South End House (Boston, Mass.)

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Part of a national settlement house movement during the Progressive Era in America, the South End House opened its doors in Boston, Massachusetts, as the Andover House in 1891. Its founder, Dr. William J. Tucker, was a Congregational minister and social reformer who taught at the Andover Theological Seminary located in Andover, Massachusetts. Dr. Tucker immediately hired Robert A. Woods to act as the house's director. Woods was very involved in progressive reform movements on the national level and in the settlement house movement in Boston. One of the first things Woods did was to change the organization's name to the South End House as its original name reflected an association with the Andover Seminary; the new name evoked more of a connection to the community it served. As the organization's by-laws state: "the object of the Corporation shall be to establish and maintain a House in the City of Boston as a residence for college graduates and others engaged in work for social and moral betterment with particular reference to the neighborhood in which it is located." Workers and volunteers under Woods' guidance lived in the South End House and interacted on a daily basis with residents of Boston's impoverished South End neighborhood. As many of the neighborhood's residents were immigrants, much of the workers' efforts were aimed at assimilating these individuals to American life. In 1960, the South End House merged with the Harriet Tubman House, the Children's Art Center, the Hale House, and the Lincoln House to form the United South End Settlements. By joining forces, the five area settlement houses were able to pool resources, share programs and space, and reach a larger community. Today the United South End Settlements/Harriet Tubman Gallery is an active neighborhood center still very much involved in youth programs, local art, and community outreach.

From the description of South End House Association records. (Simmons College). WorldCat record id: 48072876

Robert Archey Woods, born in Pittsburgh (Pa.) in 1865, attended Amherst College in Amherst (Mass.) and Andover Theological Seminary in Andover (Mass.). After spending six months at a settlement project begun in 1884 in London, he returned to the U.S. in 1891, chosen by Professor William Jewett Tucker to head Boston's first settlement house under the auspices of Tucker's newly-formed South End House Association. Programs of the Association included camps, community music and sports, employment, and legislative reform, including housing and liquor licensing. Woods came to be instrumental in the development of professional social work.

From the description of Records, 1890-1950. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 85169044

Robert Archey Woods, born in Pittsburgh (Pa.) in 1865, attended Amherst College in Amherst (Mass.) and Andover Theological Seminary in Andover (Mass.). Influenced at Andover by Professor William Jewett Tucker's "social economics", in 1890 Woods spent six months at Toynbee Hall in the East End of London, a settlement project begun in 1884 to bring the privileged and the poor to live together for mutual benefit and education. Woods returned to the U.S. in 1891, chosen by Professor Tucker to head Boston's first settlement house (fifth in the country) under the auspices of Tucker's newly-formed South End House Association.

Tucker described the settlement house movement as "...religious, but the method...educational rather than evangelistic," focusing on the neighborhood as the cornerstone of social well-being and promoting "prevention, not cure." The South End House Association undertook reform of health, sanitation, education, and working conditions through investigations, published reports, legislative reform, and direct involvement of staff in the lives of residents.

In the winter of 1892, Woods and others opened Andover House (renamed South End House in 1895) at 6 Rollins Street in the South End (Boston, Mass.), in Eleanor Woods's words "...the most considerable working-class district of Boston, within easy reach of the poorest locality in the heart of the city...". Multiple men's and women's residences were established over time.

Woods served as president of the South End Social Union and its successor, the Boston Social Union, an alliance of settlement houses offering a multitude of neighborhood activities, including gardening, entertainments, sports, festivals, and exhibits. Among these projects were: the South End House Industry, begun in 1923 to provide employment for women of the "lodging-house district" making and selling rugs; the South End Music School, established in 1910; "caddy camps", notably at Bretton Woods (N.H.), allowing boys to earn money caddying at golf clubs; and summer country convalescence programs for city children, notably at Winning Farm in Lexington (Mass.). It also maintained a legislation committee.

Woods was instrumental in the development of professional social work and its employment of the social survey to document urban conditions. He lectured and published widely, serving in leadership positions nationally. In Boston he served on the Excise Board and Licensing Board.

Woods married Eleanor Howard Bush in Cambridge in 1902; he died in February 1925.

From the guide to the Records, 1890-1950., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf United South End Settlements. United South End Settlements records, 1892-1973. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
creatorOf Records, 1890-1950. Houghton Library
creatorOf South End House (Boston, Mass.). Records, 1890-1950. Harvard University, Houghton Library
creatorOf United South End Settlements (Boston, Mass.). United South End Settlements records, 1892-2006 (bulk 1980-1999) Northeastern University, Snell Library
referencedIn Helen Alder Papers, 1906-1906. Simmons College, Beatley Library
referencedIn Woods, Robert Archey, 1865-1925. South End House appeal, 1919 Aug. 25, Boston, to the Misses Kimball. Boston Athenaeum
referencedIn United South End Settlements records, 1892-1973 University of Minnesota Libraries. Social Welfare History Archives. [swha]
referencedIn Morton, Helen. Papers, 1920-1984 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf South End House (Boston, Mass.). South End House Association records. Simmons College, Beatley Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith 1915 Social Club corporateBody
associatedWith Addams, Jane person
correspondedWith A. Hazard (Arthur Hazard) Dakin person
associatedWith Albert, Allen D. (Allen Diehl), b. 1874 person
associatedWith Alcott Club corporateBody
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associatedWith Amherst College. corporateBody
associatedWith Andover House Association. corporateBody
correspondedWith Barnett, Henrietta, Dame, 1851-1936 person
correspondedWith Bessie Y. Rutan person
associatedWith Boston Cooperative Building Company corporateBody
associatedWith Boston Dwelling House Company corporateBody
correspondedWith Boston Licensing Board corporateBody
associatedWith Boston Social Union. corporateBody
associatedWith Boston Social Union. corporateBody
associatedWith Boston Social Union Athletic League corporateBody
associatedWith Boston University corporateBody
associatedWith Bretton Associates corporateBody
associatedWith Bretton Woods Camp corporateBody
associatedWith Bretton Woods Golf Club. corporateBody
correspondedWith Catherine Hall Woods person
associatedWith Charlesbank Homes corporateBody
correspondedWith Clarke, William. person
associatedWith Committee on Industrial Education. corporateBody
associatedWith Corner House corporateBody
correspondedWith Dawes, Miss person
associatedWith Eleanor Woods person
associatedWith Ellen F. Blood. person
associatedWith Estabrook, Harold Kelsey. person
associatedWith Esther G. Barrows person
correspondedWith Fatherless Children of France (Organization). Boston Committee. corporateBody
correspondedWith Francis Rollins Morse person
correspondedWith Frederick S. Allis person
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associatedWith Greater Boston Community Fund. corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard Housing Trust corporateBody
associatedWith Harvard University corporateBody
correspondedWith Hodges, George. person
associatedWith Hollande, Raymonde person
associatedWith Home for Aged Men (Boston, Mass.) . corporateBody
associatedWith Intersettlement Players of Boston corporateBody
associatedWith James A. Lowell, treasurer person
correspondedWith John L. Elliott person
associatedWith J. P. (John Pierpont) Morgan person
correspondedWith J. W. Stearns person
associatedWith Klein, Gertrude. person
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associatedWith Leapyear Club corporateBody
associatedWith Little Sunshine Club. corporateBody
correspondedWith M. A. De Wolfe (Mark Antony De Wolfe) Howe person
associatedWith Marcel Viard. person
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associatedWith Massachusetts State Federation of Women's Clubs corporateBody
correspondedWith Masssachusetts State Child Labor Committee. corporateBody
correspondedWith McSeam, Austin person
correspondedWith Meiklejohn, Alexander person
associatedWith Morton, Helen. person
associatedWith Mrs. J. Montgomery Sears person
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associatedWith National Conference of Social Work (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers corporateBody
associatedWith New York Association of Neighborhood Workers corporateBody
associatedWith Price, Waterhouse & Co. corporateBody
correspondedWith Richard C. (Richard Clarke) Cabot person
associatedWith Sanborn, Alvin. person
associatedWith Snedeker, Ruth W. person
associatedWith South Bay Sorosis. corporateBody
associatedWith South Bay Union. corporateBody
associatedWith South Bay Union Dramatic Club. corporateBody
associatedWith South Bay Union Garden Club corporateBody
associatedWith South End Girls' Club. corporateBody
associatedWith South End House Association. corporateBody
associatedWith South End House Industry. corporateBody
associatedWith South End Improvement Society. corporateBody
associatedWith South End Music School corporateBody
associatedWith South End Players corporateBody
associatedWith South End Social Union. corporateBody
correspondedWith Toynbee Hall Emphasis Week Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Tucker, William Jewett, 1839-1926. person
associatedWith United South End Settlements. corporateBody
associatedWith United South End Settlements (Boston, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith U.S. Treasury Dept. corporateBody
correspondedWith Walsh, David I. (David Ignatius), 1872-1947 person
associatedWith Wendell H. Marden. person
associatedWith William Henry Winning person
associatedWith Winning Farm corporateBody
associatedWith Winning Farm Camp corporateBody
associatedWith Winning Farm (Lexington, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Women's Education Association corporateBody
associatedWith Woods, Eleanor H. person
associatedWith Woods, Robert Archey, 1865-1925. person
correspondedWith Wragge, Walter person
associatedWith W. W. McKenna person
Place Name Admin Code Country
South End (Boston, Mass.)
Boston (Mass.)
Liquor laws
Social work with immigrants
Social settlements
Social work with children
Community-based social services
Social workers

Corporate Body

Active 1892

Active 1973



Ark ID: w6qz6h0g

SNAC ID: 65380571