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Table of Contents
Using the Collection
Note: some material may be restricted or offsite
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Series I: Office of the Dean, 1918-2001
Series II: Office of Development and Alumni Relations, 1898-2012
Series III: Social Work Library, 1898-1982
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in 4 series. Series I has nine subseries, Series II has four, and Series III has three. All components are arranged in chronological order, except for Subseries II.3: Portrait Files and Subseries II.4: Index card files, which are arranged in alphabetical order.
Scope and Contents
The Columbia University School of Social Work Records document the administrative, educational, and commemorative activities of one of the oldest schools of social work in the United States. They are composed of the records of three entities of the School of Social Work: the Office of the Dean, the Office of Development and Alumni Relations, and the Social Work Library. While a small amount of material from the 1890s through 1920s and 1990s through 2010s is present, the bulk of the records dates from the 1930s through the 1980s.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
All administrative records of the University are restricted for 25 years from their dates of creation. Student and employee records are restricted for 75 years from their dates of creation.
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.
Three record cartons of materials suspected to be contaminated with mold are closed to researchers until after conservation inspection and treatment.
Conditions Governing Use
Gloves must be worn while handling photographic prints and negatives in the collection. All audiovisual materials must be digitized before use.
Community Service Society Records: The New York School of Philanthropy was founded by and affiliated with the Charity Organization Society of New York in 1898. The Charity Organization Society's records are included in the Community Service Society Records, as the latter formed in the 1939 merger of the COS with the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor.
Mitchell Ginsberg Papers: Professional papers of Mitchell Ginsberg, Columbia University School of Social Work professor and Dean of the school from 1971 to 1986.
Marion E. Kenworthy Papers: Papers of Marion Kenworthy, professor of Psychiatry at the New York School of Social Work from 1921 to 1956, and namesake of the School's endowed Professorial Chair of Psychiatry.
Social Agency Collection: A collection of social work agencies' professional publications, gathered and organized by the staff of the Social Work Library, circa 1934-1980. At Lehman Library, Columbia University.
While the New York School of Philanthropy was founded in 1898, the bulk of its surviving records date from the 1930s onward. The disposition of the school's earlier records is unknown, though their absence was noted by 1998 at the latest, as the school prepared to celebrate its centennial.
The custodial history of the materials taken from the Columbiana Subject Files prior to their arrival in Columbiana is also unknown.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Collection-level record describing unprocessed material made public in summer 2018 as part of the Hidden Collections initiative.
This collection was processed by Hong Deng Gao and Celeste Brewer. Finding aid written by Celeste Brewer in January 2020.
The bulk of the collection was placed in new, acid-free folders. Folders in good condition were retained. Oversized materials were separated and housed in appropriately-sized boxes. Deteriorating report covers and other temporary bindings, primarily used for storing meeting minutes, were discarded when they were clearly damaging their contents.
Early in processing, materials in Boxes 8 through 45 were physically organized according to a preliminary arrangement scheme that was not ultimately imposed on the collection. Their original order was not documented, nor is it known whether the order in which they arrived at the University Archives was their original order. The physical arrangement of Boxes 46-79 appears to be mostly arbitrary. In both cases, after the preliminary arrangement scheme was decided against, no attempt was made to systematically alter the materials' physical arrangement. Materials are instead arranged intellectually.
Five record cartons' worth of records containing extensive student or employee records, which fall outside of the University Archives' collecting policies, were discarded. These materials include routine lists of students with failing grades, students on academic probation, and writing samples submitted with applications for doctoral study. Resumes and curriculum vitae submitted by prospective faculty and staff members were also discarded. An additional box primarily composed of minutes of the Committee on Advanced Programs, with a few more folders of various Ad Hoc committee minutes, was found to be mold-contaminated. The committee minutes were primarily composed of student records and and other records of low research value. They were discarded.
Two manuscript boxes of material labeled "Ginsberg Papers" were separated from the records of the Office of Development and Alumni Relations and added to the Mitchell Ginsberg Papers.
One manuscript box of Marion Kenworthy's correspondence with the School of Social Work, primarily related to her fundraising activities for the endowed Marion E. Kenworthy Chair in Psychiatry, were separated from the records of the Office of the Dean and added to the Marion E. Kenworthy Papers.
Three record cartons' worth of records suspected to be contaminated with mold were separated from the collection for conservation inspection and treatment. These materials will be re-integrated into the collection after treatment.
History / Biographical Note
The Columbia University School of Social Work is one of the oldest schools of social work in the United States. The school originated in a summer course developed by the Charity Organization Society of New York City in 1898, in response to a perceived need for training in order to adequately administer social services and distribute charity among the poor. The school became academically affiliated with Columbia University in 1940, and was fully absorbed by the university in 1959.
The Summer School in Philanthropy's course offerings expanded into a full academic year in 1903. Beginning in 1911, the school began to offer a two-year diploma in social work. In 1919, the school's name also changed to the New York School of Social Work.
The school was initially administered by a Director, who reported to the Charity Organization Society's Board of Trustees. As the school's activities and administrative needs expanded, the COS Trustees formed a standing Committee on the School of Social Work. In 1931, the School moved from the COS building at 105 East 22nd Street in Manhattan, into a purpose-built tower of the Russell Sage Foundation building at 122 East 22nd Street.
In 1939, the Charity Organization Society merged with the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor. The combined organizations became the Community Service Society. The next year, 1940, the New York School of Social Work became academically affiliated with Columbia University, and awarded its first Master of Social Work degrees. In 1941, the school's own independent Board of Trustees was created.
Upon the retirement of Director Walter W. Pettit in 1947, Margaret Leal became the school's first Acting Dean. In 1949, Kenneth D. Johnson was appointed Dean, with Leal assuming the role of Associate Dean. That year, the school also moved into the former residence of Andrew Carnegie at 2 East 91st Street. The terms of its lease agreement with the Carnegie Corporation stipulated that the school would not be charged rent.
The New York School of Social Work formally separated from the Community Service Society in 1950. The same year, the school accepted its first doctoral candidates in Social Work; the first Doctor of Social Work degrees were awarded in 1952. The 1950s ended with the school's full integration into Columbia University in 1959.
The school changed its name for the last time, to Columbia University School of Social Work, in 1963. In 1969, the school moved from the Carnegie Mansion to Columbia University's McVickar Hall. It remained in that location until a new building at 1255 Amsterdam Avenue was completed in 2004.
The School of Social Work played a significant role in advancing the profession of social work and raising public consciousness of social services, both in the United States and beyond. Representatives from the school participated in foundational events in the history of American social work, including the 1909 White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children, the Milford Conference, and the development of the Social Security Act. The Columbia University School of Social Work celebrated its centennial in 1998.
Names of the School: New York School of Philanthropy, 1898-1919; New York School of Social Work, 1919-1963; Columbia University School of Social Work: 1963-present.
Directors of the School: Philip W. Ayres, 1898-1904; Edward T. Devine, 1904-1907, 1912-1917; Samuel McCune Lindsay, 1907-1912; Porter R. Lee, 1917-1939; Walter Pettit, 1939-1947 (Dean Emeritus, 1951-);
Deans of the School: Margaret Leal, Acting Dean, 1947-1949; Kenneth D. Johnson, 1949-1958; Clara Kaiser, Acting Dean, 1958-1960; Fred DelliQuadri, 1960-1967; Sidney Berengarten, Acting Dean, 1967-1971; Mitchell Ginsberg, 1971-1980; George A. Brager, 1980-1986; Ronald Feldman, Dean 1986-2001; Edward J. Mullen, Acting Dean, 1991-1992