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Records of the Brooklyn Council for Social Planning

Call Number



1931-1958, inclusive
; 1948-1957, bulk


Brooklyn Council for Social Planning


28 Linear Feet 67 boxes

Language of Materials

English .


The records of the Brooklyn Council for Social Planning (BCSP), which promoted, guided, and evaluated the health and welfare of the people of Brooklyn from 1933-1957.

Historical Note

The Brooklyn Council for Social Planning (BCSP), originally called the Brooklyn Social Planning Committee, was founded in 1933, by a group of prominent citizens, social workers, and representatives of civic organizations who saw a need for an organization to coordinate local social services, especially in the face of funding cuts during the Great Depression. BCSP promoted, guided, and evaluated the health and welfare of the people of Brooklyn, and offered leadership to all groups in the community working to improve, extend, and prevent duplication of social services. The Council had two types of members: social and health agencies engaged in meeting the needs of Brooklyn residents; and individuals interested in these causes. Members comprised all religions, ethnic, and racial groups in the borough. BCSP aimed to build a community in which citizens would be fully employed, and have adequate standards of living, housing, recreation and health services, educational opportunity, and social and economic security.

BCSP sought to accomplish these goals in the following ways: promoting greater effectiveness in attacking social problems by mobilizing groups toward common goals; guiding the development of social services by planning the expansion of current services as well as new services for the future; collecting and maintaining data concerning Brooklyn so that planning would have a sound factual basis; providing information to the public on the facilities available to meet all types of needs; increasing the usefulness of social and health agencies by helping to relate their services to the needs of the community; communicating the needs of Brooklynites to city-wide programs through BCSP's affiliation with the Welfare and Health Council of New York City; developing local neighborhood councils in cooperation with neighborhood organizations; and using research on specific localities to develop services for those areas. BCSP also served to bring social needs to the attention of grant-giving agencies such as The Greater New York Fund. The Council sought to keep the public informed through press releases, bulletins and reports to focus borough-wide attention on social needs and on the desirability of supporting the agencies and institutions which met those needs. Through its active programming, conferences, and professional training for social workers, BCSP kept the social welfare needs of the community in the public eye.

BCSP was funded primarily by the Welfare and Health Council of New York City, later called the Community Council of Greater New York. When this organization resolved to cut funding to borough councils, including BCSP, as of December 31, 1956, BCSP was unable to find other sources of funding, and was forced to close its doors.


The collection is arranged in 10 series as follows: 1. Minutes, 1933-57 2. Administrative files, 1933-58 [bulk 1945-57] 3. Program files, 1934-57 [bulk 1946-57] 4. Related welfare and health councils, 1932-57 [bulk 1946-57] 5. Brooklyn welfare and health councils, 1931-1957 6. Related government agencies, 1938-57 [bulk 1950-57] 7. Related non-government agencies, 1937-1957 [bulk 1945-57] 8. Subject files, 1933-1957 [bulk 1950-57] 9. BCSP publications, 1939-57 10. Press clipping scrapbooks, 1933-1957 [bulk 1933-1950]

The files are maintained as much as possible in the order in which they were received from BCSP, resulting in the occasional duplication of information between the various series. Folder titles were taken as much as possible from the original BCSP folders; some archaic terms were maintained. The researcher is advised to look for information on their topic in each series to receive the most comprehensive picture of the activities or services provided by BCSP in a particular geographic area or for a specific type of service.

Scope and Contents

This collection comprises the records of the BCSP from its founding in 1933 until its demise in 1957, and is organized in ten series, as received from BCSP. Records are much more extensive for the years 1948-57 than for the earlier years of operation. The collection provides a comprehensive description of existing and needed social welfare services in Brooklyn during the years covered, as well as efforts to extend and improve these services in the following areas: child care, adoption and foster care, juvenile delinquency, recreational facilities, neighborhood organization, medical and mental health services, the practice of social work, housing needs, discrimination and segregation issues, veterans services, and volunteerism. In some instances the policies are at odds with current practice (the general approval of public housing projects, for example); in others (the recognition of discrimination in the apportionment of services to certain minority neighborhoods, or school segregation), the records point to a growing cognizance of social injustices which would culminate in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Minutes of meetings present the most comprehensive picture of the administrative and program activities of BCSP during all years of operation, and also include minutes of a related organization, the Brooklyn Health Council. The administrative activities of the organization, including its finances and fund raising, Board of Directors, membership activities, and early history are chronicled in correspondence and related material in Series 2, administrative files. The program files, Series 3, demonstrate the organization's active approach in addressing the needs of all groups, and include committee correspondence, some minutes of meetings, press clippings, and related pamphlets and reports. Programs include annual meetings, family and child welfare activities, group work and recreation, health care services, housing, neighborhood organization, professional training, services to African-Americans, transportation, World War II veterans' services, volunteerism, and youth services.

The hierarchy of welfare and health councils in New York City during this period is evident in Series 4, which chronicles BCSP's relationship with other related organizations, including its parent organization, the Welfare and Health Council of New York City (later called the Community Council of Greater New York); its sister organizations in the other boroughs; and its distant relatives in other cities. BCSP's offspring, in the form of various Brooklyn neighborhood councils, are documented in Series 5, which also includes general information on many neighborhoods in the borough.

BCSP's interests and programs included issues involving city, state and local government agencies. Its work with and relationship to various municipal agencies is revealed in correspondence, press clippings, reports and publications in Series 6. Correspondence with and records of cooperative projects with nongovernment organizations and agencies, including Brooklyn College, Brooklyn Public Library, Greater New York Fund, and the Urban League of Greater New York, is found in Series 7, which also includes a large group of files on related nonprofit organizations, mostly in Brooklyn, whose purposes were in sympathy with those of BCSP.

Many BCSP projects were anticipated by extensive research and information about particular topics or issues. Publications, pamphlets, press clippings, reports, and other material covering the aged, juvenile delinquency, social welfare legislation, narcotics abuse and Puerto Rican communities in New York, and other issues can be found in Series 8, subject files.

As the culmination of a project, or as an impetus to social change, BCSP published reports and pamphlets on issues of concern; these are found in series 9. Series 10 contains scrapbooks assembled by BCSP to record the press coverage of its activities and on important issues of the day.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

While many items at the Center for Brooklyn History are unrestricted, we do not own reproduction rights to all materials. Be aware of the several kinds of rights that might apply: copyright, licensing and trademarks. The researcher assumes all responsibility for copyright questions.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The provenance of this collection is unknown but it is thought to have been deposited with the Brooklyn Public Library upon the demise of the organization in 1957.

Related Materials

Adamson, F. (1941) A study of the recreational facilities of the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. New York, NY.

BCSP (1940-1943). [Brooklyn neighborhood surveys]. Brooklyn, NY: the Council.

BCSP, (1949). Brooklyn recreation directory; prepared by the Brooklyn council for social planning in cooperation with School of home economics, Pratt institute. Brooklyn, NY: the Council.

BCSP (1950). Report of the Tompkins Park Youth Leadership Project. Brooklyn, NY: the Council.

BCSP (1951). Growing up in Brooklyn : a report of Brooklyn's Little White House Conference on Children and Youth. Brooklyn, NY: the Council.

BCSP (1953). Report on survey of Brooklyn agencies rendering services to Puerto Ricans. Brooklyn, NY: the Council.

BCSP (1954). All about Brooklyn : a handbook for Brooklynites. Brooklyn, NY: the Council.

Mintzer, J. (1940). Neighborhood study of the Park Slope community in Brooklyn; conducted under the auspices of the Brooklyn Council for Social Planning. New York, NY: New York School of Social Work.

BCSP (1950). Publicity guide for social agencies in Brooklyn. Brooklyn, NY: the Council.

BCSP (1953). New steps to mental health. Brooklyn, NY: the Council.

Collection processed by

Nancy Johnson, Consulting Archivist and, Julie Moffat, Assistant Archivist and Preservation Coordinator, Brooklyn Collection, 1999

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 11:21:38 +0000.
Language: Description is written in: English, Latin script.

Revisions to this Guide

2007: Finding aid revised by Lisa DeBoer, Archivist, Brooklyn Collection
2021: Finding aid converted from PDF by Diana Bowers-Smith, Archivist, Center for Brooklyn History


Brooklyn Collection
Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201