The California Association of School Social Workers records consist primarily of correspondence, 1927-1995, that documents the development of this organization from its roots in the California Association of Visiting Teachers. In addition to the correspondence, the records also contain meeting minutes, agendas, newsletters, programs, and reports. Among the subjects discussed are: the founding and role of the California State Association of Visiting Teachers and activities of its members; the American Association of Visiting Teachers and its activities both in California and nationally; membership requirements for the AAVT; training for visiting teachers in California; the establishment of training programs in California, specifically in cooperation with the USC School of Social Work; discussions of curricula for training programs; establishment of the National Association of School Social Workers California chapters, the School Social Work section of the National Association of Social Workers, and finally the California Association of School Social Workers. Much of the correspondence occurs between Gladys Keyes of the San Diego Board of Education and colleagues (1930s); Gladys Hall of the American Association of Visiting Teachers, Bertha Trowbridge of the San Diego Board of Education, Helen G. Knox of the Long Beach Public Schools, and Miriam Spreng as California Regional Representative of the AAVT (1940s-1960s). Also involved in the correspondence are Emery Bogardus and Arlien Johnson of USC, and Mildred Sikkema, of the National Association of School Social Workers.
The collection covers, in correspondence form, the struggle of the visiting teachers to gain recognition from both educators and social workers, to survive the Depression years, and to find a university anywhere in California willing and able to provide school social work education comparable to that available in the eastern and mid western states. After World War II, when problems arising from disruption in lives of school children led to a sharp increase in the hiring of school social workers, the collection begins to reflect the changing concerns of the San Diego visiting teachers, and their National Association in New York, as they focus on certification, and on appropriate credentials in their specialization.
From 1956, when school social workers in Southern California joined the National Association of Social Workers, the papers reflect continuing preoccupation with the problem of credentials, and relationships with associations representing the interests of other pupil personnel workers. School social workers' long legislative battle to get an acceptable credential requirement is well documented in the collection, as is also the effort of the California Association of School Social Workers, established in 1966, to adjust to the new atmosphere and requirements of the schools in that era. Apart from its extensive and idiosyncratic correspondence, the early part of the collection includes membership lists, conference records, reports, incorporation papers, curricula, course schedules, and newsletters. For the mid 1950's formal memoranda and minutes begin to appear, together with committee rosters, policy statements, legislative materials, chronologies and newspaper clippings.