Constance H. Dallas papers
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
Constance Hopkins Snow was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1902 to Henry S. Snow and Ann Le Conte Brooks. During her early life she was educated in Belgium. When her family moved to Philadelphia, she attended Germantown Friends School. She went on to study nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, and she served with the U. S. Cadet Nurse Corps in the 1940s. She married George Mifflin Dallas (1900-1970), an executive of the American Briquet Company, and the couple had three children: Constance H. Dallas Jr., Edith Wharton Dallas, and George Mifflin Dallas Jr.
In 1951, Constance H. Dallas became the first women elected to the Philadelphia City Council. She represented the 8th district (21st and 22nd wards) composed of Germantown, West Oak Lane, and Chestnut Hill. During her single term in office, Dallas helped usher in a new city health code, and she sponsored a number of city projects, such as one to allow trucks on Henry Avenue in Manayunk. She ran for re-election in 1955 but lost the race to former Republican City Chairman Wilbur Hamilton. After leaving office, Dallas worked as an editor for the Daily News, and she later joined an investment firm. Adding to her civic life, Dallas served on several local boards, including those of the Menninger Foundation, the Cosmopolitan Club, and the Committee of Seventy. She died in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, in 1983.
The papers of Constance H. Dallas include incoming and outgoing correspondence, reports, published materials, clippings, and miscellanea. The vast majority of materials pertain to her work as a Phialdephia city council member from 1951 to 1955, and there is very little that documents her personal life. The collection has been maintained in her original filing order, which is arranged into six series as follows:
• Series 1. Personal and administrative correspondence contains general files having to do with Dallas's civic activities, such as giving speeches and attending public functions, as well as papers on the Menniger Foundation, the Pennsylvania Federation of Democratic Women, and the World Affairs Council.
• Series 2. City Council Committees is the largest of the series, and it includes material prepared for or used by the numerous council committees on which Dallas served: commerce, finance, public health, public welfare, municipal development, streets, recreation, licenses and inspections, and traffic. Papers of note in this series include those related to Dallas's project to allow trucks on Henry Avenue in Manayunk.
• Series 3. Administration is a collection of documents relating to various departments within the local government. Several departments overlap with the committees represented in Series 2, but the papers here do not necessarily revolve around Dallas's immediate involvement with these departments. Rather, they highlight local government projects and plans of the early to mid 1950s generally.
• Series 4. Political Papers consists of files generated during Dallas's first successful campaign for city council (1951) and its aftermath (1952), the 1953 local election, and the 1954 Pennsylvania gubernatorial race.
• Series 5. Constituency Affairs includes material relating to the 8th district or 21st and 22nd wards of Philadelphia, as well as reports of various city departments. These papers particularly document district-wide reactions to Dallas's work as a member of city council.
• Series 6. Published Reports of City Departments contains reports from a number of different city departments, including the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the Art Commission, among others. There are also population and housing reports of and redevelopment proposals pertaining to areas around Temple University.
Gift of Constance H. Dallas, 1972.
- Philadelphia (Pa.)--City government--20th century
- Philadelphia (Pa.)--City planning
- Philadelphia (Pa.)--Civic improvement
- Philadelphia (Pa.)--History--20th century
- Philadelphia (Pa.)--Officials and employees
- Philadelphia (Pa.)--Politics and government--20th century
- Philadelphia (Pa.)--Public welfare
- Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions--20th century
- Women's history--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Sabrina Bocanegra and Cary Hutto
- Finding Aid Date
- ; 2015.
- The preservation, arrangement, and description of this collection was made possible by the generous donors of the 2015 Founder’s Award live charitable auction for women’s history collections at HSP.
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
The city departments represented in these boxes include: Philadelphia City Planning Commission, Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia, the Public Buildings Commission and the Art Commission. Annual reports make up most of the published reports in this section, as well as population and housing reports of and redevelopment proposals pertaining to areas around Temple University.