Business Men's Association of Germantown Records

Collection ID: 
URB 47
Date: 
1897-1982
Collecting Area: 

BACKGROUND
 

             The Business Men's Association of Germantown was founded in 1897 "for the purpose of the encouragement of trade with its members, the protection of their credit accounts, and the promotion of the general business interests in Germantown." Its members included merchants, manufacturers, tradesmen and professional people. The Association engaged in a wide variety of social and civic activities, affecting not only Germantown but the entire city. 
             One of the first issues that the Association tackled was the establishment of a bureau to regulate and distribute credit to local merchants and customers. Germantown merchants also spent much of its early years lending assistance to such local institutions as the Germantown Almshouse and the cleanup and renovation of Vernon Park. Eventually, the Association was involved in all aspects of Germantown life, encouraging the building of Germantown's first high school; obtaining trolley switches, bus routes, and appropriations for the electrifica.tion of the Reading Railroad Company's Germantown Branch; providing the means for improved police and fire protection and general ward improvement; and lobbying for the city con.vention center and the Broad Street Subway.
             An important function of the Association centered on the creation of community social activities. It frequently spon sored July 4th celebrations, special sale days, picnics and outings. The Business Men also cooperated in keeping alive Germantown's history: they placed suitable tablets and markers on places of interest, helped erect monuments to Germantowners who participated in the Civil War and the Spanish American War, and trained and funded guides for the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Germantown.
            The records of the Business Men's Association of Germantown document many of these activities. In addition, they offer a valuable insight into the commercial development of Germantown and the concerns of small, local businessmen. Particularly useful are the relatively complete minutes of both the Board of Directors and the General Business meetings, which chronicle issues of importance to the Association. Correspondence and committee materials are less useful for civic activities, although several of the folders in the Activities series contain information concerning the post-.World War II development of Germantown and vicinity.


ORGANIZATION
 

The records are arranged in four series, as follows:
  • Series I: Administration
  • Series II: Activities
  • Series III: Membership and Finances
  • Series IV: Printed Matter and Clippings


Series I. Administration


The minutes, reports and correspondence comprising this series chronicle the issues and activities that galvan.ized the Association. Detailed board of directors' min.utes (1897-1981) and general membership meeting minutes (1906-1981) provide insights into not only the Business Men but also into the general economic and social history of Germantown itself. The concern over ice removal and citizen injuries during the winter of 1913-1914, or the attempt to remove beggars and vagrants from Germantown streets during the depresssion are examples of the issues evident in the minutes. In addition, this series contains some officers' annual reports, the president's corres.pondence, and the reports of various committees.

 

Series II. Activities
 

Divided into two subseries, civic activities and promo.tional activities, records contain correspondence and printed material documenting Association involvement in a wide range of movements. The civic activities in.clude material on the Business Men's work with such Better Business Bureau, the Greater Philadelphia Movement and the Afro-American Federation, as well as its activities in city planning, transportation and community activism. The promotional and social subseries covers such events as sales days, historic celebrations, merchandising surveys, dinner dances, outings and testi.monials, both for the Association and the broader public.

Series III. Membership and Finances
 

Comprised of membership applications and resignations, and treasurer's reports, dues sheets, and other financial papers, this group of records offer additionall insight into the activities and composition of the Association.

Series IV. Printed Matter and Clippings
 

Among other items are membership directories (1928-1972), Germantown Yearbooks (1936-1942), the official souvenir program from the July 4th, 1900 celebration, picnic albums, clippings and scrapbooks, and a treasurer's account book from 1910.

Deposited in four groups from Craig Alberg, Germantown Community Council, January 1972, from Scattergood, Executive Director of the Association, May 1981, and from Dennis Harrison, President of the Association in February and March, 1982. Accession nos. 105A, 457, 502 and 507.


INVENTORY
 

Series I: Administration

Box 1
1 Charter and Constitution, 1898-1928
2 By-Laws, 1929-1974
3 History and Achievements, 1898-1959

Board of Directors

4 Elections and Membership, 1909, 1929-1936
5 Meeting Dates, 1928
6-15 Meeting Minutes, 1897-1937

Box 2
16-29 Meeting Minutes, 1938-1963

Box 3
30-41 Meeting Minutes, 1964-1977

Box 4
42-43 Meeting Minutes, 1978-1981
44 Committee Appointments, 1913-1929

Executive Officers

45 President's Annual Report, 1930-1939
46-57 President's Correspondence, 1903-1933, 1947-1967

Box 5
58-65 President's Correspondence, 1968-1975

Box 6
66-68 President's Correspondence, 1976-1979
69 Secretary's Annual Report, 1913-1920, 1930

Committee Papers

70-71 Atlantic City Excursion, 1939-1941
72-78 Banquet, 1914-1952

Box 7
79 Bowling, 1947-1954
80 Budget, 1930
81 By-Laws, 1941-1955
82-83 Christmas Decorations, 1930, 1940-1941, 1959-1960
84 Comprehensive Plans, 1931
85 Entertainment, 1928-1929
86 Fourth of July, 1919-1920
87 Improvement, 1962-1965
88-89 Membership, 1913, 1931, 1962-1965
90-91 Merchants' Promotion, 1951-1960
92 Miscellaneous, 1914-1932
93 Nominating, 1963-1971
94 Outings, 1962-1973

Box 8
95-96 Outings, 1974-1976
97 Program of Activities, 1927-1932
98 Promotions, 1970-1975
99-100 Publicity, 1931, 1946-1950
101 Ways and Means, 1913-1927
102 Women, 1932

General Membership

103 Meeting Minute book, 1906-1913
104 Meeting Minutes, 1913-1914

Box 9
105-120 Meeting Minutes, 1915-1975
121-122 Newsletter, 1966-1981


Series II: Activities

Civic Activities

Box 10
1 Afro-American Federation, 1970
2 Awbury Arboretum Neighbors, 1978
3 Battle of Germantown Guides, undated
4 Better Business Bureau, 1949-1956
5 Boost Germantown, 1970-1971
6 Citizens Against the Fox-Abbotsford Incinerator, 1954
7-8 City Planning, 1949-1962
9 Civic Projects, 1943-1950
10 Civilian Defense, 1950
11-12 Colonial Germantown, 1963-1973
13 "Columbus in Chains" Stamp, 1948
14 Germantown Boys' Club, 1969-1972
15-16 Germantown Community Council, 1965-1973
17 Germantown Progress Celebration, 1937

Box 11
18 Germantown Project Area, 1973-1974
19 Germantown Realty Board, 1948
20 Germantown Redevelopment, 1969-1974
21 Germantown Yearbook, 1940-1941
22 Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, 1953- 1968
23 Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, 1966- 1968
24 Historic Germantown, 1925-1980
25 James S. Jones & Co., 1975
26 Labor Market Reports, 1949-1951
27 Leisure Hour Group, 1951-1952
28 Market Analysis, 1962
29 Market Square, undated
30 Mayor James Tate, 1964
31 Merchandising Course, 1965-1966
32 Other Community Organizations, 1963-1964
33-34 Pennsylvania Retailers' Association, 1966-1968
35 Philadelphia City Planning Commission, 1956

Box 12
36 Philadelphia Credit Bureau, 1927-1930
37 Press Releases, 1965-1971, 1979
38 Regional Library Branch, 1966-1967
39 Resolutions, 1914-1932
40 Rittenhouse Project, 1950
41 Roosevelt Blvd. Extension, 1950
42 Secretary of the Treasury, 1924
43 Services in Special Fields, 1947-1978
44 Speeches, 1931-1936, 1970
45 Street Ordinances, 1939-1976
46 Traffic and Parking Survey, 1956
47 Traffic Study, 1975
48 Transportation in Germantown, 1915-1933
49 Triennial Conclave, 1917-1919
50 Vernon Mansion, 1940
51 Veterans, 1947
52 War Finance Committee, 1944
53 Woman's Club of Germantown, 1927-1948
54 YMCA of Germantown, 1967

Promotional and Social Activities

55 Allen's Department Store Survey, undated
56 Buy and Bank Campaign, 1931
57-61 Dinner Dance, 1962-1966

Box 13
62-71 Dinner Dance, 1967-1976
72 Dollar Days, 1972
73 Easter Promotion, 1973
74 Executive Director Applicants, 1965
75 Germantown Dogwood Festival, 1941
76 Germantown Sales Days, 1952-1953
77 Germantown Value Days, 1953-1954

Box 14
78 Germantown Value Days, 1958-1959
79-81 Germantown Week, 1949-1952
82-83 Luncheon Notices, 1962-1964
84-86 Luncheon Speakers, 1965-1975
87 Membership Drive, undated
88 Police Christmas Party, 1968-1977
89 Promotion Literature, 1963-1966
90 Shower Bargains, 1972
91-92 Testimonial Dinners, 1964-1966
93 Washington's Birthday Sale, 1972


Series III: Membership and Finances

Box 15
1-5 Membership Applications, 1955-1978
6 Membership Directory, 1973-1974
7 Membership Miscellany, 1908-1932
8 Resignations, 1960-1974
9 Resolutions in Honor of Deceased Members, 1914- 1933
10-15 Treasurer's Reports, 1909-1928

Box 16
16-25 Treasurer's Reports, 1929-1982
26 Accounts File, 1940

Box 17
27-30 Accounts File, 1941-1946
31-34 Christmas Decorations Dues, 1954-1966
35 Dues Book, 1968-1972
36-37 Dues Sheets, 1936-1959

Box 18
38-46 Dues Sheets, 1936-1974
47 Dues Structure, 1965-1975
48-49 Financial Correspondence, 1967-1972

Box 19
50 Luncheon Receipts, 1943
51 Printing Costs, 1952
52-55 Publicity Campaign Accounts, 1945-1951
56 Publicity Fund Budget, 1945-1946
57 Receipts, 1959-1961
58 Receipts and Disbursements, 1939-1942
59 Special Events Expenses, 1926-1933
60-63 Tax Reports, 1937-1951
64 Unemployment Compensation Reports, 1937-1941


Series IV: Printed Matter and Clippings

1-3 Banquet Souvenirs, 1942-1969
4 Christmas Entertainment Booklet, 1904
5-8 Directory of Membership, 1928-1972
9 Germantown Crier, 1949-1950, 1971
10 Germantown Lamplighter, 1979
11 Germantown Looking Forward, undated
12 Germantown Rally, 1930
13 Germantown Redeveloped, 1960
14 Germantown Yearbook, 1936

Box 21
15-18 Germantown Year Book, 1937-1942
19 Meeting Nights Pamphlet, 1910
20 Official Souvenir Program, 1900
21 Picnic Album, 1955
22 Special Bulletin of the Business Men's Association, 1927

23 250th Anniversary of the Settlement of Germantown, 1933
24-25 Newspaper Clippings, 1927-1929

Box 22
26-33 Newspaper Clippings, 1930-1951

Box 23
34-35 Scrapbooks, 1960-1968

Box 24
36-38 Scrapbooks, 1930s-1950s
39 Treasurer's Ledger, 1910-1919