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Survey Associates records

Identifier: SW0001

Scope and Content

The Survey Associates records document the activities involved in the publication of the Survey magazines and reveal the magazines' central role in twentieth century social work and social reform, containing correspondence with major figures in the Progressive and New Deal eras, reform movements, and social work and related fields. Although the vast majority of the correspondence is related, at least indirectly, to developing articles for publication, it transcends editorial concerns to form a significant resource on early and mid 20th century social issues, social work and reform.

Included in the collection are correspondence, drafts of articles, minutes of meetings, financial records, reports, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and photographs. The inclusive dates of the collection are 1891-1952, but the bulk of the material is concentrated in the period 1917-1952.

The individuals represented most prominently in the collection are editor Paul Kellogg and other members of the editorial staff. They corresponded with an extraordinary number of individuals, including most of the major figures in American welfare work and related fields, on a wide range of topics. Among the individual correspondents are Jane Addams, Louis Brandeis, Richard Cabot, Karl de Schweinitz, Edward Devine, Homer Folks, Felix Franfurter, Helen Hall, John Haynes Holmes, Alexander Johnson, Alain Locke, Frances Perkins, Mary Van Kleeck, Hendrik Van Loon, Lillian Wald, William Allen White, and Rabbi Stephen Wise. Among the topics most frequently discussed are civil liberties, the Great Depression, health, housing, industrial and labor relations, international affairs, pacifism, race relations, recreation, social insurance, social work, unemployment, and the world wars.

The records document all aspects of the operations of Survey Associates, including editorial, production, financial, and corporate policy-making activities. The arrangement of the records into five series -- corporate, financial, membership, editorial, and operational -- follows the scheme established by the Surveystaff, with only minor changes made for purposes of consistency and convenience. The Surveyfiling scheme is based heavily on the names of individuals and organizations. The folder titles generally provide little direct information about topical contents; thus researchers must rely on the content analysis provided in this inventory or on their own knowledge of the likely interests of individual correspondents to locate information about a particular subject.

The editorial files will constitute the richest portion of the collection for most research purposes. Contained there are the written exchanges among all the persons involved in the planning, informing, writing, and editing of what appeared in the Survey magazines. The content of these files is uniquely shaped by several factors: 1) the nature of the magazines, i. e., their mission to educate through social interpretation, which contributed to substantive exchanges in the editorial correspondence as well as in the resulting articles; 2) the reliance on first-hand accounts from leaders and participants in service and reform activities, which resulted in a remarkable network of contributors; 3) the continuity of editorial leadership, which minimized disruptions of the filing system; 4) the personality of the editor, whose wide-ranging, intense interests and ability to engage his correspondents through a sense of shared commitment produced unusually rich exchanges; and 5) a sense on the part of the editorial staff that they were involved in something of historical significance, which resulted in the conscious and careful identification of selected files worthy of retention.

In relatively few cases (most notably in files related to the "Calling America" series of special issues) did the staff routinely retain the typescript copies of articles that were ultimately published. Thus the editorial correspondence files supplement rather than duplicate the contents of the published volumes of the magazines. It should be noted that the magazines themselves, and their annual indexes, provide a useful access tool in identifying individuals whose correspondence might relate to a particular topic or event.

The other portions of the collection -- the corporate, financial, membership, and operational records -- collectively offer a comprehensive picture of conditions that shaped the editorial effort and the activities that supported it. The distinctive conditions that affected publication in wartime, particularly during World War II, are reflected in considerable detail in the corporate, financial, and operational records.

Many items in the collection have their authors, and sometimes their recipients, identified only by initials. To assist with identification, prominent staff members are: Beulah Amidon, Paul L. Benjamin, Ann Reed Brenner, George Britt, Robert W. Bruere, Bradley Buell, Kathryn Close, Mollie Condon, Thomas Devine, Hannah Gallagher, Arthur P. Kellogg, Florence Loeb Kellogg, Paul U. Kellogg, Bruno Lasker, Loula D. Lasker, Mary Ross, Janet Sabloff, Gertrude Seymour, S. Adele Shaw, Geddes Smith, Gertrude Springer, Victor Weybright.


  • 1891-1952
  • (bulk 1920-1952)

Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Open for use in Social Welfare History Archives reading room.


Survey Associates was dissolved as a corporate entity shortly after publication ceased in 1952, without any formal assignment of copyright to another corporate body. In addition, copyright does not appear to have been renewed by Survey Associates, Paul Kellogg, or his heirs. Ownership of copyright to documents in the Survey Associates records, whether created by the editorial staff or persons with whom they corresponded, is presumed to remain with the individual writers, their heirs, or their estates. Contact the Archives for more information.


Survey Associates, Inc., was a cooperative publishing society which sought to "advance the cause of constructive philanthropy by the publication and circulation of books, pamphlets, and periodicals, and by conducting any investigations useful or necessary for the preparation thereof." The certificate of incorporation, signed on October 31, 1912, by Robert W. de Forest, Edward T. Devine, John M. Glenn, Alfred T. White, and Paul U. Kellogg, named twelve original directors: Jane Addams, Robert S. Brewster, Robert W. de Forest, Edward T. Devine, John M. Glenn, V. Everit Macy, Julian W. Mack, Charles D. Norton, Simon N. Patten, Frank Tucker, Paul M. Warburg, and Alfred T. White.

Survey Associates was a non-partisan, non-profit organization whose primary work was the publication of the Surveymagazines. It was incorporated without capital endowment; contributions from members made up deficits which ordinary publishing receipts could not cover. The organization was managed by a board of directors and advised by the National Council of Survey Associates. Officers of the organization were a president, a chairman of the board of directors, vice-presidents, a secretary, a treasurer, and an editor. Presidents of Survey Associates were Robert W. de Forest, 1912-1931; Lucius Eastman, 1931-1938; and Richard B. Scandrett, 1938-1948. Chairmen of the board of directors were Julian W. Mack, 1938-1943; and Joseph P. Chamberlain, 1943-1952. Officers were elected at the annual meetings of Survey Associates, held by constitutional provision on the last Monday of October and open to all members. (One became a member by contributing not less than ten dollars to Survey Associates.)

The Surveyhad roots in several other magazines which were concerned with philanthropy. It developed from the Charities Review, a monthly publication of the New York Charity Organization Society. First issued in 1891 as a monthly journal of sociology, the Charities Reviewwas financed by Robert W. de Forest and edited by Paul Leicester Ford and Frederick Howard Wines. In March, 1897, the Charities Reviewmerged with Lend-A-Hand, founded and edited by Edward Everett Hale. In December, 1897, the Charity Organization Society also began publishing Charities(published with various subtitles), edited by Edward T. Devine. It was intended to be a weekly review of philanthropy that would serve Society members. In 1905, the Charities Publication Committee of the Charity Organization Society assumed responsibility for publishing Charities. At the same time, it was merged with Commons, a magzine edited first by John Palmer Gavit and later by Graham Taylor, founder of the Chicago Commons Settlement. As Charities and the Commons, it absorbed in 1906 Jewish Charity, edited by Lee K. Frankel. In April, 1909, the magazine took the name Survey because, as the editors stated, "letters and messages continually received have strengthened the conviction that not by the name of charity do most men call the movements we have stood for." The source of the name was the Pittsburgh Survey, an investigation of the "life and labor" of the Pittsburgh steel district made under the direction of Paul Kelloggfrom 1907 to 1909. In 1912, for financial reasons and for purposes of editorial independence, the magazine broke its ties with the Charity Organization Society and formed an independent publishing organization, Survey Associates, Inc.

From 1912 the Surveywas published weekly, but because weekly publication was prohibitively expensive and because of a constant clash between readers seeking technical material and readers seeking an overall view of philanthropic fields, the Surveysplit into two publications: the Survey Midmonthlyand the Survey Graphic. The Midmonthlywas formally founded in June, 1922, as a digest of social work. It was directed at social workers and board members, and it dealt with all fields of social work, health, recreation, and human welfare. The Survey Graphic, formally founded in October, 1921, grew out of a series of reconstruction issues published during and after World War I. It was a magazine of "social interpretation" directed at people who were concerned with social and economic problems. It focused on areas of industrial relations, health, education, international relations, housing, race relations, consumer education, and related fields. Financial problems caused the two magazines to merge in 1949. Publication of the Surveywas suspended in 1952, due in part to financial dificulties and the ill health of longtime editor Paul Kellogg. S and Survey Associates was dissolved as a corporate entity.

Paul Underwood Kellogg (1879-1958), editor of the Surveyfrom 1912 to 1952, is the crucial figure in this collection. Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, he served as an editor of the Kalamazoo Daily Telegraphbefore coming to New York to study at Columbia University. He joined the staff of the Charitiesand, after directing the Pittsburgh Survey and editing the six-volume report of that investigation, became editor of the Surveyin 1912. Kellogg was one of the founders of the Foreign Policy Association, a member of the Committee on Research in Medical Economics, and vice-chairman of the Advisory Committee to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Committee on Economic Security. His brother, Arthur P. Kellogg (1878-1934), served as treasurer of SurveyAssociates and managing editor of the Surveyand Survey Graphicuntil his death in 1934.

Paul Kellogg conceived of the Surveyas a broadly educational enterprise operating "along the borders of research, journalism, and the general welfare." It was to be an open forum, limited only by the facts. The emphasis of the Surveywas on first-hand inquiry and investigation, and regular procedure involved submitting controversial articles in draft form to concerned parties, considering suggested revisions, rechecking disputed sections, and offering opportunity for rebuttal. The Surveyfeatured articles by staff members and by paid and volunteer contributors. In the January, 1949, issue Paul Kellogg named the factors that had characterized the Survey's working scheme since 1912: swift research, visualization, human interest, things of the spirit, public concern, and free discussion.

For a full account of the history of the Surveyand the life of Paul Kellogg, see Clarke A. Chambers, Paul U. Kellogg and the Survey: Voices for Social Welfare and Social Justice(University of Minnesota Press, 1971).


89 Linear Feet (214 manuscript boxes)


The Survey Associates records consiste of the editorial, administrative, and financial records of the publishers of the Surveymagazine. The Surveywas published from 1909 through 1952, under the editorship of Paul Kellogg, as a journal of social interpretation that sought to inform social workers and a broader audience of concerned citizens. It developed from the Charities Review, a monthly publication of the New York Charity Organization Society, which was first issued in 1891. In December, 1897, the Society also began publishing Charities. In 1905, Charities, merged with The Commons, which was associated with the Chicago Commons Settlement. Charities and the Commonsbecame Surveyin April, 1909. From 1923 until 1948 it was issued as two separate journals, Survey Graphic and Survey Midmonthly. The Survey Associates records contain correspondence with major figures in the American Progressive and New Deal eras, reform movements, and the social work profession and related fields. In addition to providing information about the editorial operations of the journals, the records contain substantial documentation on such subjects as civil liberties, the Great Depression, health, housing, industrial and labor relations, international affairs, pacifism, race relations, recreation, social insurance, social work, unemployment, and the world wars. Jane Addams, Richard Cabot, Edward Devine, Homer Folks, Felix Frankfurter, John Haynes Holmes, Alain Locke, Frances Perkins, Mary Van Kleeck, Lillian Wald, and Stephen Wise are among the correspondents.


The collection is arranged in five series and one group of separated materials:

  1. Series 1. Corporate Records
  2. Series 2. Financial Records
  3. Series 3. Membership Records
  4. Series 4. Editorial Files
  5. Series 5. Operational Records
  6. Legal-length folders

Other Finding Aid

Unpublished inventory available. Please contact Archives for more information.


The Social Welfare History Archives received the Survey Associates records as a gift from Helen Hall. The records arrived in 27 four-drawer file cabinets in August 1964.

Surveymagazine ceased publication and Survey Associates was dissolved as a corporate entity in 1952, in the midst of a financial crisis compounded by the failure of health of its editor, Paul Kellogg. Helen Hall, Kellogg's wife, arranged to store the Surveyfiles, first at Henry Street Settlement and later at the New York School of Social Work. Kellogg died in 1958.

Microfilm Edition

University Publications of America released a commercial microfilm edition of the Survey Associates records in 1985. Sets of the microfilm edition are available in a number of research libraries. Individual reels may be requested from the Social Welfare History Archives through Interlibrary Loan.

Included in the microfilm edition are:

  1. Series 1. Corporate Records
  2. Series 2. Financial Records
  3. Series 4.1. "Forget-Me-Not" Files
  4. Series 4.4. "Calling America" Series
  5. Series 4.5. Special Issues
  6. Series 4.6. Miscellaneous Editorial Files

Related Material

The Social Welfare History Archives also holds the personal papers of Paul Kellogg. The bulk of those papers are related to his work as editor of the Surveyand are highly interrelated with the contents of the Survey Associates records. They contain perhaps more information about the early (pre-1917) years than does this collection. The distinction between the two collections reflects their separate acquisition by the Archives. The Kellogg papers include, in effect, files that he took home from the editorial offices and never returned. Those files remain a separate collection from the the Survey Associates records.


The records came to Minnesota in 1964 with the filing system employed by the Surveyeditorial staff substantially intact. They were arranged and described by Andrea Hinding, with supervisory assistance from Maxine Clapp and Clodaugh Neiderheiser of the University of Minnesota Archives. The resulting inventory, prepared by Hinding, was published in Descriptive Inventories of Collections in the Social Welfare History Archives Center(Greenwood Publishing, 1970) and provided researchers with effective access to the collection for two decades.

Heavy use of the collection and the fragility of many of the documents necessitated arrangements to microfilm major portions of the collection. This revision of the original inventory was undertaken by David Klaassen in 1985 in connection with preparations for University Publications of America to publish a microfilm edition. The arrangement of the collection remains unchanged; thus citations to the location of specific folders or items are not affected. The description has been revised in an effort to take advantage of additional insights gained through twenty years of experience with researchers using the collection.

Survey Associates records
Andrea Hinding; revised by David Klaassen; revised by Linnea Anderson
1966; revised in 1985; revised 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 8/30/2016: minor edits and edits to notes fields
  • 11/2019: added box to aspace
  • 4/22/2020: minor edits

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Social Welfare History Archives Collecting Area