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MC 220

Boston Parents' Council. Records of the Boston Parents' Council, 1930-1938: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 220
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Boston Parents' Council
Title: Records of the Boston Parents' Council, 1930-1938
Date(s): 1930-1938
Quantity: 1.25 linear feet (3 file boxes)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Minutes, committee records, correspondence, etc., of the Boston Parents' Council, a group that sought to educate parents about current research on child development.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 73-5
The papers of the Boston Parents' Council were deposited with the Schlesinger Library in May 1973 by Mercy Fogg, Archivist of Garland Junior College.

Processing Information:

Processed: March 1976
By: Jean Weaver

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the Boston Parents' Council is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Boston Parents' Council Records, 1930-1938; item description, dates. MC 220, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.


The following materials from the collection have been placed in the Organization File:
The following item from the collection has been given to the Boston Public Library:


The members of the Boston Parents' Council, a small group of professional and volunteer social agency administrators, created the Council in order to bridge the gap between scientists of child development and parents who were asking for information about normal child growth. They devoted so much of their energies to their goals and so relatively little to the institutionalization of their organization that the lifetime of the Boston Parents' Council itself was short, 1930 to 1938. The Council was never legally incorporated. These papers are, therefore, likely to be the only records of the Boston Parents' Council.
The first meeting leading directly to the formation of the Boston Parents' Council was held in May 1930; in October 1931 the title was adopted; and in 1935 the constitution and by-laws were written. By 1935 the vitality of the Council was declining. The final record of the Council is dated June 1938, when the nominating committee reported their inability to secure a slate of officers for the following year.
Boston Parents' Council's growth and decline coincided with the momentum of a nationwide parent education movement. The National Council for Parent Education began in 1925, was incorporated in 1929, and disbanded in 1938. It provided local organizations, including Boston Parents' Council, with professional advice and leadership, as well as financial support from the Spelman Fund. The 1930 White House Conference on Child Health and Protection gave respectability, denied by tradition, to the concept of teaching parents how to raise their own children. During the Depression of the 1930s the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and the (federal) Emergency Education Programs provided support and leadership, the Emergency Education Program offering funds for parent education services to the Massachusetts Department of Education. These and other external events and social forces are referred to in the Boston Parents' Council papers.
A primary purpose of the Boston Parents' Council was to provide communication and cooperation among the many agencies in the Boston area which were doing parent education in one way or another. A second continuing goal was to study issues and events related to parent education and to inject the resulting data and judgements into the program planning of appropriate social agencies.
The Boston Parents' Council sponsored several events in the early years which gained them some public recognition: The Parents' Institute in April 1932, a conference for social workers in April 1933 in cooperation with the Child Welfare League, and in May 1934 the Symposium on Problems of Youth as a Challenge to the Home, Church, School, and Community. They repeatedly warned themselves against competing with established agencies, however, and their various statements of goals never included promoting a public identity for the Boston Parents' Council or otherwise attending to their own institutional establishment.
Boston Parents' Council participated in establishing several parent education programs which lasted beyond the Council's demise in 1938: for example, the Department of Parent Education of the New England Hospital for Women and Children, the Adult Education Council of Boston, the Greater Boston Marriage Council, Boston University's courses in family life and child rearing, and the hiring by the State Department of Education of a Consultant in Child Management.
The following individuals and organizations were present or represented at the initial meeting in May 1930 and continued to be associated with Boston Parents' Council. Officers of the Council are indicated by *.
Other names prominent in the Boston Parents' Council papers include:


Minutes, committee records, correspondence, and mimeographed and printed material include information on the 1930 White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and emergency education programs, the Massachusetts Department of Education, and Council-sponsored events concerning children.


Container List

Additional Index Terms

Child Development
Child rearing
Parent and child
Social service
Spelman Fund
Parenting--Study and teaching
White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, (1930)
Abbott, Josephine D.
Bronner, Augusta F. (Augusta Fox), 1881-1966
Brown, Clifford K.
Eliot, Abigail Adams, 1892-1992
Jones, Gladys Beckett, 1892-1978
Massachusetts Council for Parent Education
Massachusetts. Department of Education
Massachusetts Society for Mental Hygiene
National Council of Parent Education
United States. Federal Emergency Relief Administration
United States. Office of Education. Emergency Education Program
Whitman, Alfred Freeman, 1882-1951