The Ward M. Canaday Center

for Special Collections

The University of Toledo

Finding Aid

Family Service of Northwest Ohio Records, 1904-1989

MSS-075

Size: 5 linear feet

Provenance: The records of Family Service of Northwest Ohio were donated to the Ward M. Canaday Center on June 24, 1991 by Judith C. Czarnecki, President and CEO of the organization.  The records were created by Family Service and its predecessors, the Toledo Federation of Charities (1904-1919), Social Service Federation (1919-1938), the Child and Family Service (1938-1969), Family Services of Greater Toledo (1969-1985), and member agencies.

 

Access: Researchers using these records must agree before gaining access to this material not to divulge the names of any clients of Family Service of Northwest Ohio or its predecessors which may be named in the records. Please print and sign the Confidentiality Agreement.

Collection Summary: Records document the programs, policies, and activities of this agency through its many name changes. Materials include: minutes (1904-1987), daily reports (1904-1908), scant correspondence, literary productions on agency history, a document signifying Edward D. Libbey's $30,000 donation to the agency in 1927, scrapbooks (1908-1980s), pamphlets, an in-house newsletter, and scattered issues of 3 agency newsletters. Some materials pertain to the Traveler's Aid Society of Toledo, (1919-1939). Access to some materials in this collection is restricted.

Subjects: Philanthropy, Social Welfare

Related Collections:

Copyright: The literary rights to this collection are assumed to rest with the person(s) responsible for the production of the particular items within the collection, or with their heirs or assigns.  Researchers bear full legal responsibility for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code.  The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.

 

Processed by: April S. Dougal, June, 1991

Reformatted by: Arjun Sabharwal, January 2010; last updated: June, 2014.

Introduction

The Records of Family Service of Northwest Ohio include minutes, scrapbooks, and other materials dating from 1904 to 1989.  The material relates to the activities of this social service organization; its programs, policies, and member agencies and the ways these elements changed over time. 

Due to the sensitive nature of this organization’s services, all researchers consulting these records must sign an agreement requiring them to keep confidential any information on specific clients.  In addition, minute books dating from 1938 to 1949 and minutes of the Children’s Bureau Committee and Admission & Discharge Committee (1926-1936) are under restricted access due to confidential case information contained therein.  Access to these volumes must be approved by the director of the Ward M. Canaday Center or his/her designee.  Information in any of these records may be expunged to ensure confidentiality.

Information on adoptions is available only with the written permission of the President and Chief Executive Officer of Family Service of Northwest Ohio.

Historical Sketch

Family Service of Northwest Ohio, formed in 1904, was originally called the Toledo Federation of Friends.  It was created as a result of the Progressive movement that began in the late 1800s, but did not reach Ohio and Toledo until the twentieth century.  In 1909 agency leaders drew up articles of incorporation in order to create a legal entity that would provide leadership of Toledo’s social services

No case records were kept until 1909.  Until that time, the Federation operated out of a donated office on St. Clair Street, had no money of its own for relief, and had only one employee; a secretary paid 50 cents per day.  The secretary kept a daily log of activities, noting phone calls, visits, and correspondence written.  Olive Colton (see also MSS-008) was noted as a frequent visitor to the agency.

Upon incorporation under the laws of Ohio as a non-profit organization, the agency changed its name to the Federation of Charities.  Edward D. Libbey served as president of the organization in 1909.  He was also the leader of the Benevolence Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, and forged a spirit of cooperation between the city government and the Federation that would last until the 1930s.  Many other prominent Toledo families were involved in the early history of this organization.  Sinclair Walbridge was president of the Federation for twelve years, his maternal grandmother, Mrs. John Cummings, had been its first president,  and his paternal grandfather (W.S. Walbridge), mother (Mrs. C.B. Walbridge), and wife (Margaret) were all board members.  Members of the Secor family were also prominent in the Federation.  Arthur Secor was vice-president in 1905, Virginia Secor Stranahan served four terms as vice-president, and her brother George later became president. 

In 1909 the Federation also hired its first full-time professional employee, J. Bruce Byall, as Superintendent.  That same year the agency established the Wayfarers Lodge, a temporary shelter for homeless men.  The Lodge provided meals, lodging, and the prospect of a few days’ employment.

By 1913 the Federation was administering the City Relief Funds, illustrating the cooperation between the municipal government and private relief agencies which lasted until 1933, when the Federal Emergency Relief Administration took over in the Depression. 

In 1912 the Federation began its Child Welfare Service by opening a summer camp for underprivileged children.  The agency purchased a permanent camp site on the shores of Lake Erie in 1913, and moved the facility to Presque Isle in 1921.  The camp was later turned over to the Toledo Public Health Association. 

In 1919 the Federation became licensed as a Child Placement Agency and established a Children’s Aid Department, Toledo’s first foster care agency.  That same year the Federation of Charities changed its name to the Social Service Federation in order to emphasize the service aspect of the organization.  During the 1920s the Federation joined the Community Chest, developed a housing program, and established an information clearing house for casework and health agencies in Toledo.  The Federation also helped create other independent agencies like the Wayfarers Lodge for women (later known as the Beach House), the Toledo Society for the Blind, and Toledo Dental Dispensary. 

In 1925 Wendell F. Johnson rejoined the staff of the Federation as Director.  A native Toledoan, he had previously been employed at the Federation as Assistant Superintendent in 1922.  He moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to take the position of Executive Associate Aide of a social service agency in 1924, then returned to Toledo in November 1925.  Johnson was born in  1893, educated at Eastern Michigan University and the University of Toledo, and given an honorary doctorate from Bowling Green State University.  He also served as president of the Ohio Welfare Conference from 1936 to 1937 and taught social work courses at the University of Toledo, Ohio State University, and LaVerne College (CA).  During that same time, he was director of the social service department of the Lucas County Relief Administration (1933-1934), district supervisor of the Ohio Relief Commission (1934-1935), and secretary of the Toledo Council of Social Agencies (1935-1936).  Johnson was also involved in Toledo municipal affairs as secretary of the city publicity and efficiency commission and as the first editor of the Toledo City Journal.  He was Director of the Federation for 34 years and interim director once after his retirement.  Johnson died 20 October 1988 at the age of 94.

In 1928 the Federation moved into new headquarters on Superior Street as a result of a bequest from the Libbey Estate.  The move was a prudent and necessary one.  As the Depression of the 1930s deepened the Federation became increasingly involved in  family relief and counseling.  In January 1930 the relief load was 200% above normal, and in 1931 it  had increased to three times normal.  Four new offices were opened during the Depression, and the Children’s Bureau was moved to a separate building.  The agency may have been the first in Toledo to establish a racially integrated staff; the Pinewood district office was headed by Mrs. VanMeter, a black employee, during the 1930s.

The financial pitfalls of the Depression threatened to shut down the Federation in the mid-1930s.  When the Community Chest failed to meet its goal in 1932, it was forced to cut the Federation’s monthly appropriation of $14,000 each month.  Then 1933 the staff worked without pay because of the bank holiday, and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration put a freeze on all federal relief funds.  In March of that year the Federation accepted an appropriation of funds from the City of Toledo to maintain its services.  The Lucas County Relief Commission took over the Family Services portion of the Federation, and the Children’s Bureau was left to work with a $1,000 monthly appropriation from the Community Chest.

By 1934, however, things were improving for the Social Service Federation.  The board proposed the establishment of a family consultation service to the Community Chest, which appropriated $25,000 for the project.  When a plan to fund a psychiatric clinic failed, the Federation brought in a psychiatrist from Detroit and a psychologist, both on a part-time basis.  In 1938 the organization’s name was changed to Child and Family Service of Toledo to reflect its two-fold mission.  At the end of the decade, the Travelers’ Aid Society joined the Agency. 

During the War years one of the Agency’s primary functions was performed by the Traveler’s Aid Society.  Many people were in transit at that time, either moving to army training camps, or relocating to work in defense industries.  Travelers’ Aid was also involved with a USO project at Union Station during World War II.

Other issues also arose in the 1940s.  The board began to favor foster homes over institutional care, and in 1941 the Agency was the first of its kind in the nation to draw up comprehensive adoption policy statements.  An increase in the number of illegitimate babies during the 1940s put pressure on the system of foster homes that continued throughout the 1950s.

During the 1950s the organization added another service in cooperation with the Junior League of Toledo, the Homemaker Service, a type of “house-call” daycare.  The agency continued to offer Children’s Services, Family Services (including adoption), and Traveler’s Aid.

The 1960s were characterized by many changes in the director’s position.  In 1962 Bruce Herrin left the job and Wendell Johnson returned as interim director, but by the end of the year a new director, Robert Bergstrand, was found.  Traveler’s Aid was slowly phased out during this decade, and in 1969 the agency moved into the new Community Services building.  In 1969 the organization’s name was changed to Family Service of Greater Toledo after a long-range plan was developed. 

The name change signified an emphasis on the family that characterized the programs created in the 1970s.  Family Living Experience was formalized in 1970 and renamed Creative Family Living in 1973.  The adoption program was slowly withdrawn from the list of services; the last case was closed in 1974.  The Homemaker Service, which was originally to last only three years, grew to include a Home Health Aid program in 1975.  The Health Aid portion was created in cooperation with Community Nursing Services, which took over that service in 1980. 

Services were expanded to include more of northwest Ohio in the 1970s.  An office was established in Wood County in 1975 and one was opened in Ottawa County in 1978.  A geriatric program was also added to the slate of services in 1975.  Later in the 1970s, Family Service added an occupational Chemical Dependency/Employee Assistance Program, and continued the Home Health Aide component independently.

Family counseling continued to be the core of Family Service’s mandate throughout the 1980s.  The organization also maintained its Homemaker Services program, but new community problems inspired the creation of new programs.  The “There to Care” home visitation service for the elderly was initiated in the early 1980s, Plays for Living dramatized social and familial problems and solutions, and 1985 saw the publication of a Family Service newsletter, Family Dynamics.  In 1981 the agency offered its first student internship in cooperation with Bowling Green State University.

Family Service of Northwest Ohio remains a vital community organization in the 1990s.  It continues to add and delete programs and services as social conditions warrant, reflecting community needs as it approaches a century of service.

Directors

Presidents

Mrs. Sophie Waldron 1904-1909

Mrs. John Cummings 1904 (July)

Miss Jane Scott 1904 (October)

Mrs. C.F.M. Niles 1905

Harry B. Kirtland 1906

Dr. W.C. Chapman 1907-1909

J. Bruce Byall 1909-[1910]

Edward D. Libbey 1910-1912

James Dunn [1911]-1918

W.R. Janeway 1918

Kinsey 1912-1915

Jane Lockhart 1918

Robert Hixon 1915-[1919]

Arthur A. Guild [1919]-1925

Carl B. Spitzer 1920-1921

Frank Geer 1921-1923

Sinclair Walbridge 1923-1935

Wendell F. Johnson 1925-1959

William F. Broer 1935-1939

Charles Harrison 1940-1942

Charles W. Racine 1943

Richard C.Heymann,Sr. 1944-1946

Joseph D. Stecher 1947-1949

Alfred C. Hirth 1950-1952

Melvin P. Lewis 1953-1955

Milton M. Olander 1956-1958

Bruce Herrin 1959-1962

George Secor 1959-1961

Wendell F. Johnson 1963

George S. Wade1962-1963

Robert Bergstrand 1964-1971

George Secor 1964

Charles McKelvy, Jr. 1965

Greg Alexander 1967-1968

Paul Yutzy 1971-1974

Byron L. West 1969-1970

George Haigh 1971-1972

Bruce Cramer 1973-1974

Seymour Plawsky 1974-1984

James Hancock 1975-1976

Joan Haigh 1977-1978

Tom Fairhurst 1979-1980

Kathleen Buescher 1985-1989

Edwin G. Emerson 1981-1982

(Executive Director/President)     <TITLE CHANGES>

(Chairman)

David F. Hanson 1983-1985

(President/CEO)

Raymond G. Esch, Jr. 1986-1988

Melvyn F. Meyers 1988

Judith Czarnecki 1989

James A. Hoffman 1988-1991

Frank J. Bartell 1991*

 

Scope and Content

The records of Family Service of Northwest Ohio are arranged in seven record groups:  1.) proceedings - minutes, 2.) correspondence, 3.) reports, 4.) literary productions, 5.)legal documents, 6.) scrapbooks, and 7.) printed material.  These record groups are further broken down into series, then arranged chronologically.

Proceedings - minutes include meeting minutes, rosters, and daily reports.  The minutes for Family Service of Northwest Ohio (under its various names) date from 1904 to 1987.  One volume of minutes from the Traveler’s Aid Society of Toledo documenting the period before that organization joined Family Service is included in this series.  Most of these volumes include indexes by name and subject, and are therefore very accessible to the researcher.  Some of these materials are, however, restricted; their status is noted on the box/folder list that follows.  Minutes of the Admission & Discharge Committee, formed in 1926 are also included in this series.  The committee continued in 1930 as the Children’s Bureau Committee.  This folder includes minutes and rosters of committee members and volunteers as well as a few news clippings, but some information in the folder will have to be expunged before it will be released to researchers.  There is a significant gap in the board of trustee minutes, from November 1910 to November 1911.  The reason for the break is unclear; minutes for December 1911 only note that the secretary was unable to locate the previous month’s minutes.

This record group continues with rosters of the officers and board of trustee members dating from 1943 to 1962.  The daily reports of the Toledo Federation of Charities dating from 1904 to 1908 are also included in the proceedings record group.  Daily reports include correspondence, phone, and visit logs for each day and weekly summaries.  The final series in this record group is the 1906 constitution of the King’s Daughters & Sons (Ohio).  This organization was a member agency in the Toledo Federation of Charities.

There is only one folder of correspondence in the collection; it includes correspondence between Wendell Johnson and Seymour Plawsky as well as one unidentified letter.

One loose report summarizing activities for 1909-1910 makes up the third record group.

Several literary productions complement this collection.  A summary of an interview with Wendell Johnson provides personal and educational background on the long-time leader of Family Service, as well as many anecdotes and personal recollections.  A document closer to a transcript of an interview with Kathleen Buescher records her personal background, education, and experience with Family Service from 1971 to 1989.  Three histories of the organization are also included in this record group.  The first, in the form of a speech, was compiled in 1927.  Wendell Johnson, who seems to have had a keen interest in maintaining the history of Family Service, wrote two overviews (1940 and 1962) and contributed to a talk commemorating the 75th anniversary of the agency. 

The lone legal document in the collection signified the Libbey estate’s donation of $30,000 to the agency in 1927.

The sixth record group, of scrapbooks, documents the years from 1908 to the 1980s.  News clippings provide contemporary accounts of adoption practices, programs and activities undertaken, some crises, and criticisms leveled at the agency.  An index to the articles in the scrapbooks may be a useful tool for locating particular topics, but is incomplete.

Printed materials in the collection include pamphlets, an in-house newsletter, and scattered issues of three agency newsletters.

Folder List

 

Box

Folder

Description

PROCEEDINGS - MINUTES

1

1

Toledo Federation of Charities

Minutes, 1904-1907 (handwritten)

1

2

Toledo Federation of Charities

Minutes, 1907-1910 (handwritten)

1

3

Toledo Federation of Charities

Minutes, 1904-1910

1

4

Toledo Federation of Charities

Minutes, 1911-1918

1

5

Social Service Federation

Minutes, 1919-1927

1

6

Social Service Federation

Minutes, 1928-1937

1

7

Traveler’s Aid Society of Toledo

Minutes, 1919-1939

1

8*

Child and Family Agency

Minutes, 1938-1940

1

9*

Child and Family Agency

Minutes, 1941-1943

1

10*

Child and Family Agency

Minutes, 1944-1946

1

11*

Child and Family Agency

Minutes, 1947-1949

1

12

Child and Family Agency

Minutes, 1950-1952

2

1

Child and Family Agency

Minutes, 1953-1955

2

2

Child and Family Agency

Minutes, 1956-1958

2

3

Child and Family Agency

Minutes, 1959

2

4

Child and Family Agency

Minutes, 1960-1961

2

5

Child and Family Agency

Minutes, 1962-1963

2

6

Child and Family Agency

Minutes, 1964-1965

2

7

Child and Family Agency

Minutes, 1966-1969

2

8

Child and Family Agency

Minutes, 1970

2

9

Family Service

Minutes, 1971

2

10

Family Service

Minutes, 1972-1973

2

11

Family Services of Greater Toledo

Minutes, 1974-1976

3

1

Family Services of Greater Toledo

Minutes, 1977-1979

3

2

Family Services of Greater Toledo

Minutes, 1980-1982

3

3

Family Service of Northwest Ohio

Minutes, 1983-1985

3

4

Family Service of Northwest Ohio

Minutes, 1985-1987

3

5*

Admission & Discharge Committee

Minutes, 1926-1930

3

5*

Children’s Bureau Committee

Minutes, 1930-1936

3

6

Officers and Board of Trustees

Rosters, 1943-1962

3

7

Toledo Federation of Charities

Daily Report, 1904-1905

3

8

Toledo Federation of Charities

Daily Report, 1905-1906

3

9

Toledo Federation of Charities

Daily Report, 1906-1908

 

 

 

CORRESPONDENCE

Constitution and By-Laws, [1906]

3

10

King’s Daughters & Sons (Ohio)

Correspondence, n.d.

3

11

Toledo Federation of Charities

Report, 1909-1910

REPORTS

Wendell History, 1940

3

12

Toledo Federation of Charities

Johnson, Wendell History, [1962]

LITERARY PRODUCTIONS

3

13

Johnson, Wendell

Interview transcript, 18 June 1985

3

13

Buescher, Kathleen

Interview transcript, 24 May 1989

3

14

Notes and Speech on early history

History, 1907

3

15

From the Turn of the Century Johnson,

Wendell History, 1940

3

16

Child and Family Service in Toledo Johnson,

 Wendell History, [1962]

3

17

Family Services of Greater Toledo: 75th Anniversary [Johnson et al]

History, 1979

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

3

18

Articles of Agreement, Libbey & Social Service Legal Document, April 1927

*+ Restricted materials

SCRAPBOOKs

4

1

Scrapbook, 1908-1918

4

2

Scrapbook, 1919-1921

4

3

Scrapbook, 1921

4

4

Scrapbook, 1922

4

5

Scrapbook, 1923

4

6

Scrapbook, 1924

4

7

Scrapbook, 1934-1940

4

8

Index to scrapbook articles

Annually, 1905-1978

5

1

Scrapbook, 1920-1956

5

2

Scrapbook, (photocopy, 1920-1956

5

3

Scrapbook, 1950-1968

5

4

Scrapbook, (photocopy), 1950-1968

5

5

Scrapbook, 1969-1979

5

6

Scrapbook, (photocopy), 1969-1979

5

7

Scrapbook, 1980s

5

8

Scrapbook, (photocopy), 1980s

5

9

Scrapbook, n.d.

 

PRINTED MATERIAL

5

10

Pamphlets, [ca. 1959], 1969, n.d.

5

11

Newsletter, 1969-1973

5

12

Family Dynamics

Newsletter, 1984-1989 (some missing)

5

13

Friends of Family Service

Newsletter, 1988

5

13

F.S. Notes

Newsletter, June & July 1989

 

* As of 1991, Board terms of office change in March.