California Association of School Social Workers records
Scope and Content
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.
- 1927 - 1995
- National Association of Social Workers. School Social Work Section. Los Angeles Chapter (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Visiting teachers, who neither taught nor did much visiting but were essentially school-based social workers, appeared in American schools in the first decade of the century with the beginning of compulsory school attendance. The first school-financed visiting teacher was employed by the Hartford, Connecticut, school system in 1908. In 1919, eighty such workers, employed in ten eastern cities, established the National Association Visiting Teachers and Home Visitors. In 1923 the Commonwealth Fund of New York supported, as part of a delinquency prevention program, a three-year demonstration of visiting teacher work in cooperation with 30 school districts across the country, including the district for the then relatively small and remote city of San Diego, California. The San Diego school district, which already employed a psychologist in 1920 and would be a pioneer in the use of psychiatrists, retained its visiting teacher and hired another when the Commonwealth Fund's demonstration project came to an end. By 1935 it had a well equipped Bureau of Child Reference and Counsel with a staff of 15, including visiting teachers, guidance and attendance workers, home tutors and speech therapists.
The collection, initially, presents itself as an interstate letter record of the early development of school social work, consisting of the professional correspondence of some half dozen San Diego visiting teachers as they wrote continuously to their counterparts across the nation in an effort to maintain a network of ties with the National Association of Visiting Teachers and its scattered but strongly committed membership. References are frequent in this early correspondence to "the cause" and to the "the great development of public social work." These early school social workers were highly educated women, many with both teaching and social work credentials. Their misleading job title was apparently adopted because they identified with teachers as professionals, and in the 1920's saw this association as more advantageous than any emphasis on the less developed field of social work. They usually practiced alone as caseworkers, without supervision, and often in crisis situations. Their letters convey their conviction as to the value of their specialty, and the energy they brought to the task of its development.
2.3 Linear Feet (6 boxes)
Language of Materials
- American Association of School Social Workers -- Archives
- American Association of Visiting Teachers -- Archives
- Bogardus, Emory Stephen -- Correspondence
- California Association of School Social Workers -- Archives
- Johnson, Arlien -- Correspondence
- National Association of School Social Workers -- Archives
- National Association of School Social Workers. Southern California Chapter -- Archives
- National Association of Social Workers. School Social Work Section. Los Angeles Chapter -- Archives
- National Association of Visiting Teachers -- Archives
- School social work -- California -- Archival resources
- Sikkema, Mildred -- Correspondence
- University of Southern California. School of Social Work -- Archives
- Finding aid for the California Association of School Social Workers records
- Sue Luftschein
- 2011 May
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the USC Libraries Special Collections Repository
Doheny Memorial Library 206
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles California 90089-0189 United States