Archival Collections
Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Community Service Society records, 1842-1995 

Community Service Society of New York
Phys. Desc: 
423 linear feet (718 boxes; 123 bound volumes; 9 packages; 1 crate; 4 framed items (shelved at end of original collection and end of series II)
Call Number: 
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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Biographical Note

The Community Service Society, a large, private, New York City social service agency. The society was established in 1939 from a merger of the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor and the Charity Organization Society, whose separate files make up most of the collection.

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, reports, memoranda, case records, photographs and printed material. The archive include central and district administrative records; cammittee correspondence and minutes; and files on the various programs--such as sheltered workshops, tuberculosis sanitariums and health centers, public baths and employment bureaus--run by the two organizations. The archive also contains hundreds of photographs, including works by Lewis Hine and Jessie Tarbox Beals; extensive casework files from the beginning of social work (originally referred to as "friendly visiting among the poor"); and copies of masters and doctoral theses from the New York School of Sociel Work and other schools. Much of the research for these theses was based on the CSS files Among the major correspondence are: Jane Addams; Cornelius N. Bliss; Robert W. DeForest; Edward T. Devine; Irving Fisher; Homer Folks; Harry L. Hopkins; Florence Kelley; Paul U. Kellogg; Fiorello La Guardia; Josephine Shaw Lowell; Frances Perkins; Lawson Purdy; Jacob Riis; Beardsley Ruml; Alfred E. Smith; Lawrence Veiller; Lilliam Wald; and Alfred T. White. Series XIV continues the files from the time of the merger in 1939 until 1960, and contains the same types of materials as the original gift; similarly, Series XV covers primarily the period from 1960-1970. Series XVI contains the additions to the files for the years 1970-1984, but there are also files for the period ca.1935-1969. Series XVII contains additions primarily for the period 1970-1986, but also contains some files for ca.1945-1969. Series XVIII contains legal and financial additions primarily for the period 1970 & following, and the files of H. Dogue.