All Nations, in its heyday the largest and most effective social welfare organization in Los Angeles, was begun in 1918 in an east-central section of the city known as "Eastside." Immigration from Europe, Latin America, and Asia into Eastside, coupled with the incursion of wholesale businesses there, led to the departure of the middle class residents of this formerly comfortable community. Local churches, deprived of their original congregations, were dismayed at the prospect of serving this new, needy immigrant population, but the City Missionary Society of the Methodist Church had been looking for just such a settlement opportunity. It sent in a young pastor, Bromley Oxnam, fired with the church's social gospel doctrine to establish a church settlement house in an abandoned church. The collection records the practical energy of Oxnam--later a Methodist bishop--as he gathered donations, organized volunteers, bought land and buildings, equipped gymnasiums, playgrounds, libraries, and clinics for a community where three-fourths of the families were on public assistance. His crowning work in developing the physical facilities of All Nations was the acquisition of a complex of buildings at 810-816-824 E. Sixth Street, in 1927, just before his resignation from All Nations on 1 July 1927 (Oxnam preached his farewell sermon at All Nations on 19 June 1927). Oxnam's successor was the Reverend Robert A. McKibben, whose superior gifts as administrator, social worker, fund raiser, and collaborator with other social welfare agencies, including the Federal and Los Angeles Relief Administrations, and the National Youth Administration, ensured the continued success of All Nations.
Character building activities for the children, a vacation bible school, the library, and medical programs were critical services in the work of All Nations. The last program consisted of a cadre of approximately fifty volunteer doctors, optometrists, and dentists who served the destitute clients of All Nations. Especially noteworthy was All Nations' extraordinarily successful Boys Club. In 1927, when acquiring its new facilities, the department working with boys became a Boys Club of America, with some 950 members from thirty nationalities and fifteen religions. The Eastside had had the highest delinquency rate in the city, but within the next three years this would drop by 65%. Deeply impressed by this aspect of All Nation's service to the Eastside, an unknown donor funded a children's medical clinic at All Nations, even though the Depression battered the United States. (This donor's name in his or her contacts with All Nations was "A. Donor"; see for example box 5, folder 4.) All Nations also operated two other community centers: the Sunset Community Center at 1001-1005 Sunset Boulevard, and the Hollenbeck Heights Social Center at 200 North St. Louis Street. These branches of All Nations concentrated on work with youths.
Reverend McKibben left All Nations in 1952, and was succeeded by James Mixon. The character of the Eastside had begun to change, and by the 1960s new industrial development in the area and slum clearance had reduced the area's population. Such changes led to questions about the usefulness of traditional settlement programs in this area; at the same time All Nations' principal support began to come from the United Way and not the Methodist Church. All Nations, a monument to successful social work, no longer exists.
All information in this history comes from material in the collection or from Robert McKibben, With The Master into the Heart of the City: First Forty Years of All Nations Foundations ([S.l.] [s.n.], 1977?); the founding date of 1918 is provided by Mark H. Wild in Street Meeting: Multiethnic Neighborhoods in Early Twentieth-Century Los Angeles (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005).