Wharton Centre (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records

Collection ID: 
URB 30, PC-30
Date: 
1913-1968
Footage: 
32 cubic feet
Collecting Area: 

 

Historical Note

The Wharton Centre is a settlement house providing social welfare, recreational and community services to the Black population of North Philadelphia, particularly in the neighborhood of 22nd Street and Columbia Avenue. It was established by the Whittier Centre (incorporated 1893), a South Philadelphia Black agency, to provide services to the growing Black population of North Philadelphia. Founded in 1931, the Wharton Centre instituted programs which spoke to the needs of an impoverished neighborhood. Day care, nurseries, and New Deal-related programs were established in the mid-1930s. The Centre concentrated on problems of young people by working with the National Youth Administration, setting up in-house recreation, athletic, and teen-age social activities, and by serving the needs of servicemen during World War II. Later an extensive youth-work program was established which included extensive contacts with juvenile gangs throughout North Philadelphia.

Much of the Wharton Centre's energies were expended on the housing problems of its clients. In its housing programs it primarily attempted to organize neighborhoods into block associations for the purpose of beautifying streets, converting vacant lots into playgrounds, organizing social events, and fostering awareness of the ability of organized citizens to change conditions in their neighborhoods. The Wharton Centre's housing programs were not directed towards political or institutional solutions to problems, but rather toward citizen action in limited areas where some success could be anticipated, especially where significant numbers of those citizens owned their own homes. An exception to this approach was the creation of the North Philadelphia Corporation in 1960, whose purpose was to issue shares to individuals in the community in order to raise capital to purchase and renovate properties in North Philadelphia.


Acquisition Information

 

Deposited by the Wharton Centre through Mr. Samuel O. Branham and Miss Claudia Grant, Executive Directors, 1970. Accession nos. 62 and 71.

 

Conditions Governing Access


Case records are only available with permission of the owner.

 

Organization and arrangement

 

The records of the Wharton Centre have been arranged into five series:
 
  • Series I: Administrative and General Files
  • Series II: Programs and Activities Conducted in the Centre's Building
  • Series III: Community, Housing and Youth Programs
  • Series IV: Other Organizations
  • Series V: Photographs 
 

Series I. Administrative and General Files. Administrative papers include annual and monthly reports and annual meetings (1913-1966) including a few of the Whittier Centre; files of Claudia Grant, Executive Director (1946-1962), and William R. Meek, counsellor and youth worker (1957-1968); membership policies and meetings (1950-1961); financial and public relations files (1937-1963); analyses of the Centre's work and studies of the neighborhood and community (1940-1962); staff policies, training programs and volunteer programs (1934-1966); and records of the Strawberry Mansion Centre, a recreation center taken over by the moved Wharton Centre in 1959 as Strawberry Mansion's Jewish population moved out and Blacks moved in. Its records include financial statements (1966-1968), social work training (1967-1968), meetinggs (1959-1967), and program activities (1960s).

Series II. Programs and Activities Conducted in the Centre's Building. This series is subdivided into sections on administration, clubs (social and special), recreation, nursery, day camp, Works Progress Administration, National Youth Administration, Neighborhood Youth Corps, Art Center, aand summer camp. Administrative papers include House Activities Committee and House Council (1937- 1952 , 1961); program evaluations , schedules , aids, and staff (1933-1965); and workcamps (1940-1941). Clubs (1934-1964) include activities such as music, dance, scouts, dramatics, play groups and parents, but the papers consist largely of case records of several score social groups organized by teenagers to promote social and recreational activities, which were supervisedby staff social workers or by volunteers. Recreation files contain Athletic-Recreation Councils (1935 -1940, 1953-1956) and records of sports and gymnasium programs (1936-1957). Day nursery files include the history of day care at Wharton Centre, monthly reports (1943-1950), Auxiliary Committee and Parents Club (1941-1966), and case records (1941-1948).  Day camp files include Health and Welfare Council reports (1965-1966), correspondence, and mimeographed materials (1962-1968). Works Progress Administration and National Youth Administration files (1934-1942) include reports, annual reports, administration, and special projects. Neighborhood Youth Corps records (1964-1966) include staff meetings, monthly reports, and case records. (See also Greater Philadelphia Federation of Settlements records, URB 11/III). Art Center records include minutes (1963-1966), administration (1958-1963), a study of Arts in Neighborhood Life (1962), and exhibits. Summer camp files include a report and administrative records (1941) and case records (1936-1958).

Series III. Community, Housing and Youth Programs. This series has been subdivided as follows: community work, Block Council, housing programs, youth and gang work, and community incidents: "Community Work" files include 1) organizing, 2) contacts and groups, and 3) Child Health Conference questionnaires. "Organizing" (1944-1962) includes gang workers reports, 1944 PTC strike, community projects, local institutions and churches, recreation, Raymond Rosen Homes, Neighborhood Improvement Committee, Inter-Agency Committee, housing, urban renewal, civil rights, schools, crime and neighborhood gangs. "Contacts" and "Groups" (1941-1964) include North Philadelphia-wide groups, the 1964 (folders #38 ff), school integration, North City Congress (folders #49 ff), North Philadelphia Corporation, (folders #63 ff), North Philadelphia Housing Committee, Northwest Community Council (1941-1942), rodent control, Ridge and Columbia Avenue Businessmen's Association, and the Tenants League (late 1940s).


"The Child Health Conference" (1959-1960) was an attempt to have a public health clinic Strawberry Mansion. The questionnaires include information from about 160 respondents on size of home and number of rooms and inhabitants, race, income, and use of health facilities. "Block Council" files (1954-1964) include Executive Committee and Council minutes, programs and community activities (including a housing quality survey ca. 1960 , folder #122), committees, newsletter and records of individual block groups. "Housing programs" (1950-1964) include public housing, Raymond Rosen and Reynolds inspections and listings, and Operation CHIP (Coordinated Housing Improvement Program). Inspection files and CHIP files contain block-by-block and house-by-house descriptions of conditions in the Centre's neighborhood.

"Youth Work and Gang" records (1933-1964) include organizations such as Crime Prevention Association, Inter-Agency Committee for Youth, Philadelphia Youth Services Board, and records of a Juvenile Delinquency Conference held in Washington, D.C., in 1957. A special Operation Street Corner (1944.1962), was an attempt to reach youth in its own hangouts. Other files include information on community programs, police, employment for youth, and case records of clubs and gangs (1935-1963).


Series IV. Other Organizations.

Series V. Photographs. Photographs consist of 77 separate photographs and a few photographs mounted into scrapbooks. They are generally unidentified, undated, and depict African American children and youth in activities sponsored by the Centre. Includes some exterior views of Wharton's building, the Wharton Sounders basketball team, and ceramic and pottery works in Haiti.

 

Inventory

Series I: Administrative and General Files

Box 1

1 Whittier Centre annual reports, 1913-1920
1A-7 Annual meetings and reports, 1922-1966
8-16 Board of Directors--Minutes and other papers, 1931-1967

Box 2

17-22 Board of Directors--Minutes and other papers, 1931-1967
23-35 Claudia Grant papers, 1946-1962

Box 3

36-44 Claudia Grant papers, 1946-1962
45-46 History of Wharton Centre, 1927-1964
47-55 William R. Meek papers, 1957-1968

Box 4

56-64 William R. Meek papers, 1957-1968
65 Monthly reports, 1937-1958
66 Membership policies, 1950-1961
67 Membership meetings, 1958-1960
68 Membership drives, 1958-1960
69 Membership 1930s
70 Resource Directory Committee, 1955-1956

Box 5

71 Treasurers' reports
72 Organization charts
73 Correspondence, 1934-1961
74 Agency services and evaluations, 1945-1964
75-76 Administration of building
77-80 Applications for use of buildings, 1957-1960
81-86 News releases, newspaper clippings, 1937-1963

Box 6

87-92 Reports-Work of Centre; programs, 1940-1944
93-95 Area and neighborhood characteristics, 1949-1961
96 Outline of proposed study, 1962
97-102 Social work training and careers, 1960-1964

Box 7

103 Social work students--Temple University, 1940-1965
104-107 Social work students--Temple University, 1940-1965
108-111 Social work students--University of Pennsylvania
112 Social work students
Social work students--Theses (14)

Box 8

113-117 Volunteers--Temple University students, 1947- 1961

Box 9

118-120 Volunteers--Temple University students, 1947- 1961
121-133 Volunteers, 1934-1961
134-136 Staff meeting minutes, 1945-1966

Box 10

137-142 Staff meeting minutes, 1945-1966
143 Staff directories and charts, 1952-1961
144 Staff schedules, 1949-1953
145 Personnel policies; job descriptions; appointments, 1944-1963
146-146A Strawberry Mansion Center--Bylaws; meetings, 1959-1967
147-148 Strawberry Mansion Center--Correspondence, 1964-1968
149 Strawberry Mansion Center--Financial statements, 1966-1968
150-151 Strawberry Mansion Center--Program and activities, 1960s

Box 11

152-153 Strawberry Mansion Center--Program and activities, 1960s
154 Strawberry Mansion Center--Staff, 1964-1966
155-157 Strawberry Mansion Center--Social work students, 1967-1968
158 Strawberry Mansion Center--Publicity photographs
159 United Fund--Torch Drives
160-162 United Fund--Agency budgets, 1932-1964
163-166 United Fund--Agency reviews, 1948-1963

Box 12

167 United Fund--Public Relations manual; annual report (1962); memos, 1959-1964
167A Welfare Federation--reports of agency activities, 1930 - 1935
168-169 Longhand notes, memos, minutes
170-171 Letters and photographs from soldiers during World War II
172 Inter-Settlement Council, 1940

Series II: Programs and Activities Conducted in the Centre's Building

General

1 House Activities Committee, 1952, 1961
1A House Councils, 1937-1950
2 Program evaluation, 1963-1965
3 Seasonal program, 1945-1947
4-5 Summer program, 1945-1965
6 Programs, 1933-1962
7 Special activities, 1937-1960

Box 12A

8-10 Special activities, 1937-1960
10A-11 Schedules, 1954-1961
12-13 Program staff, 1943-1956
14-15 Program aids and materials
16 Children's program, 1935-1936, 1945-1948
17-19 Enrollments, 1939-1950, 1960

Box 13

20-21A Enrollments, 1939-1950, 1960
22 Work camps, 1940-1941
23 Doll library, 1932-1951
24 Music instruction, 1934-1942
25 Singing classes and choruses, 1940-1962
26-27 Dance classes, 1935-1957
28-29 Girls clubs, 1935-1947
30-31 Mothers clubs, 1936-1949
32 Boys clubs, 1937-1946

Box 14

33 Boys clubs, 1937-1946
34-38 Children's play groups, 1939-1947
39 Education classes, 1939-1941
Drivers education and statistics, (North Philadelphia), 1939-1940
40-41 Scouts, 1940-1948
42-43 Adult classes, 1941-1953
44-45 Parents club, 1946-1965

Box 15

46 Dramatics, 1941-1952
47 First aid and nursing, 1941-1943
48-54 Teenagers activities, 1942-1963
55 Children's parties, 1948-1949
56-57 Tot Lots, 1942-1956

Box 16

58-61 Special events and activities, 1942-1954
62-66 Group attendance records, 1960-1966

Box 17

67-78 School Settlement Program--Opportunity Clubs, 1966-1967
79 Social clubs listing; group work, 1937-1963

Box 18

80-88 Social clubs (alphabetically; see list in preceding folder: URB 30/II/79), 1934-1964 (Restricted)

Box 19

89-98 Social clubs (alphabetically; see list in preceding folder: URB 30/II/79), 1934-1964 (Restricted)

Box 20

99-110 Social clubs (alphabetically; see list in preceding folder: URB 30/II/79), 1934-1964 (Restricted)

Box 21

111-120 Social clubs (alphabetically; see list in preceding folder: URB 30/II/79), 1934-1964 (Restricted)

Box 22

121-131 Social clubs (alphabetically; see list in preceding folder: URB 30/II/79), 1934-1964 (Restricted)

Box 23

132-140 Social clubs (alphabetically; see list in preceding folder: URB 30/II/79), 1934-1964 (Restricted)

Box 24

141-149 Social clubs (alphabetically; see list in preceding folder: URB 30/II/79), 1934-1964 (Restricted)

Box 25

150-157A Social clubs (alphabetically; see list in preceding folder: URB 30/II/79), 1934-1964 (Restricted)
157B Older adults--group work, 1962

Recreation

158-160 Athletic-Recreation Councils, 1935-1940, 1953-1956

Box 26

161 After-school program for youth, 1943. City of Philadelphia, 1949-1955
162 Neighborhood Council-facilities at Vaux Junior High School, 1949
163-165 Sports programs, 1938-1957
166-168 Gymnasium programs, 1936-1952
169 Other activities, 1941-1942, 1954-1955

Day Nursery

170 History of day care at Centre, 1963
171-173 Administration, 1934-1962

Box 27

174-175 Administration, 1934-1962
176-179 Monthly reports, 1943-1950
180-183 Auxiliary Committee, 1947-1966
184 Parents' Clubs, 1941-1947, 1963
185 Supplies and menus, 1943-1944
186-187 Medical records, 1940-1945 (Restricted)

Box 28

188 Medical records, 1940-1945 (Restricted)
189-200 Case records, 1941-1948 (Restricted)

Box 29

201-213 Case records, 1941-1948 (Restricted)

Box 30

214-223 Case records, 1941-1948 (Restricted)

Box 31

224-233 Case records, 1941-1948 (Restricted)

Day Camp

234 Correspondence, 1956-1958
235 Health and Welfare Council report forms 1965-1966
236 Registrations for leaders 1958

Box 32

237-238 Mimeographed materials 1962-1968

Works Progress Administration

239 Organization and regulations 1937-1938
240-242 Reports and evaluations 1937-1942
243 Nursery 1936
244 Groups 1939-1940
244A Civil Works Administration, Local Works Division 1934- 1935

National Youth Administration

245 Annual report-Philadelphia area 1935-1936
246 Policy and administration 1939-1940
247 Correspondence 1935-1937
248 University of Pennsylvania project 1941-1942
249 Temple University 1941-1942
250-252 Workers 1939-1941

Neighborhood Youth Corps

253 Staff meetings 1965-1966
254 Administration 1964-1966
255 Monthly reports 1965-1966

Box 33

256 Monthly reports 1965-1966
257 Art camp 1966
258 Job descriptions
259-267 Case records (Restricted)

Art Center

268 Minutes 1963, 1966
269 Administration 1958-1963

Box 34

270-271 Arts in Neighborhood Life 1962
272-274 Exhibits 1943-1963

Summer Camp

275-277 Report and administration 1941
278 Case records 1941 (Restricted)
279 Miscellaneous case records 1936-1958 (Restricted)

Series III: Community, Housing and Youth Programs

Community Work

1-5 Community organizing 1944-1962

Box 35

6-18 Community organizing 1944-1962

Box 36

19-30 Community organizing 1944-1962
31 Community contacts 1945-1962

Box 37

32-37 Community contacts 1945-1962
38-44 Community groups 1941-1964

Box 38

45-59 Community groups 1941-1964

Box 39

60-71 Community groups 1941-1964

Box 40

72-84 Community groups 1941-1964

Box 41

85-86 Community groups 1941-1964
87-96 Child Health Conference questionnaire 1959-1960

Box 42

97-107 Child Health Conference questionnaire 1959-1960

Block Council

Box 43

108-110 Executive Committee and Council minutes 1956-1964
111-122 Programs and community activities 1949, 1955-1964

Box 44

123 Programs and community activities 1949, 1955-1964
124-126 Correspondence 1954-1960
127 Housing and Zoning Committee 1957-1964
128-129 Membership Committee 1957-1960
130 Police Problems Committee 1956-1960
Social Problems Committee 1960
Planning Committee 1956
131-133 Newsletter 1956-1962
134-137 Window box garden projects 1954-1964

Box 45

138-145 Block groups 1946, 1954-1959

Housing Programs

146 Housing conferences 1961-1962
147 Friends Self-Help 1956 Wharton Centre's Housing Programs 1950-1964
148-152 Public housing 1950-1960
153 Reynolds Site public housing 1959-1961

Box 46

154-165 Reynolds Site public housing 1959-1961

Box 47

166-167 Raymond Rosen public housing 1950-1955
168-171 Inspections, listings, vacancies 1950-1962
172-176 Operation CHIP (Coordinated Housing Improvement Program) 1950

Youth and Gang Work

177-181 Organizations and committees 1933-1962

Box 48

182-190 Operation Street Corner 1944-1962
191-192 Area Youth Work 1958-1964
193-197 Community programs 1934-1962

Box 49

198-200 Employment for youth 1959-1962
201-208 Clubs and gangs 1935-1949 (Restricted)
209-210 Clubs and gangs 1950-1955 (Restricted)

Box 50

211-221 Clubs and gangs 1950-1955 (Restricted)

Box 51

222-233 Clubs and gangs 1950-1955 (Restricted)

Box 52

234-246 Clubs and gangs 1950-1963 (Restricted)

Box 53

247-250 Clubs and gangs 1955-1963 (Restricted)

Community Incidents

251 North Philadelphia fire 1942
252 PTC strike 1944 North Philadelphia rent strike 1964
253 Other incidents

Series IV: Other Organizations

1 American Friends Service Committee 1952-1956
2 Citizens Committee on Public Education 1962-1964
3 Citizens Council on Public Education 1944
4-6 Crime Prevention Association 1946, 1958-1962 (R)
7-8 Free Library of Philadelphia 1961-1968
9 Freedoms Foundation 1953
10 Friends Neighborhood Guild 1962-1963

Box 54

11 Friends, Society of 1964-1965
12-23 Greater Philadelphia Federation of Settlements 1949- 1968

Box 55

24 Greater Philadelphia Federation of Settlements 1949- 1968
25-35 Health and Welfare Council, Inc. 1932-1962

Box 56

36-38 Health and Welfare Council, Inc. 1932-1962
38A Legislative Information Service 1965
39 National Association of Social Workers 1956-1961
40 National Council of Negro Women 1959
41-49 National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers 1933-1967
50-50A New Haven, Connecticut 1963
51 Pennsylvania Citizens Association 1950-1951

Box 57

52 Philadelphia. Capital Budget 1953-1960
53 Philadelphia. City Planning Commission 1954-1960
54 Philadelphia. Commission on Human Relations 1957-1960
55 Philadelphia. Housing Authority 1960-1962
56 Philadelphia. Redevelopment Authority 1957-1959
56A Philadelphia Art Teachers' Association 1965
57 Philadelphia Bridge Unit 1966-1967
58-63 Philadelphia Council for Community Advancement 1962-1965
63A Philadelphia Fellowship Commission 1960-1961
64 Philadelphia Tutorial Project 1962-1963
65 Planned Parenthood Association 1961-1965
66 Powelton Village Development Associates 1960-1961

Box 58

67-69 School District of Philadelphia 1955-1967
70 Singing City 1963
71 Union League of Philadelphia 1955-1964
72 United States. Civilian Conservation Corps 1937
73 United States. Office of Economic Opportunity 1965-1966
74 United States. Peace Corps 1962
75 University of Pennsylvania-placement service
76 Urban League 1957-1964
77 Workers Alliance of America 1936
78 World Affairs Council 1957-1960
79 Youth Civic Council 1940
80 YMCA of Philadelphia 1960
81 Women's clubs in Philadelphia
82 Agencies outside Philadelphia
83 Fellowship House and Farm 1960
84 Other agencies



Series V. Photographs
 
1 Ceramics and Pottery Works in Haiti (8)
2 Ceramics Class (2)
3 Cleaning Streets and Lots, Mostly Youths (10)
4 Color Prints (2)
5 Dancers in Costume (5)
6 Guy Rodgers Speaks at Meeting (1)
7 Main Entrance, 1708 N. 22nd Street (2)
8 Model Aircraft (2)
9 Parents Party, 1954 (1)
10 Parties and Dances (3)
11 Portraits, Unidentified (25)
12 Robin Hood Dell (2)
13 Wharton Table, Freedom Day Dinner, February 1, 1955 (1)
14 Singing Group (2)
15 Wharton Sounders, Basketball Team, 1934-1936, 1938, 1949-1950 (4)
16 Women's Sewing Group (1)
17 Youth Activities (5)
 
Scrapbooks
 
Wharton's Way to Freedom, Introducing "Operation Street Corner", 1952-1953
Includes five mounted photographs of youth loitering outside a bar, playing cards in the street, clearing a backyard, standing around a piano, and playing basketball on a court, and three mounted photographs of nursery school children playing on a slide, eating, and brushing their teeth.
 
Untitled Scrapbook containing the following mounted photographs:
Large group of children and youth in empty lot ca. 1930 (1);
Boys and girls groups in crafts activities (4);
Girls work at crafts and flea market table (4);
Boys (Wharton Sounders) and girls basketball teams (2);
Group of men and police on street possibly emptying truck (3)


Maps

Street, building and land-use maps of North Philadelphia (Located in Map Case # 3)