Skip to main content

Baden Street Settlement records

Identifier: SW0003

Scope and Content

The Baden Street Settlement records include minutes from Board of Directors' meetings and Executive Committee meeting minutes concerning day-to-day operations. They also include program reports from other committees, annual reports, case reports, and commentary on the impact of the Great Depression, World War I and World War II, race riots, and other events. Nearly half of the collection consists of statistical reports on programs and activities that were submitted to the Rochester Community Chest and Council and to the National Federation of Settlements. The Settlement's Board of Directors and Executive Committee minutes, 1901-1964, are also available on microfilm (SWF5).


  • 1901-1966

Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Open for use in Social Welfare History Archives reading room.


Please contact the Archives for copyright information.

Historical Note

Organized in 1901 as a non-sectarian, neighborhood center, the Baden Street Settlement traces its origins to the work of the women of the B'rith Kodesh Temple on Gibbs Street in Rochester, New York. The group felt a social responsibility to teach immigrant women the basic tasks and responsibilities of life in the United States. Their emphasis was on the practical, necessities of homemaking -- gardening, sewing, elementary education and child-rearing -- and this practical remained central to the work of the settlement throughout the early decades of the 20th Century. In 1901, the women of B'rith Kodesh Temple, led by Therese R. Katz and Fannie A. Carson, decided to expand their work into the wider community. They formed "The Social Settlement of Rochester," which became Baden Street Settlement in 1922.

From its beginnings, the guiding philosophy of the settlement was "beneficent pragmatism," the adaptation of its scope of service to fit the changing needs of the community. Its program grew from homemaking classes, Sunshine Clubs (to encourage social life), and intellectual stimulation (Shakespeare clubs, current topics courses, and German clubs) to include social and athletic clubs for boys and girls, an informal kindergarten, public bath facilities, and operation of a "milk station" to supply clean milk to neighborhood infants and children, and a Day Care Center. By the early 1950s, the settlement had a Health Center, and programs in casework and group work. Along the way, the settlement sponsored and/or participated in unemployment relief, community social action and reform through such agencies as the Community Chest and urban renewal associations, and the promotion of literacy through adult education.

Throughout its existence, the Baden Street Settlement responded to the changing character of its neighborhood and the larger aspects of social welfare in America. Thus, the Settlement studied the effect of the gradual influx of African Americans into the area and adjusted its program accordingly. Correspondingly, with the growth of public welfare programs, Baden Street recognized the necessity of cooperating with the public agencies and shifting certain practice areas to the public sector. In the gradual evolution of programs and policies, the settlement workers and their supporters emphasized the importance of the family unit in healthful living and followed the classic goals of settlement houses in America: (l) the enrichment of neighborhoods, (2) the strengthening of entire family units, (3) the promotion of legislative and social action to solve social problems, (4) the development of neighborhood leadership and the strengthening of neighborhood ties with the wider community, (5) overcoming prejudice, and (6) the promotion of democratic attitudes.

In the post-World War II era, the settlement attacked the problems of bad housing, inadequate education, unemployment, discrimination, cultural deprivation, and hopelessness, with a program of social action including such enterprises as a speech clinic, school readiness program, music instruction, tutoring service, careers club, employment service, instruction and aid for single mothers, and a volunteer case-aide program in casework.

The Presidents of the Board of Directors and the Executive Directors listed below were the key figures in the leadership of the settlement:

  1. Presidents:
  2. Fannie Adler (Mrs. J.L.) Carson , 1901-1939
  3. Ruth M. (Mrs. Charles R.) Witherspoon, 1939-1942
  4. Wilma L. (Mrs. Dexter) Perkins, 1942-1951
  5. Margaret C. (Mrs. Henry W.) Hays, 1951-1954
  6. Harry H. Suskind, 1954-1956
  7. Doris U. (Mrs. Libby) Pulsifier, 1956-1958
  8. Nancy B. (Mrs. Joseph) Harris, 1958-1961
  9. Jane A. (Mrs. Manuel D.) Goldman, 1961-1964
  10. Loma M. (Mrs. De Leslie L.) Allen, 1964-1966
  11. Dr. William J. Knox, Jr., 1966-
  12. Directors:
  13. Mrs. Sara Vance Stewart , 1901-1914
  14. Mrs. Gertrude Montfort, 1914
  15. Gertrude M. (Mrs. Francis, Jr.) Jerdone, 1915-1948
  16. Irving M. Kriegsfeld , 1948-1958
  17. Howard C. McClary Sidney, 1958-1962
  18. J. Lindenberg, 1962-

For information on these and other members of the Board of Directors, the researcher should consult the minutes of the Board, the Executive Committee, and other committees of the settlement.


4 Linear Feet (95 folders, 3 legal folders)


This Rochester, New York settlement house, which is still in operation, traces its origins to the work of the B'rith Kodesh Temple. The Baden Street Settlement records document child care, health care, casework, and group work at the settlement. The records include minutes from Board of Directors' meetings, annual reports, case reports, and commentary on the impact of the Great Depression and other events.


The Baden Street Settlement records are arranged into four series:

  1. Series 1. Administrative
  2. Series 2. Committees
  3. Series 3. Reports
  4. Series 4. Publications

Other Finding Aid

Unpublished inventory available. Please contact the Archives for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Baden Street Settlement records were received as a gift from the Baden Street Settlement in August, 1966.

Acquisition Information

In August, 1966, the records of Baden Street Settlement were deposited in the Social Welfare History Archives of the University of Minnesota Libraries. The records, which comprise 5 linear feet, were processed in the spring of 1967 in the Archives.

Related Materials

The Settlement's Board of Directors and Executive Committee minutes, 1901-1964, are also available on microfilm (SWFilm 5).

The National Federation of Settlements (sw0056) records in the Social Welfare History Archives contain about six files on Baden Street dating from 1935 to 1956 and 1955 to 1969.

Processing Information

Arrangement and description of the records was completed by Loren Crabtree in 1967. Conversion of the original finding aid for online display was completed in 2007.

Baden Street Settlement Records
Loren W. Crabtree
July, 1967
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Social Welfare History Archives Collecting Area