Family Services Association, 1874-1984 – MS013

Family Services Association, 1874-1984 – MS013

Source: Given to the Portsmouth Athenaeum by the Family Service Association in February 1990; Barbara Grazier, President and Joyce Browning, Executive Secretary.

Citation: Family Services Association Papers, MS013, Portsmouth Athenaeum

Size: 2 Hollinger Box (1 linear foot)

Access: Some restrictions, please consult staff

Processed by: Kevin Shupe in October 1990


Minutes, statistical and financial records, secretary’s reports, correspondence, and publicity of the association and its predecessor, Family Welfare Association. Includes history and membership list for the Ladies’ Humane Society and some meeting records of other charitable groups.

Scope and Content

Meeting records from 1907-25 and 1943-84 are the primary records in this collection. The 1907-25 period is contained in one record book and the 1943-84 is separate meeting reports which have been separated into Directors meetings and annual meetings. These records are approximately sixty percent of the collection and they include reports on the agency’s activities, financial and statistical statements and reports of the executive secretary. In related files are the Director’s meeting attendance records for 1960-67 and three versions of the agency’s constitution and by-laws 1920-ca. 1960.

The financial records in the collection are mostly copies of the budgets and financial reports submitted to Community Chest from 1949-57. Also there is one file of the monthly treasurer’s reports for 1954-57; other treasurer’s reports are filed in the directors’ meetings files.

Correspondence in this collection is limited. There is what seems to be most of the administrative correspondence for 1952; other years are not nearly complete with only a few letters outside of the 1950;s. The publicity files contain the news releases to newspapers and radio stations, newspaper clippings, lecture and interview transcripts.

Other records include a manual for the Urban Renewal Project and a file containing lists of organization in Portsmouth, the minutes of a Seacoast United Fund panel hearing on the Family Service Association and two lists of members.

The earliest records in this collection [1874-96] are contained in one file on the Ladies’ Humane Society which has a statement of their activities written by Mrs. Lewis E. Smith and three lists of officers and subscribers. There is no known connection between this organization and Associated Charities.

Historical Notes

The Family Service Association has gone through three name changes beginning at the Portsmouth Associated Charities in 1907 with Wallace Hackett as president and Richard D. McDonough as secretary; Organized charities of Portsmouth was formed in place of the defunct Associated Charities in December 1915, Charles H. Walker as president and McDonough as secretary; the name Family Welfare Association was adopted in April 1920 with Ernest L. Chaney as president and McDonough continuing as secretary. The agency changed its name to Family Service Association in 1960 to reflect that they were not longer engaged in direct welfare and were instead emphasizing family counseling and assistance.

A 1948 description of the Family Welfare Association written for a New Hampshire Citizens Council for General Welfare Directory gives a concise statement of activities with purpose:

Estab. And inc. 1915. Local, voluntary, non-sectarian family service agency serving Portsmouth and vicinity. Purpose: to assist families and individuals with their problems. Gives advice and counsel, provides temporary relief in kind, and renders varied services such as transportation to clinics, aid in finding employment, obtaining of legal advice, temporary placement of children, distribution of milk provided by the Portsmouth Rotary Club, operation of Thanksgiving and Christmas clearance bureau, and provision of emergency medical and dental care. Serves as local representative of National Travelers Aid Association. Supported by Portsmouth community Chest and gifts.

This statement gives the structure of the agency’s charitable activities although some of the specifics changed. In addition to those activities listed above the Welfare Association also organized a free summer camp for children at Camp Gundalow in Greenland. During the second World War the Welfare Association ran a child care center to care for children of mothers working in the war effort. One activity commented on in the early minutes was the distribution of wood donated by the Navy Yard.

A primary purpose in the foundation of this agency was to coordinate charitable giving in Portsmouth. According to the 1920 constitution the organization was to be comprised of representatives of the area churches, the city government, benevolent societies, and general subscribers. This representational idea was dropped by the 1948 constitution, which offered membership to all donors.

Before 1943 the Welfare association was a member of Portsmouth Community Chest, an organization which raised funds for most of the local charitable services organizations. Each year the Welfare Association would submit a budget to the Community Chest which was either full or partially fulfilled. Community Chest disbanded in 1958 after years of not being able to completely support Family Welfare.


Historical Timeline

1816 Ladies’ Humane Society Organized

1874 Ladies’ Humane Society Incorporated

1907 Portsmouth Associated Charities Incorporated

1915 Organized Charities of Portsmouth agreed to secure a new charter taking over for Associated Charities

1920 Changed name to Family Welfare Association

1944 Incorporated as the Family Welfare Association

1944 Operated a child care center at Wentworth Acres for the Federal Works Agency

1945 Child care center closed by the government

1949 Portsmouth Rotary Club starts a fund to provide shoes and milk

1951 Dropped Child Placement Services

1958 Portsmouth Community Chest, a cooperative charity fund raising Organization, disbanded leaving the Family Welfare Association to raise its own funds

1960 Moved agency headquarters to 32 Congress Street

1960 Changed name to Family Service Association

1964 Fire at agency headquarters. Moved to 4 Market Street

1969 Started a Dental Program sponsored by the Rotary Club, Howard Benevolent Society, and the Linsay Trust

Series List

I. Ladies Humane Society

II. Meeting Records

III. Financial Records

IV. Correspondence

V. Publicity

VI. Other Records


I. Ladies’ Humane Society

Box 1

Folder 1 History and Membership Lists 1874-1896

II. Meeting Records

Box 1

Folder 2 Associated Charities, Organized Charities, and Family Welfare Association: Meeting Minutes Book, 1907-25

Folder 3-7 Annual Meetings: Minutes and Records, 1945-84

Folder 8-16 Director’s Meetings: Minutes and Records, 1943-54, 1960-71

Box 2

Folder 1-4 Directors’ Meetings: Minutes and records, 1972-81

Folder 5 Constitution & By-Laws, and Agency Description, 1920-ca. 1960

Folder 6 Directors’ Meetings: Attendance Records, 1960-67

III. Financial Records

Box 2

Folder 7 Monthly Treasurers’ Reports, 1954-57

Folder 8 Annual Meeting Invitations and Guest Lists, 1954-63

Folder 9-10 Quarterly Financial Statements, 1949-57

IV. Correspondence

Box 2

Folder 11-13 General Correspondence, 1950-81

Folder 14 Annual Meeting Invitations and Guest Lists, 1954-63

V. Publicity

Box 2

Folder 15 News Releases, 1953-78

Folder 16 Lectures and Interviews, 1959-76, n.d.

Folder 17 Newspaper Clippings, 1936-79, n.d.

VI. Other Records

Box 2

Folder 18 Urban Renewal Project, Redevelopments and Relocations Plans, Marcy-Washington Streets, 1959

Folder 19 General Records, 1957-80