Skip to main content

Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, Inc. records

 Collection
Identifier: M103

Scope and Content Note

The records of the BGCB date from 1893 to 2004. They document the central administration's efforts to provide the city of Boston with a youth development agency. This documentation includes the records of executive directors and members of the managing administration, the Board of Directors and Board of Overseers correspondence, reports, and meeting minutes, fund raising and development material, records relating to program operation, photographs, media, and scrapbooks. The collection also includes material pertaining to the BGCB's parent organization, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. It is important to note that this collection includes only the records of the BGCB's central administration and not the records of the individual clubhouses. The collection is arranged in five series: Series 1. Governance includes the records created by the BGCB's Board of Directors and Board of Overseers. The BGCB is governed by the Board of Overseers that elects the Board of Directors. The Directors elect officers and hire and supervise the President and Chief Executive Officer of the organization. Each clubhouse also has a local advisory board that works with the Directors on community relations, clubhouse policies and local events. These activities, along with extensive documentation of committee work, are represented here. Series 2. Directors and Assistant Directors consists of the records of the Directors and Assistant Directors of the BGCB. The series 2 records are broadest in scope; they include financial, operational, programmatic, and development information. The records in series 2 demonstrate the BGCB's involvement with the community through documentation of collaborative programs, correspondence with organizations, and fund raising efforts by outside organizations for BGCB. Series 3. Development consists of annual reports, the records of the BGCB's central finance staff (including budget, fund raising, and grant material), and public relations records. Series 4. Program Services consists of the records of the operations staff including the Director and Assistant Director of Operations and the Program Developer. These records document the supervision of program quality, community relations, and related operations issues. Direct program supervision is conducted by Clubhouse Directors in the individual clubhouses; therefore, these activities are not represented in the collection. The operations department staff monitors grant requirements and reporting responsibilities. Series 5. Audio-Visual consists of the architectural drawings, photographs, films and videos, and scrapbooks produced by and for the BGCB. Series 6. Boys and Girls Clubs of America comprises material produced by the BGCB's parent organization, BGCA. Correspondence between the BGCB and BGCA can be found in the appropriate department's files. Only mass produced BGCA material such as guidelines, program suggestions, publications, and newsletters are located in this series.

Dates

  • 1893-2004 (bulk 1950's-1980's)

Creator

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the University Archivist.

Historical Note

The first Boys' Club in the United States was founded in Hartford, Connecticut in 1860. The formation of other boys' clubs soon followed. In Boston, in 1906, fifty-three clubs decided to affiliate to form the Federated Boys Club (later called the Boys Club Federation). In 1931, the Federation changed its name to the Boys Club of America and in 1990 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

The first clubhouse of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston (BGCB) was founded in Charlestown in 1893. With help from prominent members of the community, Frank S. Mason, a businessman from Charlestown, established the Bunker Hill Boys' Club of Charlestown, modeling it after the Boys' Club in New York City's East Side. The club was meant to be a refuge and alternative space for young boys whose home life and education were not conducive to their development into productive citizens. Mason, who became the club's first superintendent, founded the Charlestown Clubhouse with 38 members. Within six months of opening, the club had increased its membership threefold and established a waiting list.

As the clubhouse in Charlestown began to improve its services and to increase its involvement within the community, efforts were also being made by neighboring communities to develop similar youth centers. In 1910, the Roxbury Boys' Club was founded and by 1917 had 2,500 members. In 1932, the Bunker Hill Boys' Club and the Roxbury Boys' Club joined efforts and merged under the name of the Boys' Clubs of Boston, Inc. (BCOB). While the merger signaled many internal changes for the organization, the BCOB was also deepening and strengthening relationships with the Boston community. In the late 1930's, the BCOB became a member of the Community Federation of Boston, and the Boston Council of Social Agencies. Presently, extensive community partnerships, such as those with the Boston Police Department and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, are an integral part of the BGCB, expanding the opportunities available to members. In 1938, a third clubhouse was founded with the help of a gift from the Charles Hayden Foundation. It opened in South Boston in 1941.

The following 30 years marked a period of development and expansion for all three clubhouses. The BCOB built additions and performed renovations, increased membership, created a separate Girls' Club in Charlestown, and developed youth programs such as summer camps, the Boys' Club International Exchange Program, Project Listen (an outreach program to adolescents, females, Chinese and Spanish youths, and youth living in public housing), and the World of Work Program. Clubhouse Advisory Boards were formed to represent the individual clubhouses within the BCOB corporation. Programs such as Project Harmony, begun in 1980, actively fostered relationships between the different clubhouses and members. In 1981, the BCOB changed its name to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston and girls were admitted to all clubhouses as full members for the first time. As the BGCB entered its tenth decade of service, it is evident that the mission of the organization had shifted slightly; the BGCB no longer identified itself as a social/recreational facility but as a youth development agency.

In 1986, the BGCB commissioned an independent study on the effectiveness of the BGCB's city-wide services. One outcome was a discussion of the benefit increased programming or a new clubhouse would bring to the Roxbury/Dorchester area. As a result, the Roxbury Clubhouse extended its outreach and created a satellite program in the Franklin Field Housing Development in partnership with the Boston Housing Authority. By 1988, the BGCB determined that the Roxbury Clubhouse should remain focused on the neighborhood it already served and that a new, fully equipped and staffed clubhouse in North Dorchester was needed. In 1991, the City of Boston reached an agreement with the BGCB, the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) and the Massachusetts Legislature to build a new clubhouse at the site of an MDC rink on Blue Hill Avenue. The George Robert White Fund agreed to build the facility and contract with the BGCB to manage the property and deliver programs. The clubhouse opened in 1995. It was seen as one step in the revitalization of the Blue Hill Corridor.

The Chelsea Clubhouse started as a satellite BGCB facility in the Innes Housing Development in 1993. The creation of the satellite was the result of the city of Chelsea having been selected as a national Weed & Seed site. The Weed & Seed program is a multi-disciplinary approach to opposing violent crime, drug use, and gang activity in high crime neighborhoods; the goal is to "weed out" violence and drug activity and then "seed" the site with crime and drug prevention programs, human service resources, and neighborhood restoration activities. The program emphasizes a coordinated approach, bringing together Federal, State and local government, the community, and the private sector to form a partnership. In this case, the BGCB received a grant from the Bureau of Justice Administration via the Boys and Girls Clubs of America's National Office to implement a club in partnership with the Chelsea Housing Authority. When the satellite facility in Chelsea opened, there was not a Youth Services Department in the city of Chelsea. The organization was asked to assume the leadership role of coordinating youth services for the city. In so doing, the focus for the clubhouse became the provision of youth services and programs through collaboration with other area organizations. By developing partnerships with organizations such as Choice Thru Education, Chelsea Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program, the Athletic Department of the Chelsea School Department, and Reaching Out to Chelsea Adolescents, the clubhouse has been able to offer many more programs and opportunities to Chelsea's youth than one clubhouse could alone. After relocating multiple times, a permanent clubhouse, the Gerald and Darlene Jordan Clubhouse, opened in 2002.

In 2005, over a century since the first clubhouse was founded, the BGCB serves more than 8,000 urban youths, largely from disadvantaged circumstances, in its five clubhouses in Charlestown, Chelsea, Dorchester, Roxbury and South Boston. More than half of BGCB members come from minority groups. The mission of the BGCB is to aid in the development of youth ages six to eighteen, through programs in six core areas: the arts; education; leadership and character development; life skills; sports, fitness and recreation; and technology. The program activities and support services are designed to assist in the overall educational, emotional, physical and social development of participants, without regard to social, racial, ethnic, or religious background.

Chronology

  • 1893 Charlestown Clubhouse opens.
  • 1899 Bunk Hill Boys' Club Association of Charlestown, Inc. becomes a legal entity.
  • 1910 Roxbury Clubhouse opens.
  • 1922 The Charlestown Clubhouse changes its name to The Boys' Club of Boston.
  • 1928 The Roxbury Boys' Club merges with the Boys' Club of Boston.
  • 1932 The addition of a second clubhouse necessitates a name change to The Boys' Clubs of Boston, Inc.
  • 1935 Boys' Clubs of Boston, Inc. becomes a member of the Community Federation of Boston.
  • 1936 Boys' Clubs of Boston, Inc. becomes a member of the Boston Council of Social Agencies and the summer camp program begins.
  • 1937 Bunker Hill Girls' Club opens.
  • 1938 South Boston clubhouse is founded.
  • 1941 Bunker Hill Girls' Club becomes Girls' Clubs of Boston, Inc.
  • 1942 The Clubs' newspaper, the Patriot, is first printed.
  • 1955 Board of Overseers sets up Advisory Boards for each clubhouse to connect the overseers with the clubs.
  • 1957 Club International Exchange Program is established.
  • 1960s Executive Boards for each clubhouse are formed.
  • 1972 Project Listen grant is received, and the Boys' Club becomes involved in the World of Work Program.
  • 1980 Project Harmony, a tri-club program, is instituted.
  • 1981 Girls are admitted to all clubhouses as full members, and the organization's name is changed to Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.
  • 1988 In collaboration with the Boston Housing Authority, a satellite clubhouse in the Old Colony Housing Development in South Boston is opened.
  • 1990 In collaboration with the Boston Housing Authority, a satellite clubhouse in Franklin Field Housing Development in Dorchester is opened.
  • 1993 In partnership with the residents of the Innes Development and the Chelsea Housing Authority, a satellite clubhouse within the Innes Development in Chelsea is opened.
  • 1995 Blue Hill Avenue Clubhouse opens in North Dorchester/Mattapan.
  • 2002 Jordan Boys and Girls Clubhouse opens in Chelsea.
  • 2003 Keane Children's Center opens at Charlestown Clubhouse.
1893
Charlestown Clubhouse opens.
1899
Bunk Hill Boys' Club Association of Charlestown, Inc. becomes a legal entity.
1910
Roxbury Clubhouse opens.
1922
The Charlestown Clubhouse changes its name to The Boys' Club of Boston.
1928
The Roxbury Boys' Club merges with the Boys' Club of Boston.
1932
The addition of a second clubhouse necessitates a name change to The Boys' Clubs of Boston, Inc.
1935
Boys' Clubs of Boston, Inc. becomes a member of the Community Federation of Boston.
1936
Boys' Clubs of Boston, Inc. becomes a member of the Boston Council of Social Agencies and the summer camp program begins.
1937
Bunker Hill Girls' Club opens.
1938
South Boston clubhouse is founded.
1941
Bunker Hill Girls' Club becomes Girls' Clubs of Boston, Inc.
1942
The Clubs' newspaper, the Patriot, is first printed.
1955
Board of Overseers sets up Advisory Boards for each clubhouse to connect the overseers with the clubs.
1957
Club International Exchange Program is established.
1960s
Executive Boards for each clubhouse are formed.
1972
Project Listen grant is received, and the Boys' Club becomes involved in the World of Work Program.
1980
Project Harmony, a tri-club program, is instituted.
1981
Girls are admitted to all clubhouses as full members, and the organization's name is changed to Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston.
1988
In collaboration with the Boston Housing Authority, a satellite clubhouse in the Old Colony Housing Development in South Boston is opened.
1990
In collaboration with the Boston Housing Authority, a satellite clubhouse in Franklin Field Housing Development in Dorchester is opened.
1993
In partnership with the residents of the Innes Development and the Chelsea Housing Authority, a satellite clubhouse within the Innes Development in Chelsea is opened.
1995
Blue Hill Avenue Clubhouse opens in North Dorchester/Mattapan.
2002
Jordan Boys and Girls Clubhouse opens in Chelsea.
2003
Keane Children's Center opens at Charlestown Clubhouse.

Chronology of Directors

  • 1893-1899 Frank S. Mason (Superintendent)
  • 1899-1901 Francis E. Pearson (Superintendent)
  • 1901-1905 Emerson L. Hunt (Superintendent)
  • 1905-1908 Mabel S. Newell (Superintendent)
  • 1908-1910 Richard A. Briggs (Superintendent)
  • 1911-1935 Harris G. LeRoy (Executive Director)
  • 1935-1960 Arthur T. Burger (Executive Director)
  • 1961-1967 William J. Lynch (Executive Director)
  • 1967-1981 Donald Murray (Executive Director)
  • 1968-1986? Frederick Davis (Executive Vice President)
  • 1984-1991 Ronald D. Young (Executive Vice President)
  • 1992-1998 Frances Moseley (President and CEO)
  • 1999-2008 Linda Whitlock (President and CEO)
  • 2008-present (2013) Josh Kraft (President and CEO)
1893-1899
Frank S. Mason (Superintendent)
1899-1901
Francis E. Pearson (Superintendent)
1901-1905
Emerson L. Hunt (Superintendent)
1905-1908
Mabel S. Newell (Superintendent)
1908-1910
Richard A. Briggs (Superintendent)
1911-1935
Harris G. LeRoy (Executive Director)
1935-1960
Arthur T. Burger (Executive Director)
1961-1967
William J. Lynch (Executive Director)
1967-1981
Donald Murray (Executive Director)
1968-1986?
Frederick Davis (Executive Vice President)
1984-1991
Ronald D. Young (Executive Vice President)
1992-1998
Frances Moseley (President and CEO)
1999-2008
Linda Whitlock (President and CEO)
2008-present (2013)
Josh Kraft (President and CEO)

Extent

49.25 cubic feet (46 containers, 30 flat file folders)

Language

English

Overview

The first clubhouse of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston (BGCB) was founded in Charlestown in 1893. The club was meant to be a refuge and alternative space for young boys whose home life and education were not conducive to their development into productive citizens. Over a century later, the BGCB serves more than 8,000 urban youths, largely from disadvantaged circumstances, in its five clubhouses in Charlestown, Chelsea, Dorchester, Roxbury and South Boston. In 1981, girls were admitted to all clubhouses as full members for the first time. As of 2005, the mission of the BGCB is to aid in the development of youth ages six to 18, through programs in six core areas: the arts; education; leadership and character development; life skills; sports, fitness and recreation; and technology. The program activities and support services are designed to assist in the overall educational, emotional, physical and social development of participants, without regard to social, racial, ethnic, or religious background. Trained youth development professionals act as mentors and role models while volunteers provide key supplementary support to the organization.

Overview

The records of the BGCB date from 1893 to 2004. They document the central administration's efforts to provide the city of Boston with a youth development agency. The documentation includes the records of executive directors and other administrators; Board of Directors and Board of Overseers correspondence, reports, and meeting minutes; fund raising and development material; records relating to program operations; and photographs, media, and scrapbooks. The collection also includes material pertaining to the BGCB's parent organization, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

System of Arrangement:

Organized into 6 series: 1. Governance; 2. Directors and Assistant Directors; 3. Development; 4. Program Services; 5. Audio-Visual; and 6. Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Physical Location

63/3-4, 62/1, FF5/D9, FF5/D10

Related Materials:

The Archives and Special Collections Department capture the website content of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, which is accessible at: http://wayback.archive-it.org/1747/*/http://www.bgcb.org/

Bibliography

  • Annual Reports, 1893-2004, Box 22, folders 60-71 and Box 23, folders 1-15.
  • "A Brief History of the Boys' Clubs of Boston, Inc." April, 1962, Box 12, folder 2.
  • Carroll, Chris. "An Organizational History of the Boys' and Girls' Clubs of Boston, Inc." May 1982, Box 22, folder 18.
  • Lynch, William. "A Glimpse at a Boys' Club: Its Purpose and Operation." (n.d.), Box 12, folder 3.
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston Website: http://www.bgcb.org.
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of America Website: http://www.bgca.org.
Title
Finding aid for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston Records
Author
Finding aid prepared by Rachel Chatalbash and Archives Staff
Date
August 2005
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
92 Snell Library
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US