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Guide to the James R. Dumpson Papers
circa 1922-2015
 MS 3078

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Joseph Ditta

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 05, 2019
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Contents

The James R. Dumpson Papers span Dr. Dumpson's long and busy working life—he remained active into his tenth decade—in the field of social welfare both at home and abroad. The collection includes a vast number of speeches, conference papers, and articles, not to mention the contributions Dumpson made to various publications. (See Series I and Series VIII.)

Dumpson's correspondence, while spread throughout the collection, is spotty, and grouped largely in nine folders covering the years 1930–2008. Of interest are the letters he received as New York City's Commissioner of Welfare, when social workers of his department staged a month-long strike for better pay and more manageable caseloads in January 1965. (See Series II.)

The collection includes a large amount of "memorabilia" (Dumpson's designation) that was originally stored in binders and in scrapbooks, a mixture of ephemera, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and publications documenting Dumpson's educational, professional, and private life. (See Series III.)

Personal material is limited to a few financial papers and receipts, citations, and a folder of photographs of Dumpson, either solo portraits, or posed with New York City officials and visiting dignitaries, at casual functions and award ceremonies. (See Series IV.)

From his tenure as dean of Fordham University's Graduate School of Social Service, the collection holds a mix of correspondence, administrative memos, accreditation reports, and information on the naming of a chair in his honor in 1980—the James R. Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Services. (See Series V.)

Dumpson's international social welfare activities are documented by material from his time during the 1950s as United Nations Advisor and Chief of Training in Social Welfare to the then newly-formed Government of Pakistan, and his work during the 1960s and 1970s for the United States Senate Sub-Committee on Refugees and Escapees in South Vietnam. (See Series VI.)

The collection contains a number of single-topic files—such as those covering Dumpson's time as administrator of the New York City Human Resources Administration—and a significant amount of loose and unlabeled material that defies precise categorization, but relates broadly to the perennial issues of social welfare. (See Series VII.)

Dumpson assembled a range of printed publications—books, pamphlets, periodicals, government documents, and conference proceedings—many of which include chapters or prefatory contributions by him. While most publications in the collection center on social welfare generally, some focus on specific issues like aging, or black children in foster care. And some, such as a 1922 monograph on Renaissance art and poetry, seem to date from Dumpson's school days. (See Series VIII.)

Lastly, a small amount of phonograph and VHS recordings capture Dumpson's appearances on New York City-based radio and television broadcasts discussing, among other topics, juvenile delinquency, the AIDS crisis, and homelessness. (See Series IX.)

Researchers should be aware that the Fordham University Library Archives holds a significant collection of James R. Dumpson's papers (11 linear feet in 13 boxes). As of this writing (March 2019), Fordham's online finding aid [] is not functioning, but a copy saved by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine remains visible. (Paper copies may also be found in the present, New-York Historical Society, collection, in box 6, folder 14.)


The James R. Dumpson Papers are organized in nine series:

Series I. Speeches, articles, papers, remarks, 1932-2005

Series II. Correspondence, 1930-2008

Series III. Memorabilia and Scrapbooks, 1928-2009

Series IV. Personal, 1950s-2012

Series V. Fordham University, 1965-1996

Series VI. International Social Welfare, 1952-2001

Series VII. Miscellaneous files, binders, and loose material, circa 1930-2015

Series VIII. Print matter, 1922-2009

Series IX. Audiovisual, 1946-1992