Scope and arrangement
The Century Foundation records date from 1906 to 2010 and document its predecessor organization, The Cooperative League, its founding as the Twentieth Century Fund, and the organization's work throughout the 20th century. The records consist of correspondence, reports, minutes, memoranda, proposals, manuscripts in typewritten and electronic form, photographs, recorded interviews, publications, and films that chart the individual projects of the organization from 1925 to 1996 as well as the evolving focus and areas of study of the foundation. The collection is arranged into five series, based on the original filing system used by the fund.
Series I: The Cooperative League and History includes the foundation's certificate of incorporation, by-laws, and corporate resolutions, as well as documentation of the establishment, governance, and expenditure of Filene's stock that formed the fund's endowment. This series also contains documents that discuss the history of the organization and its founder, and an assembled set of minutes from important early meetings of the Cooperative League and Twentieth Century Fund board.
Series II: Board of Trustees contains the minutes, correspondence, memoranda, and reports of the foundation's board. Along with the records of the full board, included here are the files of standing trustee committees—the Executive, Dissemination, Finance, and Projects Committees—as well as ad hoc committees tasked with special projects such as anniversary publications and the evaluation of the fund research program. Reports in this series include the fund's annual report as well as audits, special reports on the direction fund program, as well as director and staff reports that inform the board of new proposals for projects and the status of ongoing projects.
Series III: General Administrative Files consists of the files of fund directors and individual staff members, representing administrative work that occurred outside of the research program and publishing imprint. The series contains correspondence and memoranda generated by general administrative tasks, editorial staff, and event planning that broadly supported the fund's research projects but does not document the complete cycle of any particular project. While materials in this series span the existence of the Twentieth Century Fund, the bulk of the series dates from Murray Rossant and Richard Leone's directorships from 1970 to the 1990s.
Series IV: Projects constitutes the bulk of the collection, documenting studies funded by the foundation from 1925 to 1996. The projects range in size from position papers and books to symposia and conferences, and the series also includes files on the support of outside organizations and committees prior to the 1930s, infrequent grants up to 1970, and task forces. The series is arranged into five subseries. Administrative Files contain contracts for individual projects as well as proposals for rejected or withdrawn projects. The files for projects themselves are chronologically split into two subseries: Early Project Files, from 1925 to 1950, representing the nascent phase of the fund's research program, and Later Project Files, from 1950 to 1996, the fund's most active period of research and publication. Organized in the Project Adaptations subseries are files with correspondence discussing new editions and adaptations created for the wide dissemination of fund projects, including translations, paperbacks, abridgements, films, television specials, and comics. The Task Forces subseries includes correspondence with trustees and appointed task force members, meeting minutes, memoranda, drafts of task force reports, and published task force background papers and reports.
Series V: Publication Files originate from the two publishing imprints of the fund, Twentieth Century Fund Press and Priority Press Publications. The series contains promotional materials for publications, order information from outside institutions, and copies of short, popular publications like pamphlet series and informational guides about the fund. The fund's Newsletter is also housed in this series, along with the occasionally-published Newsbriefs clipsheet, and an index to the Newsletter.
The Century Foundation records are arranged in five series:
Series I documents the founding of the Cooperative League and its transition into the Twentieth Century Fund. The establishment and early history of the organization is recorded in corporate documents such as the charter, resolutions, and by-laws. Extracts from Records consist of a set of minutes and corporate documents collocated by fund staff for reference use, providing quick access to documentation of key events and important meetings in the organization's formative years. Endowment files discuss the expenditure and disposition of Filene's stock shares that were transferred to the fund in 1922 and represented the majority of the organization's income for its first decades. Files on Edward and Lincoln Filene were compiled by staff throughout the 20th century for reference use and short publications, and provide biographical data as well as historical information on William Filene's Sons Company and the Credit Union National Association.
Arranged alphabetically by subject or format.
Series II contains the records of the board of trustees, standing committees, and ad hoc committees. Included are meeting minutes, correspondence, memoranda, and reports issued to and by the board on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. Standing committees represented in this series include the Projects Committee, also referred to as the Research Committee, which oversees projects during the proposal and research phases; the Dissemination Committee, guiding the promotion of completed research projects and publications; the Finance Committee, which monitors the expenditure of the fund's endowment and capital growth; and the Executive Committee, handling administrative matters of the board.
Meeting minutes are arranged under committee name, and also appear in a set of minute books created by fund staff. The minute books interfile by date all minutes from individual committee and full board meetings from 1927 to 1938 and 1971 to 2000, providing a chronological overview of the work of the board as a whole during two periods of major growth for the fund. The agenda and material distributed for review prior to each committee and full board meeting are housed in documentation files separate from minutes. Meetings of the Projects and Dissemination Committees were frequently held jointly in the 1950s and 1960s, therefore this meeting documentation is bound together, and also bound along with the full board and Executive Committee materials during the same time period.
Along with the standing committees, trustees also regularly convened ad hoc committees to address short-term needs, such as the purchase of the fund's long-time headquarters in 1957, and provide periodic examination of the research program itself. The special projects files include the work of these committees to assess the direction of the fund's research, as well as its history.
Correspondence with individual trustees in this series is split between a general correspondence file, with incomplete chronological runs of incoming and outgoing letters between staff and trustees regarding general meeting matters, and the trustee files, arranged alphabetically by surname. Trustees who joined the board between 1919 and 1991 are all represented in the trustee files, which include incoming and outgoing correspondence that discusses the work of board committees, task forces, and individual projects in greater detail. These files also discuss sporadic projects directed by trustees, as well as commemorative publications about former board members. Additional correspondence between director Richard Leone and a select group of trustees who were active following his appointment are found in Leone's personal files in Series III: General Administrative Files.
Reports in this series include annual reports, audits, and reports submitted to the board by the director and fund staff. The director and staff reports both detail the status of ongoing projects, publishing and dissemination activities, and new proposals before the board for review, while the annual reports of the fund briefly introduce new publications and highlight ongoing research projects within the context of the fund's areas of study. Staff reports contain the most comprehensive chronological overview of the fund's research projects within the collection. The reports replaced the monthly and yearly reports of the director and were issued annually beginning in the 1940s, increasing to triannually by the 1970s.
Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject.
Series III: General Administrative Files contains the general correspondence files of the office, as well as individual files for the work of directors and staff members. This series documents the administrative work of the fund in support of its research program, but the files do not discuss individual projects in great detail. The files primarily consist of correspondence and memoranda. The office papers of high-level administrators, including Edward Filene, August Heckscher, Murray Rossant, and Richard Leone are arranged by surname, though files dated prior to 1970 are relatively incomplete. Administrative papers of associate directors, fund economists, and research directors, including Isador Lubin and Bernard Wasow, are also included and arranged by surname. Support staff work is documented in the editorial and events files. Editorial files discuss the general editorial practices of the fund, while a small run of project files, arranged alphabetically by author, document the revision process for books and reports. These complement the more complete files in Series IV, where most project-specific editorial correspondence and memoranda is found arranged within individual project files. Event files cover the planning of publication release parties and other special events hosted by the fund. This series also holds materials discussing the fund's headquarters on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the fund's contributions to the City of New York in lieu of taxes.
Arrangement is alphabetical by subject or name.
Series IV: Projects comprises the bulk of the collection, documenting the primary work of the foundation in supporting the creation of new research on economic, political, and social issues. Project files consist of correspondence, memoranda, proposals, contracts, manuscripts, photographs, publications, and press releases showing the development of research projects such as book-length studies, position papers, conferences, and seminars. Along with research projects, the fund's support of outside organizations and committees is also documented. Task force files are included in this series, as the work of these groups was supported by the research staff of the fund. This series is arranged into five subseries: Administrative Files, Early Project Files, Later Project Files, Project Adaptations, and Task Forces.
In addition to typewritten draft manuscripts, this series contains electronic drafts of background papers, reports, and books from task forces and individual authors dating from 1988 to 1992. The electronic drafts consist of 63 word processing files that arrived on 14 5.25-inch and 3 3.5-inch floppy disks. These files are arranged in Subseries IV. C.: Later Project Files and IV. E.: Task Forces. Access to electronic drafts is available in the Manuscripts and Archives Reading Room, where researchers can browse, keyword search, and view the records.
This series contains seven audio recordings of task force meetings and media interviews with authors for the promotion of publications. Thirteen films from the educational film series are also included, as is one video recording of a Fred Friendly Seminar. Sound and video recordings are unavailable for use at this time pending preservation transfer.
Series V: Publication Files consists of promotional materials and order information for Twentieth Century Fund Press and Priority Press publications. Popular pamphlet series from 1930 to 1960—such as the Public Policy Bulletins, Personal Growth Leaflets, and committee reports—are included, as are short publications about the Twentieth Century Fund. The fund's Newsletter and Newsbriefs clipsheet contain short articles about new publications, completed projects, and general updates about the fund; an index to the Newsletter is also available. Promotional materials for books, pamphlets, films, and other productions contain flyers, discussion guides, and press releases. Order information is divided between orders made to the fund directly, solely from 1970, and orders addressed to Priority Press throughout the 1980s.
Arranged alphabetically by subject.