee becoming an artist until 1977, when she started a diary about her life as a wife and young mother. Dr. Gelles was for many years a strong proponent of keeping families together, as federal law and social policy called for, even when child welfare agencies knew the parents had been abusive. In “The Book of David” (1996), the story of the mother who suffocated her son, Dr. Gelles showed how the family preservation model and child welfare agencies had failed “David” — the facts of the case were actually a composite of several such incidents — and thousands of other children.

from Bates College in Maine in 1968. Dr. Gelles died on June 26 under hospice care at his home in Philadelphia. Gelles married Judy S. Isacoff, who later became a visionary photographer of domestic life. Now able to look beyond her immediate home, she explored family life more symbolically. She kept a Caring Bridge diary to document his condition and her own state of mind. After teaching at the University of Rhode Island, Dr. Gelles joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 1998. [1]. The story of David helped Dr. Gelles crystallize his view that the rights of the child should outweigh the ideal of family preservation. In addition to his son David, Dr. Gelles is survived by another son, Jason; a brother, Robert; and three grandchildren. The act replaced 1980 legislation that had said that states had to make “reasonable efforts” to reunite families before putting children in foster care. He discovered 2000 children died annually as a result of family violence, even when under the aegis of social welfare.

She “felt like a lone wolf. "[20], Martin Rosenberg, chair of the Rutgers University Department of Fine Arts, calls Gelles' Florida family photos "an amazing body of work because you see the children grow up, you see the parents age, you see the grandparents age and die. She moved beyond her own family as subject, culminating in the decade-long Fourth Grade Project, a portrait study of the lives of 300 children from around the world. The controversy rages to this day. These photographs were microcosmic of the Feminist reaction against the charade of the idyllic home life." When she first took her family to see her parents at their Florida mobile home park, she took a group portrait. The new law said that if a child had been in foster care for 15 of the previous 22 months, states had to terminate the biological parents’ rights so that the child could be put up for adoption.