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Scope and Contents

From the Series:

Series 8, Member Settlement Houses, primarily reflects settlement activities during the 1950s and 1960s. The bulk of the series consists of correspondence between the executives of individual houses and the officers of the Federation, including Margaret Berry, Fern Colborn, Elizabeth Day, Gladys Duppstadt, and John McDowell. Correspondence falls into two general categories: interpretation of NFSNC programs and advice to member-house executives on administrative and theoretical problems. The geographic distribution of settlement houses represented in the series is somewhat uneven. Northeastern states predominate, followed by Midwestern cities such as Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul, and scattered Southern settlements, particularly in Atlanta. Reflecting the general distribution of NFSNC membership, there is little documentation of Appalachian and Western states, with the notable exceptions of settlements in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.

This series reflects the contacts between local settlement houses and the national office. It is not a comprehensive record of activities in each settlement. The subject matter varies from the more mundane aspects of record keeping and dues collection to materials relating to specific projects with which the particular settlement was involved. A portion of the series consists of directories of local settlements listing addresses and names of directors. There is also a rather detailed index of service records to non-member agencies.

Much of the correspondence deals with NFS services to the settlement movement. Advice on particular administrative and planning problems reflects the changes in the settlement movement during the 1950s and 1960s. A number of broader policy concerns are evident as well. Settlements sought to adapt their programs to meet changing community needs in the wake of urban renewal. They also needed to demonstrate the importance of settlements to Community Chests and United Funds, upon which the houses were increasingly reliant for operating funds. The correspondence also documents citywide mergers enacted to cope with funding problems through the sharing of staff and other resources. Finally, executives were concerned that the design of new facilities needed to accommodate projected program changes. Annual reports, brochures, and plans from individual settlements are also included with this correspondence.

The Settlement Houses series also includes reports of field visits to individual houses by NFS field workers. These reports emphasize personal dynamics within settlements and their effects on the long-range vision of the staff and the house's efficacy in the community. The reports reflect the importance placed by NFS staff on professional training for settlement personnel. Related items include the self-studies undertaken by several individual houses, planning the future direction of the settlement's program and philosophy.


  • From the Series: 1899-1980

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