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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
Phone: (212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Susan Kriete

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 03, 2018
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Travelers Aid Society of New York records
Dates [inclusive]: 1917-1979
Abstract: The collection documents the history of the Travelers Aid Society of New York, an organization founded in 1905 to assist women travelers, and eventually expanded to aid all travelers. It consists of board minutes, annual reports, a few press articles and speeches, and a number of photographs of clients, TAS workers, board members, and organizational and fundraising events.
Quantity: 4.5 Linear Feet (10 archival boxes and 1 oversize box)
Call Phrase: MS 635

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Historical Note

Missing Title
1905 March Social welfare worker and philanthropist Grace Hoadley Dodge founds the New York Travelers Aid Society ("TAS"), a non-sectarian welfare organization headed by a committee of Jewish, Roman Catholic and Protestant women. Initially aimed solely at protecting women travelers, TAS sets forth the following three objectives at its first meeting: "(1) Protection for traveling women as complete as possible in a world of incompleteness; (2) A building dedicated to her comfort especially if she be poor and in distress; (3) An employment clearing house through which a steady circulation between city and country may take place benefiting both."
1905 July TAS begins active work at Grand Central and Pennsylvania Station, carried out by two agents. Headquarters are in a one-room office at 361 W. 34th Street.
1905 November Advisory Board of Men formed chiefly to provide advice on legal and business matters.
1907 January TAS is formally incorporated; office is now at 238 48th Street.
1909 September One room in TAS headquarters is reserved to provide emergency accomodations for women and girl travelers arriving too late to find other shelter.
1910 Grace Hoadley Dodge resigns as President.
1911 TAS constitution is revised to allow men to serve on the Board of Directors; annual report notes that although organization's most important work is performed for women, men are also being helped "solely on ground of necessity." A "Department of National Cooperation" is established to further goal of cooperation with other social work agencies, both within and between cities.
1914 Grace Hoadley Dodge dies. TAS takes over work of the White Rose Home (a home for African-American girls in Harlem) for "colored travelers coming from the south by boat."
1917 U.S. enters WWI. TAS annual report indicates that 30,422 persons were assisted "notwithstanding the great decrease in steamer travel;" also reports "increased work for colored people" due to "labor conditions caused by the withdrawal of many men for the army" and "the shortage of food on the Islands [which] have caused a large migration to and through New York." National Travelers Aid Society is formed to coordinate efforts of the various local Travelers Aid organizations, with headquarters in New York City.
1918 End of WWI; TAS assists thousands of war brides and fiances in following years.
1919 TAS annual report notes that a large portion of work is devoted to caring for people who have left home due to war conditions, including many American girls and women traveling to fill new openings in industry. TAS becomes a member of the National Conference of Social Work.
1921 Service is provided to increasing numbers of old people and homeless men.
1923 According to annual report, work at Pennsylvania Station has greatly increased "due to the migration of large groups of colored people from the South, which necessitated our adding a colored worker to our staff to assist in caring for them." TAS begins sending some of its workers to the New York School of Social Work for formal training.
1924 May Edwin Gould Foundation donates use of building at 144 E. 44th Street for TAS headquarters; also donates use of connecting property at 139 E. 43rd Street to open TAS-run Guest House.
1925 TAS becomes one of the first social work organization to provide psychiatric services to its clients.
1930s Great Depression; TAS takes on added responsibility of providing assistance to thousands of "transient homeless men and transient families."
1931 TAS services begin to shift away from Port Office to bus stations and the TAS Central Office, where transient unemployed are referred.
1935 Annual report reflects new emphasis on "preventive" nature of TAS in discouraging "undesirable people from settling here and becoming public charges."
1939 New Yorker magazine publishes article on work of TAS; reports that increasing numbers of the foreigners served are returning American citizens.
1940 TAS workers meet 546 children refugees from the British Isles. National Travelers Aid Society organization joins with five other national welfare organizations to form the United Services Organization for National Defense, Inc. ("USO").
1941 U.S. enters WWII; Mrs. Edna Moses, sister of Robert Moses, is named Supervisor of joint USO-Travelers Aid Society Services. Additional information desks are opened in Grand Central and Pennsylvania Stations for exclusive use of service men and their families.
1942 March In conjunction with the USO, TAS opens Service Men's Lounge in Pennsylvania Station for traveling servicemen and women.
1942 October "Red, White and Blue Lounge" opens in Grand Central Station; it is the largest Service Men's lounge in the country.
1945 March TAS changes name from "Travelers Aid Society" to "Travelers Aid Society of New York" to avoid confusion with national organization.
1945 April TAS purchases properties at E. 43rd and E. 44th Street from the Edwin Gould Foundation.
1946 June Service Men's Lounges are closed.
1950 Outbreak of Korean War; U.S. State Department requests TAS to meet all individually sponsored Displaced Persons.
1951 USO lounge opened in Pennsylvania Station on temporary basis; USO Information Center opened in Diplomat Hotel (TAS Board later reports concern over rumors that this is a meeting place for many union and communist front organizations). TAS also opens booth in the new Port Authority bus terminal.
1953 With funding provided by Puerto Rican government, TAS begins providing services at Idlewood (now Kennedy) Airport.
1955 TAS celebrates its "Golden Jubilee" year; also purchases property at 204 E. 39th Street.
1958 Board minutes document increase in cases involving teenagers and seniors (persons over 65).
1960 TAS offices at Grand Central are demolished to make room for 54-story Pan Am Building.
1962 TAS office space at Pennsylvania Station absorbed by Madison Square Garden.
1965 TAS takes over travelers aid services in Newark, N.J., and surrounding area; board minutes reflect increasing concern over budget deficits.
1968 TAS opens Evelyn A. Jaffee Travelers Aid Center in Grand Central Station; launches experimental group counseling project for runaway children.
1982 TAS merges with Victim Services Agency to form the Metropolitan Assistance Corporation.

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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]

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Dodge, Grace Hoadley

Document Type

  • Deeds.
  • Annual reports.
  • Articles
  • Memoranda
  • Minutes
  • Photographs.
  • Clippings (information artifacts)

Subject Organizations

  • Travelers Aid Society of New York

Subject Topics

  • Social service -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Travelers Aid societies -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Charities -- New York (State) -- New York.

Subject Places

  • New York (N.Y.) -- Social conditions -- 20th century
  • New York (N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Use Restrictions

Permission to quote from this collection in a publication must be requested and granted in writing. Send permission requests, citing the name of the collection from which you wish to quote, to

Manuscripts Curator
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Records of the Travelers Aid Society of New York, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Material at The New-York Historical Society

A full set of annual reports, and a collection of other printed materials pertaining to the Travelers Aid Society of New York (informational pamphlets, fund raising literature, and programs to accompany benefit events), are cataloged separately in the New-York Historical Society library's general collections.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donation of the Metropolitan Assistance Corporation, 1985

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Container List

Series I: Minutes, 1917 - 1979

Scope and Contents note

This series includes an almost complete set of minutes of Board of Directors meetings (generally held monthly) from December, 1917 through 1979; there are no minutes for 1930 through March, 1931, or for the years 1970-1972. The minutes contain discussions of the current business of the TAS (including financial statements), reports of various committees, and descriptions of casework and efforts to adapt to changing social conditions and travelers needs. These transcripts also provide details about the death of Board members and employees, issues at the various ports and stations, relations with the national organization, staffing issues, publicity and fundraising efforts, and particulars regarding the purchase and maintenance of TAS offices and guesthouse properties. Also included are minutes of meetings of the Travelers Aid Society of Northern New Jersey, which was taken over by the Travelers Aid Society of New York in 1965. Researchers should note that these minutes, though removed from their original binders, have been organized into folders in their original order (often reverse chronological order). An example of the original binders has been retained.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Minutes
1917 December-1918
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Minutes
1919-1921
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Minutes
1922-1923
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Minutes
1924-1925
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Minutes
1926-1927
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Minutes
1928-1929
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Minutes
1931-1932
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Minutes
1933
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Minutes
1934-1935
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Minutes
1936-1937
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Minutes
1938
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Minutes
1939
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Minutes
1940
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Minutes
1941
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Minutes
1942 January-May
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Minutes
1942 June-December
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Minutes
1943 January-May
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Minutes
1943 June-December
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Minutes
1944 January-May
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Minutes
1944 June-December
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Minutes
1945 January-May
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Minutes
1945 June-December
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Minutes
1946 January-May
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Minutes
1946 June-December
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Minutes
1947 January-May
Box: 2 Folder : 12 Minutes
1947 June-December
Box: 2 Folder : 13 Minutes
1948 January-May
Box: 2 Folder : 14 Minutes
1948 June-December
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Minutes
1949 January-May
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Minutes
1949 June-December
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Minutes
1950 January-May
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Minutes
1950 June-December
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Minutes
1951 January-May
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Minutes
1951 June-December
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Minutes
1952 January-May
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Minutes
1952 June-December
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Minutes
1953 January-May
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Minutes
1953 June-December
Box: 3 Folder : 11 Minutes
1954
Box: 3 Folder : 12 Minutes
1955
Box: 3 Folder : 13 Minutes
1956
Box: 4 Folder : 1 Minutes
1957
Box: 4 Folder : 2 Minutes
1958
Box: 4 Folder : 3 Minutes
1959
Box: 4 Folder : 4 Minutes
1960
Box: 4 Folder : 5 Minutes
1961
Box: 4 Folder : 6 Minutes
1961 (2d copy)
Box: 4 Folder : 7 Minutes
1962
Box: 4 Folder : 8 Minutes
1962 (2d copy)
Box: 4 Folder : 9 Minutes
1963
Box: 4 Folder : 10 Minutes
1964
Box: 4 Folder : 11 Minutes
1965
Box: 4 Folder : 12 Minutes
1965 (2d copy)
Box: 5 Folder : 1 Minutes, TAS of Northern New Jersey
1963-1965
Box: 5 Folder : 2 Minutes, TAS of Northern New Jersey

General note

Includes minutes of the combined annual meeting of the New York/New Jersey TAS on May 24, 1966

1966-1967
Box: 5 Folder : 3 Minutes
1966 January-May
Box: 5 Folder : 4 Minutes
1966 June-December
Box: 5 Folder : 5 Minutes

General note

Includes minutes of the combined annual meeting of the New York/New Jersey TAS on April 10, 1967

1967 January-May
Box: 5 Folder : 6 Minutes
1967 June-December
Box: 5 Folder : 7 Minutes
1968 January-May
Box: 5 Folder : 8 Minutes
1968 June-December
Box: 5 Folder : 9 Minutes
1969 January-May
Box: 5 Folder : 10 Minutes
1969 June-December
Box: 5 Folder : 11 Minutes
1973
Box: 5 Folder : 12 Minutes
1974
Box: 5 Folder : 13 Minutes
1975 January-May
Box: 5 Folder : 14 Minutes
1975 June-December
Box: 6 Folder : 1 Minutes
1976 January-May
Box: 6 Folder : 2 Minutes
1976 June-December
Box: 6 Folder : 3 Minutes
1977 January-May
Box: 6 Folder : 4 Minutes
1977 June-December
Box: 6 Folder : 5 Minutes
1978 January-May
Box: 6 Folder : 6 Minutes
1978 June-December
Box: 6 Folder : 7 Minutes
1979 January-May
Box: 6 Folder : 8 Minutes
1979 June-December

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Series II: Annual Reports, 1917-1979

Scope and Contents note

This series contains TAS annual reports for the years 1917, 1927, 1931, 1935, 1936, 1942, 1945, 1950, 1952, 1960, 1962, 1967, 1969, 1974, 1975, 1978, and 1979. These reports include financial information, the names of officers, directors and executive staff, and a narrative description of the work performed in that year. A complete set of annual reports is housed separately in the general collections of the New-York Historical Society library (see Related Collections).

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 6 Folder : 9 Annual Reports
1917-1979 (some missing)

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Series III: Organizational Records, 1938-1978

Scope and Contents note

This series contains a Plan of Operation (1938), several memoranda and papers, and the Restated Certificate of Incorporation.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 6 Folder : 10 Plan of Operation
1938 March
Box: 6 Folder : 11 Memo re: Transportation of War Brides; Instructions for Administration of Civilian War Assistance Program
1946 May 17; circa 1948
Box: 6 Folder : 12 Presentation Paper on "Travel Service to Newcomers from Abroad"
1952 June
Box: 6 Folder : 13 Draft Paper on Past, Present and Future of Travelers Aid Program
1967 December 15
Box: 6 Folder : 14 Restated Certificate of Incorporation
1978 June 26

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Series IV: Public Relations, [1950-1979]

Scope and Contents note

This series consists of press articles and a miscellany of other public relations materials, including a handwritten letter from a (former?) TAS worker describing a few of her more memorable cases.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 6 Folder : 15 Press articles
1970s-1980s
Box: 6 Folder : 16 Speeches
1960s
Box: 6 Folder : 17 Publicity Release Forms
1970-1972
Box: 6 Folder : 18 Fundraising Documents
1977-1978
Box: 6 Folder : 19 Publicity Forms, Annual Campaign
1978-1979
Box: 6 Folder : 20 TAS worker's handwritten recollection of memorable cases
undated
Box: 6 Folder : 21 Various images, brochures and letters
undated
Box: 11 Folder : 1 Press articles (oversized)
1950s-1980s

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Series V: Real Estate Documents, 1945-1981

Scope and Contents note

This series contains documents relating to the purchase and sale of property for TAS operations.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 7 Folder : 1 Documents relating to TAS property at 140-146 E. 44th Street
1945 March-1956 August
Box: 7 Folder : 2 Documents relating to TAS property at 204-206 E. 39th Street
1955
Box: 7 Folder : 3 Appraisal of TAS property at 204-206 E. 39th Street
1981

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Series VI: Photographs, [1920s-1970s]

Scope and Contents note

This series includes photographs of clients, portraits of board members and donors, and pictures of meetings and fundraising events.

Subseries I: Photographs of clients, [1920s-1970s]

Scope and Contents note

It appears that most of the photographs in this series are posed shots of clients, sometimes with staff, that were intended to be used for promotional purposes. Because the photographs are largely undated, the dates assigned are approximate.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 7 Folder : 4 Photographs of clients--children
[1920's-1970's]
Box: 7 Folder : 5 Photographs of clients--elderly
[1930's-1970's]
Box: 7 Folder : 6 Photographs of clients--family
[1920's-1970's]
Box: 7 Folder : 7 Photographs of clients--family
[1920's-1970's]
Box: 7 Folder : 8 Photographs of clients with TAS workers
[1930's-1970's]
Box: 8 Folder : 1 Photographs of clients with TAS workers--Service Lounges
1940's
Box: 11 Folder : 2 Mock-ups of photographs and other promotional materials (oversized)
[1930's-1960's]

Subseries II: Photographs of TAS executives and events, [1940s-1970s]

Scope and Contents note

This subseries includes photographic portraits of board members and other individuals connected to TAS, as well as photographs of balls, benefits and other fund-raising events. The photographs are largely unidentified and undated; accordingly, the dates assigned are approximate.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 8 Folder : 2 Portraits
[1940's-1960's]
Box: 8 Folder : 3 Portraits
[1940's-1960's]
Box: 8 Folder : 4 Portraits
[1940's-1960's]
Box: 8 Folder : 5 Annual Meetings
1940's-1950's
Box: 8 Folder : 6 Campaign Publicity/Celebrity Shots
[1950's]
Box: 8 Folder : 7 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
1920's
Box: 8 Folder : 8 Campaign Publicity/USO Lounges
1940's
Box: 9 Folder : 1 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
1940's-1950's
Box: 9 Folder : 2 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
[1940's-1950's]
Box: 9 Folder : 3 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
[1940's-1950's]
Box: 9 Folder : 4 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
[1940's-1950's]
Box: 9 Folder : 5 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
[1950's]
Box: 9 Folder : 6 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
[1950's]
Box: 9 Folder : 7 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
[1950's]
Box: 9 Folder : 8 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
[1950's-1960's]
Box: 9 Folder : 9 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
[1950's-1960's]
Box: 9 Folder : 10 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
[1960's]
Box: 10 Folder : 1 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
[1960's]
Box: 10 Folder : 2 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
[1960's]
Box: 10 Folder : 3 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
[1960's]
Box: 10 Folder : 4 Campaign Publicity/Special Events
[1960's]
Box: 10 Folder : 5 Campaign Publicity/Special Events

General note

Includes photographs of the 1961 "Blue Grass Ball" benefits, the 1968 "Great Book Caper" benefit, and the 1970 "Rothschild's Benefit"

1960's-1970's
Box: 10 Folder : 6 "Farewell to the Queen Mary" Benefit (Photographs)
1967 July
Box: 10 Folder : 7 "Farewell to the Queen Mary" Benefit (Documents)
1967 July

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