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Series I: Writings and Speeches, 1914-1962
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in three series.
Emma O. Lundberg is best known for her research and numerous writings about child welfare. The largest part of this collection dates from her service at the U.S. Children's Bureau (1914-1925, 1935-1945), and at the Child Welfare League of America and the New York Temporary Emergency Relief Administration from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s. A few materials from her pre-Washington years in Wisconsin are also present. Throughout the course of her career, Lundberg directed a number of studies about child welfare, and wrote not only about her findings but also about research methods useful for the field. Most of the Papers comprise drafts and reprints of Lundberg's writings, and her research files. Some of the drafts are heavily annotated. Very little purely personal material is found in this collection.
Along with Lundberg's own writings and printed materials, this collection contains a small amount of printed material by other individuals and child welfare organizations, which Lundberg filed for her own reference: reprints, journals, pamphlets, and clippings. Some are accompanied by correspondence and Lundberg's comments. Also present is a small amount of correspondence with her publishers and friends.
The Papers also include correspondence that Katherine Lenroot, a former colleague and a close friend of Lundberg's, exchanged with Lundberg's publishers and relatives after her death.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Emma Octavia Lundberg papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Selected Related Material at Columbia
Katherine F. Lenroot Papers, 1909-1974 Columbia University, Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Child Welfare League of America Records University of Minnesota Libraries. Social Welfare History Archives.
Records of the United States Children's Bureau, 1908-1969 (Record Group 102) National Archives and Records Administration.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 08/--/89.
Papers processed Yuki Oda (GSAS 2013) 10/2009.
Papers cataloged Lea Osborne 04/12/2010.
2009-06-26 File created.
2010-04-13 xml document instance created by Lea Osborne.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Emma Octavia Lundberg, child welfare leader, was born in Västergötland, Sweden on October 8, 1881, to Frans Vilhelm Lundberg and Anna Kajsa Johanson. The family emigrated from Sweden in 1884, and Lundberg spent her childhood in Rockford, Illinois, graduating from Rockford High School in 1901. Two years later Lundberg entered the University of Wisconsin at Madison, earning her B.A. in 1907 and a master's degree in 1908.
From 1908 to 1913, Lundberg worked in several cities studying living-standards and immigrant households, and engaged in family welfare work. Among the organizations that Lundberg worked for were the United States Immigration Commission, the United Charities of Chicago, the Associated Charities in Madison, Wisconsin, and the Associated Charities in Milwaukee. In 1913, she became a deputy at the Wisconsin Industrial Commission and conducted surveys for the state's new minimum wage legislation.
In November 1914, Lundberg moved to Washington, D.C. to serve as the first Director of the Social Services Division of the United States Children's Bureau, a young agency established two years earlier. Shortly thereafter Katherine F. Lenroot, Lundberg's assistant at the Wisconsin Industrial Commission, also joined the Bureau and became the Assistant Director of the division. Lundberg directed studies on illegitimacy, juvenile delinquency, the care of children described then as mentally deficient and state child welfare laws. She wrote numerous articles and reports, and many of her studies were published as Children's Bureau publications. Her publications from this period include Illegitimacy as a Child Welfare Problem (1920, 1922), Juvenile Courts at Work (1925), both co-authored with Lenroot, along with Children Deprived of Parental Care (1926), and Public Aid to Mothers with Dependent Children (1926).
In 1925, Lundberg resigned from the Children's Bureau to join the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), a coalition of child welfare organizations that was established in New York in 1920. Lundberg first served as the Director of the Department of Institutional Care, and later as the Director of Studies and Surveys. Besides her book Child Dependency in the United States (1933), she frequently authored articles in the CWLA's publications. In the early years of the Great Depression, based on her two decades of experience in social work, Lundberg was appointed the Director of Research and Statistics at the New York Temporary Emergency Relief Administration under Governor Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She also worked as a consultant for other public agencies and conducted research for Philadelphia and Florida.
Lundberg rejoined the Children's Bureau in 1935 at the request of Katherine Lenroot who had been promoted to the third Chief of the Bureau in December 1934. From 1935 to 1942 Lundberg served as the Assistant Director of the Child Welfare Division, and from 1942 to 1945 as consultant in social services for children. The responsibilities of the Children's Bureau expanded significantly during the New Deal, and Lundberg's contributions included laying the foundation of children welfare provisions under the Social Security Act of 1937. She was also the Assistant Secretary to the 1940 White House Conference on Children in a Democracy.
In 1945, Lundberg retired from Washington due to ill health. She continued to write nevertheless, and published Unto the Least of These: Social Services for Children in 1947. After Lenroot's retirement in 1951 and until Lundberg's death in 1954, Lundberg and Lenroot shared a home in Hartsdale, New York.
Emma O. Lundberg died on November 17, 1954; she was 73 years old.