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   Wiltwyck School for Boys Records, 1942-1981 [Bulk Dates: 1964-1981]

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Wiltwyck School for Boys Records, Box number and Folder title; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

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

Summary Information

Abstract

This collection contains the administrative records of the Wiltwyck School for Boys, a residential treatment center for troubled boys and adolescents from the New York City area.

At a Glance

Bib ID:6262245 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Wiltwyck School for Boys.
Title:Wiltwyck School for Boys Records, 1942-1981 [Bulk Dates: 1964-1981]
Physical description:20.58 linear feet (49 document boxes and one oversize archival box)
Language(s):In English
Access: This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. Please consult the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reference desk for further instructions. There are several restricted files in the collection that deal with individual patient records. These files will be restricted for eighty years after the creation of the record. The earliest file will open in 2045 and the latest in 2061. The files are noted in the contents list. Former students may access files in which they are named upon registering as a researcher and presenting photo identification and when that access does not intrude upon the privacy of others.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into five series and eight subseries:

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Description

Scope and Content

The bulk of the collection is comprised of administrative records of the day-to-day functioning of the Wiltwyck School for Boys. These records include correspondence, meeting minutes, committee files, program descriptions and proposals, fundraising and public relations initiatives, publications by Wiltwyck staff, and oversize architectural drawings of the Wiltwyck campus. The collection contains a number of closed files dealing with individual patient care.

Series I: Board of Directors Files, 1942-1981

Series I holds the administrative files of the Board of Directors of the Wiltwyck School for Boys. This series is arranged in four subseries: Correspondence, Subject Files, Committee Files, and Meeting Minutes.

Subseries 1: Correspondence, 1967-1980

This subseries contains the letters and memos of the Board of Directors. This correspondence is both corporate and individual; some letters and memos are written by the entire Board, while other letters and memos circulated between individuals both on and outside the Board.

Subseries 2: Subject Files, 1965-1980

The Subject files hold financial records, bylaws, and member lists and files.

Subseries 3: Committee Files, 1968-1980

This subseries is comprised of the records of the meetings and programs of the committees of the Board of Directors: Ad Hoc Committees, the Bronx Committee, the Brooklyn Committee, the Eleanor Roosevelt Campus Committee, the Fundraising Committee, the Manhattan Committee, the Program and Treatment Committee, and the Yorktown Union Free School District Committee, among others.

Subseries 4: Meeting Minutes, 1942-1981

The Meeting Minutes record the meetings of the Board of Directors. They also include reports from committees and subcommittees, supporting documentation of financial and legal issues, and comments from members of the Board.

Series II: Executive Director Files, 1942-1981

This series consists of the Executive Director’s administrative files, including correspondence, program initiatives, material pertaining to Wiltwyck’s connections with state and city agencies, and the day-to-day functioning of Wiltwyck, including the Eleanor Roosevelt Campus, Floyd Patterson House, and the Group Homes in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx. This series is arranged in two subseries: Correspondence and Subject Files.

Subseries 1: Correspondence Files, 1970-1980

The Correspondence files contain the letters and memos of the Executive Director, T. George Silcott. His letters and memos are directed to Wiltwyck staff and members of Board of Directors as well as individuals and organizations outside of Wiltwyck.

Subseries 2: Subject Files, 1965-1981

The Subject files contain the administrative files of the Wiltwyck School for Boys, including Group Home files, Eleanor Roosevelt Campus files, Floyd Patterson House files, and Yorktown Union Free School District files. These files also hold documents dealing with New York City and State agencies, programs and projects developed by Wiltwyck staff, fundraising and public relations material, and other files dealing with the daily functioning of the organization.

Series III: Staff Articles and Publications, 1963-1979

Series III is comprised of articles and conference papers by Wiltwyck staff and also by unaffiliated authors. Most articles and conference papers deal with the particular demographic served by Wiltwyck and often include case studies drawn from Wiltwyck patients.

Series IV: Printed Material, 1966-1975

This series includes printed material produced by Wiltwyck: yearbooks, benefit programs, and published descriptive material. This series also contains a photo-book of Eleanor Roosevelt that emphasizes her role at Wiltwyck.

Series V: Oversize Material, 1965-1981

Series V contains architectural blueprints and drawings for Eleanor Roosevelt Campus, oversize clippings, and a ledger of statistics on patients.

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Using the Collection

Offsite

Access Restrictions

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at least two business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. Please consult the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reference desk for further instructions.

      offsite requestMore information and link to off-site request form

There are several restricted files in the collection that deal with individual patient records. These files will be restricted for eighty years after the creation of the record. The earliest file will open in 2045 and the latest in 2061. The files are noted in the contents list.

Former students may access files in which they are named upon registering as a researcher and presenting photo identification and when that access does not intrude upon the privacy of others.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Wiltwyck School for Boys Records, Box number and Folder title; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Finding aid in repository; folder level control.

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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

Papers processed 2006-2007 Alyssa Nicole Meyers

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion November 7, 2008 Finding aid written in English.
    2008-11-07 File created.
    2009-01-13 xml document instange created by Patrick Lawlor
    2009-06-10 xml document instance created by Catherine N. Carson

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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
Belafonte, Harry, 1927-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Brown, Claude, 1937-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Carson, Johnny, 1925-2005.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Group homes.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Juvenile delinquents--New York (State)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Juvenile justice, Administration of--New York (State)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
New York School of Social Work.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Patterson, Floyd.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Polier, Justine Wise, 1903-1987.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Residential treatment for children & youth.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Roosevelt, Anna, 1906-1975.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Social work with juvenile delinquents.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Status offenders.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

The Wiltwyck School for Boys began as a project of the Episcopal City Mission Society in 1936, and was located in Esopus, New York. Initially, it was designed as an experimental summer camp for Protestant African-American juvenile delinquents and potential juvenile delinquents. The Children's Court required an institution that would accept these children, since state agencies and other private juvenile institutions did not address the needs of this population. After that initial summer, the institution decided to remain open year-round. Under the leadership of the Right Reverend William T. Manning, the first president of Wiltwyck, a gymnasium and a remodeled school building, which included room for professional and clerical staff, were built.

From the beginning, Wiltwyck emphasized the need for holistic treatment that included not only the boys, but also their families. In 1939, Esther Hilton, the director of a training unit for the New York School of Social Work, joined the staff, inaugurating Wiltwyck's extensive use of social workers and social work students in counseling the boys and their families.

In 1942, the Episcopal City Mission Society announced that it could no longer support Wiltwyck owing to the expense of its programs and the upkeep of the property. Recognizing the importance of this institution, a group of interested persons (including Judge Justine Polier Wise and Eleanor Roosevelt) assumed control of Wiltwyck, incorporating under the approval of the State Department of Social Welfare in 1942 as an interracial and non-sectarian institution. As part of its charter, Wiltwyck committed itself to a program of "moral and spiritual enlightenment, character development, correction of behavior problems, education and training for good citizenship" (Wiltwyck Charter, 1942).

In 1953, the school expanded its mission to include children and adolescents with severe emotional disturbances, serving yet another group that often fell through the cracks of the child welfare system. With the arrival of these children, Wiltwyck intensified its psychiatric counseling services, increasing the training requirements for its counselors and adding Dr. Edgar Auerswald as the Medical Director. The school also recognized the need for half-way houses in the boys' neighborhoods where they could re-adjust to life after their time at Wiltwyck, and purchased and remodeled two brownstones on East 18th Street which were called the Floyd Patterson Residence after one of Wiltwyck's most famous alumni, the boxer Floyd Patterson.

Given the growth of the population and the expansion of its mission, the Wiltwyck School required a larger, more up-to-date campus, and after several legal battles against zoning restrictions created by the town of Yorktown, New York in an attempt to bar Wiltwyck from buying land, the school moved to Yorktown to a campus named for Eleanor Roosevelt, who had been an active supporter of Wiltwyck from its inception. The new campus reflected Wiltwyck's treatment philosophy: open-plan buildings and unfenced grounds designed to give the boys a sense of freedom and responsibility for their environment.

In the 1970s, treatment models shifted away from residential institutions to a focus on smaller centers located in children's communities. In response to these changes in the larger therapeutic and psychiatric communities, Wiltwyck opened smaller centers in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, in the Bronx, and in lower Manhattan. Despite this expansion, the 1970s were a difficult time for Wiltwyck since New York City provided much of its funding. As the city underwent fiscal crisis, Wiltwyck experienced several budget crises of its own. Despite the Board of Directors' attempt to generate revenue through private donations, Wiltwyck went further and further into debt. At the same time, local community groups, outraged by Wiltwyck's policy that allowed students to wander the grounds freely, held a series of hearings designed to expose the inadequate nature of supervision and records oversight at the Eleanor Roosevelt Campus. In response to the severe funding crisis and community pressure, the school closed in 1981.

Eleanor Roosevelt, Anna Roosevelt, and Justine Polier Wise were among the supporters of Wiltwyck through its inception to its closing. Prominent alumni include Floyd Patterson and Claude Brown, the author of Manchild in the Promised Land, a memoir of his youth in Harlem, which he dedicated to Wiltwyck. Johnny Carson and Harry Belafonte were among Wiltwyck's most dedicated supporters, organizing and performing in benefits for Wiltwyck.

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