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United Community Services Suburban Councils Records

Identifier: UR000420_SC

Scope and Content

This collection documents the Councils' development, programs and activities, along with the growth of suburban Detroit. The Councils were involved in many aspects of life in the community, providing such services as case work, prenatal and well baby clinics, girls' and boys' clubs, community recreational activities, and family counseling, through both U.C.S.- funded and non-funded agencies. The Councils established Inter-Agency Committees, to coordinate the activities of the various agencies with which they worked, and Inter- Racial Committees, to work for racial harmony. As the Council of Social Agencies evolved, so did the Suburban Councils, their functions, and their relationships to the U.C.S.

Important subjects covered in this collection include: American Red Cross Salvation Army Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Southern Oakland County Dearborn Suburban Council Suburban Council Downriver Suburban Council Visiting Nurse Association Family Service Association Warren Township Suburban Council Hamtramck Suburban Council Highland Park Suburban Council Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A.

Among the important correspondents are: Paul Neal Averill Lawrence W. Lossing Paul Azary, Jr. Robert H. MacRae Richard S. Bachman George Edward McClure Clement E. Constantine Egbert W. Neidig Cecilia Craig James H. Norton Percival Dodge William J. Norton William A. Doyle Terence J. Rielly Winnifred A. Frasier Mabel A. Thompson Clarence H. Hille Helen C. Thorburn Richard F. Huegli Ernest R. Tobin Walter C. Laidlaw Marguerite Whiting Robert O. Loosley F. W. Woodbury

Series Description: Series 1, General Office Files, 1927-1957: Campaign records, correspondence, memorandums, minutes, reports, rosters, and other materials relating to the general administration of the Suburban Councils.

Series 2, Subuerban Council Files, 1921-1959, 1966: Campaign records, clippings, correspondence, financial records, memorandums, minutes, published materials, reports, rosters, and other materials relating to the administration of specific Suburban Councils.


  • 1921 - 1959


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


No names contained in case records (reports, correspondence, etc.) may be cited. Researchers are required to sign a Restricted Access Form.
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.


The Suburban Councils developed as a result of the feeling of residents in the metropolitan Detroit area that they were not receiving a fair return on their investment in the centralised Detroit Community Fund and Detroit Community Union (predecessors to the United Foundation and U.C.S), and that the lack of local planning reduced the effectiveness of the services provided to these communities. Established as organizational units of the Fund and Union in the independent political entities where they operated, the branches served both as councils of social agencies and as community chests, handling the planning and social service and the fund raising aspects of community work. Although the councils occupied subordinate positions within the parent U.C.S. organization, they did have some autonomy, and provided local insight and perspective on the social welfare needs of their communities.

The first suburban branch was the Royal Oak Township Branch (later the Southern Oakland County Suburban Council), established in 1926. The establishment of several other branches followed; their names, number and composition varied over the years. The main councils were those in Hamtramck (1927); Downriver (the Wyandotte Branch, established in 1927, eventually became the Downriver Council, encompassing several communities and incorporating other downriver branches); Dearborn (1930); Highland Park (1931); Southern Oakland County; and Warren Township (1941).


9.5 Linear Feet (19 MB)


Subjects include: social welfare and health care services in Hamtramck, Highland Park, Downriver, Southern Oakland Co. and Dearborn; Salvation Army; Visiting Nurse Association; YMCA and YWCA


Arranged in 2 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-3), and Series 2 (Boxes 3-19). Folders are arranged alphabetically by type of record, and then chronologically.


The papers of the United Community Services pertaining to the U.C.S. Suburban Councils were deposited in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in July of 1987.

Related Materials

United Way and United Community Services collections

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in January 1989.
Guide to the United Community Services Suburban Councils Records
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