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United Community Services Records

 Collection
Identifier: UR000420
The papers of the United Community Services reflect the concerns of professional social workers, the plight of the poor in late 19th century and early 20th century Detroit, and the community's attempts to improve their condition through the work of public and private social welfare agencies, including the Detroit Urban League, Bay Court Home, the AMerican Red Cross, the Visisting Housekeeper Association, the Detroit Psychopathic Clinic, and the Detroit Department of Public Welfare.

Important subjects: American Red Cross Associated Charities of Detroit Community Organizations Council of Social Agencies Detroit Community Fund/Union Detroit Urban League Family and Child Welfare Federated Charitable Fundraising Public Health Public/Private Welfare Assistance Social Dislocation in Detroit Social Work War Relief Youth Organizations and Activities

Important correspondents: Harry L. Lurie William J. Norton Donald M. D. Thurber Forrester B. Washington

Series Description: Series 1, Associated Charities of Detroit, 1878-1935: Correspondence, reports, minutes, financial records, and case investigations relating to the work of the Associated Charities and its member agencies. Included are a number of studies conducted by the Research Bureau. Some case record books are closed due to their fragile condition. See inventory.

Series 2, Committee on Case Cooperation, 1914-1920: Correspondence, reports, minutes, and case reocrds for a published study called "Trouble Cases."

Series 3, City of Detroit Department of Public Welfare, 1919: Individual case records of applications for aid.

Series 4, Detroit Community Union and Detroit Community Fund, 1919-1939: Correspondence, reports, minutes, employment applications, and publications documenting the work of the DCU, its member agencies, and professional social workers, and the fundraising activities of the DCF.

Series 5, American Red Cross, 1917-1927: Correspondence, reports, case studies, and miscellaneous material concerning the American Red Cross.

Series 6, Council of Social Agencies of Metropolitan Detroit, 1930-1934: Correspondence, reports, minutes, and committee lists relating to the organization and activities of the Council of Social Agencies. Particularly well represented are the files of the geographic district councils of the GSA.

Series 7, Metropolitan Detroit Youth Council, 1938-1945: Correspodnence, reports, minutes, and published material related to the activities of national and local youth groups.

Series 8, Detroit Commission for Study of Group Work Reocrds, 1938: Narrative and statistical reports of activities of various community organizations in Detroit.

1 orversize folder of charts and graphs, 1904-1924, 1943

Dates

  • 1878 - 1945
  • Majority of material found within 1910 - 1938

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 are required to sign a restricted use statement. Case record books in vault are closed due to preservation concerns.
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

20.5 Linear Feet ((35 MB), 18 ledgers)

Abstract

United Community Services, operated in Detroit since 1878 under various names, was organized by civic leaders to coordinate the work of different charitable institutions in the area, and raise funds for community welfare needs. Gradually, it became a clearinghouse for the investigation and referral of social service cases as well as an advocate for social and health care reform. The records of the UCS reflect the concerns of professional social workers, the plight of the poor in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Detroit, and the community's attempts to improve their condition through the work of public and private social welfare agencies.

History

The United Community Services has operated in Detroit since 1878 under various names. The Associated Charities of Detroit was established in that year by civic leaders to coordinate the work of different charitable institutions in the area, and eventually, to raise funds to meet community welfare needs. Gradually, it became a clearinghouse for the investigation and referral of social service cases as well as an advocate for social and health care reform. Beginning in 1917, its Research Bureau collected data and prepared reports on the various public and private welfare angencies and on social and econoic conditions in Detroit generally.

By January, 1918, when the Detroit Community Union was organized to streamline the provision of social, health, and recreational services to the multitude of people migrating to Detroit in search of jobs, its membership had grown to over forty organizations. William J. Norton, one of the early proponents of welfare federation, had successfully launched a similar program in Cincinnati before coming to Detroit to assume leadership of the DCU and its fundraising arm, the Detroit Community Fund. In 1932, it was reorganized into the Council of Social Agencies of Metropolitan Detroit to reflec the greater role played by individual agencies in planning for Detroit's social welfare needs.

The first attempt at federated fundraising for voluntary agencies in Detroit came during World War I with the creation of the Detroit Patriotic Fund, forerunner to the Detroit Community Fund of the 1920s and '30s, the Ware Chest of Metropolitan Detroit during World War II, and the independent United Foundation. In addition to raising the money whose distribution among the member agencies was detemrined by the Associated Charities and its successors, an important aspect of their operations was the investigation and regulation of all charities soliciting in the Detroit area.

Arrangement

Arranged in 8 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-8, 20 ledger volumes), Series 2 (Boxes 9-18), Series 3 (Box 19), Series 4 (Boxes 20-26), Series 5 (Boxes 26-28), Series 6 (Boxes 29-31), Series 7 (Boxes 32-33), and Series 8 (Boxes 34-35). Folders are arranged alphabetically or numerically, depending upon the series.

Acquisition

The papers of the United Community Services were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in April of 1969 by UCS Budget Director F. N. Woodbury, with the approval of the board of directors. Additional Associated Charities of Detroit files were placed in the Archives in November 1975 and August 1987 and were incorporated into the collection in February 1989.

Related Materials

United Way and United Community Services collections

Transfers

Closed case record books and ledgers from Series I have been moved to the vault.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in February 1989.
Title
Guide to the United Community Services Records
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Date
1989-02
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA