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   Hillcrest Center for Children Records, 1956-1975. [Bulk Dates: 1957-1970].

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Hillcrest Center for Children Records, 1956-1975; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information

Abstract

This collection documents the foundation and operation of the Hillcrest Center for Children, a foster care institution that cared for children in Bedford Hills, NY from 1956 to 1977.

At a Glance

Call No.:MS#0593
Bib ID:4078899 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Hillcrest Center for Children (Bedford Hills, N.Y.),
Title:Hillcrest Center for Children Records, 1956-1975. [Bulk Dates: 1957-1970].
Physical description:4.5 linear ft. (4 boxes)
Language(s):In English
Access: Boxes 2-4 are located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.This collection has no restrictions.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection has been arranged into 4 series:

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Description

Scope and Content

The collection documents the Hillcrest Center for Children from its founding through 1975. The minutes and reports contain detailed information on the numbers and ages of children, lists of doctor appointments, It also contains correspondence, statistics, architectural plans, meeting minutes, and annual reports.

Series I: Cataloged Correspondence, 1957-1970

This series contains correspondence between Katharine D. Brownell and New York mayors John Vliet Lindsay and Robert F. Wagner, Jr.

Series II: Katharine F. Brownell, Jr. Files, 1957-1973

This series include discussions of the center's operations, programs, and problems with several agencies; construction and facilities maintenance; personnel; board meetings and decisions; special reports, and clippings.

Series III: General Files, 1966-1975

This series contains a variety of information, including communications with the NYC Human Resources Administration and the New York State Board of Social Welfare, statistics on the numbers of children cared for, personnel manuals, and information on the buildings and facilities such as architectural plans and contracts.

Series IV: Board of Directors, 1957-1975

This series contains minutes from the meetings of the board of directors, which include treasurer's reports, discussions of construction or other changes to the school, important events, and census information giving numbers, ages, and other information on the children. It also contains annual reports which describe the successes and difficulties of each year and outlines plans for improvement. The first report (1956-1957) includes detailed accounts of the creation of the center, an explanation of its goals and philosophy, a copy of the schools rules, schedules, staff reporting guidelines, and several case studies showing the reactions of specific children to the new center, and a medical report.

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Using the Collection

Partially Offsite

Access Restrictions

 Boxes 2-4 are located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.This collection has no restrictions.

      offsite requestMore information and link to off-site request form

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Hillcrest Center for Children Records, 1956-1975; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Cataloged 07/--/1989 Christina Hilton Fenn

Papers reprocessed 11/2014 Carolyn Smith

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion October 6, 2016 Finding aid written in English.
    2016-10-06 File created.

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Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Subjects

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Adoption.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Board of Education of the City of New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Brownell, Katharine D.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Child care--New York (State)--Bedford Hills.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Children--Institutional care.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Group homes for children.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hillcrest Center for Children, Inc.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Lindsay, John V. (John Vliet)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
New York (State). Department of Social ServicesPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Race relations in school management.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Social work with children.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Wagner, Robert F. (Robert Ferdinand), 1910-1991.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

The Hillcrest Center for Children was a city-owned foster care institution. It was founded in 1956 by appointment of the mayor of New York City, Robert F. Wagner. Wagner also appointed the members of the board. Hillcrest was built in Bedford Hills, New York in a converted tuberculosis sanatorium.

The center accepted boys and girls between the ages of six and fourteen who were not considered appropriate candidates for state schools, residential treatment centers, institutions for disabled children, or foster family care. Hillcrest also housed children for shorter terms when foster homes or other institutions were unavailable, and then moved them when possible. Despite criticism, the center accepted children of all races and faiths in a mixed setting. It provided medical care, a school (PS#407 Manhattan at Hillcrest), play areas, and activities. It also placed great emphasis on psychiatric care and spiritual guidance and strived to make the children feel safe and included. Children were involved in decision-making processes; for example, both staff and children discussed rules at meetings to create the Hillcrest Code of Behavior.

Hillcrest made changes to its program over the years, and struggled continuously with staff shortages. The center closed in 1977.

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