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International Institute of Boston records

Identifier: IHRC1031


Records (1924-1955) of the International Institute of Boston consist of six series: Administrative Records, Activities, Resources, Related Organizations, and Memorabilia. The rest of the collection includes individual case records that are closed to research. In addition, the Institute's monthly newsletter, The Beacon, is cataloged as a serial and available on microfilm from 1933-1973.


  • 1924-1955


Language of Materials



The International Institute of Boston records are available for public research, with the exception of Series 6.

Series 6 contains the Institute's case work from 1924-1954. The briefs within the case records includes demographic materials on clients, the case worker's narrative of contacts, correspondence, and other information, but is currently closed to researchers. Contact staff for more information.


The International Institute of Boston records are the physical property of the Immigration History Research Center Archives, University of Minnesota.

For further information regarding the copyright, please contact the IHRCA.


One of fifty such organizations throughout the United States, the International Institute of Boston was part of a national movement within the YWCA to serve the urban immigrant community. The Boston International Institute had its inception in 1923, and opened on the 1st of February in 1924. It was described as a "Service Bureau for Foreign-Speaking People". Through case, group, and community work the staff sought to provide information, education, personal service, and assembly to its clients. The Beacon, the monthly newsletter, was begun in 1933, along with several annual social events established in the 1930s. In addition, separation, community, and nationalities studies were done. Also during this time, the Institute severed its ties with the YWCA in 1935, and became autonomous. It subsequently became a member of the Boston Council of Social Agencies, the Greater Boston Community Fund, and the National Institute for Immigrant Welfare (the umbrella organization for independent International Institutes -- later the American Federation of International Institutes). In 1959 it merged with the American Council for Nationalities Service. During the late 1940s, the Institute struggled to maintain its services, but found help from the academic and social welfare communities and the Department of Justice. Throughout the 1940s, the Institute provided aid to war victims and recreational facilities to enlisted men. In the 1950s, a new executive secretary, Pauline Gardescu, assumed responsibility for the Institute. The Institute continued its work with both immigrant and international communities in Boston.


25 Linear Feet


Related collections at the IHRC Archives are records of the American Council for Nationalities Services, as well as records of individual International Institutes in New Bedford (Mass.); Biddleford-Saco (Maine); Boston (Mass.); Buffalo (N.Y.); Lewiston (Maine); McKeesport (Pa.); Minnesota; New Castle (Pa.); New Haven (Conn.); Niagara Falls (N.Y.); St. Louis (Missouri); Baltimore (Md.); Jersey City (N.J.).
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