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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 287

Records of the New York House and School of Industry Vocational Training Project, 1950-1961


Administration and research records, survey questionnaires, student data, etc., of the Vocational Training Project of the New York House and School of Industry, a refresher program for older women with previous secretarial training and experience.


  • Creation: 1950-1961

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research, but folders 9-12, 20-38, 41f+, and 42o may not be copied. Names and other identifying information in these folders may not be copied or published.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the New York House and School of Industry Vocational Training Project is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1.46 linear feet ((3+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 oversize folder, 2 folio+ folders, 2 photograph folders)

The records (1950-1961) of the Vocational Training Project of the New York House and School of Industry are divided into two series.

Series I, Administration and Research, outlines the development and direction of the Vocational Training Project by Dorothy Warren from 1950 to 1954, as well as follow-up research based on survey questionnaires and student data. Publicity files and research data are fairly complete, but correspondence, financial records, personnel files, and reports are almost entirely lacking. These files were probably kept with the general records of Greenwich House. Also included are correspondence and reports (1955-1961,undated) concerning Dorothy Warren's attempts to establish a similar project, separate from Greenwich House, most frequently called the Senior Vocational Clinic.

Folders 43-50 were added to this series in July 2021. They contain correspondence, mailing lists, reports, minutes, photographs, and other materials.

Series II, Student Records, consists of correspondence, applications, record cards and tests of students applying to and enrolled in the Vocational Training Project, 1952-1954. When read with the questionnaires in Series I, these provide a fairly complete record of the composition of the Vocational Training Project student body during this period.


The Vocational Training Project (1952-1954) of the New York House and School of Industry was a refresher program designed for older women with previous secretarial training and experience. The Vocational Training Project was proposed and administered by Dorothy Warren, director of the New York House and School of Industry, an agency begun in 1851 to provide needlework skills and employment for immigrant women.

In 1951 the New York House and School of Industry merged with Greenwich House, a settlement house in Greenwich Village begun in 1902. With the approval of the director of Greenwich House, Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch, the Vocational Training Project became the primary function of the New York House and School of Industry. Trainees were referred to the Vocational Training Project from three New York City agencies: the New York State Employment Service, the Federation Employment Service (of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies) and the Archdiocesan Vocational Service. An average of 53 years old, the 225 women trained by the Vocational Training Project enrolled in typing and shorthand classes taught by instructor Esther Berrue. The project emphasized the building of trainees' confidence in their abilities and maturity in order to counter employers' age discrimination. After a maximum of eight weeks of instruction, each trainee was referred back to the employment agency, which, according to the trainees' reports, found employment for over 80%. Those who found jobs left before the end of the eight weeks. In 1953, the Women's Bureau of the United States Department of Labor included the Vocational Training Project in its survey report, Older Women as Office Workers.

Though Dorothy Warren resigned in 1954, Greenwich House continued the training program until 1957, at which time it was discontinued due to a decrease in registration. Through student records and questionnaires, Warren compiled statistical and personal data about Vocational Training Project trainees. For several years she tried unsuccessfully to find sponsorship for research on these data. She also tried to secure sponsorship for programs similar in purpose to the Vocational Training Project, again without success.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 74-325, 75-68, 92-M164

The records of the New York House and School of Industry: Vocational Training Project were donated to the Schlesinger Library in 1974 and 1975 by Dorothy Warren. Additional material was given by Warren in September 1992.


  1. Box 1: 1-17
  2. Box 2: 18-30
  3. Box 3: 31-38, 43-47
  4. Box 4: 48-49

Processing Information

Processed: August 1979

By: Kathleen Marquis

Additional material added: July 2021

By: Johanna Carll

New York House and School of Industry. Vocational Training Project. Records of the New York House and School of Industry Vocational Training Project, 1950-1961: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
These papers were processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, #RC 24669-76-987.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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