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Germantown Community Council (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records: Collection Overview

Collection ID

URB 39, PC-42

Related Subject(s)

Collecting Area(s)


This finding aid is divided into 3 parts:

Part 1: Collection Overview
Part 2: Series 1-6
Part 3: Series 7-14

Collection Summary

Germantown Community Council (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records


Collection ID
URB 39, PC-42

Germantown Community Council (Philadelphia, Pa.)

66 boxes

Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries

Materials in English


Detailed Collection Information

Historical or Biographical Note

The Germantown Community Council was conceived in the fall of 1933 by a group of women from the Philadelphia neighborhood of Germantown who were concerned with the lack of coordination among the large number or organizations operating in Philadelphia's Twenty-second ward. The first formal meeting was held March 6, 1934, at which time fifteen organizations joined the Council. By 1958, membership had grown to 120 organizations and 250 individuals. The Council disbanded in the mid-1970s.

During the late 1930s and 1940s, the GCC restored Vernon, the historic Wister mansion, in Vernon Park and used it as its headquarters. The Council served as a clearing house of information and services for the various member organizations, which included businessmen's associations, churches, neighborhood civic associations, and youth groups in Germantown. It also sponsored events to promote community spirit in the area, especially through Germantown Week which started in 1948. Finally, the Council was concerned with housing, zoning, and social services available in Germantown.

The work of the Council was carried out through three divisions. The Administrative Division consisted of various Council operating committees' the Physical Planning Division was concerned with housing, clean streets, recreation, zoning, and urban renewal; the Community Services Division included the Human Rights Committee, Citizens' Mental Health Committee, Social Services Committee and the Schools Community Council, which coordinated activities among high school students in Germantown. GCC also acted as a coordinating and sponsoring agency for some of the "Great Society" youth employment programs of the mid-1960s, such as the Neighborhood Youth Corps, GIPSY (Germantown Improvement Program in the Summer for Youth), and JOY (Job Opportunities for Youth). The Germantown Human Relations Committee and Germantown Housing Committee were important member organizations of the GCC, and the records include interview schedules for the Human Relations Committee's Germantown Community Audit from 1950-1952.

Description of Collection

This collection consists of administrative records, annual reports, minutes of the executive committee, program files, membership records, financial records, research files, and correspondence. Photographs include views of housing and streets in the Germantown area, the Vernon building, a public health center, the Eastern Psychiatric Institute, and the Queen Lane Housing Project. Most images depict activities at the Vernon Fair during Germantown Week. Photographs also include portraits of artists Beatrice Fenton and Frederick Gill. Photographers include Richard Kaplinski, Mike Maicher, Joseph Morsello, Edward Murray, Sam Nocella, Len Overturf, Albert Renick, and Jules Schick. The majority of photographs in this collection are undated with little if any descriptive information.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 14 series as follows: 

Series 1:  Background and Board of Directors, 1938-1969
Series 2:  Executive Director and Personnel, 1946-1973
Series 3:  Administrative Division, 1935-1965
Series 4:  Physical Planning Division, 1948-1967
Series 5:  Community Services Division; Schools Community Council (SCC), 1947-1970
Series 6:  Programs and Activities; Germantown Week, 1935-1968
Series 7:  Youth Employment Programs: Neighborhood Youth Corps (NYC); Germantown Improvement Program in the Summer for Youth (GIPSY); Job Opportunities for Youth (JOY), 1964-1968
Series 8:  Membership and Financial Records, 1936-1968
Series 9:  Member Organization Records, 1946-1967
Series 10:  Public and Private Agencies in Germantown, 1951-1968
Series 11:  Other Public and Private Agencies, 1952-1968
Series 12:  Coordinating Agencies, 1950-1967
Series 13:  Research Files; Miscellaneous, 1944-1969
Series 14: Photographs (PC-42), circa 1939-1961

Patron Information

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Temple University’s online library catalog: http://diamond.temple.edu/record=b1708693~S12

Research Access

Collection is open for research.

Collections Stored Off-Site

This collection may be housed off-site at the Library Depository, and require up to two business days to retrieve. Please review the finding aid and be prepared to identify specific materials to be retrieved. Contact the Special Collections Research Center in advance of your visit, so that materials may be relocated to the reading room for research.

Publication and Copyright Information

The Germantown Community Council (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records are in custody of the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries. Intellectual property rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for determining the identity of rights holders and obtaining their permission for publication and for other purposes where stated.

Preferred Citation

[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], Germantown Community Council (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records, URB 39, PC-42, Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Germantown Community Council through Craig Alberg, in January 1972, Accession 105. 

Processing Information

Finding aid revised according to contemporary archival standards in July 2015.


Index Terms

The following headings have been used to index the description of this collection in Temple University’s electronic catalog:

Corporate Names:
Germantown Community Council (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Community organization -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Neighborhoods -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia

Germantown (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Philadelphia (Pa.)

Material Types
Administrative records
Attendance records
Bylaws (administrative records)
Case files
Financial records
Ledgers (account books)
Legal documents
Mailing lists
Membership lists