Philadelphia City Planning Commission surveys conducted with New Deal Federal Work-Relief funds records
Held at: City of Philadelphia, Department of Records, City Archives [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the City of Philadelphia, Department of Records, City Archives. 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 City Planning Commission (PCPC) had barely come into existence (April 1929) when the stock market crashed, marking the onset of the Great Depression. Declaring itself to be without funds in December 1933, the commission, under the direction of its secretary, Walter H. Thomas, and vice chairman, S. P. Wetherill, Jr., applied for a grant from the Pennsylvania Civil Works Administration to support the activities of the commission from mid-December 1933 through mid-February 1934. The PCPC requested federal funding, made possible through President Roosevelt’s New Deal work relief programs, to subsidize general administrative costs of PCPC and support the continuation of work on a master plan for the city of Philadelphia which had already begun. The agency also proposed to conduct a survey of central Philadelphia which would help address the problems of decaying older neighborhoods. Authorized as CWA Project No. 51-0081, this project became the first of a number of surveys conducted by PCPC under the auspices of federal relief programs during the Great Depression. From 1933 to 1939, the Commission employed hundreds of architects, engineers, social workers, and other professional and clerical staff in efforts to analyze the physical, economic, and social conditions of the city and to address these problems through a combined program of research, planning, and public advocacy.
The history of the PCPC during these years is significant because it illustrates the experiences of one municipal agency in channeling state and federal work relief funds to local communities during the 1930s. Although the immediate goal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal was to get working people back to work in the face of a national economic collapse, the provision of federal and state aid to agencies like the PCPC had other dimensions besides furnishing jobs. Indeed, the history of such programs provides a telling look at the political life and thought of the times and specific policy objectives in such areas as public housing, transportation, social welfare, and other relatively new professions which had emerged to cope with the challenges of an urbanized country.
The public funds to PCPC supported the ongoing work of the organization as well as special projects. The nature of these projects changed over time as did their personnel. Within a seven-year period, PCPC received grants from several public relief agencies to support projects of varying duration and intent. The PCPC officers who oversaw PCPC’s “Physical and Economic Survey of the Central Intensive Area of Philadelphia” (1933-1935) used the data to recommend slum clearance and housing projects. By 1936-37, the agency was also focusing its efforts on a “Cost of City Government” study to show the burden that crime and other problems endemic to slums imposed on the city overall.
The interest in both slum clearance and housing studies highlights the variety of research efforts which were conducted by state and local planning organizations under the New Deal. PCPC’s first projects in the Depression years were done in cooperation with statewide emergency relief programs including the Civil Works Administration from 1933-1934 and the Federal Employment Relief Administration from 1934-1935. Under funding from the Federal Works Progress Administration, PCPC produced a number of reports and summaries from 1936-1938. The reports incorporated newly gathered information but were drawn primarily from research collected under CWA and FERA.
The following is a guide to the records of the surveys conducted by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission during the Great Depression which are housed at the Philadelphia City Archives.
GLOSSARY: PCPC = Philadelphia City Planning Commission; PHA = Philadelphia Housing Authority; CWA= Federal Civil Works Administration; LWD FERA = Local Works Division of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration; WPA = Federal Works Progress Administration.
The Philadelphia City Planning Commission Survey files (Record Group (RG) 145-50) consist of 156 cubic feet of records pertaining to surveys conducted by PCPC under state and federal relief programs from 1933 to 1939. These surveys were done under the auspices of the Federal Civil Works Administration Project No. 51-0081 and continuation grants (Dec. 19, 1933-Ap. 1, 1934); the Local Works Division of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration Project Nos. 51-F2-22 (Ap. 8-Aug. 20, 1934) and 51-F2-1011 (Oct. 11, 1934-July 1935); and Federal Works Progress Administration Project Nos. 4421 (Dec. 3, 1935-July 27, 1937); 14692 (Sept. 10, 1937-May 5, 1938), and 18313 (1938-39). The PCPC survey files contain administrative files, grant applications, correspondence, memoranda, reports, report drafts, research notes, survey data, charts, diagrams, tables, block plans, blueprints, drawings, news clippings, and printed matter compiled and collected by PCPC survey staff in the course of conducting these studies. Files for Federal Works Progress Administration Project No. 665-23-3649, Real Property Survey, Philadelphia, 1939, conducted by the Philadelphia Housing Authority, found with the PCPC survey files described below, have been transferred to the Philadelphia Housing Authority Record Group at City Archives
The PCPC survey files were in deteriorating condition when processing began. The boxes and folders had deteriorated and the papers had become brittle and stained. Of special concern were numerous oversize plans, sketches, and worksheets which had been folded and creased. Low grade paper was found throughout the files. The containers were not well labeled; some of the boxes had been broken and replaced, causing their contents to become jumbled. To complicate matters, survey groups within PCPC borrowed each other’s research files so that it was often difficult to discern original file order.
The contents of each box were examined during processing and the materials generated by different activities within PCPC during the 1930s were identified and grouped together as sub-series to the extent that it was possible to link the material with a particular division or survey. The location of an organizational chart and administrative records within the boxes was helpful in doing this. If a group of data generated by one branch of the organization was found filed in with the research files of another branch of PCPC, it was left in the file in which it was last being used. Oversize items were unfolded and filed in flat file storage during processing according to sub-series number. Deteriorated items including newsclips were preservation photocopied onto acid-free paper.
Generally speaking, the material in RG145-50 includes three types of series:
1) Division Units: The first are files of units of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission--Administration, Transportation Division, Sanitation Division, and Real Estate Division--which existed within PCPC prior to PCPC’s participation in the subsidized surveys during 1933-39 or which continued to function as units under grants from CWA, FERA, and WPA. The Transportation, Sanitation, and Real Estate divisions all conducted surveys in which they gathered original research data on their program areas in order to illuminate problems which affected the entire metropolitan region as well as individual neighborhoods within the city. Their studies focused on provision of various of public services, potential applications of new technologies which might be made in the Greater Philadelphia area, and steps public agencies were taking to address problems of the urban infrastructure which were becoming increasingly acute. The division staffs included individuals with advanced professional training in architecture, engineering, accounting, and other areas.
2) Special Surveys: In addition to conducting the studies their own units were engaged in, the divisions also provided support to special surveys which represented a second type of sub-series found in the PCPC survey files. Special surveys included the Social Survey, the Cost of City Government Survey, the Physical and Economic Survey, the Commercial and Industrial Survey, and the Present Land Use Survey. As far as is known, the special surveys were ones which existed during the duration of the federal and state funded programs or those whose scope was significantly broadened beyond because of the involvement of an external agent. The distinction has been made in order to help researchers orient themselves to the survey files, but in reality there was a fine line between where the work of the PCPC division units ended and where that of projects based in grant funding--or some other form of inter-agency collaboration--began. The work of the Transportation and Sanitation Divisions was largely underwritten by federal and state relief funds but these divisions remained small and relatively discrete units within PCPC and a number of their staff were more or less continuously employed by those same units throughout the transition from CWA to LWD FERA to WPA sponsorship from 1933-1935. The Physical and Economic Survey would probably not have been possible without outside assistance, whereas the Commercial and Industrial Survey was more of a hybrid because it addressed issues such as economic development-- which were intimately bound up with the ongoing mission of PCPC and its master plan--while also taking on projects that required greater resources and manpower than PCPC could muster on its own. As a rule of thumb, both the divisions and the special surveys relied on clerical personnel to perform tasks associated with survey research such as collecting, tabulating, and checking data, but the special surveys tended to employ a larger and more differentiated group of employees. Additionally, the Special Survey files tend to be bulkier and harder to work with than those generated by the division units.
3) Reports: This series is made up of reports of studies conducted by the PCPC and issued in a typed format, usually with a typed cover sheet containing the name of the funding agency and the project number. Most of the typed reports located in this survey were found filed together when processing began and they have been kept together in order to provide an easily accessible means for researchers to obtain an overview of the aims and findings of major PCPC surveys and the agency overall. Reports summarizing the results of studies conducted by individual organizational divisions or special survey groups may also be found in each of the respective sub-series including the administrative sub-series. A decision was made to leave incomplete reports or report drafts in situ, so to speak, amidst their accompanying research notes and data so that researchers would be able to assess all the available documentation related to a particular study conducted by a given unit.
DESCRIPTION OF THE SURVEY FILES
A chart of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission showing the organization of work under the Civil Works Administration, Dec. 20, 1933-April 5, 1934, and under L.W.D. Continuation to Oct. 1, 1934, has provided a useful tool for understanding the files. The chart lists Walter H. Thomas as director of the commission and David H. Morgan and Victor D. Abel as assistant directors. Victor D. Abel was also responsible for a unit entitled “Social and Economic Surveys.” The other units were City Planning Division (which focused on the Master Plan), Transportation; Sanitation, Public Relations, and Building Code. The Social and Economic Surveys unit included the Real Estate Division, Legislative Program, Social Survey, Commercial and Industrial Survey, and Housing Survey.
Physical and Economic Survey (subseries 145-50.9): The largest quantity of records are data cards compiled for the Physical and Economic Survey of the Central Intensive Area of Philadelphia (approximately 59 cubic feet, 1933-1935). In this study, the PCPC conducted a survey of physical, economic, and social conditions in central Philadelphia in order to identify blighted areas within the city and gather detailed information about individual properties. Morgan and Abel were particularly interested in housing and slum clearance; occasionally the Physical and Economic Survey was referred to in the files or in newspapers as the “Housing Survey.”
The first phase of the Physical and Economic Survey focused on the East Intensive Area of Philadelphia from the Delaware River to Broad Street and from Girard Avenue on the north to Washington Avenue on the south. PCPC surveyed this area from roughly Dec. 1933 through the spring of 1934. Later in 1934, PCPC continued the survey into the West Intensive Area of Philadelphia between Broad Street and the Schuylkill River and from Poplar Street on the north to Washington Avenue on the south. The findings were summarized in the PCPC’s “Report on the Physical Survey in the Central City Intensive Area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Federal Works Progress Administration for Pennsylvania, Project #4421, The Philadelphia City Planning Commission, 1934-1936,” compiled by Donald Folsom (1 volume typescript, 1937) filed in RG145-50.2. Although the report was issued under WPA Project #4421, the field work and tabulation were performed under CWA and FERA.
The PCPC Physical and Economic Survey represented one segment of a larger survey of real estate conducted by federal and state relief agencies in Philadelphia (there were counterparts aimed at gathering information on housing and real estate in other cities and states in the same period of the Depression). The survey of Philadelphia conducted by Pennsylvania boards of CWA and FERA included the entire city of Philadelphia. The findings were subsequently published by the Pennsylvania State Emergency Relief Administration, Philadelphia Local Works Division, as the Report of Philadelphia Real Estate Survey, 1934 (5 vols., n.p., n.d.). Entitled “Social Survey IV” or “SS4,” this was a city-wide survey which covered sections of Philadelphia outside the Central Intensive Area as well as within, with PCPC providing data on the Central Intensive study. The files at the Philadelphia City Archives contain data cards on the portions of the survey that PCPC conducted in the Central Intensive Area for PCPC’s Physical and Economic Survey. PCA does not have the research files for the entire SS4 study of Philadelphia. PCPC did make use of some of SS4’s data, however, and references to SS4 appear in PCPC’s records and in newspaper articles at the time.
Commercial and Industrial Survey (subseries 145-50.7): The Commercial and Industrial Survey focused on economic trends in the Delaware Valley up through and during the Depression. Ralph W. Smith, director of the Philadelphia Surveys branch of the Philadelphia Local Work Division of the Pennsylvania State Emergency Relief Administration, provided general oversight to work conducted by the PCPC and some of Smith’s drafts and notes are contained in the survey files.
As explained in a report draft by squad leader D. Berenger [series 145-50.7, Folder 6, Oct-Nov. 1934], the specific goals of the Commercial and Industrial survey were to determine the geographic location and square foot area at various floor levels used for the various branches of commerce and industry and vacant space suitable therefore; to place this information on city maps with color-coding to indicate the exact distribution of commerce and industry throughout the city; to gather supplemental information relative to vacant space together with knowledge of conditions as they were in the past allow the survey staff to analyze trends such as the migration of various industries away from certain districts and into others; to determine to what extent the city was over or under-built or over or under-provided with certain types of structures; and to evaluate the quality of commercial and industrial plant, i.e., the physical conditions of all space used or suitable for commercial and industrial occupancies The evaluation included the condition of various buildings, structurally and from the standpoint of adequacy and comfort; and the classification of the buildings as fireproof, slow-burning, and 3rd and 4th class structures, sanitary conditions, lighting and heating, and the condition of the equipment. The information would serve as a yardstick of relative indispensability or obsolescence of certain buildings, groups of buildings, and city blocks.
Additionally, the survey sought to provide an official inspection of buildings and enterprises on behalf of federal, state, city, and semi-public agencies. Such information, while not immediately important to the city plan in which PCPC was engaged in, would serve to illustrate the extent to which such agencies were burdened due to subdivision of business in many small structures, and to what extent obsolete, worthless buildings contributed to costs. This research together with other information gathered was designed to permit surveyors to classify commerce and industry as to relative importance of marked areas into local, metropolitan, national, and international enterprise and assess the influence of commerce and industry on office, port and rail facilities, modes of shipping goods to and from such enterprises as rail, water, passenger traffic, parking facilities, and personnel data.
Interestingly, the survey group expressed particular interest in determining the total number of persons presently employed in the survey district classified as to various professions, trades, and callings; home locations of those persons; and average wages received by these persons. The research was intended to address such general issues such as the planning of port and rail facilities; the planning of traffic arteries and parking space, trolley, and high speed accommodations; and the interdependence of industry and labor. It was hoped that the information would be used in part to facilitate plans for low-cost housing developments surrounding those districts where large numbers of low-salaried workers were occupied.
Berenger described the progress and methods of the Commercial and Industrial survey under the CWA up through the fall of 1934 as follows. The survey examined the East Intensive Area as well as a narrow strip south of Washington Avenue and another strip north of Girard Avenue. This work was accomplished in roughly seven months and entailed about 10,000 investigations. The staff of investigators comprised one captain and eight men at the start and one captain, five district captains, and up to 45 investigators toward the end of the survey. The questionnaire was perfected along the way. The organization was such that each man was assigned a definite territory and supplied with a blueprint thereof. In addition to answering the questionnaires, the investigator was required to note on his blueprint any changes or discrepancies or subdivision of buildings. Upon completion of such a territory all questionnaires were checked for completion, and accuracy of square foot areas assigned to the various enterprises. Special investigations were then arranged of those firms which had refused to provide information previously. Follow-ups were conducted with individual consideration for each case and interviews were secured by letter. Regarding the method of tabulation, questionnaires pertaining to a full city block were tabulated to show the combined condition, day population, square foot area, etc. of each such block. This information was subdivided into commercial and industrial enterprises and garages. The tabulations were identified by designation of the block referred to and the streets were numbered serially. Those same numbers were then placed on a corresponding chart permitting quick reference to any desired city block. Upon completion of the tabulation work, the questionnaires were then placed in the general file, available to other departments of the organization.
The work of the Commercial and Industrial Division continued under LWD FERA from mid-1934 through 1935 and some of the investigations such as land use research were later resumed under WPA support to PCPC.
Social Survey (subseries 145-50.5): The PCPC Social Survey gathered data about the inhabitants of the Central Intensive Area of Philadelphia. Its studies were oriented toward social pathologies which were believed to be widespread in the intensive area but which needed to be systematically analyzed in order to support various other studies PCPC was engaged in and booster the need for rational planning efforts focusing on the physical rehabilitation of the area.
In order to obtain baseline information for its studies, the Social Survey compiled statistics on population from the Social Survey 1 (also referred to as SS-1) conducted under the Pennsylvania emergency relief program in 1934 and from census data (1930 and previous) to analyze the ethnic and racial makeup of central Philadelphia. The area contained sizeable concentrations of recent Eastern European and Russian immigrants as well as black migrants from the south. Charts produced by survey staff demonstrate the surveyors’ interest in analyzing the growth of the city’s black population.
In order to illustrate the effects of substandard living conditions, the Social Survey conducted research in public and agency records to show the prevalence of anti-social behaviors in the Central Intensive Area as manifested in the incidence of crime, dependency, truancy, juvenile delinquency, infant mortality, contagious diseases, tuberculosis, mental illness, hospital admissions, housing complaints and inspection violations, fires, traffic accidents, and other symptoms of social problems in this area. In most of these instances, the surveyors collected data for the year 1932.
One of the individuals involved in the initial stages of the Social Survey (1933-1934) was Benjamin Ritter. A copy of the “Ritter Report” --an early summary of the project’s findings--is found in the files. Another member of the project staff identified in the files as “S. Weisheit” w as primarily responsible for compiling the population data. During 1935-36 PCPC Social Survey personnel under the direction of Dr. Margaret K. Bishop tabulated data on social agencies which had originally been collected in 1933-1934 and resurveyed some of the research topics for which information had already been gathered.
One of the resurveys concerned hospital admissions. In 1935-1936 PCPC Social Survey staff conducted follow-up contacts with hospital administrators in order to obtain complete data on admissions to 31 hospitals in Philadelphia in the year 1932. The data sheets are significant in that they contain data which would probably be difficult to replicate today due to loss of records which were originally used to compile the information. The data sheets include addresses of patients admitted, their gender, age, race, and length of stay.
Similarly the Social Survey conducted detailed research on private agencies involved in family welfare. Again, as in the hospital research, the aim of the study was to determine what proportion of the agencies’ cases originated in the Central Intensive Area. Data was compiled on at least 90 different private agencies for the year 1935 and tabulated in 1936-1937.
The Social Survey was particularly interested in the incidence of crime in the deteriorating older neighborhoods of Philadelphia. Using data in part compiled by PCPC workers or by other agencies, PCPC workers tabulated information on persons pending trial, magistrates’ commitments, and incarcerations at the Reed Street Prison and the County Prison (Holmesburg), and figures on parole and probation to determine what proportion of cases were drawn from the Central Intensive Area. They also analyzed the inmate populations of the House of Corrections and the Home for the Indigent, Holmesburg.
Cost of Philadelphia Government Survey (subseries 145-50.6): An outgrowth of the Social Survey, the “Cost of Philadelphia Government” study drew heavily on research compiled by Social Survey staff including J. Christian Barth who wrote “Ad Interim Report on the Cost of Government of the City of Philadelphia” produced under the Federal WPA (Project #4421) around 1936. But there were clearly differences between the two surveys. According to the “Ad Interim Report,” the purpose of the cost study was to demonstrate the importance of improved housing, sanitation, and amelioration of all the related anti-social effects of the slums from the standpoint of a financial investment on the part of the city using methods of cost analysis borrowed from private industry. As Barth explained, whereas the Social survey was interested in occurrence of anti-social behaviors, the numbers of persons committed from the study area in a given year, and the proportion to the entire city, most of their studies were inadequate as cost studies because they failed to include lengths of terms of commitment. The cost survey attempted to provide a factual analysis of the city-wide cost of each and all direct-service outlets and to compare these to the cost of the Central City and to the city overall. In doing so, Barth and his colleagues hoped to produce a pilot study in the application of cost accounting to contemporary urban problems that would be useful in Philadelphia and other metropolitan areas.
Barth’s report went on to explain the sources and methods employed in performing a cost analysis of Philadelphia’s municipal government for the year 1933. The study was based on information in the Annual Report of the Mayor, the 18th Annual Report of the City Controller, 1933, and additional research into city financial and other records to ascertain costs of units of municipal government. J. C. Forman was the project supervisor; Theodore Falls prepared some of the studies involving functional analysis of costs; and numerous others assisted in compiling and analyzing the information.
Of special note is the detailed accounting analysis of amounts spent by the city of Philadelphia on the care of dependent children, the mentally ill, and other dependent groups and on the criminal justice system and police department. Included in the files is detailed analysis of expenditures made for support of children committed by courts to agencies such as the Catholic Children’s Bureau either for care of children in institutions or for children placed or “farmed” out to individuals. Most of the papers in the cost analysis records are dated from 1936 to early 1937. Three additional documents pertaining to the study including J. B. Forman, comp., “Comparative City Cost Survey Within the City of Philadelphia Based on 1933 Statistics of Social Services” prepared under the WPA of Pennsylvania Project #14692, c. 1937-1938, are found in Series 2, Reports (RG-145-50.2).
The PCPC survey files for 1933-1939 totaled 170 cubic feet prior to processing under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1999-2000. Little is known about the records other than the information available in the records themselves, but researchers have expressed interest in using the material and previous attempts to access these holdings have indicated the considerable value of the files because of the wealth of information they provide on the physical and social make-up of Philadelphia at a single point in time. The material arrived sometime before 1990 and possibly in several installments (portions were found tucked away throughout the Archives stacks). Most likely the boxes had been moved and stored in several locations before they reached the Archives. Mixed in with the PCPC files were 14 cubic feet of records of the Philadelphia Housing Authority from 1938 to 1942. Memoranda in the PHA files indicated that PCPC had loaned survey files to PHA in order to make the material available for use in a survey of low-income housing which PHA conducted under the Works Progress Administration in the late 1930s. The 14 boxes pertaining to the PHA low-income housing survey of 1939 and including PHA administrative records for 1938-1942 have since been accessioned into the records of the Philadelphia Housing Authority (RG 152) at City Archives. The files created by PCPC surveys have been retained with the PCPC survey record series described below.
The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
Finding aid entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos and Courtney Smerz.
- Philadelphia City Planning Commission.
- United States. Federal Civil Works Administration.
- United States. Works Progress Administration of Pennsylvania.
- United States. Works Progress Administration.
- City of Philadelphia, Department of Records, City Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Gail E. Farr
- Finding Aid Date
- The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project. Finding aid entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos and Courtney Smerz.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use, in-house only.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
This series contains the files of the officials of the PCPC who administered the survey program grants. Included are files of two assistant directors of the PCPC, David H. Morgan and Victor D. Abel, from c. 1933-1936. Their files contain grant applications and progress reports for work completed by PCPC under state and federal program grants, correspondence and memoranda pertaining to PCPC surveys conducted during those years; minutes and memoranda concerning staff meetings data for a preliminary report on slum clearance projects involving 13 proposed sites in Philadelphia which was prepared for federal officials from March-June 1934; the manuscript and research notes for a series of articles on slum clearance and housing prepared by Victor D. Abel for the Philadelphia Record in Apr.-June 1934; files and plans pertaining to a proposed housing renovation project at 10th and Clinton Streets, Mar.-Aug. 1934; records of expenditures by PCPC under federal works program grants, 1933-1936; and personnel records, circa 1933-1936.Physical Description
1.5 cubic feet and 17 map case folders
This series includes typed manuscripts of the following reports: “Social Survey: Report--Broad St. to Delaware Ave., Girard to Washington Aves., B. Ritter’s, Mar. 1, 1935 (12 pp. + tables; 2 copies); Social Survey, “Population Trends: Actual and Predicted--A.D 1780 to 2100 for the City of Philadelphia….” by the Local Works Division, Project #S1-F2-22, State Emergency Relief Board, for the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, 1935, computed and written by Major Irvin S. Grindrod ; revised maps by WPA #4421, Mar. 1936-Ap. 1937 (2 copies); “Report on Areas and Population Density of Minor Blocks, Census Tracts, and Wards, the City of Philadelphia, 1934,” WPA of PA, #4421, compiled by Edward A. J. Evans, 1937; “Report on the Physical Survey in the Central City Intensive Area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Federal Works Progress Administration for Pennsylvania-Project #4421, The Philadelphia City Planning Commission, 1934-1936” compiled by Donald Folsom, 1937; “Real Estate Research Survey for the PCPC by the Federal WPA for Pennsylvania, #4421 and #14692, for 1926, 1930, 1936” compiled by Edward A. J. Evans [Feb.1937?], 2 copies; “Report on Tax Exempt Real Properties by Federal WPA for Pennsylvania, #4421” compiled by Edward A. J. Evans, July 1, 1937; “Sections A-H: Cost of Philadelphia Government Survey: Checklist of Institutions to Which City Pays Keep for Commitments of Criminals, Destitute, Insane, etc., in 1933, & related Notes,” compiled by T. F. Falls, 1934; Cost of Philadelphia Government Survey, “Data pertaining to Checklist Items #61, #03, #31--Costs of Care of Dependent Children in 1933 tabulated by PCPC Block No. [1934-1936?]”; Cost of Philadelphia Government Survey, “Comparative City Cost Survey within the City of Philadelphia Based on 1933 Statistics of Social Services--WPA of PA 14692” compiled by J. B. Forman [1937-1938?]; “Report on the Port of Philadelphia, Pa.: Analysis--Status, Trends, Recommendations and the Commerce of the Port, by Federal WPA for Pa #4421,” compiled by R. W. Smith, 1934, rewritten by J. M. Kelly, 1937; “Analysis of Fire Study in the City of Philadelphia Based on 1933 Statistics,” Federal WPA for Pa #14692, compiled by J. B. Forman [1937-1938?]; “Report on Collection and Disposal of Garbage, Rubbish and Ashes, City of Philadelphia, Pa.,” Federal WPA for Pa.#14692, compiled and written by J. M. Kelly, 1935, with addenda, 1937; “Report on Sewage Treatment and Disposal--City of Philadelphia,” by Federal WPA for Pa. #14692, compiled & written by J. M. Kelly, Jan. 1938; and the following published reports: Pennsylvania State Emergency Relief Administration--Philadelphia Local Works Division. Report of Philadelphia Real Estate Survey 1934. Published report of Social Survey IV; 5 vols. [1935-1936?]; U.S. Works Progress Administration for Pennsylvania, Report of Philadelphia Real Property Survey 1934, WPA #4744, Vols. 1-5, Census Tracts 1-48; Colored Housing, Vols. 1-3. Tables to accompany the Cost of City Government Survey. “Comparative City Cost Survey … based on 1933 Statistics of Social Services” [1937-1938?],” are found in flat file storage. Microfilms of the published reports prepared from originals at the Free Library of Philadelphia around 1970 are available on 3 microfilm rolls. The third roll contains a “Summary of Residential Structures and Family Housing” which is not available in hard-copy format at the City Archives.Physical Description
2.0 cubic feet and 17 map case folders
This series contains files of surveys conducted by the Transportation Division of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. The research concerns several broad topic areas such as Highway Design, Transit Studies, and Population Studies, within which are more specific topics which were investigated in detail. Most of the files relate either to Transit Studies investigating of advantages and shortcomings of different proposed schemes for rapid transit, trolleys, buses, and/or specific routes, including a proposal and plans for the Northeast High Speed Line (circa 1935-Ap. 1936); or Highway Design studies dealing with commercial vehicles and the trucking industry in and around Philadelphia. Among the latter studies was survey that was done by sending questionnaires to trucking firms that did business in and around Philadelphia concerning what routes they used, how often, and the types of products transported. The files contain correspondence and completed survey forms. The sub-series also includes oversize material (plans, blueprints, charts, etc.) which have been flatfiled in folders and in two 10x15” clamshell type flatfile boxes housing count 200 small blueprints, tracings, and ink on linen drawings depicting elements of highway design as represented in planning journals in the early 1930s.Physical Description
3.0 cubic feet, 2 flatboxes, 24 map case folders, and 3 very large map case folders
The files of the PCPC’s Sanitation Division are rich in manuscript material. Under the direction of Francis C. Green, the division sought to collect information on the various sanitation methods employed in other cities and assess the effectiveness of methods employed in Philadelphia. The files contain letters sent by Green and his assistants to other communities throughout the country and responses from community officials regarding methods of sanitation, garbage collection, waste disposal, thermal value of wastes, and city ordinances regarding sanitation and garbage collection. The files also contain inspection reports prepared by survey staff describing their visits throughout the city to report on the effectiveness of the city’s garbage and refuse collection program in various sanitation districts. These were not restricted to the Central Intensive Area: included are Germantown/Roxborough/Manayunk, Logan, Columbia, Fairhill, Race, West Philadelphia, Tacony, South Philadelphia, and Frankford. Additionally the files contain field notes and research data compiled by the project staff. Also included are diagrams pertaining to the study of River and Creek Pollution conducted by PCPC’s Sanitation Division in 1934.Physical Description
2.0 cubic feet and 6 map case folders
As one of PCPC’s units under the CWA program in 1934, the Social Survey--first under the direction of Victor Abel and Benjamin Ritter, and later, under the WPA in 1935-1936, by Dr. Margaret Bishop, conducted numerous research investigations. One of the research areas of the Social Survey was population studies. From the data it appears that the PCPC did not conduct population enumerations but prepared population studies using SS1A, a census of Philadelphia conducted by the state CWA program in 1934 whose major focus was on unemployment. The purpose of the SS1A was to gather information on the number of unemployed persons to use as a basis for planning relief programs for unemployed. The SS1A survey was a door-to-door survey which gathered such data as number of persons in the household, place of nativity, race, whether employed or not, distance to work, and method of getting to work. PCPC workers used data on population from the SS1A study which was supplied to them by the state, classified the data using their own classification sheets, and tabulated the data on tabulation sheets keyed to PCPC block numbers within the Central Intensive Area. If SS1A data was missing or unavailable, the PCPC filled in the information from data on their own Physical and Industrial Survey (1934) data cards if available; or, sometimes, from information in property atlases. Unfortunately no narrative explaining the aims, objectives, and methods of the population studies has been located to date. A report entitled “Population Trends: Actual and Predicted--A.D 1780 to 2100 for the City of Philadelphia….” by the Local Works Division, Project #S1-F2-22, State Emergency Relief Board, for the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, 1935, computed and written by Major Irvin S. Grindrod , is found in Sub-Series 2, Reports. Portions of a manuscript draft of a report and notes for the population study compiled by C. Weisheit in 1936 and associated tables provide information on the black population in the Central Intensive Area.
The PCPC Social Survey files at City Archives contain research from several studies dealing with general characteristics of the population in Philadelphia. One of these was a study of modes of transportation used in the each of the 13 sites which PCPC proposed as prospective areas for slum clearance in 1934 Another study involved Intensive Area Tabulations by Census Tract of population characteristics in the East Intensive Area and West Intensive Area which was the focus of the Physical and Economic Survey which PCPC was engaged in. The records contain tabulations showing nativity, race, and mode of transportation for inhabitants of the Intensive Area in 1934. The nativity data is not complete: that is, the files do not contain nativity worksheets on all the census tracts in the Central Intensive Area. Additionally, the Social Survey files contain SS1A data sheets.
Additionally the Social Survey files include data sheets and tabulation sheets collected by survey staff to illustrate the social costs of urban blight. Topics studied include: Vital Statistics, Truancy, Health (Communicable Diseases, Tuberculosis, Mental Diseases), Fire Load, Housing and Sanitation Inspection Violations, Traffic Accidents, Hospital Admissions, Family Welfare--Private Agencies, Adult Delinquency, Juvenile Delinquency, and Court Cases. In most instances the data is for the year 1933; the Hospital Admissions data is for 1932. The files contain data sheets on which data was compiled, usually from agency records; most of the data sheets indicate that the information was compiled in 1934. The files also contain tabulation sheets which show numbers of cases which could be linked to specific PCPC blocks within the Central Intensive Area.Physical Description
13.0 cubic feet and 9 map case folders