Philadelphia Bureau of Unemployment Relief records
Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Philadelphia Bureau of Unemployment Relief (July 1931- December 1931) was founded on July 15, 1931 as an outgrowth of the Committee for Unemployment Relief (November 1930- July 1931 and November 1931- June 1932). The Committee for Unemployment Relief, founded on November 14, 1930 in response to the Great Depression, was primarily funded by grants and donations from private philanthropists. The committee provided services such as financial and work relief and care for homeless men. When, in July of 1931, it became evident that private funding alone would no longer support these efforts, the City of Philadelphia adopted an ordinance which created the Bureau of Unemployment Relief within the municipal Department of Welfare. The bureau borrowed $3,000,000 from the city but, in order to use the funds most effectively, eliminated many services previously offered by the committee to concentrate on financial relief. On December 23, 1931, with 46,151 families receiving financial relief, the original $3,000,000 was exhausted and the bureau ceased to exist as a publically funded organization.
In response to this, the Committee for Unemployment Relief reorganized and planned to take over the work of the bureau. The committee began to collaborate with the Welfare Federation and the Federation of Jewish Charities to form the United Campaign on November 9, 1931. In January of 1932, the United Campaign aligned with several women’s charities to provide aid and relief for a growing number of needy women. The Committee for Unemployment Relief intermittently received funding throughout the next several months. Finally, due to growing numbers of homeless and unemployed persons and lack of consistent funding the committee decided to cease its participation in the United Campaign and dissolved on June 20, 1932. Horatio G. Lloyd was the chairman of both the Bureau of Unemployment Relief and the Committee for Unemployment Relief.
This collection spans from 1930 to 1933. It contains check stubs, banknotes, warrants, bills, contributions, reports, food orders and other business papers from the Bureau of Unemployment Relief as well as some from the Committee for Unemployment Relief and the United Campaign. Also included are papers on the Clearing House for Homeless Men, 1931; Temporary Shelter for Homeless Men, 1931-1932; and Emergency Aid, 1932. Though the bureau dissolved in 1932, there are a few items that date from 1933, such as Purchase ledger (Volume 23), Schedule of vouchers for the Bureau of Unemployment Relief (Volume 26), Schedule of vouchers for the Committee for Unemployment relief (Volume 28).
Gift of Horatio Gates Lloyd, 1947.
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
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- Finding aid prepared by Allison Sharkey
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The collection is open for research.