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 at the end of this document.

 

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

 

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

Nocase 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. 

In1909 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.

By1913 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. 

In1912 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. 

In1919 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. 

In1925 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.

In1928 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.

By1934, 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. Wade           1962-1963
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.


Box      Folder

                        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
3          10        King’s Daughters & Sons (Ohio)         Constitution and By-Laws, [1906]
3          11        Toledo Federation of Charities                        Correspondence, n.d.

                        REPORTS
3          12        Toledo Federation of Charities                        Report, 1909-1910

                        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
Box      Folder

                        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

 


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.

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.

Literary rights to particular items in these records are assumed to be held by the persons responsible for the production of those items, or with their heirs or assigns.  Researchers bear full legal responsibility to acquire necessary permission to publish excerpts or whole items from these records, though the Canaday Center may intervene in this process at its own discretion.  Materials created under auspices of the federal government (through federal funding or otherwise) are considered to be in the public domain.

 

 

 

Family Service of Northwest Ohio Records, MSS-075

CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT

 

All researchers who wish to gain access to the Family Service of Northwest Ohio Records must sign this confidentiality agreement.  Due to the sensitive nature of this organization’s services, all researchers consulting the Family Service of Northwest Ohio Records will be required to keep confidential the names of specific clients of Family Service or its predecessors which may be named in the records.  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 by Canaday Center personnel to ensure confidentiality.  This may entail a delay in the researcher’s access to the materials.

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

Literary rights to particular items in these records are assumed to be held by the persons responsible for the production of those items, or with their heirs or assigns.  Researchers bear full legal responsibility to acquire necessary permission to publish excerpts or whole items from these records, though the Canaday Center may intervene in this process at its own discretion.  Materials created under auspices of the federal government (through federal funding or otherwise) are considered to be in the public domain.

 

 

I,_______________________, promise to honor the strict confidentiality of client information contained in the Family Service of Northwest Ohio Records (MSS-075).  This means that I will not divulge the names of any clients of Family Service to any person, through any media, be it verbal or visual, or through formal or informal communication. 

I will not contact or attempt to contact any client, family member, or descendent of any client regarding any matter concerning Family Service of Northwest Ohio, the services the client received, or any related issue.

I understand that there may be a delay in my access to this collection in order that it may be examined by the Director of the Canaday Center or his/her designee, and that sensitive information may be expunged from those materials according to the discretion of the Director of the Canaday Center or his/her designee.

 

                                                            Signed________________________________________

                                                            Date__________________________________________

 

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

 

Last Updated: 1/3/12