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Commonwealth Fund records

Date: 1863-2008. Bulk: 1920-1980.

Extent: 1255 cubic feet and 529 microfilm reels.

Access: Records ten years old or older are open for research in the following categories: Board and Corporation, Investment Committee, Governance and Nominating Committee, Audit and Compliance Committee, and Executive and Finance Committee. All other records are open in accordance with standard RAC practices and procedures.

Arrangement: Arranged in two subgroups, each comprised of multiple series. The subgroups and associated series numbers are representative solely of when the materials were processed by RAC, and do not imply an original order of the records. Series are added to Subgroup 2 as records are processed and open for research.

Language of Materials: English

Subgroup 1

  • Series 1: Administration - Historical Files, 1935-1981, Bulk: 1950-1981, 39.6 cu. ft. (FA389)
  • Series 2: Administration - Officers Files, 1918-1980, 11 cu. ft. (FA390)
  • Series 3: Advanced Medical Fellowships, 1937-1980, 31.25 cu. ft. (FA275)
  • Series 4: Annual Reports, 1919-2002, 4.2 cu. ft. (FA276)
  • Series 5: Archives/Library, 1919-1981, 0.7 cu. ft. (FA277)
  • Series 6: Austrian Program, 1923-1929, 0.7 cu. ft. (FA278)
  • Series 7: Board of Directors, 1924-1980, 3.8 cu. ft. (FA279)
  • Series 8: Capital Grants, 1953-1968, 5.75 cu. ft. (FA280)
  • Series 9: Child Health Demonstrations, 1921-1928, 1.3 cu. ft. (FA281)
  • Series 10: Division of Community Clinics, 1923-1929, 1.75 cu. ft. (FA282)
  • Series 11: Division of Health Studies, 1931-1944, 0.44 cu. ft. (FA283)
  • Series 12: Division of Public Health, 1930-1952, 22 cu. ft. (FA284)
  • Series 13: Division of Publications, 1936-1980, 61.2 cu. ft. (FA285)
  • Series 14: Division of Rural Hospitals, 1925-1951, 52 cu. ft. (FA286)
  • Series 15: Educational Research, 1920-1928, 0.44 cu. ft. (FA287)
  • Series 16: English Mental Hygiene Program, 1927-1947, 11.25 cu. ft. (FA288)
  • Series 17: Finance Committee, 1960-1982, 3 cu. ft. (FA289)
  • Series 18: Grants, 1919-2003, 525 cu. ft. and 529 microfilm reels (FA290)
  • Series 19: Harkness Family, 1863-1982, 8.4 cu. ft. (FA291)
  • Series 20: Harkness Fellowships, 1918-1988, 112 cu. ft. (FA292)
  • Series 20.2A: Harkness Fellowships, Fellows Reports, 1918-1988, 6 cu. ft. (FA428)
  • Series 21: Institute for Child Guidance, 1926-1933, 0.7 cu. ft. (FA293)
  • Series 22: Interface Program, 1969-1984, 7.5 cu. ft. (FA294)
  • Series 23: Legal Research Program, 1920-1943, 3.5 cu. ft. (FA295)
  • Series 24: Living at Home Program, 1985-1989, 12.3 cu. ft. (FA296)
  • Series 25: Mental Hygiene Program, 1928-1950, 10.5 cu. ft. (FA297)
  • Series 28: Pilgrim Trust, 1930-1977, 2.8 cu. ft. (FA300)
  • Series 29: Program for the Prevention of Delinquency, 1921-1927, 1.75 cu. ft. (FA301)
  • Series 30: Reference Files, 1922-1982, 8.6 cu. ft. (FA302)
  • Series 31: Reports of the General Director/President, 1918-2008, 28.6 cu. ft. (FA303)
  • Series 32: Treasurer, 1925-1982, 13.7 cu. ft. (FA304)
  • Series 35: Visual Materials, 3 cu. ft. (FA307)

Subgroup 2

  • Series 1: President, Margaret E. Mahoney, 1966-1999, 26 cu. ft. (FA429)
  • Series 2: Book Program, 1966-1999, 15 cu. ft. (FA430)
  • Series 3: Board of Directors, 1918-2008, 28.6 cu. ft. (FA461)
  • Series 4: Commission on Women's Health, 1993-1998, 13.2 cu. ft. (FA462)
  • Series 5: Communications, 1920-2003, 40 cu. ft. (FA481)
  • Series 6: Healthy Steps for Young Children Program, 1994-2007, 75 cu. ft. (FA498)
  • Harkness House drawings, 1907-1984, 62 cu. ft. (700 drawings) (FA247)

Biographical/Historical Sketch

The Commonwealth Fund was established in 1918 with an endowment of $10 million from Anna Harkness for "benevolent, religious, educational and like purposes." Edward S. Harkness, Anna and Stephen V. Harkness' son, became the Fund's first president and served in that capacity through 1940. With the passing of Edward in 1950, his estate was bequeathed to the Fund, expanding the Harkness family total contributions to the Commonwealth Fund to approximately $99 million by 1959.

The early grants supported a variety of programs while generally promoting welfare, especially child welfare. Several grants were made in the field of medical research, but the Board of Directors decided in 1920 that this field was already sufficiently supported by other philanthropic organizations.

Despite this decision, by the mid-1920s the chief interest of the Fund had become public health, including mental hygiene, community health, rural hospitals, medical research and medical education. Other grant areas included war relief, educational and legal research, child welfare, and international medical fellowships.

Following World War II the Commonwealth Fund focused its efforts on improving medical education in the United States, and later began programs directed toward care for the elderly, women's health and minority communities, as well continuing and expanding their support of child development and youth mentoring programs. The Fund served as a catalyst for the patient care movement of the late 1970s and 1980s, and by 1995 had centered its efforts on health care, and the challenges associated with providing efficient effective and affordable high quality care, most prominently the modernization of Medicare.

Subgroup 1

Series 1: Administration - Historical Files, 1935-1981, Bulk: 1950-1981, 39.6 cu. ft. (FA389)

Arrangement: Alphabetical by institution or individual.

Scope: The Commonwealth Fund office used these files as a cross reference system for the grants. The files consist of cross reference sheets and correspondence. There are some reports and photographs. Files for "D", "E", "P", and "W" were not transferred to the RAC, and are therefore not contained in the collection. Files for Johns Hopkins University and Massachusetts General Hospital are also not included.

Series 2: Administration - Officers Files, 1918-1980, 11 cu. ft. (FA390)

Arrangement: Arranged in 4 subseries by officer, as follows:

  1. Carleton B. Chapman Files
  2. Reginald Fitz Files
  3. Quigg Newton Files
  4. Barry C. Smith Files

Series 3: Advanced Medical Fellowships, 1937-1980, 31.25 cu. ft. (FA275)

Arrangement: Arranged in 5 subseries:

  1. Administrative Files
  2. Fellowships and Awards in the Health Field
  3. Foreign Fellowships
  4. Institutional Block Grants
  5. Special Awards in Support of Creative Scholarship

Biographical/Historical Sketch: Fellowships are an integral part of the Commonwealth Fund's history, and continually supported the varied public health, mental hygiene, and rural hospital programs of the Fund. The advanced medical fellowships were first awarded in 1937, and although they primarily aided medical school teachers and research workers, individuals in other areas of health work also received financial assistance. About twenty fellowships per year were granted during 1950-1959, many of which entailed interdisciplinary studies, and by 1965 well over sixty fellowships were awarded yearly.

The granting of "Special Fellowships for Selected Foreign Students" started in June 1947 with an initial appropriation of $50,000. These foreign fellowships were suspended on February 20, 1953, when the Commonwealth Fund Board removed them from the published program of the Fund. Nonetheless, occasional awards were made in cases where the individual was known to the Fund or if the project coincided with Fund interests. The awards were to be made from accumulated balances from the general fellowship budget. The Board, however, reversed its position on May 26, 1955, and restored to the Fellowship Committee the power to award foreign fellowships. Many of the later foreign fellows were recommended by the ASME and the SFME. An initial appropriation of $50,000 was included in this action. Beginning in 1956, "Special Awards in Support of Creative Scholarship" allowed outstanding teachers or research workers to spend a year or two free from departmental obligations.

The advanced medical fellowships covered four basic areas of interest: 1) aid to candidates seeking advanced or interdisciplinary training; 2) assistance in the development of new or neglected fields of activity in health matters; 3) assistance to programs of institutions or organizations active in disciplines of interest to the Fund; 4) grants to provide time-off for mature and creative scholars of acknowledged ability.

Initially the Commonwealth Fund Board of Directors, on the basis of staff recommendations, awarded the fellowships, but starting October 1947, the Board made an overall program appropriation and the staff selected the recipients. Beginning in 1950 a fellowship committee, chaired by Roderick Heffron, chose the fellows, contingent upon the approval of the Commonwealth Fund's president.

A number of British medical school teachers also received fellowships which enabled them to study at U.S. institutions. During the first twenty-five years of the program, 377 American and 112 foreign fellowships were granted. In addition, several large "Block Grants" figured prominently in the fellowship program: The National League for Nursing, Inc. (Fellowship Program for Advanced Education, 1955-1961), provided financial assistance to enable competent nurses to complete master's or doctor's degrees; The Provident Medical Associates of Chicago, renamed in 1952 National Medical Fellowships, Inc., financed improved education for black physicians; and during 1961-1964 The Population Council, Inc. received funding for medical and biological fellowships. The Population Council material is located in box 285 of the Commonwealth Fund Archives Grants Series.

In addition, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Exchange Fellowship Program to Assist Selected Foreign Medical Schools) and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry received grants from the Commonwealth Fund to help underwrite their foreign exchange programs. Universities associated with The Johns Hopkins program include the American University of Beirut, Cayetano Heredia University in Lima, Peru, and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Only one foreign institution, The University of the West Indies, was awarded a "Block Grant."

Dr. Heffron's retirement in September 1966 signaled major revisions in the Fund's fellowship program. The Board of Directors reduced the 1966-1967 fiscal year appropriation to $350,000, down from the previous allocation of $550,000. Not surprisingly, the number of fellows dropped from seventy-eight to thirty for the same time span. In May of 1967 the Board voted to end the formal fellowship program, but agreed to maintain some financial assistance through a small discretionary fund awarded on an informal basis. The number of awards continually declined, nineteen during 1967-1968 and ten during 1968-1969, and no new appropriations were granted until the 1968-1969 fiscal year. In May 1970, however, the Board decided to cancel this appropriation and restored the remaining monies to the Commonwealth Fund's general fund.

Series 4: Annual Reports, 1919-2002, 4.2 cu. ft. (FA276)

Scope: Contains annual reports from 1919-2002. A complete run of bound reports is available in the RAC Library. Individual soft cover reports are available in the archival collection. The Annual Report for 1986 is not available in the archival collection, but it is accessible in the RAC Library. This series also contains a small selection of other reports and pamphlets spanning the mid-1980's through 1994.

Series 5: Archives/Library, 1919-1981, 0.7 cu. ft. (FA277)

Scope: Library and records management classifications, procedures, and manuals.

Series 6: Austrian Program, 1923-1929, 0.7 cu. ft. (FA278)

Arrangement: Alphabetical by subject.

Biographical/Historical Sketch: An outgrowth of the Commonwealth Fund's relief activities in Eastern and Central Europe after World War I, the Austrian Program provided vital help in improving the health of children in Austria. From 1923 until 1929 the Fund maintained an office in Vienna, and conducted a program of health and preventive medicine for children. Child health demonstrations were conducted in Salzburg, and similar activities transpired in Vienna, Klagenfurt, Graz, and elsewhere.

Emphasis was placed on bettering the Austrian type of health service, rather than the introduction of American methods. Additional educational training was provided through fellowships. Austrian support for the program was gradually increased, and by 1929 sufficient success and stability had been attained to ensure continuance of the work without Commonwealth Fund support.

Scope: Financial records, budget, administrative policies and correspondence.

Series 7: Board of Directors, 1924-1980, 3.8 cu. ft. (FA279)

Arrangement: Arranged in 5 subseries, with each subseries further arranged alphabetically:

  1. Board Meetings, Annual Meetings of the Corporation, and Special Meetings
  2. Financial Statements
  3. General Files
  4. Reports of the Board of Directors
  5. Special Reports

Scope: Meeting records and reports comprise the bulk of the series.

Series 8: Capital Grants, 1953-1968, 5.75 cu. ft. (FA280)

Arrangement: Arranged in 2 subseries, with each subseries further arranged alphabetically:

  1. Administrative Files
  2. Grant Files

Scope: Grant files comprise the bulk of the series.

Series 9: Child Health Demonstrations, 1921-1928, 1.3 cu. ft. (FA281)

Biographical/Historical Sketch: The Commonwealth Fund announced its Child Health Program on June 29, 1922. The goals of the five year program were "safe-guarding the health of the mother-to-be, laying a good health foundation for children in the early sensitive and formative period of their growth and health supervision and the formation of the essential health habits in school children." The responsibility for the conduct of the demonstrations rested with the American Child Health Association, which had been recently formed through the merger of the American Child Hygiene Association and the Child Health Organization of America. The Child Health Demonstration Committee of the Commonwealth Fund oversaw the program, with Barry C. Smith chairman and Courtenay Dinwiddie executive director. Other notable participants in the program include Philip Van Ingen, Richard A. Bolt, L. Emmett Holt, Sally Lucas Jean, Livingston Farrand, Donald B. Armstrong, and Barbara S. Quin.

The initial demonstrations were conducted in a city from the Upper Mississippi Valley, the general qualifications being that the population range between 15,000 and 25,000 and the infant mortality rate be approximately 100 per 1000 live births. Twenty-nine cities applied to host the demonstrations, with Fargo, North Dakota, being chosen. The first director of the Fargo demonstrations was Dr. William J. French, former Director of the Child Welfare Commission of Delaware. Subsequent demonstrations were held in Athens (Clarke County), Georgia; Rutherford County, Tennessee; and Marion County, Oregon.

Scope: The records of the Child Health Demonstrations consist of the files of the Child Health Demonstration Committee, and the documents relating to the four series of demonstrations. Included are annual reports and research statistics, on-site investigations regarding possible participants, and final report statistics. In the general files are internal memoranda, committee meeting minutes, correspondence, statistical summaries, and weekly reports concerning field observations of the demonstrations.

Series 10: Division of Community Clinics, 1923-1929, 1.75 cu. ft. (FA282)

Biographical/Historical Sketch: The work of the Division on Community Clinics continued the efforts of Division II of the Program for the Prevention of Delinquency. Division II began its first demonstration child guidance clinic at St. Louis on May 10, 1922. With the expiration of the CF's five year program, the Cleveland Clinic's (December 31, 1926) and the Philadelphia Clinic's (June 30, 1927), demonstration nature ended, and they became permanent independent bodies. The entire Division II program was revised to stress increased use of the supervisory and consulting functions of the Division's field consultant staff, and promoted 1) continued contact with and supervision of the permanent clinics, and 2) additional field service to cities requesting assistance and advice regarding mental hygiene problems and programs.

The first director for the new division was George S. Stevenson, and Clara Bassett, the former chief social worker of the Vanderbilt Clinic, became the consultant in psychiatric social work. The Commonwealth Fund continued to support the National Committee for Mental Hygiene and its Division on Community Clinics until 1949. The last appropriation, $2,000, was voted June 16, 1949, for the 1949-1950 fiscal year.

Scope: Includes Stevenson's extensive correspondence with Commonwealth Fund officers and many state or local health officials. Some of the correspondence files may include internal memoranda, which are also filed separately, and field reports. Financial records for the Division are quite complete, and comprise budget and fiscal statements as well as correspondence relating to Division expenditures. The quarterly reports filed by Stevenson with the Commonwealth Fund provide comprehensive insight into the administrative decisions affecting the Division and the field and clinical work being performed by the organization.

Series 11: Division of Health Studies, 1931-1944, 0.44 cu. ft. (FA283)

Arrangement: Alphabetical.

Biographical/Historical Sketch: The Commonwealth Fund established the Division of Health Studies as a separate division on April 1, 1931. The purposes of the organization were 1) to make periodic studies of the health conditions in the various communities in which the Commonwealth Fund worked, 2) assist in the development of division programs through the planning of administrative records and the appraisal of results, 3) conduct special studies in the field of health as from time to time seemed important in the development of the work of the Fund or would be of broad application.

The initial concerns of the Division were to establish the service functions of the Public Health and Rural Hospital Divisions and to aid the Mental Hygiene and Child Guidance Programs in their regular activities. The annual reports of the Division closely reflect the concurrent programs of the Commonwealth Fund. The Division's years always ended on November 1.

Dr. W. F. Walker was the first director of the Division. After Walker's death in September 1941, Dr. F. L. Moore became the new director in July 1942. Moore resigned his post on April 1, 1944. The Division of Health Studies was absorbed by the Division of Public Health on January 1, 1945.

Scope: Annual reports, budget files, correspondence and program outlines.

Series 12: Division of Public Health, 1930-1952, 22 cu. ft. (FA284)

Arrangement: Arranged in 3 subseries:

  1. General Files
  2. State Files
  3. Public Health Fellowships

Fellowship files within this series are arranged alphabetically, first by state and then by last name of recipient.

Biographical/Historical Sketch: The Commonwealth Fund announced in late 1929 a new project that began operation on January 1, 1930, and promoted rural health and medical service in the United States. The program, instead of emphasizing child care, comprised all health services in rural communities. Initially the project was limited to two states, Tennessee (1930-1945) and Massachusetts (1930-1945), and to two counties or districts in each state. Later the program was also active in Mississippi (1931-1947), Oklahoma (1938-1949), Alabama (1938-1942), Arkansas (1945-1947), California, Florida (1945-1947), Kentucky (1945-1947), Louisiana (1946), Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, and Washington. Dr. William J. French, the first director of the CF's child-health demonstration in Fargo, North Dakota, and former head of the CF's Austrian Program, was named director. French resigned his post on April 4, 1931, and on May 15, 1931, Clarence L. Scamman became the new director of the Division.

The goals set forth were to create field units to promote rural health service and develop well-rounded health services. The work was conducted with the cooperation of the states' health departments. The project also included the establishment of scholarships for graduate study by rural physicians and for nurses and teachers who wished to study methods of health education, and scholarships or loan funds for medical students who would undertake rural practice.

Scope: The Mississippi and Tennessee state files comprise the bulk of the series. A complete alphabetical card file index to the fellowships is available.

Series 13: Division of Publications, 1936-1980, 61.2 cu. ft. (FA285)

Arrangement: Reflecting the administration created by the Division of Publications, this series is arranged in eleven subseries as follows:

  1. Annual Reports
  2. Authors
  3. Book Program
  4. Harvard Press Reports
  5. Old Book Program - Authors Files
  6. Out-of-Print Publications
  7. Publications (Adm-h Files)
  8. Reviews
  9. Titles
  10. Miscellaneous
  11. Authors' Files

Scope: Documents the publishing of books, journals, articles, and pamphlets. Records consists of correspondence, reports, financial papers, and a few pamphlets and books. The documents are mostly concerned with the financing and publishing of books, and the relationship of the Division with the authors and publishing companies.

Series 14: Division of Rural Hospitals, 1925-1951, 52 cu. ft. (FA286)

Arrangement: Arranged in four subseries, with each further arranged alphabetically.

  1. Appeals
  2. General Division Files
  3. Project Files
  4. Rochester Regional Plan

Biographical/Historical Sketch: Prior to 1925 the Commonwealth Fund granted only limited monies for the building or enlargement of hospitals, i.e., to Yale University for improvements to the New Haven Hospital, to the Grenfell Association for small hospitals in Newfoundland, to the Presbyterian Board of Missions for a hospital at Point Barrow, Alaska, and to Memorial Hospital in New York City to aid in the construction of a new building. The Fund's experiences with the Child Health Demonstrations included more than just child health services and brought the realization of the need for improved medical and surgical facilities in rural America. In June 1925 Henry C. Wright, hospital consultant, studied the possibilities of improving rural hospital services. Wright's study led to the establishment of the Division of Rural Hospitals and the appointment, in March 1926, of a director, Henry J. Southmayd, who served in that capacity throughout the division's existence.

Selection of sites was determined by the capacity and willingness of rural communities to help themselves. In districts lacking both towns of over 12,000 and hospitals, the Fund supplied the greater part, but not all, of the building costs, with the communities providing the remainder and then maintaining the institutions. The hospitals were viewed as health centers that also provided professional education, thereby developing public health and hospital service side by side. Six small hospitals were established throughout the United States between 1926 and 1930, but worsening financial conditions momentarily discouraged further construction. For the next five years the program emphasized the strengthening of hospital administration and service. Outpatient care was developed, staff libraries and accounting procedures were improved and fixed or inclusive rate schedules were introduced. The financial picture had improved considerably by 1934 and the building program was begun again, with an additional ten hospitals being constructed. With the passage of the Hospital Survey and Construction (Hill-Burton) Act in 1946, federal funds were now available for hospital construction costs, and as an outgrowth, the Fund decided to terminate its building program in 1946.

The Fund's activities in rural hospitals clarified the difficulties and limitations faced by small hospitals, and in 1943 the Fund concluded that some of these problems might be overcome by broadening the concept of community. Consequently, the Fund offered a plan for regional development utilizing the formation of closer ties among the hospitals in small cities and those in large urban centers. The goal was to determine how voluntary action through a regional organization would benefit the quality of the hospital service rendered. The Rochester, New York, area was chosen for this experiment. Three fields of action were introduced: 1) the joint planning of hospital building and expansion, 2) the mutual operation of services that could be offered more efficiently by a group, and 3) the pooling of clinical administrative and technical skills. In 1953 the Fund commissioned the Institute of Administrative Medicine, Columbia University, to survey the regional plan. The result of this study, "The Rochester Regional Hospital Council," by Leonard S. Rosenfeld and Henry B. Makover, was published by Harvard University Press in 1956.

Scope: Project files comprise the bulk of the series.

Series 15: Educational Research, 1920-1928, 0.44 cu. ft. (FA287)

Scope: Only two files from the Commonwealth Fund's Educational Research Program remain. The rest were destroyed on February 25, 1949, under Barry C. Smith's instructions. The first file, The Survey of Rural Education in New York State, was appeal #287 and received the Commonwealth code designation 1225-S. This survey, begun in 1920, represents one of the earliest projects funded by the CF. A "Committee of Twenty One" comprised of noted New York educators oversaw the survey project. Members from the Dairyman's League, The New York State Department of Education, the Farm Bureau Federation, the State Grange, the State College of Agriculture, the New York State Teachers Association, and the New York State Federation of Home Bureaus actively participated in the survey. Samuel C. Fairley, assistant director of the Commonwealth Fund, George M. Wiley of the University of the State of New York, and John H. Finley, New York State Commissioner of Education, directed the survey.

The Social Science Research Council, appeal #1754 and code 1225-B, was organized on May 17, 1923, on the recommendation of the Committee on Political Research, a division of the American Political Science association. The purpose of the Research Council was threefold: 1) abstract and index current material in the social sciences, 2) survey the organization and work of research agencies active in the social sciences, and 3) lobby the United States Congress to initiate the publication of an annual digest or index to state legislature. Representatives from the American Economic Association, the American Statistical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Anthropological Association, the American Historical Association, the American Sociological Society, and the American Political Science Association sat on the Council.

The existing files for both grants contain correspondence relating to general and financial matters, memoranda, and also progress reports. A miscellaneous file concerning the entire Educational Research Program is also included in this series.

Series 16: English Mental Hygiene Program, 1927-1947, 11.25 cu. ft. (FA288)

Biographical/Historical Sketch: During a visit to the United States in 1925, Mrs. St. Loe Strachey observed the work of the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic, one of the Fund's demonstration clinics. Impressed by the activities of the Clinic, Mrs. Strachey inquired whether the Commonwealth Fund might undertake a similar program in England. After her return to England she interested a number of individuals in her proposal and chaired a committee designed to implement her ideas. At the invitation of this committee, Mildred C. Scoville visited England in June 1926. The Fund then invited twelve key individuals to observe American child guidance techniques, and later enabled five English social workers to come to New York for training in psychiatric social work at the Institute for Child Guidance and the New York School of Social Work.

The Child Guidance Council (CGC) was organized in 1927 in London and included representatives of various groups concerned with the mental and physical health of children. The Council assumed responsibility for a program which included the establishment of a child guidance clinic in London, the training of psychiatric social workers, and the carrying on of general educational work in the mental health field.

The London Child Guidance Clinic opened in 1929, its staff having been trained in the United States during 1928 and early 1929. Arrangements were made by the CGC for a training course for psychiatric social workers at the London School of Economics, with a number of scholarships being provided by the CF. The CGC also offered fellowships in psychiatry and psychology. In 1930 the London clinic became an independent body with its own administrative and medical board, and the CGC emphasized other educational work and assistance in the development of clinics throughout England and in the improvement of standards of service. The London School of Economics utilized the London clinic for much of its field training. The CF supplied the major financial support of the entire project until 1931-1932 and thereafter withdrew gradually.

World War II forced the closure of the London clinic in 1939 and the mental health program was disrupted throughout the war years. After the war, however, advances in child guidance work rapidly developed. The Child Guidance Council, the National Council for Mental Hygiene, the Central Association for Mental Welfare, and the Mental Health Emergency Committee merged into the National Association for Mental Health, an organization financed entirely from British sources. The London School of Economics underwrote the costs of the mental health training courses, and the clinic resumed operation with funds from various sources, including a grant from the British Ministry of Health.

Scope: Contains reports, minutes, correspondence, budget and financial files, and a variety of administration, meeting, clinic and program records.

Series 17: Finance Committee, 1960-1982, 3 cu. ft. (FA289)

Arrangement: Arranged in 4 subseries:

  1. Budget Statements for Board of Directors Meetings
  2. Carleton B. Chapman Files
  3. Chemical Bank Monthly Statements of Investments
  4. Finance Committee Meetings

Series 18: Grants, 1919-2003, 525 cu. ft. and 529 microfilm reels (FA290)

Arrangement: The Grants are arranged in 4 subseries, with each subseries representing an accession or transfer or records from the Commonwealth Fund to the Rockefeller Archive Center. Within each subseries, the records are arranged alphabetically by grant recipient.

Physical Description: Subseries 18.1, 18.2 and 18.3 are maintained in their original paper form. Subseries 18.4 has been re-formatted to microfilm.

Scope: The Grant files comprise the largest portion of the Commonwealth Fund records. The first three subseries include grants from the years 1918-1988, while the bulk of the grants in subseries four range from 1987-2003. A small portion of the grants in 18.4, however, date back as far as 1979.

The earliest grants funded a broad range of projects and associations and reflected the diverse and varied program of the Fund's beginning years. In many cases the grants were parallel or ancillary to existing Commonwealth Fund projects. Often, however, unrelated or special short-term grants were awarded. When the Commonwealth Fund's program became more oriented toward medical education and research, the grant actions mirrored this policy alteration.

Taken as a whole, these grants demonstrate the Fund's commitment to stimulating innovative thinking on health policy and practice in the United States. This far reaching aim is achieved primarily, but not exclusively through programs that address, "access to affordable care, quality of health care services, health system responsiveness to patients, long-term care concerns, and allocation of health care resources."

Series 18.4 of the CF grant files document the more recent activities of the organization, which focus primarily on improving the quality of, and access to, health care services and insurance. They are especially concerned with making these improvements available to vulnerable populations such as children, the elderly, women, minorities, and low-income families. These grants also document funding to promote healthier lifestyles and to improve medical education and research. These grant files also document the Commonwealth Fund's clear commitment to improving the quality of life for the residents of New York City through grants that improve the physical environment and grants that support research on a variety of health and social issues. Grants housed within this series vary in size from several to several thousand pages each. The files themselves are divided into ten discrete sections as follows: 1.) Completed Grant Reports and follow-up evaluations by staff and consultants, 2.) Interim and final financial reports including cash requisition forms, 3.) Interim and final narrative reports including follow-up correspondence from staff and consultant reports, 4.) Program summary, news release, annual report text, and related correspondence, 5.) Award letter, executed letter of agreement, and amendments to the letter of agreement, 6.) Board report text and resolution, 7.) Final budget, revisions, and related correspondence, 8.) Final proposal and CV's of project personnel, 9.) Request for project support form, tax papers, expenditure responsibility forms, approved subcontracts, and correspondence concerning change in organization name, project director, and address, 10.) Consultant reports, support letters, and site visit reports. The location of each of these tabs is marked by a "tab target" which has been filmed in place of the actual tab. Within each grant, the material has been arranged in chronological order while maintaining the distinctiveness of the ten separate sections or 'tabs.' Some grant folders do not include ten individual sections; however, these records are complete as is. Please note that the title 'Missing Pages' indicates that the administrator retained a 'tab' or section title for the folder, but no documentation was included for that section.

Series 19: Harkness Family, 1863-1982, 8.4 cu. ft. (FA291)

Arrangement: Two subseries as follows:

  1. Documents
  2. Bound volumes and Ephemera

Scope: The Harkness Family papers are the private records of Edward S. and Mary S. Harkness, examined by Malcolm P. Aldrich, Trustee of the Edward S. Harkness estate. These documents consist mostly of correspondence, financial data, legal documents and reports.

The records document their donations to universities, schools, institutions and individuals. There is a great quantity of information on donations to schools and universities like Phillips Exeter Academy, Columbia, Harvard, Yale and others. There is a book on the residential halls of Yale University in the Harkness Family Volumes. Also documented here are Harkness Family funding for the Pilgrim Trust, Presbyterian Hospital, New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gifts and donations for servants, friends and family are documented. Members of the family include the Russels, the Stillmans and the Taylors.

The Harkness Family bound volumes and ephemera are the business, personnel and condolence documents of Anna M. (AMH), Charles W., Edward S. (ESH), Mary S. (MSH) and Stephen E. Harkness. The business and personnel records relate to the Family. The condolence volumes are pertain to the the death of Edward S. Harkness.

Series 20: Harkness Fellowships, 1918-1988, 112 cu. ft. (FA292)

Arrangement: Alphabetical by fellowship recipient.

Scope: The records of the Harkness Fellowships reflect the close personal relationship the Fund Instituted with over 1,800 fellows. A typical file contains the fellow's application, curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation fellowship report, and photographs. It was not unusual for fellows and officials at the Commonwealth Fund to maintain correspondence for more than twenty years, and files often contain family photographs, professional writings, and newspaper clippings from fellows who succeeded in a wide variety of fields. Such files clearly demonstrate that close and personal relationships were maintained by the Fund and the Harkness fellows.

The program guidelines required that every fellow spend a significant portion of the fellowship in travel, an "obligation" highly prized by the fellows. Their travel experiences were an important educational factor and lasting benefit, and were often praised in the reports the fellows were required to submit after their return home.

The fellowship reports, written from the viewpoint of a foreigner, provide tremendous insight into American culture. Indeed, one Harkness fellow based a career on such insights. "It changed my life," Alistair Cooke wrote of his fellowship in literature shortly after completing it in 1932. Cooke's fellowship file consists of reports and correspondence (1932-1989) that document his stay in the U.S. and his eventual rise to fame with the British Broadcasting Company.

Series 20.2A: Harkness Fellowships, Fellows Reports, 1918-1988, 6 cu. ft. (FA428)

Arrangement: Alphabetical by fellowship recipient.

Scope: Series 20.2A is an incomplete compilation of fellowship reports. For comprehensive documentation of the fellows refers, please refer to both Series 20 and Series 20.2A.

Series 21: Institute for Child Guidance, 1926-1933, 0.7 cu. ft. (FA293)

Biographical/Historical Sketch: The Commonwealth Fund's association with the Institute for Child Guidance stems from a revision in the Fund's Program for the Prevention of Delinquency. The Delinquency Program was drafted during the summer and early fall of 1921, with the CF Board adopting the program in November of that year. Actual wok was not begun until the spring of 1922. The forerunner of the Institute for Child Guidance, The Bureau of Children's Guidance officially opened on February 1, 1922, but was not fully active until autumn of that year.

The five year period of the Delinquency Program expired in the spring of 1927. Already in early 1926, a revised program had been proposed. The Bureau of Children's Guidance closed June 30, 1927, and The Institute for Child Guidance opened in New York City on July 1, 1927. This new Institute, incorporated December 29, 1926, was affiliated with the New York School of Social Work and the Smith College School for Social Work in regards to the training of psychiatric social workers; and with the National Committee for Mental Hygiene in conjunction with the training of psychiatrists and graduate psychologists in practical child guidance work.

Both the administration and budget of the Institute were controlled by the Board of Directors of the Commonwealth Fund. The nine member Administrative Board of the Institute was appointed by the Commonwealth Fund Board of Directors, which retained the right to terminate any appointment at its discretion. Barry C. Smith, Director of the Commonwealth Fund, was named Chairman; Porter R. Lee, Director of the New York School for Social Work became treasurer. Other board members included Everett Kimball, Director of Smith College School for Social Work, Frankwood E. Williams, Medical Director of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, Mildred C. Scoville, Executive Assistant of the Fund, and Barbara S. Quin, also of the Commonwealth Fund.

Lawson G. Lowrey served as Director of the Institute, with David M. Levy as chief of staff, and Christine C. Robb as chief of social services. The initial yearly budget was approximately $160,000. Although the Institute officially closed its doors on June 30, 1933, the Bank of United States, which underwent liquidation at the same time, owed the organization over $20,000. Consequently, the Institute's certificate of incorporation was kept active. The bank's account with the Institute was fully settled in 1944, but the charter was not dissolved until 1951, when the Secretary of State of New York did so.

Scope: The majority of the Institute's surviving records consist of financial statements, audits and correspondence relating to fiscal or budget matters. The minutes of the Institute detail the activities of the Board of Directors, the incorporators, the annual corporation meetings, and the committee dividing the assets of the Institute. In late 1937 the Commonwealth Fund decided that all case files pertaining to the treatment of children at the Institute should be destroyed. Therefore, in February of 1938 these records, as well as the index to these cases, were burned.

Series 22: Interface Program, 1969-1984, 7.5 cu. ft. (FA294)

Arrangement: Arranged in two subseries, with each subseries further arranged alphabetically:

  1. Administrative Files
  2. Grant Files

Series 23: Legal Research Program, 1920-1943, 3.5 cu. ft. (FA295)

Arrangement: Arranged in two subseries –

  1. Legal Research Committee Administrative Files
  2. Legal Research Projects

Subseries 2 is further arranged as follows:

  1. Administrative Law and Practice
  2. International Law
  3. Law of Evidence

Biographical/Historical Sketch: The Legal Research Program, one of the earliest programs of the Commonwealth Fund, began with the organization of the Legal Research Committee in 1920. The Committee divided into two subcommittees in 1921, one which specialized in the study of administrative law, and the other studied possible reforms in the law of evidence.

The first subcommittee investigated the use of "administrative instruments in the enforcement of legislative policy… the legal issues involved in their powers and the relation of their powers to the traditional system of Anglo-American law." Two types of broad studies were instituted; the first dealt with administrative powers and their use, the other with specific illustrations of such use drawn from the experience of administrative agencies set up by the federal government and other agencies. Several monographs were published based on the research completed by the subcommittee.

The second original subcommittee analyzed the law of evidence and arranged for a number of fact-finding studies which were published in various university law journals. This subcommittee also issued a report in 1927. In addition to funding legal research on current topics, the Committee also provided support for research in legal history and international law, and made special grants available to professors at Oxford University, Yale University, the Foundation for Research in Legal History at the Columbia University School of Law, Harvard Law School, and the University of Chicago School of Law.

The Commonwealth Fund withdrew its support of legal research in 1943, and the Legal Research Committee was discontinued. A card file index to topics and individuals associated with the Legal Research Program is available. Additional documentation concerning the studies published for the Legal Research Committee is located in the records of the Commonwealth Fund's Division of Publications.

Prominent members of the Legal Research Committee include Henry M. Bates, Charles C. Burlingham, Benjamin N. Cardozo, Grenville Clark, James Parker Hall, Learned Hand, Charles F. Hughes, John C. Milburn, George Welwood Murray, Thomas I. Parkinson, Roscoe Pound, Austin W. Scott, Young B. Smith, and Harlan F. Stone.

Series 24: Living at Home Program, 1985-1989, 12.3 cu. ft. (FA296)

Arrangement: Primarily arranged alphabetically within record type.

Scope: Contains documentation of program history, grant records, applications and reviews, meeting records and correspondence.

Series 25: Mental Hygiene Program, 1928-1950, 10.5 cu. ft. (FA297)

Access: Select fellowship files are open for scholarly research, with prior archival review.

Arrangement: Divided in four subseries:

  1. Conferences
  2. Fellowships
  3. Special Projects
  4. Special Studies

Biographical/Historical Sketch: Throughout the 1930s and 1940s the Commonwealth Fund provided financial support for several unique projects concerning psychiatry, pediatrics, and the teaching/training of psychiatrists. Public and private institutions, as well as individuals, were recipients of these grants, with the majority going to universities and colleges.

Scope: The records for the special studies consist mainly of correspondence and general files relating to a specific grant. Financial records are also found in the folders titled "General Files and Correspondence." A list of the original Commonwealth Fund code assigned to the grants is available in the print version of the finding aid.

Series 28: Pilgrim Trust, 1930-1977, 2.8 cu. ft. (FA300)

Arrangement: Chronological within each report type.

Scope: Primarily consists of Annual Reports, Minutes, and a variety of newspaper clippings.

Series 29: Program for the Prevention of Delinquency, 1921-1927, 1.75 cu. ft. (FA301)

Arrangement: Arranged by Division – I, II, III and IV.

Biographical/Historical Sketch: The Commonwealth Fund officially adopted its "Program for the Prevention of Delinquency" on November 9, 1921. The program consisted of four divisions: Division I, The New York School of Social Work; Division II, The National Committee for Mental Hygiene-Division of the Prevention of Delinquency; Division III, The National Committee on Visiting Teachers-Public Education Association of New York; and Division IV, The Joint Committee on Methods of Preventing Delinquency (JCMPD).

The New York School of Social Work established in 1919 a Department of Mental Hygiene, whose didactic objective was to give the school's students a better insight into human nature and conduct in health and disease. In order to give students opportunities for the actual study and management of problems in human maladjustment, in close affiliation with professional psychiatrists, the school maintained a Bureau of Children's Guidance in conjunction with the Neurological Department of Vanderbilt Clinic. The school also granted fellowships to qualified students and professionals to attend classes and seminars in child guidance. Most of the surviving records consist of financial statements and correspondence relating to budgets, and the Annual Reports from the Bureau of Children's Guidance (1922-1927). Division I of the Delinquency Program was created on December 1, 1921 and began operations on February 1, 1922. Division I formally ceased operations on July 30, 1927.

The National Committee for Mental Hygiene was founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1916. Through funding by the Commonwealth Fund, the Committee's Division on the Prevention of Delinquency held Child Guidance Clinics in several cities, most notably Norfolk, Virginia; Dallas, Texas; and St. Louis, Missouri. The National Committee also sponsored a fellowship program. All the documents concern budgetary matters.

Division III of the Commonwealth Fund's program, The National Committee of Visiting Teachers maintained a series of clinics for visiting teachers, held grading demonstrations throughout the United States and furnished visiting teachers to many school districts. The work funded by the Commonwealth Fund was directed through the auspices of the Public Education Association of The City of New York, which was founded in 1895 and incorporated in 1899. After the Delinquency program ended, the Visiting Teachers Program continued under the general guidelines of the mental hygiene program. Demonstrations were maintained and contact and supervision of the permanent work established under the demonstrations was provided. Assistance and advice regarding visiting teaching problems and programs was given to cities requesting the same. The Commonwealth Fund granted money to the Visiting Teachers until June 30, 1930. The records are all of a financial nature and reflect the Committee's activities both as a component of the Delinquency Program and as an independent body. The National Committee on Visiting Teachers disbanded on June 30, 1931.

The Joint Committee on Methods of Preventing Delinquency (JCMPD) was incorporated on February 22, 1922 under the laws of the State of New York, and served as a coordinating agent for the Juvenile Delinquency Program and its member groups. The publication and dissemination of information and literature on juvenile delinquency and child guidance was a primary function of the JCMPD. The name of the Committee is misleading since the majority of its work entailed the directing of a program of mental health, child guidance clinics, visiting teachers, and the training of individuals for competency in child guidance.

Scope: The Committee's documents include minutes of the organization, both before and after the incorporation of the Committee, which transcribe the decisions of the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, and the corporation as a whole. Financial records and the Committee's newsletter are also found in this collection. After the dissolution of its charter in 1927, many of the Committee's members formed the nucleus of the Commonwealth Fund's new Division of Publications, a not too unlikely move given the Committee's prior active participation in this area.

Individuals associated with the Commonwealth Fund's Program for the Prevention of Delinquency include Barbara S. Quin, Bernard Glueck, Howard W. Nudd, Barry C. Smith, Porter R. Lee, Graham R. Taylor, Julia C. Lathrop, Frankwood E. Williams, Henry C. Morrison, Thomas W. Salmon, Mildred C. Scoville and Ralph P. Truitt.

Series 30: Reference Files, 1922-1982, 8.6 cu. ft. (FA302)

Arrangement: Alphabetical by subject, or by individual's family name.

Scope: The Reference Files consist of ready-reference materials, primarily publications and articles, originally compiled for the Commonwealth Fund Library.

The dates indicated for published material are often the stamped date at which the item was accepted into the Commonwealth Fund Library collection, rather than the date of publication.

Series 31: Reports of the General Director/President, 1918-2008, 28.6 cu. ft. (FA303)

Access: Select records, are closed to scholarly research due to preservation concerns.

Arrangement: Chronological.

Scope: Barry C. Smith served as General Director of the Commonwealth Fund, 1920-1947. During this period the reports were officially titled as Report of the General Director to the Directors of the Commonwealth Fund. Beginning in 1948, the official title became known as Report of the President and Staff to Directors of the Commonwealth Fund. In recent years, the reports are commonly known as the Board of Directors book, or colloquially as the Board Book.

Series 32: Treasurer, 1925-1982, 13.7 cu. ft. (FA304)

Arrangement: Arranged in four subseries:

  1. Alphabetical Files, 1925-1980
  2. Chemical Bank, 1971-1982
  3. Fiscal, 1981-1982
  4. Taxes

Scope: Alphabetical files and tax records comprise the bulk of the series.

Series 35: Visual Materials, 3 cu. ft. (FA307)

Scope: contains photographs, blue prints, and maps.

Subgroup 2

Series 1: President, Margaret E. Mahoney, 1966-1999, 26 cu. ft. (FA429)


  1. Board of Directors
  2. General Files
  3. Personal Correspondence
  4. Speeches

Scope: Mahoney's correspondence, mail and phone logs comprises the bulk of the series.

Series 2: Book Program, 1966-1999, 15 cu. ft. (FA430)

Arrangement: Arranged in the following subseries:

  1. Author Files.
  2. Correspondence.
  3. Meetings.
  4. Proposals.
  5. Publicity.
  6. Banking.(Restricted from scholarly access).
  7. Budget Files. (Restricted from scholarly access).
  8. Financial.(Restricted from scholarly access).

Scope: Author files and proposals comprise the bulk of the records.

Series 3: Board of Directors, 1918-2008, 28.6 cu. ft. (FA461)

Access: Records 10 years old or older are open for scholarly research.

Arrangement: Arranged in three subseries.

  1. Board Meeting Minutes.
  2. Board Reports.
  3. Executive Committee.

Within each subseries, the records are primarily arranged chronologically.

Series 4: Commission on Women's Health, 1993-1998, 13.2 cu. ft. (FA462)

Arrangement: The Commission on Women's Health files are divided in nine subseries:

  1. Correspondence.
  2. Financial. (Restricted from scholarly access).
  3. Grants.
  4. Meetings.
  5. Personnel. (Select files are restricted from scholarly access).
  6. Publications.
  7. Travel.
  8. Vendors. (Restricted from scholarly access).
  9. Special Formats.

Series 5: Communications, 1920-2003, 40 cu. ft. (FA481)

Arrangement: The Communications files are divided in six subseries:

  1. Administration.
  2. Clippings.
  3. London Forum
  4. Programs.
  5. Publications.
  6. Special Formats.

Scope: Publications comprises the majority of the series.

Series 6: Healthy Steps for Young Children Program, 1994-2007, 75 cu. ft. (FA498)

Arrangement: The Healthy Steps for Young Children records are divided in nine subseries:

  1. Chronological Files.
  2. Evaluations/Sites.
  3. General Files.
  4. Grants.
  5. Meetings.
  6. Working papers.
  7. Program Reports.
  8. Reports and Surveys.
  9. Special Formats.

Harkness House drawings, 1907-1984, 62 cu. ft. (700 drawings) (FA247)

Harkness House was built between 1906 and 1908, and presented as a wedding gift from Anna Harkness, founder of the Commonwealth Fund, to her son Edward and her daughter-in-law Mary Stillman Harkness. Designed by James Gamble Rogers, the house sits on the corner lot of Fifth Avenue and East 75th Street in New York City. Rogers and Edward Harkness developed an unusually close architect-client relationship. This facilitated Rogers' use of a restrained architectural design for the home, reflecting the philosophy and lifestyle of its owners. Rogers became a favored architect of the family and he was later commissioned by Edward Harkness to design structures at both Columbia University and Yale.

When the house was being constructed, a neighbor's property to the east of Harkness House already had the address of One East 75th Street, but the Harkness' strongly preferred a 75th Street address rather than a more affluent Fifth Avenue address, so they requested to have "One" and their neighbors kindly obliged (converting their address from One to 3 East 75th Street). Situating the main entrance on East 75th Street had a profound effect on the building's design, resulting in a wide but not deep mansion rather than a narrow but very deep townhome. The Italian Renaissance-style of the house with its large public space centered on a library and music room contrasted greatly with the extravagance of the other mansions that lined Fifth Avenue with their opulent grand ballrooms.

Despite their unpretentious temperament, the Harkness lifestyle required a large home of varied form and function including: public and private spaces, seven main bedrooms, servant quarters for a large staff, workshops, kitchens, pantries, storage and mechanical rooms. To accommodate their vast needs, Rogers designed a building with seven floors, two stories of which were underground, and a top floor set back penthouse, which could not be viewed from the street, to house the servants quarters. The façade of Harkness House was covered with Tennessee marble and the grounds around the house were defined by a wrought iron fence inspired by the fence of the Scalegari Tombs in Verona.

Mary Stillman Harkness died on June 6, 1950 leaving no heirs. The Harkness House was turned over to The Commonwealth Fund, and it officially became their headquarters on February 16, 1952 when the Fund relocated from 41 East 57th Street. The building received New York City landmark status in 1967. It was renovated in the 1980s, and this project helped spark the renovation and improvement of other buildings and public spaces on the upper eastside of Manhattan.

Periodic tours are available of the Harkness House through the Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America.

Arrangement: Each drawing is arranged by floor, room and utilities, and further arranged in numeric and/or alphabetical order. This arrangement begins with the facade, grounds and lower levels of the building, and continues upward through the house to the attic/roof level.

Scope: Consists of approximately 700 oversized drawings ranging in date from James Gamble Rogers originals in 1907 through the renovations completed in the 1980s. The description provided for each drawing includes: title, size, material and architect.

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