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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 418

Papers of Maida Herman Solomon, 1901-1988


Correspondence, photos, course notes, of Maida Herman Solomon, psychiatric social worker.


  • 1901-1988
  • September 2009

Language of Materials

Materials in English and German.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research with the following exceptions: folder #327 is closed until January 1, 2045, folder #329 is closed until January 1, 2048, and folders #404-405 are closed until January 1, 2053.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Maida Herman Solomon 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. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


13.97 linear feet ((33+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder)

This collection consists of personal and professional records and is divided into the following four series:

Series I, Personal and early career (#1-62), contains clippings and tributes, photographs, personal correspondence with family, school, and college friends, 1901-1961, and course notes from Smith College and Portia Law School. The articles and reports of her early career include a report on the "boy problem" for Civic Service House, 1914-1917, and scattered papers from her work with neuro-syphilitic patients at Boston Psychopathic Hospital.

Series II, Professional associations (#63-305), consists of materials relating to Solomon's affiliations with social work organizations at the state and national level. The records of the American Association of Hospital Social Workers, the American Association of Social Workers, and other social work organizations document Solomon's efforts in the 1920s and 1930s to establish national standards for social work.

Records of the American Association of Psychiatric Social Work (American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers) include correspondence and questionnaires distributed by the Sub-Committee on Education to schools of social work throughout the country in an effort to develop national standards for curricula and field work in psychiatric social work. The records of a joint APA-American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers committee document an improved understanding between the American Psychiatric Association and the American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers, while those of a joint American Red Cross-American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers committee record the response of the profession to the wartime need for more psychiatric social workers. Materials of the Temporary Inter-Association Council describe the merger of many professional social work associations into the unified National Association of Social Workers.

Records of the Massachusetts Society for Social Health (formerly Massachusetts Society for Social Hygiene) relate to its efforts to prevent venereal disease and promote sex education, and those of the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, to organize volunteer assistance in mental health clinics and hospitals. There are reports and minutes for Hecht House, a settlement house for Jewish girls, and its successor, the Hecht House-Young Men's Hebrew Association, scattered records of the Greater Boston Community Fund, minutes of a study group on children's health held under the auspices of the Council of Jewish Women, notes and correspondence of the Beth Israel Hospital Social Service Committee, speeches and other material from the Union Park Forum, a Jewish speakers' bureau, and lists of meetings of the Monday Lunch Group. The series is arranged alphabetically by name of organization or agency.

Series III, Research and consulting (#306-391, 400-412), includes the records of Solomon's post-retirement volunteer projects: clinical studies of the Metropolitan State Hospital's project for the treatment and rehabilitation of chronic schizophrenics; a research study of Rutland Corner House clients co-directed by Solomon; a study of volunteers employed by Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) in various Boston mental health institutions; David Kantor's study of the use of college students as volunteers in mental institutions; and reports on Well-Met Project, Inc., a half-way house sponsored by Harvard's Phillips Brooks House. Folders #400-412 were added to the collection in September 2009 and placed intellectually within the inventory, however residing physically at the end of the collection.

Series IV, General correspondence (#392-399), includes correspondence relating to Simmons College School of Social Work and to professional associations; letters are arranged chronologically.

#400-412 were added later to the collection, from a subsequent accession and placed intellectually within the inventory, however reside physically at the end of the collection.


Maida Herman Solomon, pioneer psychiatric social worker and professor of psychiatric social work at Simmons College School of Social Work, was born in Boston, March 9, 1891, the daughter of Joseph Michael and Hennie (Adler) Herman. She was educated at public schools: the Prince School and the Boston Girls' Latin School, and then earned an A.B. from Smith College (1912) and an S.B. from Simmons College (1914.) She took one course at Portia School of Law in 1914. In 1916 she married Harry Caesar Solomon, a psychiatrist who was later Medical Director of the Boston Psychopathic Hospital and in the 1960s commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.

Solomon began her career as research assistant at Civic Service House, a Boston settlement house, in 1914. She then joined the Boston Psychopathic Hospital (later Massachusetts Mental Health Center), where she worked as a fieldworker with families of neuro-syphilitic patients, 1916-1919, under Mary Jarrett, head social worker at Boston Psychopathic Hospital. From 1919 to 1934 while raising four children, she continued to work part-time as a consultant for the Boston Psychopathic Hospital and Massachusetts Psychiatric Institute. In 1934 Solomon joined the Simmons College School of Social Work as instructor, later professor, and was head of the Department of Psychiatric Social Work, 1942-1957. At Simmons she developed a graduate program integrating academic study with fieldwork practice.

In 1957, saying that she had "retired from Simmons College, but not from social work," Maida Herman Solomon continued to work as a consultant for the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and supervised a number of projects that made use of volunteers in the treatment of the mentally ill: at Metropolitan State Hospital, the Well-Met Project, Inc., of Harvard's Phillips Brooks House, and VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) programs at a number of Boston mental health institutions.

Solomon was active in many civic and professional organizations: she was a member of the Board (from 1926) and vice-president (1955) of Hecht House, a Jewish settlement house for girls founded by the Hebrew Ladies' Sewing Society which merged with the Young Men's Hebrew Association in 1959 and closed in 1970. She was a member of the Union Park Forum, a Jewish speakers' forum and of the Monday Lunch Club, an informal gathering of social workers. She was a charter member of the American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers (ASPSW), was its first president, 1926-1928, and served on its education subcommittee, conducting a national survey of sychiatric Social Worker curricula, and chairing its Advisory Committee to the American Red Cross, 1940-1945. She was also active in the American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers's successor organization, the National Association of Social Workers. She was the first chair of the Social Service Committee of Beth Israel Hospital, 1928-1938, vice-president of the Massachusetts Society for Social Health, member of the board of the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, chair of the Budget Committee of the Boston Community Fund, member of the Citizens' Committee of the Boston Community Survey, and on the board of Rutland Corner House, a half-way house.

She was the author of numerous articles, contributor to Harry C. Solomon's Syphilis of the Innocent (1920), and co-author of Field of Social Work (1915), Prevention of Hospitalization (1963), Drug and Social Therapy in Chronic Schizophrenia (1965) and Adolescents in a Mental Hospital (1968). For a more complete biography, see Solomon's curriculum vitae in #3.

Solomon died on January 24, 1988, at the age of ninety-six.

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 76-106, 76-285, 77-M121, 78-M15, 78-M46, 78-M235, 78-M238, 79-M43, 79-M57, 79-M96, 80-M47, 80-M67, 80-M100, 80-M190, 80-M215, 80-M249, 81-M95, 81-M146, 81-M202, 82-M153, 88-M109, 88-M134, 90-M181

This collection was given to the Schlesinger Library by Maida Herman Solomon beginning in April 1976. Addenda were received from Barbara Miller Solomon in July and September 1988 and from Babette Solomon Radner in November 1990.


  1. Box 1: 1-16
  2. Box 2: 17-24
  3. Box 3: 25-31
  4. Box 4: 32-48, 57-62
  5. Box 5: 63-75
  6. Box 6: 76-89
  7. Box 7: 90-102
  8. Box 8: 103-116
  9. Box 9: 117-127
  10. Box 10: 128-139
  11. Box 11: 140-150
  12. Box 12: 151-159
  13. Box 13: 160-171
  14. Box 14: 172-186
  15. Box 15: 187-195
  16. Box 16: 196-201v
  17. Box 17: 202-219
  18. Box 18: 220-228
  19. Box 19: 230-241
  20. Box 20: 242-256
  21. Box 21: 257-270
  22. Box 22: 271-280
  23. Box 23: 281-291
  24. Box 24: 292-301
  25. Box 25: 302-312
  26. Box 26: 313-326, 328
  27. Box 27: 330-339
  28. Box 28: 340-351
  29. Box 29: 352-362
  30. Box 30: 363-375
  31. Box 31: 376-385
  32. Box 32: 386-395
  33. Box 33: 396-399
  34. Box 34: 400-403, 406-412

Processing Information

Processed: November 1992

By: Jane S. Knowles

Updated: September 2009

By: Stacey Flatt

Solomon, Maida H. (Maida Herman), 1891-1988. Papers of Maida Herman Solomon, 1901-1988: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
The collection was processed with funds provided by the Littauer Foundation.

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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