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Michigan Welfare League Records

 Collection
Identifier: UR000332
Part I: The Michigan Welfare League Collection covers the period from 1916 to 1965, with the major portion of the papers concentrated in the years from 1955 to 1965.

Important subjects are: Public assistance and welfare ADC-U Services to children and youth Adoption legislation Aging and Geriatics Vocational and other rehabilitation Migrant farm labor in Michigan The profession of social work and community organization Michigan United Fund Various Michigan Communities' health and welfare services

Among the Correspondents are: Philip A. Hart, U.S.S. Patrick McNamara, U.S.S. George A. Smathers, U.S.S. Charles E. Chamberlain, M.C. F. Schwergert, State Rep. Justice Paul Adams Gov. George Romney Gov. John Swainson Lt. Gov. T. John Lesinski Mayor Jerome P. Cavanagh Louis P. Miriani Leonard Woodcock Norman Drachler Al Barbour Robert C. Weaver Walter W. Heller Harlan Hatcher Arnell Engstrom, State Rep. Anthony Celebreeze Rev. Fr. Clement Kern
Series Description: Series I: Series one details the League's policy formulation and program development, conference, and institute actions, publications program, and personnel files. Arranged chronologically by subject and by creating agency, the records include minute books, unbound minutes, correspondence, conference proceedings, programs, reports, budget requests and financial reports, regional maps, by-laws, award nomination forms, clippings, press releases, questionnaires, newsletters, journals, and pamphlets, organizational directories and dossiers. The records span the years 1916 through 1965.

Series II: Series two documents the League's activities in the public affairs sector, whether through committee, conference, research, lobbying, liason, staffing, publication, or field service activities. Subject areas involved include legislation touching on the health and welfare field in general, state agencies reorganization, public and private responsibility in health and welfare field in general, state agencies reorganization, public and private responsibility in health and welfare work, con-con, public assistance, ADC-U, vocational and other rehabilitation, workmen's compensation, childrens services in their many facets, school drop-outs, crime and delinquency, White House Conference on Children and Youth, adoption law and practices, unmarried mothers, aging and gerontology, migrant farm labor in Michigan, and field services to various communities. Arranged chronologically by subject and by creating agency, the records include minutes, drafts of proposed legislation and copies of bills submitted, correspondence, articles and clippings, research reports, relevant bulletins, proceedings, draft of the new Michigan Constitution, staff reports, state Supreme Court opinions, membership receipts, financial reports. The records span the years 1942-1965.

Series III: Series three constitutes the League's general files determined by geographical area, first by the various states, and including Canada, and second by Michigan County, and then by the cities contained therein. The records contain correspondence, brochures, articles, reprints and clippings, drafts of legislation, and minutes. The records roughly span the years 1955 through 1965.

Series IV: Series four documents the League's connections with other large organizations of a specialized professional nature or of a state, regional, or national scope. These include the National Conference on Social Welfare, as well as associations having similar functions, United Community Funds and Councils, Michigan Community Chests and Councils, Community Service Council, United Community Services, the Great Lakes Institute, the National Association of State Health and Welfare Conference and Planning Organizations, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, among others. The records are arranged chronologically by creating agency, and they span the years 1956-1965. The records include correspondence, minutes, publications and clippings, directories, and financial reports.

Series V: Series five is a potpourri of subjects and agencies which do not admit of ready inclusion in the foregoing series. Included are correspondence, minutes, publications, award nomination forms, memorials, brochures, research reports, and drafts of proposed legislation. Especially significant subjects include a mental health Committee, drafting a "Human Rights" brochure, a charitable trusts information project, communications with consulting firms, and finally general publicity. The records span the years 1952-1965.

Serives VI: Series six contains two boxes of disparate bound volumes, and one box of miscellaneous clippings. The records span the years roughly from 1957-1965.
Part II: The Michigan Welfare League Records contains meeting minutes, research reports, and newsletters created by the League. Additionally, the collection holds correspondence between other nonprofit organizations and Michigan’s legislators. There are also documents about the formation of specific programs, and informational materials handed out to Michigan citizens.

Important Subjects: Day care centers Discrimination in housing Foster care- children Juvenile delinquency Migrant agricultural laborers Public health Public welfare Senior Citizens

Important Names: Michigan. Department of Social Services Michigan. Commission on Aging Michigan, Governor (1969-1982 : Milliken) Michigan, Governor (1963-1969 : Romney) Michigan United Community Funds and Councils Michigan. Welfare Reform Coalition United Way

Series Description: Series 1: Administrative Files (1950-1969) Meeting minutes, correspondence, conference materials, and newsletters related to the administration of the Michigan Welfare League and its programs.

Series 2: Subject Files (1936-1975) Research, correspondence, reports, meeting minutes about the work behind the public programs and interest of the League.

Dates

  • 1916 - 1965

Creator

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Use

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.

Extent

74 Linear Feet (43 SB, 60 MB, 1 OS)

Abstract

The League is interested in physical and mental health, mental retardation, juvenile and adult corrections, family and child welfare, public assistance, recreation and group work, special education, aging, youth problems, migrant labor, and human relations. Minutes, newsletters, correspondence, and other documents reflect the League's work in these areas. Among the correspondents are Jerome Cavanagh, Anthony Celebrezze, Philip Hart, Walter Heller, Patrick McNamara, George Romney, George Smathers, Robert Weaver, and Leonard Woodcock.

Part 2 contains meeting minutes, research reports, and newsletters created by the League. Additionally, the collection holds correspondence between other nonprofit organizations and Michigan’s legislators. There are also documents about the formation of specific programs, and informational materials handed out to Michigan citizens.

History

Expressing the Progressive Era's concern with the effective and efficient handling of emerging social problems, social workers and interested laymen organized the Michigan State Conference of Social Work in 1912, as "... an independent association of citizens interested in the health and welfare of Michigan." A survey of the standing committees as of 1919 suggests the Conference's interests lay originally with feeble-mindedness, the family, health, children, correctional institutions and criminal courts, and Americanization. Throughout the subsequent decades of programmatic growth, in contradistinction both to statewide organizations of a professional or special interest and to departments of state or local government, the association remained independent and voluntary; and its unique and distinguishing characteristics of approach have reflected its broad interests, wide constituency, and financing from all segments of the state.

Despite what the minutes of one meeting records as "a long-time sentiment for keeping the organization a conference only, "continuing interest in a broader program has produced a gradual evolution in (1) legislative committees and conference action on legislation, and (2) efforts to alter the scope and the name of the association. The membership established its first Legislative Committee in 1922, and others have been appointed intermittently in response to such issues as illegitimacy, "outdoor relief," county welfare organization, relief to the unemployed, and unemployment insurance. In 1932 the State Welfare Director requested the association's aid in the revision of the poor law, and throughout the Depression decade the Legislative Committee responded actively to the extreme distress and evident human need by concerning itself with social legislation and its implementation. The last twenty years have seen the League concentrating upon the educational aspects of legislative issues, although it does take stands as an organization on a limited number of issues after due consideration by the Legislative Review Committee.

The changing nature of its functions presented the Conference with the recurring problem of the adequacy and advisability of its name. Different names suggested included the State Council of Social Agencies, State Charities Aid, and Citizens Welfare League. Differences developed within the organization, whether through the agency of the Conference or independent of it entirely, but the independent effort made failed of realization. Finally the membership reached accord on a three point program in 1940, which orientated the Conference towards (1) education regarding social welfare objectives, problems, and methods, (2) improvement of standards in the field of social welfare, and (3) assisting in the development of an adequate and effective public welfare program. Clearly the association had become more than a conference, and on April 11, 1940 the name was changed to the Michigan Welfare League.

Until 1937 the association lacked a full-time staff, but during the years of World War II the League combined its efforts with the Michigan Mental Hygiene Society and they shared a common executive. From 1946 through 1948 there flourished a unique partnership with the Michigan United War Fund, which loaned the League a staff member to serve small communities in organization and joint financing. Upon the termination of the arrangement with the Mental Hygiene Society in 1948, the liasion executive assumed full-time duties with the League. The staff increased to two professionals in 1950, three in 1956, and four in 1958, and as of 1962, the full complement numbered four professionals and four clerks.

During the first half of its career, the League's financing came almost entirely from dues and conference fees, with expenditures running under $1,000 annually in the 1920's. Shortly before the name change from the Conference to the League, there occurred a joint meeting of the Michigan Community Chests and Councils and the League's Board, which resulted in local chests assuming the financial support. Its participation in the Michigan United Fund (then termed the United Health and Welfare Fund of Michigan) allowed the League to increase its total expenditures from approximately $27,000 in 1950 to over $94,000 in 1962. 90 per cent of its financing now comes through the State United Fund, although over the past thirty years the League has also received grants from Michigan foundations and occasionally from corporations interested in funding special projects.

Through its annual and regional conferences, forums, and varieties of field services, the Michigan Welfare League demonstrates its current interests in the fields of health, mental health, mental retardation, juvenile and adult corrections, family and child welfare, public assistance, recreation and group work, special education, aging, youth problems, migrant labor, and human relations. These issues also receive attention through the League's publications program, initiated in 1933 with the Welfare News, and subsequently complemented by a Journal, a Legislative Bulletin, and a monthly Newsletter, as well as occasional pamphlets, and project reports.

Arrangement

Arranged in 6 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-22), Series 2 (Boxes 22-43), Series 3 (Boxes 44-48), Series 4 (Boxes 49-54), Series 5 (Boxes 55-56), and Series 6 (Boxes 57-59). Folders are arranged chronologically by creating agency.
Arranged in 2 series - Series 1 (Boxes 61-89, 103), and Series 2 (Boxes 89-102, 104). Folders in each series are simply listed by their location within each box. They are not arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed throughout several boxes within each series.

Acquisition

Part I: The papers of the Michigan Welfare League were deposited with the Labor History Archives in February, 1969 by officers of the organization.
Part II: art 2 was donated to the Reuther Library by Judy Carter, Herb Yamanishi, and Maurice Beck from 1972 to 1992.

Related Material

Part II: United Community Services Records, Welfare Employees Union Records, Westside Mothers Records, Michigan Farm Worker Ministry Coalition Records, Center for the Child Care Workface Records, Boys Republic Records

Transfers

Part I: A quantity of photographs were removed from the collection and added to the Archives' Special Photography Collection.
Part II: Box 104, including 29 magnetic tape reels, one IBM card, and two folders containing negatives, was transferred to the Reuther’s audiovisual department.

Processing History

Part I: Processed and finding aid written by WKJ in December 1969.
Part II: Finding aid written by Meghan McGowan on May 18, 2015.
Title
Guide to the Michigan Welfare League Records
Status
completed
Author
Processed by WKJ.
Date
1969-12
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • 2015-05-18: Part 2 processed and finding aid updated by Meghan McGowan.

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA