Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.
2.5 linear feet (3 boxes)
The records primarily document activities of the House and Association but also include records of the South Bay Sorosis and incidental records for related Boston organizations. There is little personal material for Robert Archey Woods, but many of his writings on the settlement movement and broader social conditions are present in draft and final form. Most unsigned material is presumed to be have been written by him.
Biographical / Historical
Tucker described the settlement house movement as "...religious, but the method...educational rather than evangelistic," focusing on the neighborhood as the cornerstone of social well-being and promoting "prevention, not cure." The South End House Association undertook reform of health, sanitation, education, and working conditions through investigations, published reports, legislative reform, and direct involvement of staff in the lives of residents.
In the winter of 1892, Woods and others opened Andover House (renamed South End House in 1895) at 6 Rollins Street in the South End (Boston, Mass.),in Eleanor Woods's words "...the most considerable working-class district of Boston, within easy reach of the poorest locality in the heart of the city...". Multiple men's and women's residences were established over time.
Woods served as president of the South End Social Union and its successor, the Boston Social Union, an alliance of settlement houses offering a multitude of neighborhood activities, including gardening, entertainments, sports, festivals, and exhibits. Among these projects were: the South End House Industry,begun in 1923 to provide employment for women of the "lodging-house district" making and selling rugs; the South End Music School, established in 1910; "caddy camps", notably atBretton Woods (N.H.), allowing boys to earn money caddying at golf clubs; and summer country convalescence programs for city children, notably at Winning Farm in Lexington (Mass.). It also maintained a legislation committee.
Woods was instrumental in the development of professional social work and its employment of the social survey to document urban conditions. He lectured and published widely, serving in leadership positions nationally. In Boston he served on the Excise Board and Licensing Board.
Woods married Eleanor Howard Bush in Cambridge in 1902; he died in February 1925.
- I. Correspondence
- II. Compositions by Robert Archey Woods and others
- III. South End House and South End House Association records
- ___A. Financial
- ___B. Activities
- ___C. Scrapbooks
- IV. South Bay Sorosis records
- V. Robert Archey Woods obituaries and memorials
- VI. Printed material
Immediate Source of Acquisition
66M-194. United South End Settlements, 20 Union Park, Boston, Massachusetts 02118; received: 1966 March 31.
2010M-78 (80a). Gift of the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute; received: 2011 March 3.
- South End House (Boston, Mass.). South End House (Boston, Mass.) records, 1890-1950: Guide.
- Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
- EAD ID
Part of the Houghton Library Repository
Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA