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Guide to The Boys' Club of New York Records
1876-2002
 MS 3000

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Susan Kriete

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on April 20, 2017
Description is in English

Scope and Contents Note

The Boys' Club of New York Records document the history of the organization and also reflect the social history of the neighborhoods where BCNY was located (the Lower East Side and East Harlem). In addition, this collection supports research on topics such as immigration trends, race relations, feminism, philanthropy and social work, mentoring, education trends, and organized activities of children both in the city and at wilderness camp sites.

The collection includes a wide range of records, including Board minutes, correspondence, memos, financial records, annual reports and other publications (including some produced by member boys), newspaper clippings, historical sketches, scrapbooks, invitations, programs, certificates, and many other types of ephemera.

Photographs make up a significant portion of the collection, and are arranged by subject, such as street scenes, buildings, sports, recreation, arts and crafts, Little Sister shows, camp, theatrical productions, benefits, and numerous other topics. Also included are a variety of records stored on electronic and digital media, including films about BCNY dating back to the 1940's.

Collection materials are organized into nine series, as described briefly below. For a more detailed description of the contents, see the Scope and Contents notes provided for each individual series.

Series I, Organizational Records, includes articles of incorporation, board minutes, and trustee and committee files, documenting the leadership and general operation of BCNY.

Series II, Programs and Operations, contains records relating to specific programs of BCNY, including its Education Program and the Dental Clinic.

Series III, Financial Documents, includes financial statements and audit reports as well as ledgers pertaining to the operation of the dental clinic.

Series IV, Publications and Articles, includes BCNY's annual reports, a rich source of information about the activities and services provided by the organization, as well as the neighborhoods in which it operated. Early annual reports in particular, with titles like "A Flame Beneath the Melting Pot," describe in essays and photographs the social and economic conditions of the time. This series also includes copies of the boys' in-house publications, published and unpublished histories and reminiscences, newspaper and journal articles about the club and its leaders, and promotional and fundraising pamphlets.

Series V, Alumni Association, contains meeting minutes, correspondence, newsletters, event programs, and other material relating to the activities of the Alumni Association, founded in 1928. Also included are the reminiscences and scrapbooks of George Flatow, an early Club member and one of the founding members of the Alumni Association.

Series VI, Benefit Events and Fundraising, consists primarily of correspondence and ephemera (invitations, programs, raffle tickets, etc.) from various BCNY benefit events, including the Fall and Spring Dances, theater and movie benefits, fashion shows, golf benefits, and the Annual All Sports Hall of Fame Dinner. There is also a smaller amount of material relating to the annual Christmas drive and other fundraising efforts.

Series VII, Photographs, provides a rich visual record of BCNY's activities from the 1890's to the 2000's. The 1940's and 1950's are especially well documented in photographs, including many by photographer Sam Reiss. Photographs are arranged by topic, and document the activities of member boys as well as fund-raising and other organizational events.

Series VIII, Scrapbooks and Ephemera, contains scrapbooks from trips made by BCNY athletic teams and an Education Program scrapbook, as well as multiple scrapbooks of news clippings. Also included is a variety of loose ephemera such as programs (including many from BCNY theatrical productions), invitations, menus, fliers, certificates and other types of "throwaway" items. Of particular interest are items from the first decade of the 20th century, such as event schedules prepared by BCNY's first superintendent, Francis Tabor, and the Constitution of the Senior Club. In addition, this series includes objects such as t-shirts, athletic medals and two vinyl records.

Series IX, Digital Media, includes a variety of materials stored on electronic and digital media, including floppy discs, DVD's, CD's, cassette tapes, and reel-to-reel film rolls. The majority of these are films documenting BCNY events and performances, or television segments about the organization. Also included are more recent office files, a few educational films, and a few feature films that were presumably shown at the clubhouses.