The California Social Welfare Archives began in 1978. Its purpose has been to acquire and preserve, for scholarly use, records and papers documenting the development of social welfare in California. The object is to promote research in a field where expansion of the record will be of value not only to social welfare historians and policy makers, but also to students in other disciplines.
The collection policy of the Archives focuses primarily on the records of California voluntary social welfare organizations, publicly-supported health and welfare organizations not maintaining archives, and the personal papers of their leaders. Social welfare is defined broadly, ranging from the classic elements of professional social work, to areas of social problems and potential answers, as well as a spectrum of services considered or offered over the years, including newer developments such as industrial social work.
The Archives seeks records--including correspondence, minutes, memoranda, annual reports, research papers, conference proceedings, newsletters--of California social welfare and related organization which have reflected in their programs the development of social welfare programs, problems, issues, and services in the State. As to personal papers, of particular interest are those of social workers or social work lay or civic leaders who participated in the emergence of social programs, public or private.
Included in the collection efforts are documents illustrating the roles of philanthropic groups and, especially, those depicting the history of minority groups as providers and consumers of mainstream social welfare services, as well as their experience in developing and using their own community services through, for example, benevolent societies and religious groups.
The donated items become the property of the California Social Welfare Archives and the University of Southern California, where the Library System serves as the repository. The collections, or items within collections, can be viewed by donors, scholars, and other researchers upon request to the California Social WeIfare Archives.