The Arch Street Business Men's Association was founded in 1922 for the encouragement and protection of local busi nesses and "to be active and watchful for the protection of the territory" bordering on Arch Street from river to river. The Association engaged in numerous activities concerned with improving local trade relations, lobbying for civic improvements and dealing with problems relating to traffic and street lights.
As the Association expanded, its activities grew. Soon its members were involved in historic markers and landmarks, social events, speakers, and a variety of cultural activi ties. The Association also adapted to changing conditions in certain sections of Arch Street. Issues such as crime and liquor licensing began taking up more and more of the Association's time. In response to some of the most acute problems, the Association became active in Redevelopment plans, especially in the Chinatown area, and cooperated with police officials on such problems as pornography. But the Association's primary focus continues to center on the promotion of Arch Street businesses and efforts to save the area from decline.
The papers of the Arch Street Business Men's Association reveal the major activities of the group from 1941 to 1975. Specifically, the minutes are important, and offer a window of into the issues and concerns of a small, localized merchants' association in an area of rrapid social change.
ORGANIZATION AND ARRANGEMENT
The records have been arranged into three series, as follows:
- Series I: Administration
- Series II: Correspondence and Subject Files
- Series III: Finances and Membership
Series I. Administration
The minutes of monthly meetings comprise the bulk of this series, and provide the best insight into the activities of the Association. The minutes also in.clude some relevant documents concerning issues dis.cussed at the meetings. Finally, this series includes the nnewsletter, which was produced monthly between 1948 and 1968.
Series II. Correspondence and Subject Files
The general correspondence, which comprises a significant portion of this series, covers much of the Association's relations with city government and other outside groups, especially in the 1940s and 1950s. The more recent correspondence is less revealing and more oriented toward internal Association affairs. The subject files, mainly from the 1950s, highlight several of the Association's civic activities, but also include some social events.
Series III. Finances and Membership
This series documents the membership of the Association and reflects the change in the Arch Street business community. It also includes financial re.ports and documentss covering the period 1948 to 1975.
Deposited by Connie Bell, Secretary of the Arch Street Business Men's Association, July 1981. Accession 466.
Series I: AdministrationBox 1
1 Charter and By-Laws, 1922, 1952-1953
2-9 Minutes, 1941-1953Box 2
10-17 Minutes, 1954-1961Box 3
18-22 Minutes, 1962-1975
23-28 Newsletter, 1948-1968Series II: Correspondence and Subject FilesBox 4
1-8 General Correspondence, 1944-1964Box 5
9-11 General Correspondence, 1957-1975
12-15 Annual Banquet, 1952-1962
16 Biographies, 1947-1961
17 Christmas Party, 1960-1961
18 Citizen Award Luncheon, 1962
19 City Budget, 1956-1957Box 6
20 Civil Defense Bulletin, 1950-1951
21 Greater Philadelphia Movement, 1954-1955
22 Guests, 1954-1960
23 Liquor License Applications, 1953-1959
24 Mercantile Tax, 1952-1953
25 Metropolitan Hospital, 1950
26 Past Presidents' Luncheon, 1953
27 Penn Center Plan, 1952
28 Pennsylvania Sales Tax, 1952-1953
29 Pennsylvania Week, 1952-1954
30 Picnic, 1952-1956
31 Postal Permit, 1951
32 Special Luncheon, 1956
33 Traffic Problems, 1952-1953
34 Zoning and Traffic, 1957Series III: Finances and MembershipBox 7
1 Dues, 1964-1968
2 Financial Papers, 1948-1949
3-6 Financial Reports, 1952-1975
7-9 Almanac Changes, 1958-1975Box 8
10-11 Membership Applications, 1945-1950
12-16 Membership Applications, A-Z, 1950s
17 Membership Cancellations, 1963-1967
18 Membership Drive, 1962Box 9
19 Membership Lists, 1947-1970
20-22 New Members, 1950-1975