Scope and arrangement
The Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement Records document the institution from its origins in the benevolent work of The Kings Daughters and Jacob A. Riis during the 1890s, to its activities a century later providing social services to residents of the Queensbridge Houses. The records offer a unique view of the first wave of the settlement house movement in America, and document social conditions, demographic change, philanthropy and social welfare programs, as well as providing insights on the careers of such major Progressive-era reform figures as Jacob A. Riis and Theodore Roosevelt. The date span of the records is from 1891 to 1990, with the heaviest concentration in the period from 1891-1950. The records include minutes, correspondence, financial ledgers and documents, membership lists, minutes, news clippings, photographs, printed matter, and reports.
The origins and early history of Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement are well documented by news clippings, printed matter, and annual reports contained in several fragile bound volumes included in Series V, including "King's Daughters Tenement House Chapter Notes, 1894-97"; "King's Daughters Settlement, The Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement Historical Notes, 1897-1901"; and "King's Daughters Settlement, The Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement Historical Notes, 1902-1909." These items are complemented by minutes included in Series III, including those of The King's Daughter's and Sons New York Tenement House Committee for years prior to formal incorporation of the settlement in 1898. Series I includes several items of early correspondence, primarily that of early Head Workers of the settlement relating to financial contributions, programs and activities and administrative matters. There are also several autographed letters of Jacob A. Riis, Mary Phillips Riis, and Roger William Riis. Settlement activities from the 1930s through the 1950s, including the development of programs in Brooklyn and Queens, are best documented by minutes and reports included in Series III. All of these records are complemented by photographs which show a variety of youth activities at the settlement from the 1920s to the 1980s.
The Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement Records are arranged in six series:
- 1891-19624 linear feet
Incoming and outgoing letters, principally those of settlement Head Workers, regarding settlement administration, finances, and programs. There are also several autographed letters of Jacob A. Riis, Mary Phillips Riis, and Roger William Riis, as well as autographed letters from Eleanor Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt. Several hundred fragile carbon copy letters in this series have been photocopied. For several years the photocopied letters have been separately foldered as noted in the Container List. Arranged chronologically.
- 1894-19902 linear feet
Includes corporate certificates, news clippings, printed material, fundraising information, and materials from other settlement houses and social welfare institutions. Arranged alphabetically.
- 1891-19763 linear feet
Includes annual reports, program reports, special committee reports, Board of Manager and executive committee minutes, King's Daughters Committee on Tenement House Work minutes, and King's Daughters and Sons New York Tenement House Chapter minutes. Arranged alphabetically.
- 1898-19822 linear feet
Includes audit reports, bills and receipts, financial statements, real estate and insurance records, and legacies. Arranged alphabetically.
- 1894-197211.5 linear feet
Includes financial ledgers and miscellaneous account books, contribution lists, membership lists, Head Worker notebooks, and scrapbooks containing news clippings, annual reports and printed material. Arranged alphabetically.
- ca.1930-ca.1980.5 linear feet
Black and white and color photographs and negatives. Subjects include settlement staff and program participants, neighborhood scenes, and settlement buildings. Arranged alphabetically by subject.