1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

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 Records of the Providence Society for Organizing Charity

 Charitable organization of Providence, R.I.

 Records, 1892-1994

 Size: 5 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 654

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, September 1995

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            The Providence Society for Organizing Charity was founded in 1892. Its name was changed to the Family Welfare Society in 1924, and then was re-incorporated as Family Services Inc. in 1948. Its founders came from the ranks of the wealthy older families of Providence, led by Prof. Henry B. Gardner. Its goal was to reduce pauperism, by coordinating the efforts of the area's many charitable organizations, and by providing "friendly visitors" to families in need, who acted as a referral service. A particular early concern was to prevent begging on the streets, particularly by children. Other services evolved over the years. In 1912, the Lakeside Camp in Warwick was opened to children recovering from tuberculosis; it operated for over 40 years. Today, Family Services provides a wide variety of counseling services, particularly in the fields of substance abuse and mental health.

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Scope and content:

            The bulk of this collection consists of the records of the president and board of directors. The volumes referred to as "President's Books" contain Board records, as well as records of committees, and some correspondence.

            The collection contains very little information on individual clients served by the organization. Most of this information has been destroyed by Family Services to protect confidentiality. A few incidental mentions of specific cases are available in the early correspondence; two masters' theses provide unnamed case studies.

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            Many of the early records were donated by Family Services on July 13 1978; the bulk of the records, dating 1910 through 1994, were donated in 1995. Two folders of loose papers were donated by Mildred Longo, on July 30 1978 and in 1994.

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Processing note:

            This collection is not fully processed. Most of the collection arrived in loose-leaf binders. Many of these papers have been removed from the binders and foldered, to save space; most remain in binders, and should eventually be removed. The scrapbooks are in need of preservation photocopying.

            Items from the four different accessions have been foldered separately. All items are from the 1995 accession unless labelled as such.

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Box 1 (volumes):

Executive Committee minutes, 1895-1907



Annual Meeting minutes, 1892-1909

Board of Directors minutes, 1892-1909

                            1910-1912 (& Annual Meeting, 1910-1923)

                            1913-1919, 1921

                            1920, 1922-1923







Box 2 (volumes):

Board of directors minutes, 1953-1954




"President's book" 1958-1962

                            1963 (folder)

                            1964 (folder)

                            1965 (folder)

                            1966 (folder)

                            1967 (folder)

                            1968 (folder)

                            1969 (folder)

                            1970 (folder)


Box 3:

President's book, 1974




                  1979 (folder)

Board of Directors minutes 9/1980-1981 (folder)

Committee minutes, 9/1980-5/1981 (folder)

President's book (folder), 1-6/1981








Box 4:

President's book (folder), 7-12/1986



Board of Directors minutes, 1987-1990

Annual reports, 1965-1979 (missing 1966, 1968, 1969)

                1980-1994 (missing 1988, 1989, 1991)

Payroll sheets, 1952-1956

"A Study of Thirty-One Cases of Working Mothers as Seen Through the Counseling Services of a Family Agency" by Loretta Pauline Ryder. Masters' Dissertation, 1944.

"A Study of Case Work with Forty-One Aged Clients in Family Service Inc. Providence from December 1947 Through February 1949", by Merton E. Grush. Masters' thesis, 1949.

Reports to the Board of Directors, 1924-1930


Lakeside Fresh Air Home, misc., 1923-1942

Lakeside merger, ca. 1986

Cranston Advisory Committee, 1939-1944

District Work committee minutes, 1912-1913

Board of Directors publicity clippings and photos, 1955-1990

Reports, etc. 1895, 1917-1923

Charter, membership, 1897-1898

Charters, etc. 1898-1948

Historical notes, 1990

Forms, printed ephemera, etc.


            History, ca. 1926

            2 letters received by Prof. Gardner, 1896, describing cases

            Undated draft of meeting minutes

            Notes on children's summer camp, 1908


            Correspondence, by-laws, etc. ca. 1892-1898

            Name change, 1924

Scrapbook, 1946-1973

Box 5:

Scrapbook, 1919-1922





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Family Services Inc.

Family Welfare Society

Gardner, Henry B.

Grush, Merton E. Jr.

Ryder, Loretta Pauline

Social Service - Rhode Island - Providence

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