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United Community Services Central Files

 Collection
Identifier: UR000420_central
The United Community Services Central Files provide insight into the social history of metropolitan Detroit during much of the twentieth century, its cultural and racial diversity and tension, and the disruption brought on by economic instability, population shifts, and war. They particularly reflect the attempts of social workers, health care professionals, civic and religious leaders, and ordinary citizens to understand and alleviate the social dislocation caused by poverty.

The district and community councils files provide rare documentation of social and economic conditions In Detroit's neighborhoods during the Depression, World War II, and postwar eras. Additional files relating to the district and community councils may be found in the United Community Services Collection, the Federation of Community Councils Collection, and the Lewis B. Larkin Collection, which is housed in the University Archives.

Important Subjects: African Americans in Detroit Aging Child/Family Welfare Services City Planning Community Organizing Day Care Depression/WW II in Detroit Federated Fund Raising Health Care Housing Immigrants in Detroit Juvenile Delinquency/Gangs Neighborhoods in Detroit Philanthropy Public/Private Welfare Programs Race Relations in Detroit Racial Discrimination in Social Services Recreational Programs Religion and Social Welfare Programs Settlement Houses/Community Centers Social Dislocation/Poverty in Detroit Social Welfare Social Work Profession Veterans' Services and War Relief Youth Organizations and Activities

Among the important correspondents are: Richard S. Bachman Florence C. Cassidy James Couzens John Dancy Percival Dodge Richard F. Huegli Eleonore L. Hutzel Fred R. Johnson Walter C. Laidlaw Robert 0. Loosley Robert H. MacRae Tracy W. McGregor Irene E. Murphy William J. Norton Paul T. Rankin Claire M. Sanders George Schermer Hollis Vick
Part I: Series Description: Series I, Agencies- Members, 1891-1972: Correspondence, reports, minutes, and published material relating to the member agencies of United Community Services and its predecessor organizations, both financially- and non-financially-participating.

Series II, Agencies- Non-Members, 1914-1965: Correspondence, reports, and published material relating to social service agencies and information and referral organizations, national and local, which were not members of UCS.

Series III, Subject Files, 1915-1969: Correspondence, reports, minutes, and published material on topics and organizations of interest to professional social workers, some of it generated by committees constituted to investigate problems associated with these subjects.

Series IV, Administrative Files, 1917-1965: Correspondence, reports, minutes, and other material relating to the organization and administration of UCS and its predecessor organizations, including those with fundraising responsibilities.

Series V, Speakers Bureau, 1922-1947: Correspondence, radio scripts, and campaign material relating to the work of the Speakers' Bureau, a division of the fundraising arm of UCS whose purpose was to educate potential donors about the benefits of UCS and its member agencies.

Series VI, Chests and Councils- Other Cities, 1919-1960: Correspondence and reports relating to the relationship between UCS executives and their counterparts in community chests and councils of social agencies in other cities.
Part II: Series Description: Series VII, General Files, 1907-1962: Correspondence, reports, minutes and published material relating to the administration of United Community Services and its predecessor organizations and to the research interests and programs of its functional divisions.

Series VIII, Child Welfare, 1925-1957: Correspondence, reports, minutes and other material relating to the work of the Child Welfare Division of UCS.

Series IX, Family Welfare, 1934-1954: Correspondence, reports, minutes and other material relating to the work of the Family Welfare Division of UCS.

Series X, Group Work and Recreation, 1935-1961: Correspondence, reports, minutes and other material relating to the work of the Group Work and Recreation Division of UCS.

Series XI, Health, 1925-1958: Correspondence, reports, minutes and other material relating to the work of the Health Division of UCS.

Series XII, District and Communitv Councils, 1931-1954: Correspondence, reports, minutes and other material relating to the work of the District and Community Councils Division of UCS.

Series XIII, Suburban Councils, 1930-1959: Correspondence, reports, minutes and other material relating to the work of the Suburban Councils Division of UCS.

Dates

  • 1891 - 1972
  • Majority of material found within 1920 - 1969

Creator

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Use

NO NAMES APPEARING IN CASE FILES MAY BE CITED. RESEARCHERS USING THE UNITED COMMUNITY SERVICES CENTRAL FILES COLLECTION ARE REQUIRED TO SIGN A RESTRICTED USE STATEMENT.
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

98.5 Linear Feet (197 MB)

Abstract

United Community Services and its predecessors, Associated Charities of Detroit, Detroit Community Union, and the Council of Social Agencies of Metropolitan Detroit, were federations of public and private agencies providing social welfare and health care services to needy Detroiters as well as planning organizations engaged in research into the causes of social problems and their solutions.

The UCS Central Files provide insight into the social history of metropolitan Detroit during much of the twentieth century, its cultural and racial diversity and tension, and the disruption brought on by economic instability, population shifts, and war.

Subjects include: Detroit social welfare agencies; African Americans; poverty; aging; child and family services; city planning; community organizing; Depression and World War II in Detroit; health care; housing; immigrants; juvenile delinquency; neighborhoods in Detroit; race relations; settlement houses; social work profession; youth organizations and activities

History

United Community Services and its predecessors, Associated Charities of Detroit, Detroit Community Union, and the Council of Social Agencies of Metropolitan Detroit, were federations of public and private agencies providing social welfare and health care services to needy Detroiters as well as planning organizations engaged in research into the causes of social problems and their solutions.

Although little information is available about the origin of the Central Files, it appears that the newly-formed Council of Social Agencies of Metropolitan Detroit (CSA) established the system in the 1930s. Records were apparently divided by subject area, the material in Part I of this collection comprising what were termed the agency files and in Part 2, the divisional files.

Ideally, each CSA department's files dealing with a particular agency or organization were to be sent to the Central Files, where the information could be universally and efficiently retrieved for agency investigations, budget reviews, program evaluations and the like.

In practice, however, only a part of the agency material ever found its way to the Central Files, the rest of it remaining sequestered in individual departmental offices. Consequently, even though the Central Files provide a rich source of documentation on the social pathology of and delivery of social welfare services in Detroit, they are not comprehensive and should be used in conjunction with the divisional files found in Part 2 of the Central Files collection.

The records in Part 2, created primarily from the 1930s through the 1950s, contain the files of the major planning divisions of UCS and its predecessor organizations-- child and family welfare, health care, group work and recreation, and district and community councils-- which were composed of representatives of Detroit's public and private human service agencies or community service organizations and UCS staff members. A series of general subject and administrative files similar to those in Part 1 and a few suburban counsils files are also included.

Arrangement

Part I: Arranged in 6 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-70), Series 2 (Boxes 70-93), Series 3 (Boxes 94-114), Series 4 (Boxes 114-124), Series 5 (Boxes 125-128), and Series 6 (Boxes 128-130). Folders are primarily arranged alphabetically.
Part II: Arranged in 7 series - Series 7 (Boxes 131-156), Series 8 (Boxes 157-161), Series 9 (Boxes 162-164), Series 10 (Boxes 164-171), Series 11 (Boxes 171-175), Series 12 (Boxes 176-195), and Series 13 (Boxes 196-197). Folders are primarily arranged alphabetically.

Acquisition

The United Community Services Central Files were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs by United Community Services of Metropolitan Detroit in April of 1982. Additional records were placed in the Archives by UCS in July 1987 and July 1992.

Related Materials

United Community Services and United Way collections

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in June 1990. Additional materials opened for research in March 1993.
Title
Guide to the United Community Services Central Files
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Date
1990-06
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • 1993-03: Additional materials open for research.

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA