Scope and arrangement
The papers of the Committee contain correspondence, minutes, reports, memoranda, card files and reports on vice investigations, secretary's and treasurer's files, financial records, copies of legislation, legal decisions, and records of court cases involving prostitution and other forms of vice, printed material, scrapbooks, and clippings.
It should be noted that there is considerable overlap among the various sections of the correspondence.
The General Correspondence, 1905-1932 contains primarily the incoming and outgoing letters of the Committee's secretaries, Walter G. Hooke, Frederick H. Whitin, and George E. Worthington. The correspondents include other Committee members, representatives of social welfare organizations, the New York State Department of Excise, New York City Police and Tenement House Departments, brewing companies, members of the state legislature, and the general public. The letters are presently divided into alphabetical and chronological series containing the same type of material. It should be noted that the alphabetical section contains subjects such as "Brewers" and "Police" as well as corporate and personal names.
The Protest List Correspondence, 1905-1922, contains letters regarding establishments licensed to sell liquor which were placed on the Committee's "protest list" for disorderly conditions or violations of the liquor tax and licensing laws. The Committee would protest the issuing of a liquor license or a reinsurance bond until the problem was resolved. Correspondents include members of the public, saloon and hotel owners, the Department of Excise, surety companies, brewers, and the police. Many of the letters are standard "probation agreements" from owners stating that they will conduct their establishments with propriety if the Committee will withdraw its protest. Also included are lists of establishments complying or not complying with the law.
The Tenement House Correspondence, 1905; 1911-1932, relates to actions taken against infringements of the Tenement House Law, usually solicitation or prostitution on the premises. There is correspondence with property owners, the Real Estate Board of New York, the Tenement Department, and the police. Also included are lists of suspected places, names and addresses of tenement house owners, and complaints sent to the Committee by members of the public.
The Military Training Camps Correspondence, 1917-1919, contains letters and reports of investigations of liquor sales and prostitution in the vicinity of military training camps In New York, New Jersey, and parts of Pennsylvania and New England. These were treated as part of the Committee's participation in the U.S. War Department's Commission on Training Camp Activities during World War I.
The investigators' reports, 1905-1932, present extensive and detailed information collected by the Committee's undercover investigators who patrolled the streets and posed as customers in a variety of establishments, including saloons, speakeasies, restaurants, hotels, dance halls, massage parlors, theatres and burlesque houses, employment agencies, and department stores. The reports contain a wealth of commentary on the activities taking place, including types of dancing, language, sexual behavior, gambling, and drinking as well as descriptions of the clientele as to sex, race, ethnicity, and physical characteristics. The reports also contain interviews and descriptions of interactions with prostitutes, dance hall hostesses, pimps, cab drivers, hotel bellboys, and other "go-betweens". Information gleaned from the reports is also present on card files.
The collection contains the Executive/General Secretary's topical files and drafts of minutes and annual reports, 1912-1932, the Committee's official minutes and reports, 1905-1932, bulletin books, 1912-1932, containing special memoranda, reports, and statistics, the Treasurer's correspondence, 1908-1932, and financial records, 1918-1931.
Present also are the varied materials used by the Committee in its efforts to reform laws dealing with liquor sales and prostitution and to change the manner in which the criminal justice system handled offenders in these areas. The materials include copies of pertinent legislation, legal decisions, minutes of court cases, reports on the criminal justice system, and correspondence with officers of the court. Extensive card files document cases brought before the Women's Court, 1914-32, the disposition of the cases, and the sentences of the women.
Finally, the records include printed material, circa 1910-1929, on prostitution, sex education, venereal disease, and public health, and two scrapbooks and loose clippings. 1905-1932, on vice and its reform in New York City.
The Committee of Fourteen records are arranged in fourteen series:
Correspondence and investigators' reports.