Boston Parents' Council. Records of the Boston Parents' Council, 1930-1938: A Finding
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
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
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.
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.
Processed: March 1976
By: Jean Weaver
Access. Collection is open for research.
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
Copying. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
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:
- Garland School:
Graduating Exercises of the Kindergarten Normal Class of 52 Chestnut Street, 1881.
- Garland School:
Souvenir of the Fourth Reunion of the Chestnut Street Alumnae, May 20, 1892.
- Garland School:
The Eastern Kindergarten Association report of the 43rd meeting, 1896.
- Garland School:
The Eastern Kindergarten Association 52nd meeting, 1898.
- Garland School:
Garland Kindergarten Alumnae Association, Annual Reports 1922, 1924, 1926, 1928, 1929,
1930, 1931 (43rd annual meeting).
- Household Nursing Association, Review of the Year 1937.
- New England Watch and Ward Society, 1937-1938, Sixtieth Annual Report.
The following item from the collection has been given to the Boston Public Library:
- The Old South Association in Boston: List of Officers, Members, Committees, Documents,
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'
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 *.
- ºDr. E. Stanley Abbot, Massachusetts Society for Mental Hygiene (Chairman of the Committee
on the Proposed Parents' Council, 1930-1931)
- T. Grafton Abbott, YMCA
- * Josephine D. (Mrs. T. Grafton) Abbott, Judge Baker Foundation, Florence Crittenton
League (Boston Parents' Council Secretary, 1930-1932)
- * Dr. Augusta Bronner, Judge Baker Foundation (Boston Parents' Council Vice Chairman
- Marie L. Donahoe, Community Health Association
- Dr. Henry B. Elkind, Massachusetts Society for Mental Hygiene
- Sybil Foster, Massachusetts Society for Mental Hygiene
- * Mrs. Douglas Mercer, YWCA (Boston Parents' Council Vice Chairman, 1937-1938)
- Mrs. H. A. Skilton, Better Homes in America
- * Dr. Douglas A. Thom, Habit Clinics for Child Guidance, Massachusetts Department
of Mental Diseases (Boston Parents' Council Vice Chairman, 1934-1936)
- * Alfred Whitman, Boston Children's Aid Association (Boston Parents' Council Treasurer,
Other names prominent in the Boston Parents' Council papers include:
- º Clifford K. Brown, YMCA (Boston Parents' Council Chairman, 1931-1934)
- Dr. W. Linwood Chase, Boston University School of Education
- ºAbigail A. Eliot, Nursery Training School (Boston Parents' Council Chairman, 1934-1936)
- Mrs. Robert F. Herrick, Judge Baker Foundation
- º Mrs. George (Ann C.) Hoague (Boston Parents' Council Chairman, 1936-1938)
- ºMrs. Gladys B. Jones, Garland School of Homemaking (Boston Parents' Council Secretary,
- Ralph P. Bridgemen, Director National Council on Parent Education
- Eduard C. Lindeman, New York School of Social Work
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.
- Box 1: Folders 1-19
- Box 2: Folders 20-34
- Box 3: Folders 35-49
- 1. Correspondence 1930-1931.
- 9. Financial correspondence and records 1932-1937.
- 10. Spelman Fund. Correspondence between Boston Parents' Council and National Council
for Parent Education re financial support from the Spelman Fund for the Boston Parents'
- 11. Histories and statements of purpose and action 1930-1936.
- 12. Membership lists 1932-1938. Includes "Report on Analysis of Personnel of Council,
- 13. Secretary's notes, in pencil, of meetings 1936-1937 by Gladys B. Jones.
- 14. Minutes of meetings May 27, 1930 to June 2, 1932. Includes a note in pencil (by Gladys
B. Jones?), "Dates of Minutes in this file...[53 dates beginning 5/27/30 and ending
- 15. Minutes of meetings August 22,1932 to June 8, 1933.
- 16. Minutes of meetings September 14, 1933 to June 7, 1934.
- 17. Minutes of meetings October 11, 1934 to May 31, 1935.
- 18. Minutes of meetings October 3, 1935 to June 4, 1936.
- 19. Minutes of meetings November 5, 1936 to May 2, 1938.
- 20. Clifford K. Brown's notebook, 1930-1933: Minutes and records of meetings 5/27/1930-6/8/1933;
Records relating to the Parents' Institute, April 1932; Printed program of "Institute
of Character Developing Forces in New England", April 17-30, 1933; Printed program
of "Conference of Child Welfare League of America in Cooperation with the Boston Parents'
Council", April 12-13, 1933.
- 21. Parents' Institute, April 5-6, 1932. Miscellaneous: Correspondence (December 8, 1931
to June 15, 1932); Minutes of committee meetings (January 14, 1932-May 5, 1932); Records
of the Institute; Notes by Abigail A. Eliot of followup meeting June 2, 1932.
- 22. Parents' Institute, April 5-6, 1932. Summaries of discussions. Includes original reports
and revisions, and printed program.
- 23. Parents' Institute, April 5-6, 1932. Publicity Committee records. Includes newspaper
- 24. Parents' Institute, April 5-6, 1932. Survey of 1932 Parents' Institute by H. C. Seymour.
Correspondence and reports, February to June, 1934.
- 25. Training Course for Discussion Group Leaders in Parent Education, six weekly sessions
October 17-November 30, 1932. Correspondence, notes, program.
- 26. Conference for Social Workers, April 12-13, 1933; Boston Parents' Council in cooperation
with Child Welfare League of America. Correspondence, notes for talks, minutes of
meetings, printed program.
- 27. Symposium on Problems of Youth as a Challenge to the Home, Church, School and Community,
May 1-2, 1934. Correspondence, February 9-May 17, 1934. Includes a note in pencil,
"It seems there may have been notes lost. Therefore, I have collected this material
into one file for reference in case these notes were never found. 10/26/37." Signature
on note is not clear.
- 28. Symposium on Problems of Youth as a Challenge to the Home, Church, School and Community,
May 1-2, 1934. Notes, annotated lists, telephone messages, etc.
- 29. Symposium on Problems of Youth as a Challenge to the Home, Church, School and Community,
May 1-2, 1934. Minutes of planning meetings March 9-May 2, 1934.
- 30. Symposium on Problems of Youth as a Challenge to the Home, Church, School and Community,
May 1-2, 1934. Drafts of program. Includes materials prepared in the process of developing
- 31. Symposium on Problems of Youth as a Challenge to the Home, Church, School and Community,
May 1-2, 1934. Lists of participants.
- 31a. Symposium on Problems of Youth as a Challenge to the Home, Church, School and Community,
May 1-2, 1934. Registrations. Includes notes and letters attached to registration
- 32. Symposium on Problems of Youth as a Challenge to the Home, Church, School and Community,
May 1-2, 1934. Reports of meetings. Includes talk by E. C. Lindeman, "Youth and Our
Cultural Dilemma," reprints of his talk, and newsclippings.
- 33. Symposium on Problems of Youth as a Challenge to the Home, Church, School and Community,
May 1-2, 1934. Preparing the printed program. Includes typed drafts and printer's
- 34. Symposium on Problems of Youth as a Challenge to the Home, Church, School and Community,
May 1-2, 1934. Follow-up questionnaire. Replies to questionnaire and correspondence
November 22, 1934-February 5, 1935.
- 35. Filene's Conference, "Parents and Their Children," May 13-18, 1934. Correspondence
and notes, January 2-April 6, 1935, and printed program with annotations.
- 36. Jordan Marsh Family Consultation Center. Correspondence, September 24-October 17,
- 37. Conference for Teachers on Parent Education. Planned originally for March 1936 but
postponed and never held. Referred to in Boston Parents' Council minutes December
- 38. Committee on Group Program Guidance. Correspondence and other materials, March 21,
1932-May 6, 1935.
- 39. Committee on Resources for Parent Education in Boston. Correspondence and other materials,
October 1932-May 1934, n.d. Includes "List of 101 Social Agencies in Boston," n.d.
- 40. Committee on Standards. Reports December 14, 1933 and January 11, 1934.
- 41. Committee on Marriage Study. Correspondence and other materials May 16, 1934-November
- 42. Committee on Parent Education and Delinquency. Correspondence, discussion materials,
reports, November 13, 1934-March 1, 1937. Includes "A Program for Crime Prevention;
Proposed Recommendations by Mrs. Robert F. Herrick's Committee."
- 43. Parent Education work with other organizations. Correspondence, programs, outlines
of talks, notes, announcements, etc., March 17, 1932-November 5, 1937. Includes talk,
"The Trend Toward Parent Education."
- 44. Massachusetts Society for Mental Hygiene. Reports of Medical Director and Educational
Director for 1931-1932. Bound publications: Understanding the Child, January 1932; and Mental Health Primer, 1929.
- 45. Massachusetts Council for Parent Education. Organizational materials: Correspondence,
minutes, statement of purpose, etc., November 29, 1933-January 11, 1934.
- 46. Parent education activities in Emergency Education Programs. 5 printed and mimeo.
- Handbook for Leaders of Parent Education Groups
- Critical Study of Parent Education in Emergency Education Program
- Yale Films of Child Development released for Parent Education Leaders
- Survey of Child Development and Parent Education in New York State
- Second Vermont Parent Education and Child Development Conference.
- 47. National Council for Parent Education Third Biennial Conference, November 11-12, 1932.
Correspondence, program, discussion materials, etc. Includes Abigail A. Eliot's report.
- 48. National Council of Parent Education. Mimeo. and printed materials, 1934-1937, n.d.
- 49. Miscellaneous materials: Program of the Fifth International Congress on Family Education
in Brussels, 1934; Newspaper interview with John Dewey, New York Times, April 10, 1932.
Parent and child
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