Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Gertrude Vaile papers, 1892-1954

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1280
Bib ID 4079424 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Vaile, Gertrude, 1878-1954
Title Gertrude Vaile papers, 1892-1954
Physical Description 1.67 linear feet (4 document boxes)
Language(s) English .

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.



This collection is arranged in one series: Series I: Gertrude Vaile papers, 1892-1954.



The collection covers Vaile's career from her days as a social worker in Chicago and Denver through her teaching positions. Included in the collection are teaching outlines, correspondence, printed material, and some typescripts of Vaile's writings.

  • Series I: Gertrude Vaile papers, 1892-1954

    Order of arrangement is chronological by position held by Gertrude Vaile. Here and on the folders the names of employing institutions, followed by titles of positions occupied, are given on the left side; dates of such positions are given.

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 RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Gertrude Vaile papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.

Related Materials

Mary Richmond papers, 1821-1928 (MS#1069)


No additions are expected.

Custodial History

Materials were sent from the home of Gertrude Vaile to the New York School of Social Work (now known as the Columbia University School of Social Work) on October 15, 1956.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 09/--/89.

Revision Description

2020-05-04 PDF replaced with full finding aid (JR)

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Social case work Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Social service -- Colorado -- Denver Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Social service -- Illinois -- Chicago Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Social work education Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
University of Minnesota -- : Faculty Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Women college teachers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Women social workers Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Gertrude Vaile (January 20, 1878 – October 15, 1954): Social Worker, Public Welfare Administrator, Reformer and Pioneer in Social Work Education

Vaile was born in Kokomo, Indiana the daughter of Joel Frederick and Charlotte White Vaile. When Vaile was about five her family moved to Denver where her father was appointed the general counsel for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. She attended public schools in Denver, graduated from Vassar College in 1900, and then went on to the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy. While in Chicago, she was a resident at Chicago Commons, the settlement house founded by Graham Taylor. Shortly after graduating, she became a caseworker for United Charities in Chicago.

In 1913, Vaile was asked by the Mayor of Denver to take a position on the City Board of Charities and Corrections. She accepted the offer and within a year she became the executive director of the board. She applied the casework principles of the charity organization society movement (casework, case conferences, friendly visitors) to a publicly administered agency. Vaile also introduced the use of interagency case conferences at which representatives of all public and private social agencies met to marshal community resources for clients. Through Vaile's efforts the Denver Board of Charities and Corrections evolved into the nation's first legitimate public social service agency.

Vaile also was affiliated with the Red Cross as the Director of Civilian Relief for the Mountain Division from 1917 to 1919. She was on the field staff of the Family Service Association of America from 1919 to 1923, covering the area west of the Mississippi. She left this position to
become the executive director of the Colorado State Department of Charities and Corrections. In 1926, Vaile was elected president of the National Conference of Social Work.

In 1930 she took up academic life at the University of Minnesota, where she was an associate professor of sociology and the associate director of the Training Course for Social and Civic Work (later the School of Social Work) until her retirement in 1946. At Minnesota, she worked to strengthen the Association of Schools of Social Work that became the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE).

In her retirement, Vaile returned to Denver. She died in 1954.