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HOLLIS 601672

New England Watch and Ward Society. Records, 1918-1957: Finding Aid

Harvard Law School Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard Law School

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: HOLLIS 601672
Repository: Harvard Law School Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: New England Watch and Ward Society
Title: New England Watch and Ward Society records
Date(s): 1918-1957
Quantity: 17 boxes
Language of materials: English
Abstract: This collection includes material relating to financial and internal affairs of the society, vigilance associations in other states, legislation relating to gambling, prohibition, and censorship, the International Reform Federation, and theaters.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The records of the New England Watch and Ward Society were donated by the Society to the Harvard Law School by a vote of its board of directors on October 15, 1968.

Processing Information:

Processed by Martin E. Hollick, December 1994.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access to these papers is governed by the rules and regulations of the Harvard Law School Library. This collection is open to the public, but is housed off-site at Harvard Depository and requires 2-day advance notice for retrieval. Consult the Special Collections staff for further information.

Conditions Governing Use:

The Harvard Law School Library holds copyright on some, but not all, of the material in our collections. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be directed to the Special Collections staff. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Harvard Law School Library are also responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations who hold copyright.

Historical/Biographical Information



Series List/Description

Scope and Contents

The records of the New England Watch and Ward Society (hereinafter "NEWWS") span the years 1918-1957, with the bulk of the material falling in the 1927-1957 period. The collection includes the office files of the NEWWS, alphabetically arranged and incomplete, and bound volumes comprising the minutes of board of directors' meetings, treasurer's reports and investigative reports; all of which are complete. The alphabetical office files include all financial files, membership information, incoming and outgoing correspondence, pamphlets from the NEWWS and allied organizations, newspaper clippings, federal and state bill texts, court opinions, trial briefs, internal memoranda including lists of books suppressed, bibliographies of gambling literature, annual reports of NEWWS and allied organizations, theatre playbills, and internal investigative reports.
The records relate to the day-to-day activities of the NEWWS during the height of its influence in Boston and New England. Founded as a citizens' vigilance society, the organization actively investigated crime and moral corruption in New England. The records range from active correspondence with allied organizations such as the Illinois Vigilance Association and the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, and personal correspondence with citizens to the briefs filed against Lillian Hellman's play The Children's Hour in 1936. There is also active correspondence with magazine distributors who needed the approval of the NEWWS before distribution of each issue in New England.
The records present a complete overview of a non-profit group in the 1930s. The financial records include audit reports, charitable corporation filings for the state and federal government, stock reports and treasurer's reports. Membership information is included showing dues payments, some of which date from 1906, and solicitation letters of the NEWWS.
The drawback of the collection is the incompleteness of the alphabetical files from 1927-1939. Since the collection was in use before processing, some of the original order has been lost and the researcher should be aware that correspondence is filed under an organization's name or the leader of that organization's name.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Citizen crime reporting--New England.
Crime and Justice Foundation.
Gambling--New England.
Illinois Vigilance Association.
International Reform Federation.
Massachusetts Council on Crime and Correction.
Midwest Distributors, Inc.
New England Citizens Crime Commission.
New England News Company.
New England Society for the Suppression of Vice.
New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.
Vigilance committees--New England.
Bodwell, Charles S.
Cabot, Godfrey Lowell, 1861-1962.
Cabot, Thomas Dudley, 1897-
Garrett, Oliver B.
Glueck, Sheldon, 1896-
Hellman, Lillian, 1906-
Huntingdon, Henry Strong.
King, Delcevare.
New England Watch and Ward Society.
Pringle, Henry F. (Henry Fowles), 1897-1958.
Sheldon, Eleanor Touroff, 1898-1972.
Strong, Dwight S.