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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 591; Vt-158

Records of the South Boston Neighborhood House, 1861-1996 (inclusive), 1940-1980 (bulk).

Correspondence, speeches, minutes, annual reports, deeds, programs, financial records, newsletters and other publications, press releases, photographs, a videotape, and clippings, etc., of the South Boston Neighborhood House.

Dates

  • 1861-1996
  • Majority of material found within 1940-1980

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Researchers must sign a special permission form to use the collection. Folders #9.3-#9.7 are closed until January 1, 2034; folder #12.3 is closed until January 1, 2080; and folder #13.1 is closed until January 1, 2077. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the South Boston Neighborhood House 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.

Extent

7.51 linear feet ((18 file boxes) plus 2 folio + folders, 1 supersize folder, 1 folio + volume, 22 photograph folders, 2 folio photograph folders, 1 oversize photograph folder, 142 slides, 1 glass photograph, 1 videotape, and electronic records)

The records of the South Boston Neighborhood House (South Boston Neighborhood House) span 135 years, from 1861 to 1996. The records provide a strong history of leadership, highlighting the contributions made by women in the settlement movement as founders, benefactors, and property owners. The organizational structure of South Boston Neighborhood House, and its impact on the South Boston community are also documented in the records. The archivist created the arrangement and folder headings for this collection.

Series I, HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION, 1861-1993, n.d. (#1.1-1.19), documents South Boston Neighborhood House history, the development and expansion of its organizational structure, and its property holdings as a result of Olivia Buckminster James's bequest.

Subseries A, History, ca.1912-1993, n.d. (#1.1-1.11), includes correspondence, speeches, obituaries, biographical essays, and notes documenting the history of South Boston Neighborhood House. The folders are arranged chronologically. See also Series VIII (Photographs and oversized materials).

Subseries B, Organization, 1907-1983, n.d. (#1.12-1.16), contains articles of incorporation, correspondence, certificates for organizational name change, and restated articles of organization. These documents highlight South Boston Neighborhood House's internal structure and the critical role it played in program development and expansion. The folders are arranged chronologically.

Subseries C, Legal papers, 1861-1982 (#1.17-1.19), includes correspondence, mortgages, warranty deeds, and schematic drawings related to property expansion and renovations. Items of interest include deeds dating from the pre-Civil War era. The folders are arranged chronologically.

Series II, ADMINISTRATION, 1931-1996, n.d. (#2.1-7.6, Vt-158.1), includes correspondence, by-laws, annual reports, and minutes documenting meetings held by the board of directors, annual meetings of the corporation, and the South Boston Neighborhood House house council. Although there is overlapping information in the records, they trace the development and growth of South Boston Neighborhood House from a local nursery to a private, non-profit organization, highlight the formation of partnerships within the South Boston community, and document the expansion of the board of directors to include residents from the South Boston area. Photographs of board members, annual meetings, and other events are contained in Series VIII ( Photographs and oversized materials).

Subseries A, Board of directors, 1931-1996, n.d. (#2.1-4.9), contains bound volumes and folders that include minutes and reports from the president, treasurer, and various committees. Also included are lists of officers and members of the corporation, a relatively small amount of correspondence, and minutes from annual meetings. With the exception of the two earliest volumes containing minutes from 1931 to 1937 and 1937 to 1957, all other volumes have been dismantled and are organized chronologically.

Subseries B, Executive committee, 1970-1996 (#7.1-7.6), contains minutes and quarterly reports from all South Boston Neighborhood House committees. The executive committee, which included officers of the board, was responsible for carrying out board functions between meetings. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Subseries C, Annual reports, 1940-1991 (#5.1-5.5), contains a relatively small number of published annual reports, which include statements of cash receipts and disbursements from the operating fund, statistical data related to South Boston Neighborhood House members, and details concerning programs, special events, accomplishments, and goals. The folders are arranged chronologically.

Subseries D, Annual meetings of the corporation, 1932-1995 (#5.6-6.7, Vt-158.1), includes minutes; announcements; memoranda; voting proxies and correspondence relating to decisions made by members of the corporation, including the election of new board members and voting on revisions and amendments to the by-laws at special meetings. Annual meetings often included social dinners, lectures, and holiday programs and award ceremonies. The folders are arranged chronologically.

SERIES III, COMMITTEE FILES, 1947-1995 (#7.7-8.8), contains minutes, correspondence, budget material, quarterly reports, proposals, and memoranda. Appointed by the board of directors, South Boston Neighborhood House committees were responsible for a broad range of administrative and programming functions. Because of their relationship to the board some committee files include minutes from board and annual meetings. Committees with comparable functions have been grouped together by the archivist.

Subseries A, Program committee, 1977-1985 (#7.7-7.10), contains minutes, correspondence, and proposals used for evaluating, developing and implementing South Boston Neighborhood House programs. The folders are arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, Fundraising, budget, and finance committees, 1980-1989 (#7.11-7.12), includes minutes, financial analysis of proposals, details for capital campaigns and long-range plans for obtaining federal, state, local, and private grants. Responsibilities of the budget and finance committees included preparation of yearly budgets, and advising the fundraising committee about yearly financial needs. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Subseries C, Board membership, organization, and nominating committees, 1970-1982 (#8.1-8.2), contains memoranda, by-laws, and reports concerning members of the board and corporation. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Subseries D, Personnel committee, 1960-1995 (#8.3-8.5), contains memoranda, job descriptions, lists of South Boston Neighborhood House personnel, resumes, minutes, correspondence, policies and procedures. Responsibilities of the committee included the hiring of new employees, evaluation of staff performance, and conducting hearings for staff grievances. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Subseries E, House council and miscellaneous committees, 1947-1961 (#8.6-8.8), contains planning records for the South Boston Neighborhood House golden anniversary and reports generated by the committee on expansion of the Olivia James House. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Series IV, GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE, 1952-1994 (#8.9-8.12), includes multi-lingual letters welcoming new members to the South Boston community, fundraising solicitations, and memoranda pertaining to South Boston Neighborhood House programs. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Series V, FINANCIAL RECORDS, 1958-1993, n.d. (#9.1-11.5), contains some records that overlap with the fundraising, budget and finance committees described in Series III, Subseries B. However, this series also provides a more detailed look at the cost of daily operations, the funding needs of existing programs, and the cost of implementing new programs and collaborative projects.

Subseries A, Operating expenses, 1961-1982 (#9.1-9.6), contains treasurers' reports, summaries of expenses, program audits, and projected expenses for new programs. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, Fundraising activities, 1963-1992 (#9.7-9.13), contains records relating to fundraising events and programs, and the efforts of the Friends of the South Boston Neighborhood House, a local group providing financial support. Photographs of some fundraising events can be found in Series VIII (Photographs and oversized material). Folders are arranged chronologically.

Subseries C, Proposals and grants, 1958-1993, n.d. (#10.1-11.5), includes reports and proposals that highlight the collaborative projects which South Boston Neighborhood House formed with the West Broadway Task Force, the students of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other organizations. Also included is correspondence and memoranda involving major foundations that include the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, and proposals for new programs in South Boston. Of special interest is a proposal related to the reorganization of the South Boston Neighborhood House board of directors. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Series VI, PROGRAMS, 1940-1995, n.d. (#11.6-13.5), documents a broad range of activities, programs, and annual events which South Boston Neighborhood House has maintained and adapted over the years in response to changing trends. Long-range planning needs for various services are also documented in reports and regional studies of local residents, including facility expansion, program development, and outreach efforts. Photographs of the various activities, programs and events can be found in Series VIII (Photographs and oversized materials).

Subseries A, Activities and annual events, 1940-1995, n.d. (#11.6-12.6), includes early yearbooks, program announcements, event flyers, tickets, invitations, children's crafts, signage, and a bumper sticker. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, Reports, regional studies, and collaborative programs, 1959-1992, n.d. (#12.7-13.5), includes social service reports, maps, planning guides, demographic studies, a needs assessment survey, and various proposals for grant-funded programs. Highlights include the planning and implementation of a cultural and ethnic program with the Student Activities Committee of the University of Massachusetts, a job-readiness program, the South Boston Dispute Settlement Project, and a GED adult education program. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Series VII, PUBLICATIONS AND PUBLICITY, 1901-1994, n.d. (#13.6-15.15, E.1), documents the various ways that South Boston Neighborhood House promoted its services to the community. Additional publicity can be found in Series IX (Clippings).

Subseries A, Newsletters, 1940-1994, n.d. (#13.6-13.11), contains newsletters that provide insight into South Boston Neighborhood House activities, programs, annual events, and history. The newsletters underwent stylistic changes and had several name changes over the years, including The James House Herald, The Ollie Chronicle, and the South Boston Neighborhood House. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Subseries B, Press releases and related, 1971-1990, n.d. (#13.12-14.8), contains press releases, letters to the editor, advertisements for employment at South Boston Neighborhood House, feature articles, and general public announcements published in local newspapers. Photographs that correspond to these events can be found in Series VIII (Photographs and oversized materials). Folders are arranged chronologically.

Subseries C, Reference files, 1901-1989, n.d. (#15.1-15.7), contains book reviews, area profiles, articles and pamphlets about the history of settlements, the impact of school desegregation in South Boston, and the War on Poverty programs. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Subseries D, Publicity, 1958-1992 (#15.8-15.15, E.1), includes publications, booklets, and reports promoting the accomplishments of South Boston Neighborhood House. The South Boston Neighborhood House web site is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection service (WAX); searchable archived versions of the web site will be available through this finding aid in 2010. Folders are arranged chronologically.

Series VIII, PHOTOGRAPHS AND OVERSIZED MATERIALS, 1861-1994, n.d. (#PD.1z-PD.28, F+D.1-F+D.2, SD.1), consists of photographs and oversized material arranged by format as two subseries.

Subseries A, Photographs, 1922-1991, n.d. (#PD.1z-PD.28), includes photographs and contact sheets depicting South Boston Neighborhood House programs and events, contrasting views of the South Boston Neighborhood House, the South Boston neighborhood, and South Boston Neighborhood House staff members. Highlights include a milk glass photograph of an unidentified child, photographs of Ellerton James and Marian J. Homans, who played a critical role in South Boston Neighborhood House's early history, and the Mothers' Club, which assisted the neighborhood's poor.

Subseries B, Oversized materials, 1861-1994, n.d. (#F+D.1-F+D.2, SD.1), consists of oversized items transferred from other series, including photographs, mortgages, deeds, and floor plans and blueprints illustrating the renovations made to the East 7th Street property.

Series IX, CLIPPINGS, 1926-1996, n.d. (#16.1-17.9), contains a substantial number of clippings documenting South Boston Neighborhood House annual events, programs, and accomplishments.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].

History

The South Boston Neighborhood House was founded as a day nursery for young children in 1901. The collection traces the organization's development from a nursery to a traditional neighborhood settlement house and ultimately to a private, non-profit, multi-service center. The following chronology offers a brief history of South Boston Neighborhood House accomplishments.

  • 1901The South Boston Day Nursery is established by Mrs. William Dewart at 418 West 4th Street after several fires kill unattended children in their homes. Expenses during its first year of operations, including the hiring of a matron and janitor, total $663.04.
  • 1902-1905Olivia Buckminster James, a 27-year-old community volunteer, assumes responsibility of the nursery and plays a key role in expanding its programs and services, including the introduction of evening classes in citizenship and cooking for mothers and teens. Under her tutelage, volunteer Marian J. Homans also assists at the nursery.
  • 1907South Boston Day Nursery incorporates in Massachusetts for the purpose of "helping poor persons in the care of their children." Mrs. James serves as the first president and remains an active member of the board of directors. Eventually the need for a larger facility results in the nursery relocating to 141 I Street.
  • 1911-1916Forced to move from the I Street location, Olivia and Ellerton James purchase a house and lot at 521 East Seventh Street to avoid further disruptions. They add a classroom and gymnasium and use the back lot for gardening. The Nursery's name is changed to the South Boston Neighborhood House to reflect its mission of helping people where they live.
  • 1917-1927 Male membership in South Boston Neighborhood House decreases as a result of recruitment for World War I. The directors purchase the adjoining back lot for $360.00. With the help of donations, fundraising efforts by the South Boston Neighborhood House Mothers' Club, and volunteer labor contributed by students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, modernization of the house begins.
  • 1929-1932During the Great Depression Marian Homans is elected president of South Boston Neighborhood House and works with government programs to assist laid off workers, including distribution of food baskets by the Mothers' Club. Graduate students from Wheeler College, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology volunteer to teach in order to earn academic credits.
  • 1935Olivia James dies in 1935, leaving a legacy of $10,000 to South Boston Neighborhood House, which is used to pay off the mortgage, make additional renovations, and expand programming. The organization's name is changed to the Olivia James House (the "Ollie") to honor her long-term efforts to sustain and expand South Boston Neighborhood House.
  • 1941-1956 Mary Mooney Perry and Vincent Connors continue to expand programs during the 1940s as World War II generates the need for expanded social services and recreational activities. The War-Time Recreation Committee of the Greater Boston Community Fund donates $1,200 to establish a temporary annex at O and Sixth Streets. After it closes, a second building is purchased on Farragut Road in the City Point section of Boston and named Homans House in honor of Marian J. Homans who retires in 1956.
  • 1960-1969John Howland II is elected president of the Ollie and launches a successful capital campaign that doubles the size of the house, and increases programs and social services for teens, the elderly and the handicapped. In 1965 the Ollie reverts to its earlier name, the South Boston Neighborhood House. With increased funding available from the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity for new programs and services, South Boston Neighborhood House sheds its identity as a traditional settlement house to become a community-based multi-service center.
  • 1971-1975Mandated school busing results in heightened tensions as South Boston parents keep their children and teens out of school. South Boston Neighborhood House responds by increasing afternoon and evening programs. Jim Hawks, South Boston Neighborhood House president, also launches a major initiative to provide educational counseling. The "gray power" movement results in the formation of the Jet Set, senior citizens who play an active role in South Boston Neighborhood House affairs.
  • 1979-1989Reorganization of South Boston Neighborhood House results in the election of a new board that contains a majority of South Boston residents, including Jim O'Sullivan, John Tynan, and Mary Nee, who participated in South Boston Neighborhood House activities as a young girl. State officials contract South Boston Neighborhood House to perform a wide range of community services, including daycare, high school equivalency classes, the Jet Set program, family services, and career counseling, raising its annual budget from $200,000 to $1.2 million.
  • 1991-1996South Boston Neighborhood House undergoes retrenchment but private funding expands. With the addition of a number of satellite offices in the community, the South Boston Neighborhood House expands its services to more than 3000 residents, providing opportunities for civic, social and educational improvement.
1901
The South Boston Day Nursery is established by Mrs. William Dewart at 418 West 4th Street after several fires kill unattended children in their homes. Expenses during its first year of operations, including the hiring of a matron and janitor, total $663.04.
1902-1905
Olivia Buckminster James, a 27-year-old community volunteer, assumes responsibility of the nursery and plays a key role in expanding its programs and services, including the introduction of evening classes in citizenship and cooking for mothers and teens. Under her tutelage, volunteer Marian J. Homans also assists at the nursery.
1907
South Boston Day Nursery incorporates in Massachusetts for the purpose of "helping poor persons in the care of their children." Mrs. James serves as the first president and remains an active member of the board of directors. Eventually the need for a larger facility results in the nursery relocating to 141 I Street.
1911-1916
Forced to move from the I Street location, Olivia and Ellerton James purchase a house and lot at 521 East Seventh Street to avoid further disruptions. They add a classroom and gymnasium and use the back lot for gardening. The Nursery's name is changed to the South Boston Neighborhood House to reflect its mission of helping people where they live.
1917-1927
Male membership in South Boston Neighborhood House decreases as a result of recruitment for World War I. The directors purchase the adjoining back lot for $360.00. With the help of donations, fundraising efforts by the South Boston Neighborhood House Mothers' Club, and volunteer labor contributed by students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, modernization of the house begins.
1929-1932
During the Great Depression Marian Homans is elected president of South Boston Neighborhood House and works with government programs to assist laid off workers, including distribution of food baskets by the Mothers' Club. Graduate students from Wheeler College, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology volunteer to teach in order to earn academic credits.
1935
Olivia James dies in 1935, leaving a legacy of $10,000 to South Boston Neighborhood House, which is used to pay off the mortgage, make additional renovations, and expand programming. The organization's name is changed to the Olivia James House (the "Ollie") to honor her long-term efforts to sustain and expand South Boston Neighborhood House.
1941-1956
Mary Mooney Perry and Vincent Connors continue to expand programs during the 1940s as World War II generates the need for expanded social services and recreational activities. The War-Time Recreation Committee of the Greater Boston Community Fund donates $1,200 to establish a temporary annex at O and Sixth Streets. After it closes, a second building is purchased on Farragut Road in the City Point section of Boston and named Homans House in honor of Marian J. Homans who retires in 1956.
1960-1969
John Howland II is elected president of the Ollie and launches a successful capital campaign that doubles the size of the house, and increases programs and social services for teens, the elderly and the handicapped. In 1965 the Ollie reverts to its earlier name, the South Boston Neighborhood House. With increased funding available from the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity for new programs and services, South Boston Neighborhood House sheds its identity as a traditional settlement house to become a community-based multi-service center.
1971-1975
Mandated school busing results in heightened tensions as South Boston parents keep their children and teens out of school. South Boston Neighborhood House responds by increasing afternoon and evening programs. Jim Hawks, South Boston Neighborhood House president, also launches a major initiative to provide educational counseling. The "gray power" movement results in the formation of the Jet Set, senior citizens who play an active role in South Boston Neighborhood House affairs.
1979-1989
Reorganization of South Boston Neighborhood House results in the election of a new board that contains a majority of South Boston residents, including Jim O'Sullivan, John Tynan, and Mary Nee, who participated in South Boston Neighborhood House activities as a young girl. State officials contract South Boston Neighborhood House to perform a wide range of community services, including daycare, high school equivalency classes, the Jet Set program, family services, and career counseling, raising its annual budget from $200,000 to $1.2 million.
1991-1996
South Boston Neighborhood House undergoes retrenchment but private funding expands. With the addition of a number of satellite offices in the community, the South Boston Neighborhood House expands its services to more than 3000 residents, providing opportunities for civic, social and educational improvement.

ARRANGEMENT

The collection is arranged in nine series:
  1. Series I. History and organization, 1861-1993, n.d. (#1.1-1.19)
  2. ___Subseries A. History, ca.1912-1993, n.d. (#1.1-1.11)
  3. ___Subseries B. Organization, 1907-1983, n.d. (#1.12-1.16)
  4. ___Subseries C. Legal papers, 1861-1982 (#1.17-1.19)
  5. Series II. Administration, 1931-1996, n.d. (#2.1-7.6, Vt-158.1)
  6. ___Subseries A. Board of directors, 1931-1996, n.d. (#2.1-4.9)
  7. ___Subseries B. Executive Committee, 1970-1996 (#7.1-7.6)
  8. ___Subseries C. Annual reports, 1940-1991 (#5.1-5.5)
  9. ___Subseries D. Annual meetings of the corporation, 1932-1995 (#5.6-6.7, Vt-158.1)
  10. Series III. Committee files, 1947-1995 (#7.7-8.8)
  11. ___Subseries A. Program committee, 1977-1985 (#7.7-7.10)
  12. ___Subseries B. Fundraising, budget and finance committees, 1980-1989 (#7.11-7.12)
  13. ___Subseries C. Board membership, organization and nominating committees, 1970-1982 (#8.1-8.2)
  14. ___Subseries D. Personnel committee, 1960-1995 (#8.3-8.5)
  15. ___Subseries E. House council and miscellaneous committees, 1947-1961 (#8.6-8.8)
  16. Series IV. General correspondence, 1952-1994, n.d. (#8.9-8.12)
  17. Series V. Financial records, 1958-1993, n.d. (#9.1-11.5)
  18. ___Subseries A. Operating expenses, 1958-1984 (#9.1-9.6)
  19. ___Subseries B. Fundraising activities, 1963-1992 (#9.7-9.13)
  20. ___Subseries C. Proposals and grants, 1958-1993, n.d. (#10.1-11.5)
  21. Series VI. Programs, 1940-1995, n.d. (#11.6-13.5)
  22. ___Subseries A. Activities and annual events, 1940-1995, n.d. (#11.6-12.6)
  23. ___Subseries B. Reports, regional studies, and collaborative programs, 1959-1992, n.d. (#12.7-13.5)
  24. Series VII. Publications and publicity, 1901-1994, n.d. (#13.6-15.15, E.1)
  25. ___Subseries A. Newsletters, 1940-1994, n.d. (#13.6-13.11)
  26. ___Subseries B. Press releases and related, 1971-1990, n.d. (#13.12-14.8)
  27. ___Subseries C. Reference files, 1901-1989, n.d. (#15.1-15.7)
  28. ___Subseries D. Publicity, 1958-1992 (#15.8-15.15, E.1)
  29. Series VIII. Photographs and oversized materials, 1861-1994, n.d., (#PD.1z-PD.28, F+D.1-F+D.2, SD.1)
  30. ___Subseries A. Photographs, 1922-1991, n.d. (#PD.1z-PD.28)
  31. ___Subseries B. Oversized materials, 1861-1994, n.d. (#F+D.1-F+D.2, SD.1)
  32. Series IX. Clippings, 1926-1996, n.d. (#16.1-17.9)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 97-M1

The records of the South Boston Neighborhood House were given to the Schlesinger Library by the South Boston Neighborhood House in 1997.

Processing Information

Processed: July 2009

By: Emilyn L. Brown
Link to catalog
Title
South Boston Neighborhood House. Records of the South Boston Neighborhood House, 1861-1996 (inclusive), 1940-1980 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Author
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
EAD ID
sch01213

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.

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