Friends Neighborhood Guild
Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. 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
Friends Neighborhood Guild was organized in 1879 as Friends Mission #1 under the supervision of Philadelphia First Day School Union, an organization of Hicksite Friends. Its first mission building opened in 1880 at the corner of Beach Street and Fairmount Avenues in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. Its initial aims were to provide religious and moral uplift, "a refining influence" for poor European immigrants living along the North Philadelphia waterfront. Early activities included worship services, youth meetings, a sewing school, and temperance meetings.
In 1898 it came under the care of the Philanthropic Committee of Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting (Hicksite). The following year, it moved to a new location at 151 Fairmont Avenue and was renamed Friends Neighborhood Guild. Its programs were aimed at families, especially children, and were expanded to include recreation, woodworking, a savings fund, a flower and fruit mission, assistance in obtaining fuel, and a probation officer. The work was carried out by volunteers until 1903, when Emily Wilbur, the first full-time staff member, was hired as General Superintendent.
In 1913 Friends Neighborhood Guild expanded with the purchase of Green Street Meeting House at Fourth and Green Streets. This important Hicksite meeting house was built in 1814, but by 1913 attendance had declined so dramatically that the Meeting decided to sell the building. Early in the twentieth century, under the influence of the social work philosophy, Friends Neighborhood Guild gradually changed from a mission to a settlement house. The ethnic mix of community residents gradually changed in the 1920s from mostly Central and Eastern Europeans (Jewish, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic) to largely black. In 1921 Friends Neighborhood Guild was one of the founders of the Welfare Federation of Philadelphia, and it is currently a United Way agency. Since 1950, with the formation of Friends' Self Help Cooperative, the Guild has been involved in efforts to improve housing in the East Poplar section of Philadelphia. In 1954 Friends Neighborhood Guild became incorporated, managed by a Board of Directors. In 1956 the Guild moved to its present location at 703 North Eighth Street.
While having no official connection to Friends Neighborhood Guild, Spring Street Settlement, located at 1223-1225 Spring Street, was established in 1906 to help improve economic and social conditions in a black neighborhood east of Broad Street in Philadelphia, close to the area served by Friends Neighborhood Guild. Its programs included recreation, instruction in shoemaking and sewing and other "useful arts," material assistance, a probation officer, and a visiting nurse. It was particularly concerned with the housing conditions in the area and became inactive after 1925.
The collection also contains a small amount of material (1905) relating to the Friendly Settlement Association, another Quaker society involved in settlement work in Philadelphia.
Correspondence, minutes, annual reports, financial papers, scrapbooks, historical, publicity, and membership materials, newsletters, pictures, and other records, relating to the organization's early activities as a mission and settlement house providing assistance to the poor, particularly immigrants and blacks, and its subsequent change of focus to community center. Includes minutes and reports (1905) of Friendly Settlement Association, another Quaker society involved in settlement work, and records (1907-1925) relating to Spring Street Settlement (founded 1906 as Spring Street Mission), including correspondence, minutes, scrapbook, and pictures.
The collection is organized into ten series. The series are:
- Historical material
- Minutes (1880-1962)
- Membership (1905-1947)
- Financial records (1898-1947)
- Correspondence, primarily concerning fund-raising (1911 1914)
- Annual reports (1880-1956)
- Newsletters (1933-1947) and other printed material
- Friendly Settlement Association (1905)
- Spring Street Settlement Records (1906-1921).
For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Gift of Friends Neighborhood Guild, 1945, 1970
Gift of Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting, 1964
Gift of Francis Bosworth1970
The material from the different agencies was given by Central Philadelphia Monthly Meeting as one donation, and it was sorted and arranged as a single record group. Subsequent donations in 1964 and 1970 were added to the collection. The collection reorganized and a new check list was prepared in 1988. Revised in 1999.
Duplicates of Annual Reports 1880-1956 and Annual Reports published since 1956 are filed separately in Serial Group 3, Friends Neighborhood Guild.
- African Americans -- Pennsylvania
- African Americans -- Services for -- Pennsylvania
- Social work with African Americans
- Church work
- Church Work with Immigrants -- Pennsylvania
- Church work with the Poor -- Pennsylvania
- Church work with the Poor -- Society of Friends
- Community centers -- Pennsylvania
- Immigrants -- Services for -- Pennsylvania
- Home missions -- Pennsylvania
- Poor -- Services for -- Pennsylvania
- Nonprofit Organizations -- Pennsylvania
- Quakers -- Pennsylvania
- Quakers -- Societies, etc
- Society of Friends -- Charities -- Records and correspondence
- Social settlements -- Pennsylvania
- Urban poor -- Pennsylvania
- Youth -- Services for
- Poor -- Pennsylvania
- Poor -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
- Charities -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
- Social service -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
- Society of Friends -- Pennsylvania
- Quakers -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
- Society of Friends -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
- Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
- Finding Aid Author
- FHL staff
- Finding Aid Date
- Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries
- Access Restrictions
Collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Some of the items in this collection may be protected by copyright. The user is solely responsible for making a final determination of copyright status. If copyright protection applies, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns to reuse, publish, or reproduce relevant items beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to the law. See http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/UND/1.0/.
Also includes historical information collected about Friends Neighborhood Guild for booklet listed above; letters asking for historical information for the booklet; letters providing historical information for the booklet; records pertaining to the 70th anniversary dinner (3/11/1950); news releases and clippings about the dinner; communications with speakers (Eleanor Roosevelt presented the main address); Invitations and guest list; other papers concerning dinner arrangements.
With 2 typed copies
Became Guild Committee in 1916
1935-1937 minutes incompletePhysical Description
Arranged alphabetically by meeting
Arranged alphabetically by donor
Arranged alphabetically by donor
Arranged alphabetically by donor
The following annual reports were placed in SG 3: 1880-1883, 1901, 1905, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1914-1919 and 1932Physical Description
Including excerpts from newspaper articles about Guild activitiesPhysical Description
4 issues only
Contains newspaper clippings, annual reports, correspondence, newsletters, programs of events, and pictures
Includes minutes of Advisory Board and of some committees, newspaper clippings, reports and pictures
Mostly newspaper clippings describing accomplishments of blacks in Philadelphia