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Travelers Aid Society of Minneapolis Records

Identifier: sw0028

Scope and Content

The Travelers Aid Society of Minneapolis records consist of minutes of meetings, monthly reports concerning the activities of Travelers Aid matrons, financial records, correspondence, and clippings which document the organization's activities from 1906 until its demise in 1975.

Records of the early years of Travelers Aid work in Minneapolis, particularly for the period when it was the responsibility of the WCA and the YWCA, are limited and sporadic. Records for the period 1906 to 1930 include statistical reports by Travelers Aid workers that enumerate the nationalities of persons helped; the kinds of problems encountered (e.g., loss of ticket, language difficulty, runaway); type of service rendered (e.g., lodgings or employment secured); and religious or other types of organizations to which individuals were referred for assistance. These statistical reports, along with narrative accounts of "special cases" for each month, illustrate both the routine aspects of the work, such as providing travel information and assistance, as well as the important link provided by Travelers Aid between individuals and social service agencies in the city. They also help to document a portion of the transient population moving in and out of the Minneapolis area. The "special cases" reports also reflect the view that female "matrons" had of their responsibility to help others, especially young women in need of moral guidance. A final report of the Travelers Aid Committee written at the time of the reorganization in June, 1930, by Jessie B. Carey, chairman of the Committee, is filed with the board of directors minutes, June 1930.

Records of the Travelers Aid Society after its reorganization in 1930 illustrate the changing nature of the work of both paid staff and volunteers to meet changing conditions in society. During World War II, Travelers Aid provided USO services in train depots by maintaining "Troops in Transit" lounges. As the automobile became the dominant mode of transportation and travel by train and bus decreased, there was less demand for the work of TAS in bus and train stations, as indicated in 1967 by the construction of a new Greyhound Bus Company terminal in Minneapolis that did not allocate space for TAS. Minutes and correspondence of the 1960s and 1970s relate to efforts to maintain the Society as its functions were increasingly being provided by other social agencies.


  • Creation: 1906-1975

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Use of Materials

Open for use in Social Welfare History Archives reading room.


Please contact the Archivist for copyright information.

Historical Note

The Travelers Aid department of Minneapolis was established in 1895 by the Woman's Christian Association of Minneapolis (WCA) in close cooperation with the Young Women's Christian Association of Minneapolis (YWCA). In 1909, the YWCA assumed full administrative and financial responsibility for the agency and established a Travelers Aid Committee.

The original function of Travelers Aid was providing protective services for young women and immigrant groups moving into the metropolitan area. Travelers Aid volunteers and staff met young women at the train station (and later bus depot); provided lodging at the WCA home and other social agency residences; offered information and referral services; assisted with travel arrangements; and, by 1910, conducted an employment service for migrating women.

In 1930, the YWCA, with the encouragement of the Council of Social Agencies, reorganized Travelers Aid as an independent agency affiliated with the National Association of Travelers Aid Societies. An independent board assumed executive control. The purpose of Travelers Aid Society of Minneapolis (TAS) is stated in the 1930 Articles of Incorporation: "To provide information, advice, guidance and protection to all travelers who by reason of unfamiliarity with the city, inexperience, illness, infirmity or other disability, or otherwise, are in need of assistance or adjustment to the community."

During the Great Depression, the work of TAS expanded to meet the needs of increasing numbers of migrating men, women, and families. Case work services and cooperation with the entire social service community increased. World War II brought new demands in caring for military personnel and their families. In the following decades, TAS gained funding from the United Fund and expanded its operations, including services the addition of services at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in 1961.

By 1971, however, the United Way had suspended its support of TAS, in accordance with a 1968 study by the Council of Social Agencies and the Community Health and Welfare Council recommending the termination of TAS and the assumption of its services by other existing social agencies. TAS survived another four years through contributions by individuals and organizations, including an agreement with the Metropolitan Airport Commission to support the airport facility in 1974. Lack of permanent funding remained a continuing problem. On June 1, 1975, TAS agreed to transfer its operations to Community Information and Referral Services, a division of the United Way.


1.5 Linear Feet


The Travelers Aid Society of Minneapolis began as a protective service for young women and immigrant groups moving into the city. After years as a department of the Minneapolis YWCA, it became an independent agency in 1930. It served migrating men, women, and families until its operations were transferred to the Community Information and Referral Services, a division of the Minneapolis United Way, in 1975. The records contain board and committee minutes, annual and monthly reports, financial records, and correspondence.


The collection is organized into seven series:

  1. Series 1. Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws
  2. Series 2. Board of Directors and Annual Meetings
  3. Series 3. Committees
  4. Series 4. Correspondence
  5. Series 5. Financial records
  6. Series 6. Study on Services to Travelers
  7. Series 7. Print Material

Other Finding Aid

Unpublished inventory available. Please contact Archives for more information.

Acquisition Information

The records of the Travelers Aid Society of Minneapolis were given to the Social Welfare History Archives on May 26, 1977, by Marjorie J. Carpenter, director of Community Information and Referral Service, a division of the United Way of Minneapolis.

Related Materials

Researchers studying the Travelers Aid Society of Minneapolis should also review the records of the Minneapolis YWCAand the Travelers Aid Association of Americain the Social Welfare History Archives

Processing Information

Arrangement and description of the records was done by Karen Mason in 1980.

Travelers Aid Society of Minneapolis Records
Karen Mason
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Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Social Welfare History Archives Collecting Area