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Settlements collection

Identifier: SSC-MS-00430

Scope and Contents

The Settlements Collection contains manuscript and printed material that primarily relate to the College Settlement Association, which later became the Intercollegiate Community Service Association, and the individual settlements affiliated with it, primarily the College Settlement of Philadelphia, Denison House in Boston, the Smith Alumnae Chapter, and the Rivington Street Settlement in New York City. The bulk of the material dates from the 1880s, when the settlement movement first emerged in the U.S., to the 1960s when, after the appearance of federal anti-poverty programs, many settlements closed their doors permanently.

The nineteenth century material in this collection includes both published and unpublished sources, such as articles, correspondence, newspaper clippings, promotional pamphlets, histories, and reports that document the emergence and evolution of the settlement movement in the 1880s and 1890s. It also illustrates both settlement founders' efforts to legitimize their work, and their increasingly successful endeavors to draw educated young women into the field of settlement work.

The twentieth century material is more varied and includes articles, commemorative booklets, correspondence, fundraising appeals, minutes, newsletters, pamphlets, photographs, programs, and an unpublished thesis. These items document the thorough institutionalization of settlements in U.S. society between 1900 and the 1930s, the crucial contributions they made to poor and working-class communities, and the gradual decline that most settlements faced in the post-World War II period. The collection includes bound volumes of the annual reports of the College Settlement Association (1890-1913), as well as books and newsletters published by the CSA.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1883-1972


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission is required to cite the papers or for quotations beyond "fair use."


3.312 linear feet (8 containers)


The Settlements Collection documents the social settlement movement and its contributions to poor and working-class urban communities from the 1880s through the first half of the 20th century. Documentation primarily relates to the College Settlement Association (later called the Intercollegiate Community Service Association), and the individual settlements affiliated with it: the College Settlement of Philadelphia, Denison House in Boston, the Smith Alumnae Chapter, and the Rivington Street Settlement in New York City. Types of material include articles, correspondence, clippings, historical writings, pamphlets, annual reports, minutes, newsletters, and photographs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials in this "artificial" subject collection were either purchased or given to the Sophia Smith Collection by various donors. Some items may have been removed from other collections.

Settlements collection
Finding Aid
Jennifer Smar and Kate Weigand
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2005-09-23: mnsss177 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:12-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063