The National Florence Crittenton Mission Records consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports, minutes, financial records, and publications from the offices of the national mission and its staff. They also include similar materials from local Florence Crittenton homes and Florence Crittenton "circles" or boards. Local materials also include photographs, grant proposals, brochures, and legal documents.
The National Florence Crittenton Mission Records document the founding and administration of the Mission and certain of its member homes. The records trace changes within the organization regarding services for and attitudes towards unwed mothers as its focus shifted from evangelical rescue and redemption to maternity and counseling service with an emphasis on education, individual "adjustment," and adoption. In addition, the records are a valuable resource for understanding societal attitudes towards unwed mothers, sexuality, illegitimacy, and adoption. They also provide an opportunity to study these issues in different localities and over time. The role and influence of local Community Chest funding is also evident in some files.
NFCM's shift from a voluntary, evangelical service organization to a professional social service agency mirrors the transformation of social welfare services in the U.S. and the rise of professional social work. Scholars of social work history will find documentation on how the emerging and changing profession viewed maternity services, casework counseling, adoption policy, sexuality, illegitimacy, and the issue of professional standards. Those interested in women and social welfare, either as providers or receivers of services, will also find relevant material in the records. Many of the correspondents in the files are women, either national staff and officers or local board presidents and "matrons." Although no data is available on individual cases, clients in general are documented in correspondence, studies, reports, and publications that describe them from the perspective of Crittenton workers.
The NFCM records are arranged in eight series, consisting of: general historical material, publications, administrative records, general program records, records on other organizations involved with NFCM, member homes, reference materials, and financial records. The bulk of the records date from the late 1920s through the early 1950s. After that date, the administrative materials are mostly financial in nature. Very few topics can be adequately researched by examining just one series. Various pieces of information may be scattered throughout the collection. For example, a researcher might find information on a member home not only in the alphabetical member home files, but also in the annual reports and the correspondence of the national extension director.workers. The