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Guide to the Records of the Travelers Aid Society of New York
1917-1979
  MS 635

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Susan Kriete

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on February 24, 2021
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents more than 60 years of efforts by the Travelers Aid Society of New York ("TAS") to help meet the needs of women, children, and, eventually, men, traveling to or through New York City. The collection is arranged by subject matter and/or type of material and is housed in 10 archival boxes and one oversize box. Documentary materials include board minutes, annual reports, some press articles and speeches, and a few memoranda which provide a general overview of the organization's history, purpose, and operations. There are also a number of photographs of clients, TAS workers, board members, and organizational and fundraising events; though these appear to date primarily from the 1940's to 1960's, there are also a few shots from earier decades. The collection does not include station reports or casework materials documenting the day-to-day activities of the workers.

These materials provide an overview of the changing face of travel and travelers as the 20th century progressed; the organization's efforts to adapt to these changes also reflect the tumultuous social upheaval of this time period. Though its original mission was to protect women travelers, TAS soon broadend its scope to encompass the floods of male immigrants arriving in equal need of help; with the advent of WWI, TAS began serving increasing numbers of African-Americans mobilized by newly available jobs; during the Great Depression, TAS changed its focus from the piers to train and bus stations, where transient men and boys were arriving by the thousands in search of work; when the U.S. entered WWII, TAS, under the auspices of the United Service Organization ("USO"), began operating Troops-in-Transit lounges for traveling servicement and women; and in the post-War era, TAS increasingly focused on "problem cases" involving seniors or runaway teenagers.

Despite the lack of detailed case reports, the collection illustrates the development of social welfare organizations and social work in the United State. It was one of the first organizations to employ the services of a psychiatrist, and by the 1920's was sending its caseworkers for formal training at the School of Social Work in New York City.

Arrangement

The Travlers Aid Society of New York collection has been organized by type of material into the following seven series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Minutes, 1917-1979 (excluding 1930 and 1970-1972)
  2. Series II: Annual Reports, 1917-1979
  3. Series III: Organizational Records, 1938-1978
  4. Series IV: Public Relations, [1950's-1979]
  5. Series V: Real Estate documents, 1945-1981
  6. Series VI: Photographs [1920's-1970's]