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All Nations Church and Foundation records

 Collection
Identifier: 0403

Scope and Content

The All Nations collection consists of two parts; the textual holdings described in this finding aid, and the photographic collection described in a separate finding aid. Both parts of the collection are rich. The All Nations Church and Foundation records consists of correspondence, including that of Robert A. McKibben; program plans and proposals; medical records and statistics; budgets and other financial records; staff rosters; miscellaneous religious publications; newspaper clippings; brochures and other publications describing the work of All Nations; annual reports; committee reports, agendas, and minutes; and staff reports on activities. This collection encompasses the years 1925-1978, with the bulk of the material dating from the decade of the 1930s; much less material exists for the following three decades, and nothing for All Nations' immediate history before its demise.

Dates

  • 1925-1978 (bulk 1930s)

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

The use of archival materials for on-site research does not constitute permission from the California Social Welfare Archives to publish them. Copyright has not been assigned to the California Social Welfare Archives, and the researcher is instructed to obtain permission to quote from or publish manuscripts in the CSWA's collections from the copyright holder.

Historical note

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).

Extent

3.13 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The records contain correspondence; program plans and proposals; medical records and statistics; budgets and other financial records; staff rosters; miscellaneous religious publications; newspaper clippings; brochures, and other publications describing the work of All Nations; annual reports; committee reports, agendas, and minutes; and staff reports on activities. This collection encompasses the years 1925-1978, with the bulk of the material dating frmo the decade of the 1930s.

Organization

This collection has been divided into four series, some with subseries: Programs; Administrative/Organizational Papers; Correspondence; and Outside Agencies. The series are subject-based and generally have not been physically grouped together in the same container; thus, the physical size of each series has not been identified, only the number of folders.

Acquisition

Gift of James Blaine, former Director, All Nations Boys Club.

Related Archival Materials

Robert A. McKibben Papers (McKibben's papers not related to All Nations); All Nations Church and Foundation photographs
Title
Finding Aid for the All Nations Church and Foundation records
Status
Completed
Author
Jane Adler, Clay Stalls
Date
28 March 2000
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the USC Libraries Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles California 90089-0189 United States