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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note

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Collection
Title:United South End Settlements records
Dates:1891-2009 (bulk 1980-1999)
Call Number:M126

Historical Note

In 1960, four settlement houses and a children's museum located in the South End of Boston merged to form the United South End Settlements. The history of these settlement houses dates back to 1891 when William J. Tucker, a professor at Andover Theological Seminary, established a men's residence called Andover House. The Headworker of Andover House was Robert Archey Woods, who changed its name to the South End House in 1895. The South End House was the first settlement house in Boston and the fourth one in the United States. Other settlement houses soon followed in the South End, among them were the Lincoln House in 1892, Hale House in 1895, and the Harriet Tubman House in 1904. The Children's Art Centre, which opened in 1918, evolved from meetings of the Museum Settlement Association.

These early settlement houses focused on improving housing, public health, and sanitation, developing day care programs that included medical care for children, and creating mental health programs. Settlement house residents established milk stations, public baths, dispensaries, and services, such as emergency loan and stamp savings programs. Recreational, educational, and cultural efforts included providing summer camp opportunities for South End children and building playgrounds. Nurseries were started as were specialized schools for industrial, vocational, and employment training for both women and men. Free concerts, art exhibitions, reading rooms, and a variety of social, drama, and literary clubs were also introduced into the neighborhood for people of all ages. In addition, these settlement houses worked to extend and develop cooperative programs with local organizations, including the Children's Aid Society, the Women's Educational and Industrial Union, the Massachusetts Civic League, and various trade unions.

In 1950, six settlement houses (South End, Lincoln, Hale, Harriet Tubman, Ellis Memorial and Eldridge) and the Children's Art Centre became the Federation of South End Settlements. The decision to federate was made as a result of the findings of United Community Services-Greater Boston Survey, which concluded that funding and other resources would go further if they were shared. The South End House acted as federation headquarters, and it continued as a residence for both staff and students. By the mid 1950s, programs and services included summer camps, an older adult program, and counseling and referrals for new immigrants. English and Spanish classes were also offered. The mid 1950s, however, was a turning point for the South End. The City of Boston had begun its massive urban renewal project in the neighborhood, which included the destruction of Hale House. Subsequently, urban renewal became the foundation of all long range planning, while existing programs were integrated throughout the remaining houses.

In January of 1960, four of the six settlement houses, with Ellis Memorial and Eldridge opting out, incorporated into the United South End Settlements under the provisions of a Massachusetts legislative act. At the end of 1959, the Boston Redevelopment Authority had announced its plans to raze the Castle Square area, where Lincoln House was located, and to relocate the 644 resident families and individuals out of the area, presenting United South End Settlements with its first challenge. Between 1962 and 1963, United South End Settlements organized meetings with community members and successfully relocated 90 percent of Castle Square residents to safe, standard housing, assisting some in purchasing of their first homes.

In 1964, the South End community successfully challenged the Boston Redevelopment Authority's plan for the Castle Square area. Boston Redevelopment Authority's initial proposal allotted only one-third of the area for residential use. With the help of United South End Settlements, residents pressured the Boston Redevelopment Authority to double that amount. The second redevelopment plan created 540 units of low-cost housing, including 90 for the elderly. The defeat of the Boston Redevelopment Authority's urban renewal plan was only one example of the increased community activism of South End residents during that time. Between 1959 and 1964, United South End Settlements played an integral role in developing a wide variety of neighborhood associations, including the South End Rehabilitation and Conservation Committee.

Since its inception, United South End Settlements has been an active participant in the redevelopment and rehabilitation of the South End, taking part in all phases of the process from planning to execution. In the early 1960s, United South End Settlements crafted a long-range plan for developing the area that articulated short-and long-range goals for the neighborhood. This led to the formation of a new organization, Action for Boston Community Development, which was created specifically to address the social aspects of urban renewal. In 1964, United South End Settlements was awarded a federal grant to develop more effective ways to provide low-income housing. That same year United South End Settlements helped form South End Community Development, Inc., a non-profit corporation created specifically to acquire and develop low-cost housing. By 1966, United South End Settlements was handling all relocation for South End urban renewal.

Prior to 1975, programs and services were administered from several different locations throughout the South End: the Cathedral Housing Project, 48 Rutland Street (South End House), 20 Union Park, and Hale House, but once United South End Settlements incorporated, plans to create a central facility began to evolve. In 1975, the New Harriet Tubman House opened as the headquarters of United South End Settlements and the Older Adult Program. The building, however, was also designed to function as a community center and an art gallery, and it houses the Harriet Tubman Resource Center, which contained books, correspondence, articles, and audio visual material about the life of Harriet Tubman. The Gallery displays artwork by minorities and features multi-media presentations. Artists such as, Allan Crite, Paul Goodnight, Lou Jones, and Anne McQueen have exhibited at the Harriet Tubman Gallery. Artwork produced by students in the Children's Art Centre and students in the Teen Portfolio class have also been exhibited.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, United South End Settlements also developed new programs and services including the Furniture Store, where South End residents could buy used furniture and house hold items; the Community Services Center, which offered a wide variety of services to families, such as home management and budget counseling; and the Chinese Youth Services Program, which focused on the needs of newly arrived immigrants, such as family and individual counseling, and educational and cultural workshops. Programs and services offered to adults were career counseling, vocational workshops, and employment training. Children, youth, and young adult programming included the Cooperative Economic Development Youth Program featuring training; education and career orientation; residential and day camps for both boys and girls; day care and after school programs; classes at Children's Art Centre; and a food service training program. The Local Development of the South End, Inc. was established to assist minorities with small business startup, and the Neighborhood Revitalization / Economic Development Program instituted a revolving loan equity fund for businesses in the South End and Lower Roxbury. The Older Adult Program, with its component Mobile Services Unit, assured that seniors and shut-ins had access to transportation, hot lunches, and recreational and social activities.

In addition to these programs, United South End Settlements also created the Manpower Advocacy Program, which sponsored legislation to improve the status of the under-employed and worked with the Massachusetts Bay Transit Association to increase transportation and to improve working conditions by signing Boston's first affirmative action program. United South End Settlements also provided services to the Cathedral Housing Development, including the Family Life Education and Counseling Program where staff assisted in organizing tenants, offered counseling to families and individuals, made home visits, and worked with high school students on desegregation issues. In addition, the Cathedral Security Program was initiated to improve the resident's quality of life by reducing crime through police-community cooperation, improved safety measures, and education.

Programs developed in the 1980s and 1990s focused on employment training and education, vocational education, adult literacy, computer literacy, and cultural enrichment. In 1983, United South End Settlements created the Employment, Training, and Education Department to help adults acquire the skills to enable them to compete in the work force. Programs included GED preparation, adult basic education, and employment training. Along with math, reading, and writing, cultural offerings and prevocational workshops were part of the curriculum. The Computer Clubhouse, organized in 1995, offered classes in computer design, programming, technological invention. Cultural programming consisted of art exhibits and performing artists shows at the Harriet Tubman Gallery and classes in the Children's Art Centre. Teen programs included summer internships in Boston's museums and theaters, providing teens with opportunities to explore the arts. The Teen Portfolio program helped students to develop art portfolios and to apply to art schools.

Through the Housing and Neighborhood Development Program, United South End Settlements continued to provide affordable housing and hold classes in tenant rights education. Senior Home Repair helped homeowners keep their property well maintained, and the Housing Counseling Program matched tenants with affordable housing and encouraged homeownership. United South End Settlements continued to provide child care through its Family Support Program, which offered preschool classes, such as recreational, art and cultural, and music. After school activities included arts, occupational therapy, and tutoring. The Family Support Program also featured a summer day camp program for both boys and girls.

In 1988, a consultant's report on the Youth Resource Center indicated that United South End Settlements needed a more family-oriented service delivery approach. The report was the impetus behind the plans for a Family and Children's Center. Severe cutbacks in public contracts and staff reductions, however, made it impossible for United South End Settlements to build the Center. In 1990, the Family and Children's Center Committee was organized instead to examine the ways in which United South End Settlements could improve its service delivery. In 1992, the report "Toward A New Definition of United South End Settlements" was released, suggesting that United South End Settlements should involve clients, staff, and board in the decision-making process thereby redefining its role as a service provider. Another recommendation was for United South End Settlements to reconnect with the South End and Lower Roxbury neighborhoods by reaching out to the community and being more open to community involvement. Beginning in 1993, United South End Settlements began the work of reshaping and redefining itself into a more family-oriented rather than a service oriented organization - one that would meet the challenges of the 21st century.

In 2007, United South End Settlements offers a broad spectrum of programs and services to South End / Lower Roxbury residents of all ages. At the South End Center for Adult Education, classes from business to sewing and events, such as book discussions, author talks, and workshops are offered. Technology education and free computer access are available at the Timothy Smith Computer Learning Center. Art and Culture programming includes the Arts Incentives Program, which provides at-risk youth the opportunity to work with mentors and professional artists, to exhibit their artwork, and to participate in Summer Internships. Art instruction at the Children's Art Centre reflects the Boston Public Schools' curriculum standards in the visual and performing arts through a wide variety of programs, including pre and after-school arts programs, classes for children and families, and the Teen Portfolio program. United South End Settlements' Senior Services Program (formerly the Older Adults Program) offers senior home repair, benefits advocacy, and hot lunch programs together with social and recreational activities including jazzercise, computer classes, and special field trip. Camp Hale continues to offer boys the experience of living outdoors for two weeks during the summer and other summer camp programs are as varied as computer camp and day camp for both boys and girls.
Chronology
1891Men's residence on 6 Rollins Street in the South End is founded by Prof. William J. Tucker.
1892Andover House opens on 6 Rollins Street with Robert Woods as Head Resident.Lincoln House begins as the "Lincoln Club", a club for boys located in various South End buildings.
1895Andover House changes its name to South End House.Hale House opens in the South End.
1897 South End House incorporates.
1899 South End Social Union is formed to coordinate services in the South End.
1900Camp Hale property is donated.South End Social Union opens and brings together 10 other community agencies for cooperative action. This is the first such organization in the United States.
1901 South End House moves to 20 Union Park.Camp Hale for boys opens.
1904Harriet Tubman House opens at 25 Holyoke Street.Model rooming house opens at 34 Rutland Street.
1905First inter-racial gatherings in Boston began in the South End as a result of studies done by residents of South End House.
1906Harriet Tubman house is incorporated.
1908 South Bay Union opens on 611 Harrison Avenue.Boston Social Union, a federation of 16 settlements and neighborhood centers in the South End, the North End, and the West End, is organized.
1910South End House helps to create the South End Music School.
1913Well Baby Clinic is established at South Bay Union.Women's residence opens on 47 East Canton Street.
1915 South End House co-sponsors the first Montessori School in Boston.First meeting of the Settlements Museum Association is held.
1917 Settlements Museum Association leases building from the South End.Music School opens on 36 Rutland Street.
1918Children's Art Centre opens.48 Rutland Street becomes home to programs for the elderly and a nursery school.
1920East Canton Street Women's Residence closes. Residents move to 40 West Newton Street.Harriet Tubman House opens new residence at 27 Holyoke Street.
1925 40 West Newton Street residence closes. 20 Union Park opens to both men and women. 24 Union Park is purchased.
1927Hale and Lincoln houses form partial merger.
193048 Rutland Street is purchased.South End Joint Planning Council is formed.
1934Housing exhibition is held on 48 Rutland Street.Housing Consultation Bureau is established to give advice on rehabilitation efforts.
1941Harriet Tubman House opens a nursery school, so mothers can join the labor force.
1949 Greater Boston Community Survey publishes its two-year survey of settlement houses in the South End.The Children's Art Center, Ellis Memorial, and the Hale, Lincoln, South End, and Harriet Tubman houses form the South End Area Planning Group to study the survey.Construction on first public housing development begins in South End.
1951The Children's Art Center, Ellis Memorial, and the Hale Lincoln, South End, and Harriet Tubman houses merge to become the Federation of South End Settlements.
1954 City of Boston launches citywide Neighborhood Rehabilitation and Conservation Program, which introduces the concept of urban renewal.Ellis Memorial withdraws from federation.Hale House is demolished.South End Planning Council and the South End Rehabilitation and Conservation Committee are formed.
1958 The South End Rehabilitation and Conservation Committee begins developing long range urban renewal master plan for South End.
1959 Boston Redevelopment Authority announces plan to demolish Castle Square area where Lincoln House is located.Federation of South End Settlements facilitates community meetings to learn about the Boston Redevelopment Authority's proposal.
1960 Federation of South End Settlements incorporates and becomes United South EndSettlements United South End Settlements.United South End Settlements and the Boston Housing Authority establish the Community Services Center.Lincoln House closes due to urban renewal.South End Renewal Committee is established.
1961United South End Settlements begins its Community Organizing Department with the Boston Housing Authority and the University of Massachusetts / Boston.South End Urban Renewal Committee is organized. Stone Library opens at 20 Union Park.
1962 United South End Settlements contracts with the Boston Redevelopment Authority to relocate 644 families in the Castle Square area.
1963Lincoln House is acquired by the Boston Redevelopment Authority to become Castle Square relocation office. United South End Settlements oversees operation. The Youth Opportunity Center opens at 48 Rutland Street.
1964 United South End Settlements Executive Director Charles Liddell and other community leaders begin Action for Boston Community Development to address social dimensions of urban renewal.South End Community Development is formed for the purpose of acquiring, rehabilitating, and making available affordable housing.O'Day Playground opens.South End Urban Renewal Committee is formed and staffed by United South End Settlements.Shawmut Neighborhood Center, the first multi-service center in Boston, is formed.
1965 City of Boston approves the Boston Redevelopment Authority's South End Urban Renewal Plan.
1966 United South End Settlements establishes five urban renewal service programs.United South End Settlements named by Boston Redevelopment Authority to facilitate South End relocation services.
1967South End House resident program ends.United South End Settlements promotes construction of new affordable housing in South End. Tenant Development Council is created.
1968Boston Housing Authority announces it will stop tearing down homes in the South End.Sit down strike lead by the Community Assembly for a United South End is held at 20 Union Park. Protesters demand United South End Settlements cease relocating residents for the Boston Redevelopment Authority. United South End Settlements does not renew contract.Emergency Tenant's Council of Parcel 19, Inc. is named sponsor-developer of Parcel 19 in the South End by the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
1969 United South End Settlements begins building program in which five of its six centers will be torn down and replaced with three new centers.
1971 Construction begins for new Harriet Tubman House.United South End Settlements establishes the Furniture Store.Local Development of the South End, Inc. is organized.Southwest Corridor Highway is opposed by South End residents.
1973Local Development of South End, Inc. is formalized.
1974 United South End Settlements Board of Directors votes to support Judge Garrity's decision to desegregate Boston schools.
1975The new Harriet Tubman House is completed and becomes United South End Settlements' headquarters.Chinese Youth Essential Services program begins.
1976 United South End Settlements' Manpower Advocacy Staff is first to sign affirmative action program in Boston.
1977 The old Harriet Tubman house is sold.
1979 The Harriet Tubman Gallery opens.
1983United South End Settlements' staff develops 80 units of subsidized housing on East Canton Street.
1985United South End Settlements and the South End Neighborhood Action Program ensure that two-thirds of new housing in the South End is allocated to low and moderate income families.
1990United South End Settlements begins plans to develop the Family and Children's Center.
1992 United South End Settlements celebrates centennial anniversary.
1993Children's Art Centre closes.United South End Settlements begins strategic plan to become a 21st century settlement house.
1998 Children's Art Centre reopens.
2001Camp Hale celebrates 100th anniversary.
Chronology of Executive Staff
1950-1957Charles Ernst, Executive Director, Federation of South End Settlements
1957-1960Charles Liddell, Executive Director
1960-1967Charles Liddell, Executive Director, United South End Settlements
1967-1981Kenneth Brown, Executive Director
1981-2001Frieda Garcia, Executive DirectorSamia Hakim, Executive Assistant
1982-1986Robert Thornell, Deputy Director
1989-1992Kenneth Wade, Deputy Director of Programs
1989-1992Kevin Hepner, Deputy Director of Administration
Jun 2001Kevin Hepner, Vice President for Administration and Finance
2001- Jul 2003Sandra Furey Gaither, Executive Director
Jul 2003-Feb 2004Ashley McCumber, Interim President
Mar 2004-Dec 2007Ashley McCumber, President / CEO
Jan 2008-Kevin Hepner, President / CEO
Bibliography

Albert Boer, The Development of USES: a Chronology of the South End Settlements, 1891-1966. (Box 64).

Board of Directors Minutes (Boxes 2-6).

Lucy Knight, United South End Settlements Timeline, 1957-1981 (Box 24, Folder 45).

South End Historical Society Newsletter, vol. 30, no. 1, 1997 (Box 25).

United South End Settlements, website, http://www.uses.org. Accessed February, 2007.