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Ruth Tenney Papers

Identifier: UP000628

Scope and Content

Important subjects covered in the collection are: Citizen Participation in Urban Renewal Detroit Model Neighborhood Program Housing- Detroit, Michigan Model Cities Urban Renewal and Redevelopment- Detroit, Michigan Urban Street Planning and Design-Detroit, Michigan Wayne State University- Community Relations

Series Description: Series I, Detroit Model Neighborhood Program, 1967-1973: Correspondence, maps, planning and development proposals, reports, and publications dealing with the Detroit Model Neighborhood Program and Ruth Tenney's efforts as a Citizens' Governing Board representative.

Series II, niversity City "A" Citizens' District Council, 1968-1974: Correspondence, minutes, planning and development proposals, reports, and publications relating to Ruth Tenney's activities as a member of the Citizens' District Council for the University City "A" area.

Series III, University City II Project, 1967-1973: Correspondence, reports, and publications covering the University City II Rehabilitation Project. This series includes documentation on the University City II lawsuit (1969-1972).


  • 1964 - 1974
  • Majority of material found within 1967 - 1973


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


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.


Ruth Tenney was born in Detroit, Michigan on July 26, 1921. A graduate of the Detroit Public Schools, she received advanced degrees in English (1944) and Humanities (1946) from Wayne University and a M.S.L.S. from the University of Michigan in 1953. She also earned permanent high school and junior college teaching certificates (Wayne University, 1948). Between the years 1945 and 1952, Ruth Tenney taught English for the Detroit Public School System and was a part-time special instructor for the English Department at Wayne University. In 1953, she joined the professional library staff at Wayne State University where she worked in the Cataloging Department. Her library career included two years with the United States Department of the Army Library Service in Mannheim and Darmstadt, Germany (1960-1962).

As a native and resident of Detroit, Ms. Tenney actively participated in various citizens' groups and non-profit corporations concerned with urban renewal projects with in the city during the years 1966-1974. These groups included the Citizens' Governing Board of the Detroit Model Neighborhood, the People's Area Development Corporation, and the University City "A" Citizens' District Council. The papers of Ruth M. Tenney reflect her involvement with these groups.

A direct result of the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Act of 1966, the Detroit Model Neighborhood Program utilized federal funds to improve Detroit's inner city in the areas of commerce and industry, communication, crime and delinquency, education, employment, health, housing, public and social services, and recreation and culture. A major aspect of this program required formal citizen participation in all phases of program formulation and implementation. As a resident of the Detroit Model Neighborhood Area A-l, Ms. Tenney was a member of the Citizens' Governing Board (1968-1971) and served on the Housing Committee and the Committee to Revise the Detroit Master Plan. She was also a member of the negotiating team which, along with six individual plaintiffs, filed suit to halt the further development of the University City II Project (a renewal project designed to make additional lands available for Wayne State University expansion) until citizen participation in planning for that area was guaranteed and implemented.

Between the years 1971-1974, Ms. Tenney served on the Board of Directors of the People's Area Development Corporation (PADCO). A private, non-profit corporation, PADCO utilized Model City funds to formulate guidelines for the future growth and development of the PADCO area (roughly covering 1,429 gross acres of the entire nine square miles of the Detroit Model Neighborhood).

On the state level, Public Act 189 (1968) required citizen consultation in the Detroit urban renewal and rehabilitation areas through the creation of the Citizens' District Councils. Ruth Tenney served as a member of the University City "A" Citizens' District Council from 1969 to c. 1974.


7 Linear Feet (14 MB, 1 OS)


Ruth Tenney was active in various citizens groups and Detroit area non-profits concerned with urban renewal, including the Citizens’ Governing Board of the Detroit Model Neighborhood Program, and the People’s Area Development Corporation (PADCO). Ms. Tenney’s papers reflect her activities with these organizations.


Arranged in 3 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-10 and 15), Series 2 (Boxes 10-13) and Series 3 (Boxes 13-14). Folders are arranged alphabetically, chronologically, or by topic, depending upon the series. Series 1 is divided into 4 subject subseries.


Ruth M. Tenney placed her papers in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in January of 1974.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in March 1983.
Guide to the Ruth Tenney Papers
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA