20th-Century Collections Guide: Community and Social Services
The 20th-century collections that fall under this category include those that relate to education as well as to community, social service, ethnic, and benevolent organizations and associations.
Please note that this is not a comprehensive guide to HSP's manuscript collections relating 20th-century community and social service history. It is meant to serve as a starting point to help users locate collections that may be of interest to them.
HSP staff is regularly adding finding aids to the website. Users should click on a collection's title to see whether a full online finding aid is available.
Hayes Manor records, 1827-1994 (Collection 3108) 13 boxes 48 volumes (10.3 linear ft.)
Hayes Manor was founded as the Hayes Mechanics Home by George Hayes (1815-1857) and Ferdinand J. Dreer (1812-1902). Along with Dundas T. Pratt as executor, these men created a home of “honorable retirement” for tradesmen and skilled mechanics. The home was chartered in 1858, and the charter was ratified in 1861. In 1967, the organization changed its name to the Hayes Home for Men. In 1978, there occurred one final name change, to that of Hayes Manor, when the home began accepting women and couples. Hayes Manor continues to operate as a retirement home at its Belmont Avenue residence of over one hundred and twenty years. The records of Hayes Manor document its history from before its inception in 1858 to the early 1990s. Among the materials are board reports and minutes, administrative correspondence, resident applications, estate records, financial books and papers, and numerous pamphlets, booklets, flyers, clippings, and photographs.
Indigent Widows' and Single Women's Society/Ralston House
Indigent Widows' and Single Women's Society/Ralston House records, 1817-1985 (Collection 3099)
63 boxes (25.5 linear ft.)
Founded in 1817 by Sarah Ralston, the Indigent Widows' and Single Women's Society represented the first charitable organization in Philadelphia exclusively devoted to the needs of the elderly. Ralston recognized that many women faced destitution in their old age and, as a result, often spent the final years of their lives in the almshouse. The goal of the Asylum was to provide a decent home life for those born of the middle class and higher, but who fell into less economically advantaged positions at the close of their lives. While the home was non-sectarian, the Managers were interested in attracting a resident of high personal character, the traits of whom, in their view, typically belonged to members of the Protestant Christian sects. Over the years the admissions policies grew increasingly democratic. With the merger with the Tilden Home for Aged Couples, men and couples were granted entrance to the home. With changing times also came a change in the corporate name. In 1964, the Indigent Widows' and Single Women's Society dropped the word indigent from its name to convey a more contemporary value system and to offer a greater sense of dignity to those in the home. In 1973, to better reflect the home's mixed gender constituency, and to simultaneously honor its founder Sarah Ralston, the institution changed its name to the Ralston House. Finally, in 1985 the mission of the Ralston House changed from a residential care community to a community health facility. Addressing the vital needs of the elderly remains its mission today.
The collection includes: Board of Managers minutes, 1817-1982; Incorporation, Constitution, By-Laws and Annual Reports, 1871-1971; Board correspondence; Physical Building files; Admissions files, 1817-1954; Visiting Committee records, 1826, 1836-1978; and Financial records. Unprocessed additions include 1 linear foot of admissions records, circa 1940-circa 1960; 16 financial volumes, 1817-1965; and a bound volume of resident agreements, 1937-1951. Some materials are restricted.
Children's Aid Society of Pennsylvania
Children’s Aid Society of Pennsylvania records, 1857-1982 (Collection 3026) 38 boxes 56 volumes
(13 linear ft.)
The Children's Aid Society was organized in 1882, and under the leadership of Helen W. Hinckley, focused on establishing a law "prohibiting the reception and detention of children in almshouses, and providing child caring institutions, or industrial schools or homes." "After the passage of this law in 1883, the Society offered its services to the poor law officials in placing in family homes the children from the almshouses and other children for whom care might be needed." Throughout its existence, the Children's Aid Society was structured in various ways, but it finally settled on a county-centered organization to help further the best interests of the child. The collection includes annual reports, general accounts, register of cases, board minutes, cashbooks, scrapbooks, case histories, accounts of children, newspaper clippings, various printed matter, and other miscellaneous items. The collection covers not only the Children's Aid Society, but the Union Temporary Home, Philadelphia Home for Infants, Children's Bureau, United States Committee for European Children (all of which but the Committee for European Children was later absorbed into the Children's Aid Society.)
Family Service of Philadelphia
Family Service of Philadelphia records, 1878-1999 (Collection 1961) 68 boxes (49 linear ft.)
The Philadelphia Society for Organizing Charitable Relief and Repressing Mendicancy (now the Family Service of Philadelphia), a private relief agency was organized in 1879 by a group of men connected with the Soup Houses and other charitable agencies. The correspondence files constitute the largest group of material and include: letterpress books of general correspondence, 1878-1911; incoming general correspondence, 1899-1908; incoming correspondence, 1900-1909, of general secretary Mary Richmond, a central figure in the emergence of professional social work in the United States; incoming and outgoing correspondence of the supervisor of districts, 1915; miscellaneous correspondence. Minute books, 1878-1928, include minutes of the Commission on Organizing Charities, 1878-1879; minutes of the Board of Directors; minutes of the Ward Associations; minutes of various committees. Some of the minute books also contain case records. Other records include application books, 1902-1909; case records, 1890-1923; annual reports of the Board of Directors, 1879-1900; annual reports of the Ward Associations, 1879-1902; scrapbooks, 1878-1879, 1895-1900; photographs; printed material such as "The Charity Organization Bulletin," and "The Monthly Register," 1879-1900, the first journal of social work to have a national circulation. The records do not include many financial accounts of the society, but there are a few miscellaneous financial records, among which are an account book, 1916-1921; minutes of the Committee on Finance, 1884-1894, 1904-1916; and a volume of papers, 1879-1882, primarily on financial matters. The collection contains, in addition, records of the Philadelphia Social Workers Club: incoming and outgoing correspondence, 1907-1922; minutes, 1905- 1920; account book, 1916-1921; and scrapbook of programs, 1917-1922.
Kensington Soup Society (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Kensington Soup Society records, 1853-2009 (Collection 3119) 9 boxes 13 volumes (5.25 linear ft.)The Kensington Soup Society (KSS) was founded in Philadelphia in 1844 as the East Kensington Soup Society. By 1853, the company dropped “East” from its names and was incorporated as the Kensington Soup Society. In its early years, KSS maintained close relationships with several local organizations, such as the Kensington Methodist Episcopal Church, the Kensington Building Association, and the Kensington Fire and Marine Insurance Company. Among KSS’s original founders were Richard S. Allen, William Cramp, Jacob K. Vaughan, Robert Pearce, and Joseph Lippincott. The first known location of KSS was on Shackamaxon Street. By the 1860s, local directories had KSS listed on Allen Street; and on Crease Street by the 1870s. The Kensington Soup Society served the city for over 100 years and was the last remaining neighborhood soup society in Philadelphia. It closed in 2007 and reopened as a philanthropic organization for the Kensington and Fishtown neighborhoods. The collection documents more than 100 years of the organization's work. Records are primarily administrative and financial, with lots of receipts, minutes, records of people served, records related to contractors and upkeep of their building, some ephemera, a little correspondence, and some photos and clippings. Thank you letters and bequest files show who supported KSS.
Lighthouse records, 1893-2000 (Collection 1970) 175 boxes 238 volumes (105 linear ft.)
The Lighthouse, a settlement house, was founded as a social center for the mill workers of the Kensington section of Philadelphia. It shortly expanded to include a Boys' Club, Men's Club, Girls' Club, Women's Club, Baldwin Day Nursery, and a several other activities, with the boys' sports program as its most viable activity. The records contain, in varying series, minutes, accounts, other operational records, scrapbooks and photograph albums of the Lighthouse, its' clubs and programs.
Orphan Society of Philadelphia
Orphan Society of Philadelphia records, 1814-1965 (Collection 1913) 6 boxes 77 volumes (9.5 linear ft.)
The Orphan Society of Philadelphia, a privately supported institution, was founded in 1814. In March 1815, the Society began operations and soon was caring for twenty-five orphans in a rented house on Market Street, west of Broad Street. Most of the original orphans were children who were moved from the Almshouse upon a recommendation by the Guardians of the Poor. The orphanage operated continuously from 1815 until 1965 when it merged with the Elwyn School in Elwyn, PA. The institution, while non-sectarian, was Christian-based in philosophy and teaching. For at least the first one hundred years, admission was restricted to “destitute fatherless children of married parents.” Boys were not admitted over the age of seven and were housed until the age of sixteen; girls were not admitted over the age of nine and were housed until the age of eighteen. During the 150 years of its operation, the Society resided in four successive homes in three locations and served approximately eighty to one-hundred orphans most years. However, by the 1950s, applications had decreased significantly; there were only twenty-three orphans under the Society’s care when it merged with the Elwyn School on February 14, 1965. This collection, which includes annual reports, historical records, committee and financial reports, ledgers, account books, real estate papers, admission books, and indenture and binding books and papers, is richest in the detailed minutes that record the administrative workings of the Society, the Visiting Committee reports, and in the books, correspondence, and papers reflecting the lives of individual orphans.
Pennsylvania Prison Society
Pennsylvania Prison Society records, 1787-1966 (Collection 1946) 1 boxes 29 volumes (5 linear ft.)The Pennsylvania Prison Society Records span from 1787 to 1966 and are comprised of twenty-nine minute books and one box of correspondence and other papers. The collection offers a full picture of the society, its activities, and its goals through the detailed meeting minutes. The topics in this collection include prison conditions at the Walnut Street jail, Eastern State Penitentiary and other county prisons; the plight of prisoners; relief given by the society; the roots and implementation of the Pennsylvania System of Solitary Confinement; the society’s involvement in national conferences for penal reform; acts brought to the state legislature for penal reform; and other miscellaneous topics. The Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons was organized in 1787 to promote penal reform. Its early members included: William White, Benjamin Rush, Roberts Vaux, Dorthea Lynde Dix, and Rose Steadman. In 1886 the Society's name was changed to its current name, the Pennsylvania Prison Society.
Minutes of the society, 1787-1832, 1852-1919, include its original constitution and discussion of news and legislation on the condition of prisons and prisoners. Topics include: prison administration; solitary confinement to hard labor (the Pennsylvania System); the establishment of the Western Penitentiary in Pittsburgh, authorized in 1818, the Eastern Penitentiary in Philadelphia, authorized in 1821, the House of Refuge, in 1828, a House of Correction, opened in 1874, an "industrial home," opened in 1889, and an asylum for insane criminals, opened in 1905; separation of men and women prisoners, of juveniles, and of the insane; and the parole system. Minutes of the acting committee of the society, 1798-1966, contain reports of prison visits by members and by case workers; news of associated correctional facilities; the establishment of a half way house, and of a Narcotics Anonymous; gifts to the society; and other matters of concern and topics discussed at the general meetings. Minutes, 1854-1885, of the Committee on the Eastern Penitentiary contain reports on the conditions of prisoners, including criminals, delinquents, and the insane; news from the library, which was maintained by the Society; and summaries from case-workers concerning discharged prisoners. Copies of miscellaneous letters, 1816-1819, from Caleb Cresson, Jr., as secretary of the Society, and printed report, 1887, of the Society's 100th anniversary.
Public Baths Association of Philadelphia
Public Baths Association of Philadelphia records, 1890-1950 (Collection 1999) 1 boxes 4 volumes
(1 linear ft.)
The Public Baths Association of Philadelphia was a private charitable organization in 1895 to provide inexpensive bathing and laundry facilities to "the self-respecting poor" in working-class neighborhoods of Philadelphia. The Association, distinct from the City Baths which were swimming pools open only during the summer months, opened its first bath house in 1898, its fifth in 1928. The association functioned until 1946. The papers consist of: trustee minutes, 1902-1950; scrap books, 1898-1944, of newspapers clippings, fund-raising letters, and other records on the association's real property, 1890-1944.
American Association of University Women. Pennsylvania Division
Women's University Club, Philadelphia Branch of the American Association of University Women records, 1923-1995 (Collection 2138) 46 boxes 57 volumes (24 linear ft.)
The American Association of University Women incorporated in 1899 "for the purpose of uniting alumnae of different institutions for practical educational work, for the collection and publication of statistical and other information concerning education, and in general for the maintenance of high standards of education." Membership is open to women holding approved degrees from institutions accepted by the association. The Philadelphia Branch, also known as the College Club of Philadelphia, was recognized by the association in 1886. Minutes and correspondence of various committees within the A.A.U.W. including: the executive board, membership, admissions, art, bicentennial, civic house, legislative, reorganization/relocation, fellowship, social and economic issues, status of women, steering and tea committees. Statements, tax related materials, personnel records, time sheets, journals, ledgers, cashbooks, and bank account books give information on the financial aspects of the organization. The remaining part of the archives is devoted to conferences, publicity, and printed materials and include: press releases, publicity calendars, clippings, the Bulletin, and general director's letters.
Covello, Leonard 1887-1982
Leonard Covello papers , 1907-1974, undated (Collection MSS040) 132 boxes (54.5 linear ft.)
Covello was born in Avigliano, Basilicata, Italy, and immigrated to East Harlem, New York City, with his family in 1896. He was a teacher and administrator in the New York City public school system, author of The Social Background of the Italo-American School Child and other studies, and a leader in the intercultural education movement and in the Italian-American community. The papers document Covello's career as a teacher at DeWitt Clinton High School, principal of Benjamin Franklin High School, East Harlem, and educational consultant to the Migration Division of the Puerto Rican Department of Labor, as well as his research on Italian-American immigrants and Puerto Ricans, especially in East Harlem, and his activities in the Italian-American community. The collection includes correspondence, his files as an educator, extensive research and writing files, records from organizations, and printed materials. This collection documents many overlapping topics, such as the history of education and educational theory, immigrant children and youth, assimilation versus retaining immigrant heritage, demographic changes in East Harlem, progressive politics in New York City (especially for 1930s-1960s), Italian-American and Puerto Rican communities in New York City (and their interaction), the history of social science research, and other topics. There is correspondence with prominent figures such as Fiorella La Guardia and Vito Marcantonio, and letters concerning the formation of Columbia University's Casa Italiana. Covello was meticulous in saving materials from his educational work, research, and many organizational affiliations. The collection also includes two 16mm film reels, "A Better Tomorrow" and "Per Un Domani Migliore," as well as 12 open-reel audio tapes regarding Puerto Rico and other matters.
Langman, Ida K. (Ida Kaplan), 1904-1991
Ida K. Langman scrapbook, 1919-1956 (Collection Am .0877) 1 volume (0.3 linear ft.)
Ida Kaplan was a student at the South Philadelphia High School for Girls. Book of mementos, including autographs and photographs of classmates and teachers, invitations, newspaper clippings, etc., as well as photographs and mementos of a trip to Washington.
Lapolla, Garibaldi M. (Garibaldi Marto) 1888-1954
Garibaldi M. Lapolla papers, 1930-1976 (Collection MSS064) 7 boxes (2.6 linear ft.)
Lapolla emigrated from the province of Potenza, Italy in 1890 with his family and settled in East Harlem, New York City. Lapolla was an educator in the New York City public school system and the author of several novels on Italian-American life in East Harlem. He also published two cookbooks. The collection contains correspondence, unpublished literary manuscripts including novels, short stories and poetry, and artwork.
Pennsylvania Home Teaching Society and Free Circulating Library for the Blind
Pennsylvania Home Teaching Society and Free Circulating Library for the Blind lantern slides, 1882-1932 (Collection V10) (1 linear ft.)
The original 61 slides were used in a lecture given at the P.H.T.S. at an annual meeting in January, 1917. A type written copy of the lecture is included in the collection folder. The collection depicts portraits of key members of the Pennsylvania Home Teaching Society for the Blind from 1882 to 1932, particularly Dr. William Moon, Adelaide Moon, John P. Rhoads, Judge William Ashuman, Frank Read, Robert C. Moon, John Thomson, James W. Moore, and James M. Anders. Illustrates teaching methods, organizations, library facilities, and graphics related to the exhibition, particularly the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Depicts the Moon Society in England, and the printing of Moon books. Includes images of Afro-Americans being taught. The P.H.T.S. and the Pennsylvania Bible Society worked to increase literacy among the blind.
White-Williams Scholars records, 1800-2007 (Collection 3025) 199 boxes 85 volumes (98 linear ft.)The White-Williams Scholars served needy and talented students in the Philadelphia schools. It was founded in 1800 as the Magdalen Society of Philadelphia (Magdalen Society of Philadelphia Records are maintained separately as Collection 2016). The organization shifted its focus in 1917 from rehabilitation to prevention of delinquency. It provided counseling in the schools, and training for counselors, as well as financial assistance. Eventually, the school district took over the responsibility for counseling. In 1918, the organization changed its name to the White-Williams Foundation to honor two of the original founders, Bishop William White and George Williams. The name changed again in 1994 to White-Williams Scholars, to recognize the updated mission of supporting high-achieving secondary school students with weekly stipends. In 2011, the organization merged with Philadelphia Futures under the name Philadelphia Futures.
The collection includes board of trustee and annual meeting minutes, financial records, general office files, a card file on former trustees, donor records, annual reports, and other items. About two-thirds of the collection consists of student files that are restricted.
Citizens' Permanent Relief Committee (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Citizens' Permanent Relief Committee papers, 1885-1923 (Collection 1421) 49 boxes (18.5 linear ft.)
The Citizens' Permanent Relief Committee was a local philanthropic group which aided the sufferers in many disasters between 1878 and 1900, notably the Charleston Earthquake, 1885, the Johnstown Flood, 1889, the Russian famine, 1892-1893, and the Armenian massacres in 1896. During the Spanish-American War the Committee under the name National Relief Commission, helped soldiers, sailors, and their families. Correspondence, business papers, magazines, clippings, applications for relief, treasurer's reports, minutes, investigations and field reports related to each disaster for which the committee provided relief. Represented in the collection are: Eleanore Harris Albany, Marie Jeanette Osgood Aydelotte, Sarah Ann Pithouse Becker, Anna F. Davies, Mildred Fairchild, Bertha Sanford Greenberg, Lucy Biddle Lewis, Ellen Moore, May A. Naylor, Mildred Scott Olmsted, Kelly Roes, Edith Wilder Scott, Fay Mary MacCracken Stockwell, Katherine Tucker, and Lucy Langdon Wilson.
Emergency Aid of Pennsylvania Foundation
Emergency Aid of Pennsylvania Foundation records, 1914-1980 (Collection 3263) 62 boxes (70 linear ft.)
Emergency Aid of Pennsylvania was a volunteer organization of women which began in 1914, when World War I made foreign and local relief necessary and at which time there was no Red Cross Chapter in Philadelphia. Its purpose, according to the Charter of Incorporation is "to carry on both at home and abroad, emergency and relief work for the benefit of the military forces and the civilian populations of the United States and of their Allies." In World War I the Emergency was the first organization in Philadelphia to forward relief supplies to the military and civilian forces of the Allies and throughout the War sent millions of dollars in money and supplies for overseas relief, having its own distributing centers in each country. In 1917 branches were organized throughout Pennsylvania.
In World War II the Emergency Aid again forwarded relief supplies to the Allies and rendered services for the military personnel of the United States, such as distributing supplies, operating canteens and recreation rooms, and provided housing and information services for enlisted men and women. The organization assigned volunteers to draft boards, hospitals, and numerous other war relief agencies and sold over $68,060,678 worth of war bonds. Throughout the war years and in peacetime, a concurrent local welfare program was carried on, including follow-up care for infantile paralysis victims, unemployment relief, supplemental meals for school children, emergency help and clothing for individuals and families, and help for the disabled, the sick, and the underprivileged. The collection includes monthly bulletins (1928-1960), newsletters/bulletins (1918-1978), bylaws (1943, 1956), World War I printed reports, membership and dues cards (1969-1970), personnel records, financial information (1970s), fundraising (1970s), special events (1970s), and charitable outreach projects (1970s). Also included are a scrapbook, published books, photographs, certificates, ribbons, phonograph records with radio interviews from World War II.
South Philadelphia Women's Liberty Loan Committee
South Philadelphia Women's Liberty Loan Committee records, 1917-1919 (Collection 0217) 4 boxes (1.4 linear ft.)
Corinne Keen Freeman (b. 1869) was the chairperson of the South Philadelphia Women’s Committee, a local branch of the National Woman’s Liberty Loan Committee that was organized in 1917 under the auspices of the national War Loan Organization. During World War I, the War Loan Organization oversaw the sales and publicity of Liberty Loans, which enabled the United States government to finance various aspects of the war by borrowing money on interest from the American people. The South Philadelphia Women’s Committee was composed of several smaller committees that targeted specific groups within the community for loan subscriptions. The committee’s headquarters was located at 329 South Broad Street. During the period of 1917 to 1919 there were four Liberty Loan drives and a final Victory Loan drive. The materials in this collection consist of Corinne Keen Freeman’s correspondence, the administrative papers of the South Philadelphia Women’s Liberty Loan Committee, printed materials, ephemera, and photographs from the fourth Liberty Loan drive in 1918 and the final Victory Loan drive in 1919. The correspondence in the collection provides a descriptive account of the activities of the Women’s Committee, while ward and committee reports offer a quantitative record of their loan sales within the South Philadelphia community. Ephemera and several photographs of Corinne Keen Freeman and the members of the South Philadelphia Women’s Liberty Loan Committee are also included in the collection.
Aspira, Inc. (Pennsylvania) records, 1969 -1996 (Collection MSS148) 69 boxes (27.6 linear ft.)
Aspira, founded in 1961 in New York City by a group of Latino professionals, is a national organization based in Washington, D.C., where it lobbies for education and youth programs aimed at the Latino population. The Pennsylvania branch of Aspira, located in Philadelphia, was founded in 1969. It primarily serves the Puerto Rican community, but also other Latinos and some non-Latinos, promoting community service, education, and interest in Puerto Rican culture. Activities include sponsorship of cultural events, school programs, and scholarship and student loan programs. The collection contains administrative correspondence and related materials, financial records, and personnel and student files.
Concerned Citizens of North Camden
Concerned Citizens of North Camden records, 1980-1990 (Collection MSS130) 8 boxes (3.2 linear ft.)
Concerned Citizens of North Camden was founded in 1978 as a grassroots organization dedicated to revitalizing the North Camden neighborhood of Camden, New Jersey, and empowering its residents. CCNC's work focused above all on providing better housing through a combination of public advocacy and community initiative to rehabilitate abandoned housing stock. Other areas of concern included cleaner streets, employment and job training, legal aid, neighborhood safety, and overall community development. The collection includes correspondence, administrative records, newsletters, flyers, and other materials. Portions of the collection are restricted. Addition added as part of the Wm Penn Balch Museum repatriation. This addition consists of one poster with the heading: “Together We Can Make a Difference” in English and in Spanish.
Hispanic Federation for Social and Economic Development
Hispanic Federation for Social and Economic Development records, 1973-1985 (Collection MSS116) 21 boxes (9.6 linear ft.)
The Hispanic Federation for Social and Economic Development was a non-profit organization serving Puerto Ricans and Latinos in Philadelphia. Established in 1981, the organization mirrored the goals of its founder, attorney Luis P. Diaz, who perceived the need for an agency to serve as a middleman between the city's predominantly non-Hispanic banks, corporations, public agencies, and planning officials on the one hand and Philadelphia's growing - but socially and economically disadvantaged - population of Spanish-speaking inhabitants on the other. The Federation helped make resources and services available to a network of organizational members and affiliate groups made up of community-based organizations in Latino neighborhoods, until it went bankrupt in 1985. This collection is particularly rich in information that details the evolution of housing and community development programs involving Philadelphia-area Hispanics between 1981 and 1985. Included are correspondence, grant applications, reports, memoranda, financial records, newspaper clippings, project files for the Housing Initiative Program and the Human Services Program, and maps and other data collected by Federation staff during a 1982 Vacant Properties Survey of North Philadelphia. Portions of the collection are restricted.
Latino Project (Philadelphia)
Latino Project records, 1962-1985 (Collection MSS117) 29 boxes (11.2 linear ft.)
The Latino Project, headed by attorney Luis P. Diaz, was a non-profit legal assistance and public advocacy organization that provided representation to Spanish-speaking groups and interests in Greater Philadelphia area. Until its demise in 1984, The Latino Project was particularly concerned with protecting and developing employment opportunities in the public and private sectors under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which forbade job discrimination on the basis of national origin) and providing legal representation under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act (which forbade the exclusion of Latinos from participating in any federally assisted program and required such programs to affirmatively benefit Puerto Ricans and other Spanish-speaking people). This collection consists of the files of the Latino Project from the mid-1970s through 1982. Included are correspondence, memoranda, minutes, grant applications, clippings, newsletters, and other items pertaining to the work of the project and its executive director, advisory board, and staff. Of special interest are legal case files and court proceedings documenting a number of discrimination cases involving the employment of Puerto Ricans and Latinos in Philadelphia. The files also reflect the organization's interest in bilingual education, expanding educational and employment opportunities for Hispanics, and in improving the delivery of general health care and mental health services for Spanish-speaking clients.
Pennsylvania Slovak Catholic Union
Pennsylvania Slovak Catholic Union records, 1890-1986 (Collection 3028) 119 boxes ( 86.3 linear ft.)
This fraternal benefit society was established in Pittston, on June 24, 1893, as the Pennsylvania Slovak Roman and Greek Catholic Union (PSRGCU). In October 1954, the name of the organization was shortened to Pennsylvania Slovak Catholic Union (PSCU). The PSRGCU was born of necessity since injury or death compensation laws in the coal industry were not yet in existence. The Union was formed as a beneficial and insurance society, but also played cultural, and social roles. The Union, as a part of the Slovak-American ethnic community, contributed to the creation and preservation of parishes, religious orders, and newspapers. The PSCU had its home office in the City of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. In October 1990, the PSCU merged with the First Catholic Slovak Union of the United States and Canada (FCSU), which remains in existence in 2003. The FCSU’s corporate headquarters are in Independence, Ohio. The heart of the collection is membership applications, various insurance certificates and claims, and miscellaneous registers. Records of the PSCU also include constitutions and bylaws, convention minutes and reports, correspondence, official publications, administrative financial records, such as annual statements, general account ledgers, and expenses of supreme officers ledgers, and a great deal of membership financial records that include, in particular, income and expenses ledgers of the branches, membership dues books, check and cash registers, and claim ledgers. A few photographs, and one artifact finalize the collection.
Polish Union in the USA
Polish Union in the USA records, 1891-1987 (Collection MSS168) 271 boxes (205.2 linear ft.)
The Polish Union of the United States of North America is a national fraternal benefit society founded in 1890 and headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It provides life insurance and offers scholarship loans to its members. The collection represents the union's national office records and includes death claim records, cash surrender records, juvenile division records, and endowment matured records. Two volumes of minutes and materials originally interleaved with the minutes, including programs and a jubilee book, and some of the death claims, are present in microfilm. The unprocessed additions to the records of the Polish Union of the United States of North America include four boxes dating 1917 to 1986. The record group includes constitutions and by-laws, minutes, correspondence, financial records, reports, programs, and other items.
Swiss Benevolent Society of New York
Swiss Benevolent Society of New York records, 1880-1982, undated (Collection MSS127) 87 boxes (46.8 linear ft.)
The Swiss Benevolent Society of New York is the oldest Swiss Benevolent Society in the United States, founded in 1832. From its inception, the Swiss Benevolent Society of New York has sought to care for the poor among the Swiss population of New York. The earliest records of the Society date from 1880 and include correspondence, board minutes, financial and administrative records, annual reports, newspaper clippings, blueprints and various printed materials. The unprocessed additions to the Swiss Benevolent Society of New York Records consist of one box that contains brochures and invitations.
Swiss Benevolent Society of Philadelphia
Swiss Benevolent Society of Philadelphia records, 1860-1990 (Collection MSS013) 8 boxes (2.8 linear ft.)
The Swiss Benevolent Society was founded in 1860 to aid for needy Swiss immigrants coming into Philadelphia or New York City. In 1940, it affiliated itself with the New Helvetic Society. The collection includes bylaws, constitutions, correspondence, minutes, annual reports, legal documents, membership records, an organizational history, and uncataloged photographs. For related materials, see New Helvetic Society Records. This first part of this collection documents charitable and networking activities within the Swiss American community, as well as disaster and war relief, over a full century. Box 1 Folder 1 includes detailed accounts of the society's history. Annual reports are mostly complete for 1914-1972. Minutes appear to be complete for 1863-1972 and discuss finances, management of the society's real estate, allocation of funds to people in need, planning for the annual meetings, allocation and collection of funds for relief abroad, and incidental notes concerning individual members and the circumstances of individual claimants. Some minute books also contain listings of members and officers, with addresses, as well as dues payments. The correspondence folder contains a detailed account of the 1964 Alaska earthquake. The unprocessed additions to the Swiss Benevolent Society of Philadelphia Records include constitution and bylaws, minutes, annual reports, correspondence, programs, photographs, clippings, financial and membership records, and other items. The collection includes a fairly complete set of annual reports from late 1940s to 1990s, some minutes of annual meetings, income and expenses ledgers for 1915-1974, a small amount of correspondence about relations with the consulate, requests for aid, notices to members, and other topics. There is an alphabetical card file of Swiss men and women who received aid from the Society which includes person's name, age, sometimes occupation, Swiss city of origin, amounts given, sometimes if the aid was refused, and sometimes the purpose of the moneys given. There is also a copy of Sophie G. Bollier's will and a court document regarding her estate.
Southeast Asian Resource Action Center
Southeast Asian Resource Action Center records, 1979-1999, undated (Collection 3021) 33 boxes (13 linear ft.)
The Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC) was established in Washington D.C. in 1979 as the Indochinese Resource Action Center (IRAC). The center serves as a national clearinghouse for information on Indochinese refugees, as well as a technical assistance center for the Southeast Asian American community. A group of concerned Americans founded the organization in the aftermath of the Cambodian Killing Fields and in the midst of the Vietnamese boat people crisis. IRAC has repeatedly redefined its mission, however, as its constituency of Indochinese refugees became United States citizens. In 1992, IRAC changed its name to the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center, because of the colonial overtones implied by the French term Indochina. Although the majority of the collection documents the activities of SEARAC through petitions, office files, and a technical assistance resource bank, there is also material pertaining to various Mutual Assistance Associations throughout the country.