Travelers Aid Society of New York records
Language of Materials
The collection documents the history of the Travelers Aid Society of New York, an organization founded in 1905 to assist women travelers, and eventually expanded to aid all travelers. It consists of board minutes, annual reports, a few press articles and speeches, and a number of photographs of clients, TAS workers, board members, and organizational and fundraising events.
The Travlers Aid Society of New York collection has been organized by type of material into the following seven series:
- Series I: Minutes, 1917-1979 (excluding 1930 and 1970-1972)
- Series II: Annual Reports, 1917-1979
- Series III: Organizational Records, 1938-1978
- Series IV: Public Relations, [1950's-1979]
- Series V: Real Estate documents, 1945-1981
- Series VI: Photographs [1920's-1970's]
Scope and Content Note
This collection documents more than 60 years of efforts by the Travelers Aid Society of New York ("TAS") to help meet the needs of women, children, and, eventually, men, traveling to or through New York City. The collection is arranged by subject matter and/or type of material and is housed in 10 archival boxes and one oversize box. Documentary materials include board minutes, annual reports, some press articles and speeches, and a few memoranda which provide a general overview of the organization's history, purpose, and operations. There are also a number of photographs of clients, TAS workers, board members, and organizational and fundraising events; though these appear to date primarily from the 1940's to 1960's, there are also a few shots from earier decades. The collection does not include station reports or casework materials documenting the day-to-day activities of the workers.
These materials provide an overview of the changing face of travel and travelers as the 20th century progressed; the organization's efforts to adapt to these changes also reflect the tumultuous social upheaval of this time period. Though its original mission was to protect women travelers, TAS soon broadend its scope to encompass the floods of male immigrants arriving in equal need of help; with the advent of WWI, TAS began serving increasing numbers of African-Americans mobilized by newly available jobs; during the Great Depression, TAS changed its focus from the piers to train and bus stations, where transient men and boys were arriving by the thousands in search of work; when the U.S. entered WWII, TAS, under the auspices of the United Service Organization ("USO"), began operating Troops-in-Transit lounges for traveling servicement and women; and in the post-War era, TAS increasingly focused on "problem cases" involving seniors or runaway teenagers.
Despite the lack of detailed case reports, the collection illustrates the development of social welfare organizations and social work in the United State. It was one of the first organizations to employ the services of a psychiatrist, and by the 1920's was sending its caseworkers for formal training at the School of Social Work in New York City.
Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit www.nyhistory.org/library/visit.
Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff.
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This collection should be cited as Records of the Travelers Aid Society of New York, The New-York Historical Society.
Location of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donation of the Metropolitan Assistance Corporation, 1985