Finding Aid to the Family Service Agency of San Francisco Records, 1869-2010

Finding aid prepared by Wendy Kramer
San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA, 94102
(415) 557-4567

Title: Family Service Agency of San Francisco Records
Date (inclusive): 1869-2010
Collection Identifier: SFH 50
Creator: Family Service Agency of San Francisco.
Physical Description: 4 cartons, 2 boxes, 4 flat boxes, 3 flat file folders, 5 framed plans, 1 oversize photo folders (10.0 cubic ft.)
Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA, 94102
(415) 557-4567
Abstract: Admission and discharge ledgers for babies and children, minutes, miscellaneous correspondence and administrative records, program publications and ephemera, scrapbooks, building plans, and a small amount of photographs documenting the activities of the Family Service Agency of San Francisco from before its inception as Associated Charities in 1889 through its current role as a multiservice nonprofit agency.
Physical Location: The collection is stored onsite.
Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.


The collection is open for research, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours. Please call the San Francisco History Center for hours and information at 415-557-4567.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.


Gift of Robert W. Bennett, President and CEO of Family Service Agency of San Francisco, June 2009.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Family Service Agency of San Francisco (SFH 50), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

Related Materials

Researchers are encouraged to see also The Associated Charities of San Francisco : Annual Reports, 1904-1910 in the San Francisco History Center's book collection.

Materials Transferred

Photographs have been transferred to the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection.
Framed building plans have been tranferred to the Visual and Framed Art Collection, numbers 617-621.

Administrative History

Family Service Agency was founded in 1889 as Associated Charities, the first general, nonsectarian relief organization in San Francisco. It began as a charity organization society, coordinating with individual charities that provided direct relief and itself providing immediate temporary relief to families, while working to raise standards amongst all charities.
From 1901 until her death in 1940, Associated Charities was directed by Katharine (Kitty) Felton, who was the driving force in the establishment of social welfare institutions and standards in social work practice, promoting cooperation among local private organizations and government agencies at the state and local levels. She was instrumental in creating the Charities Endorsement Committee (1902), a forerunner to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce; the Juvenile Court (1903); the State Board of Charities (1903), a forerunner to the State Department of Social Welfare; and the Community Chest (1922),a forerunner to the United Way and the United Bay Area Crusade. She also organized what has become the modern-day foster care system, advocating for placement of babies and children with private families instead of in institutions.
In 1903, the Children's Agency was established as a branch of Associated Charities. The Children's Agency advocated for children and adolescents by investigating and working to change conditions in orphan and foundling asylums and by placing babies and children in foster homes. In 1908, the babies of the San Francisco Foundling Asylum were placed under its supervision, and foster homes supplanted the asylum for infant care of abandoned babies. As a result, infant mortality rate was cut from nearly 60% down to 3.28% by 1913, eventually dropping to less than 1 %.
During the 1906 earthquake and fire, Associated Charities was temporarily merged with the Red Cross to provide disaster relief, working directly to feed and house residents. In June 1907, Associated Charities was re-established as a separate agency but continued doing relief work. Besides resuming its pre-earthquake duties, it conceived and coordinated the effort to convert refugee shacks to permanent housing and transport them from public squares to individual lots that residents leased or bought on installment.
During the Depression, administration and funding of relief work and social work began to shift from private organizations to public agencies, and over the next two decades, the mission and scope—as well as the name—of Associated Charities fluctuated and shifted accordingly. In 1932, Associated Charities changed its name to Citizen's Agency for Social Welfare to reflect its increasing role as a social welfare agency rather than a charity. In 1933, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) required that federal and state funds be spent by public rather than private agencies; as a result, Citizen's Agency for Social Welfare continued to provide food relief, employment, and foster care placement as a contractor to the government. In 1934, the Board of the former Associated Charities reorganized as the Children's Agency. In 1938, the Family Service Agency was established as a separate organization, funded for its first 18 months by a grant from the Rosenberg Foundation and thenceforth funded by the Community Chest. Its purpose was to diagnose and treat short-term family problems. In 1945, the Children’s Agency and the Family Service Agency merged to become the Family and Children’s Agency, with a new administrative program for finding foster homes, closer cooperation with the juvenile court, and integration of children’s work with family service work. In 1949, children's services, foster care, and relief became part of the Department of Public Welfare, and in 1950, Family and Children's Agency discontinued its foster care and adoption programs. During the 1950s, the agency reorganized and shifted its focus from relief work and foster care to family counseling and advocacy. In March 1958, the organization's name changed again to its current name, Family Service Agency of San Francisco.
In the 1960s, under the leadership of Executive Director Richard B. Rogers, Family Service Agency became more politically and socially active, taking positions on housing, poverty, juvenile justice, and other issues. It also invited direct participation of clients and community members in developing and running agency programs.
The 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s saw the introduction of a variety of new programs and services targeting multiple populations and issues, including infant care, child and sexual abuse, mental illness, people with disabilities, children and senior services, as well as outreach to specific ethnic and social communities, including Japanese Americans and gay men and lesbians.
Associated Charities of San Francisco. The Associated Charities of San Francisco: Annual Reports, 1904-1910. San Francisco: Blair-Murdock Co., [1911?] Burton, Jean. Katharine Felton and Her Social Work in San Francisco. Stanford University, Calif.: J.L. Delkin, 1947. Family Service Agency of San Francisco website, "History and Facts," (Accessed 01-24-2011).

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of early admission and discharge registers of babies and children, minutes and other administrative records from 1909 to the early 2000s, miscellaneous publications and papers related to programs and publicity, scrapbooks and research files from the 1960s-1980s, building plans, and a small amount of photographs documenting the activities of the organization from before its inception as Associated Charities in 1889 through its current role as Family Service Agency of San Francisco, a multiservice nonprofit agency.
The bulk of the administrative records consists of minutes (1909-1981), which provide a view into the shifting organizational structure, mission, and scope of work of the agency across the decades as it moved from charitable relief organization to government contractor for public welfare services for families. Program and publicity materials include reports on Pinehaven (1940s), Western Addition Project (1969), and Treasure Island (1980s), together with assorted ephemera, a program newsletter from the 1980s, and a fundraising newsletter from the 1990s. The scrapbooks and much of the correspondence date primarily from the 1960s and reflect the agency's increased emphasis on social action during that decade. The research files are those of Richard B. Rogers, who served as Executive Director from 1964-1967. Most of the files seem to be compiled as a history of the organization for the occasion of its 100th anniversary.The building plans include those for the 1927 Bernard Maybeck building at 1010 Gough Street, together with plans for later renovations in 1964 and 2003. Photographs document a fundraising dinner from the 1990s, an exhibit on the history of the organization (1960s), and miscellaneous color snapshots, black and white page proofs, and negatives of people (mostly unidentified) and programs associated with the agency.
The collection reflects the development of social work as a profession from its beginnings as charity and relief work in the late 19th century, as well as the changing relationship between private charitable organizations and public welfare from the 19th through the end of the 20th century.


The collection is arranged in seven series: Series 1: Admission and Discharge Registers; Series 2: Administration; Series 3: Programs and Publicity; Series 4: Scrapbooks; Series 5: Richard Rogers' Research Files; Series 6: Building Plans; Series 7: Photographs.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Associated Charities of San Francisco. -- Archives
Associated Charities. Children's Agency. -- Archives
Children's Agency. -- Archives
Citizen's Agency for Social Welfare. -- Archives
Family and Children's Agency of San Francisco.
Family Service Agency of San Francisco. -- Archives
Felton, Katharine
San Francisco Foundling Asylum. -- Archives
Family social work--California--San Francisco
San Francisco (Calif.)--Social conditions


Series 1 Admission and discharge registers, 1869-1918

Physical Description: 5.0 volumes (2 flat boxes, 1 box)

Scope and Contents

Five volumes of admission and discharge registers for babies and children under the care of the San Francisco Foundling Asylum and the Children's Agency. There are two volumes from the San Francisco Foundling Asylum (SFFA), whose babies were placed under the supervision of the Children's Agency In 1908. The Children's Agency cared for the babies short-term and placed them with individual foster families. Family placement obviated the need for the asylum, which later that year reorganized as Babies Aid. The remaining three volumes are from the Children's Agency and record the placing-out of children with foster families.
The earlier of the two SFFA registers, Record of Abandoned Children Left at the Asylum, contains admission records including, where applicable: date received; sex, weight, and real or supposed age of child; type of birth; date of adoption or death; dates of mother's entry and discharge; hospital or assumed name, nativity, and religious affiliation of mother; cause of death; and remarks. Entries are chronological by admission date.
The San Francisco Foundling Asylum Abstract of Statistics contains admission and discharge records including, where applicable: name, sex, and age of child, with dates of admission and discharge or death, place and date of birth, and estate or insurance to which child is heir; as well as parent nativity, which parent dead, date and place of death, where married, residence, dates parents came to California or Nevada, and reason why child is in asylum. Entries are chronological by admission date.
The Children's Agency placing out records contain alphabetical indexes of names of children and the families or individuals with whom they were placed. In volumes marked "Index Book 1" and "Index Book 2," entries are by name of placement family; in the third volume, entries are by name of child. Entries sometimes consist of merely a name and/or address or sometimes include a brief narrative. Entries refer to card file numbers for a card file that is not included in the collection; there are also abbreviations of what appear to be referring agencies, such as SFFA (San Francisco Foundling Asylum), B & G (Boys and Girls Aid), L, P & R (Ladies Protection & Relief), and others. Annotations are dated up to 1944.
Also included in this series is one folder containing copies of memos from the Children's Agency to the State Board of Control in Sacramento, listing names of children taken from the State Aid list, with dates, reasons for removal, and I.D. numbers. Many are typed on the backs of membership certificates for The Associated Charities.
Box 1

Record of Abandoned Children Left at the Asylum; also of Mothers Delivered in the Hospital, 1869-1908

Physical Description: 1.0 volume
Box 2

San Francisco Foundling Asylum abstract of statistics, 1900-1918

Physical Description: 1.0 volume
Box 3

Children's Agency placing out records, 1900-1908

Physical Description: 3.0 volumes
Box 3, Folder 1

Children's Agency notice slips, 1916-1918

Physical Description: 1.0 folder

Series 2 Administration, Bulk, 1909-1995 1909-2002

Physical Description: 3.0 cartons

Scope and Contents

Chiefly minutes, with miscellaneous correspondence, annual reports, manuals, topical files, and other documents.


Divided into six subseries: 2.1 Minutes and Founding Documents; 2.2 Correspondence; 2.3 Annual Reports and Statistics; 2.4 Policy and Administration Manuals; 2.5 Executive Director Subject Files; 2.6 Fundraising.

Subseries 2.1 Minutes and Founding Documents, 1909-1981

Physical Description: 1.5 cartons

Scope and Contents

Minutes consist of Central Council, Board of Directors, committee, and annual meeting minutes, together with related correspondence, financial statements, bylaws, and other documents interfiled. The organization's multiple name changes and shifting structure are reflected in the arrangement. In 1938-1939, Family Service Agency and Children's Agency kept separate minutes, which are interfiled. For 1940-1943, the two agencies' Board of Directors' minutes are filed separately. Minutes for 1950-1953 reflect the 1945 merger of Children's Agency and Family Service Agency as Famly and Children's Agency. Includes a few miscellaneous sets of bylaws from the 1980s and photocopies of consolidation documents and a certificate of amendment of articles of incorporation.


Minutes are arranged chronologically by year. Some years are arranged in reverse chronological order as received.
Box 4, Folder 1


Box 4, Folder 2


Box 4, Folder 3-5


Box 4, Folder 6


Box 4, Folder 7


Box 4, Folder 8


Box 4, Folder 9


Box 4, Folder 10


Box 4, Folder 11


Box 4, Folder 12


Box 4, Folder 13


Box 4, Folder 14


Box 4, Folder 15


Box 4, Folder 16


Box 4, Folder 17


Box 4, Folder 18


Box 4, Folder 19

Children's Agency Board of Directors, 1940-1943

Box 4, Folder 20-22

Family Service Agency Board of Directors, 1940-1942

Box 5, Folder 1

Family Service Agency Board of Directors, 1943

Box 5, Folder 2-3

Family and Children's Agency Board of Directors Minutes, Sept. 1950-Sept. 1951

Box 5, Folder 4-6

Family and Children's Agency Board of Directors, Sept. 1951-Feb. 1953

Box 5, Folder 7

Board of Directors, 1976

Box 5, Folder 8-9

Board of Directors, 1977

Box 5, Folder 10-11

Board and Committee (by committee), 1978

Box 5, Folder 12-13

Board and Committee (by month), 1978

Box 5, Folder 14

Board and Committee, 1981

Box 5, Folder 15

Consolidation documents, [photocopy] 1945-1946

Box 5, Folder 16

Certificate of amendment of Articles of Incorporation, [photocopy] 1958

Box 5, Folder 17

Bylaws, 2.2 1982 and 1984

General note

Some bylaws are also interfiled with minutes.

Subseries 2.2 Correspondence, 1964-1978

Scope and Contents

Incoming correspondence of the Board of Directors; incoming and outgoing correspondence of former Executive Director Richard B. Rogers; donation thank you letters; and official statements, correspondence, press releases, and telegrams concerning Family Service Agency of San Francisco's position on various legislative and political issues, which were received in a labeled binder.


Organized as received, by office or topic.
Box 5, Folder 18-19

Board of Directors, 1968-1977

Box 5, Folder 20

Executive Director, 1964-1967

Box 5, Folder 21

Donation thank you letters, 1968-1978

Box 5, Folder 22-23

Official agency communications, 1968-1975


Subseries 2.3 Annual Reports and Statistics, 1939-2010

Physical Description: 3.0 folders

General note

Some reports and statistics are also interfiled with Subseries 2.1 Minutes and founding documents.
Box 6, Folder 1

Annual Reports, 1939-1947

Box 6, Folder 2

Annual Reports, 1948-1955

Box 6, Folder 3

Annual Reports, 1968-2010

Box 6, Folder 4

Annual statistics, 1964-1974


Subseries 2.4 Policy and Administration Manuals, 1950s-1985

Physical Description: 4.0 folders
Box 6, Folder 5

Policy and procedures manual, 1950s

Box 6, Folder 6-7

Administrative manual, 1965-1966

Box 6, Folder 8

Policy manual, 1985

Box 6, Folder 9

Re-accreditation Study and Manual, 1969-1981


Subseries 2.5 Executive Director Subject Files, 1976-1995

Physical Description: 9.0 folders
Box 6, Folder 10-11

Afterquake Program, 1989-1990

Box 6, Folder 12

Afterquake Project Quarterly Report, Feb.15-May 14, 1990

Box 6, Folder 13

Building Equity, 1982-1983

Box 6, Folder 14

Building Restoration, 1980-1981

Box 6, Folder 15

Fire Damage, 1976

Box 6, Folder 16

Infant Care Program, 1983-1995

Box 6, Folder 17

Landmark Status Application, 1978

Box 6, Folder 18

Ritualistic Child Abuse in California, 1991

Box 6, Folder 19

Sacred Heart High School, 1968-1987

Box 6, Folder 20

Fundraising, Subseries 2.6 1964-1966


Series 3 Programs and Publicity, 1943-2000

Physical Description: 10.0 folders
Box 6, Folder 21

Pinehaven Reports, 1943-1945

Box 6, Folder 22-23

Western Addition Project Final Report, 1969

Box 6, Folder 24

Treasure Island/Yerba Buena Island Community Needs Assessment, 1984

Box 7, Folder 1-2

Community Parents' Club Newsletter, 1965-1966

Box 7, Folder 3-4

Program Ephemera, 1984-1987

Box 7, Folder 5

Operation Home Run Ephemera, 1984

Box 7, Folder 6

FSA community newsletter production binder, 1996-2000

Box 1, Folder OV 1

Posters, undated

Physical Description: 1 flat file folder

Series 4 Scrapbooks, Bulk, 1968-1969 1968-1998

Physical Description: 3 oversize vols in 2 flat boxes, 3 folders

Conservation Note

The 1966-1967 and 1995-1998 scrapbooks have been disbound during archival processing for preservation purposes. One scrapbook from 1968-1969 is housed in a separate box due to potential mold.

Scope and Contents

Three oversize scrapbooks from 1968-1969, one scrapbook compiled in 1966-1967, and one from 1995-1998. The oversize volumes contain clippings on local sociopolitical issues of the day, including housing and redevelopment, healthcare, police brutality, and youth. Specifically, the I-Hotel, the Haight Free Clinic, Western Addition Youth Club, juvenile probation, busing, and the SFPD tactical unit are all featured. Includes clippings on FSA officials and agency positions on public issues. The scrapbook from 1966-1967 also documents positions taken on social issues and includes many 8" x 10" photographs, as well as clippings and reports. The scrapbook from the 1990s contains clippings, website printouts, and photocopied articles on FSA programs serving teen moms, seniors, and children.
Box 7, Folder 7-8

Scrapbook, 1966-1967

Box 8-9

Scrapbooks, 1968-1969

Physical Description: 3.0 volumes
Box 7, Folder 9

Scrapbook, 1995-1998

Physical Description: 1.0 folder

Series 5 Richard B. Rogers' Research Files, [1980s]

Physical Description: 4.0 folders

Scope and Contents

Photocopies of Associated Charities, Children's Agency, and Family Service Agency records, together with published articles, reports, and draft notes, at least some of which appears to have been compiled by Rogers for a history of the organization in preparation for a Family Service Agency centennial celebration in 1989. Rogers was Executive Director from 1964 to 1967. Originally consisting of five looseleaf binders, most of the material as received consisted of duplicates of original minutes and correspondence already in the collection and selected pages from publications already in the San Francisco History Center; these have been removed. Two of the binders were labeled "Chronology by Richard Rogers 1910 to 1950" and "1950 to 1980." Two were labeled "Meeting Minutes, Associated Charities, 1911-1914 and 1925-1928."
Aforementioned selected pages from publications were from: Bernard Maybeck: Artisan, Architect, Artist by Kenneth H. Cardwell; and Welfare Activities of Federal, State, and Local Governments in California, 1850-1934 by Frances Cahn and Veleska Bary.
A complete photocopy of A Study of the Homeless Man Problem in San Francisco by W.S. Goodrich (1924) has been removed; an original copy is in the San Francisco History Center book collection.
Materials retained include: materials from the 1970s and 1980s from the binder labeled "1950 to 1980"; the contents of a binder whose cover sheet reads "Richard Rogers's Research of the Years 1885-1910"; and material that compiles lists of board members from various years.
Box 7, Folder 10

From binder labeled "1950-1980"

Box 7, Folder 11

Board members

Box 7, Folder 12-13

"Research of the years 1885-1910"


Series 6 Building Plans, 1927-2003

Physical Description: 5 framed plans, 2 flat files
Graphic materials Visual and Framed Art numbers 617-621

Framed floor plans for building at 1010 Gough Street. 1927

Physical Description: 5.0 items
Graphic materials 1, Folder OV 2 and OV 3

Floor plans for remodel, 1964

Physical Description: 2.0 folders
Graphic materials 1, Folder OV 3

Renovation considerations, Sept. 9. 2002


Series 7 Photographs, [1960s]-2004

Physical Description: 0.25 cubic feet (1 box, 2 oversize photo folders)
Box 10, Folder 1

Exhibit, [1960s]

General note

Album disbound; "Eleanor" label on inside back cover.

Scope and Contents

8" x 10" black-and-white photographs documenting a Family Service Agency exhibit called "Compassion Is Not Enough: Social Welfare in San Francisco Yesterday and Tomorrow, 1860s-1960s."
Box 7, Folder 14

Clipping filed with Exhibit photographs, [1960s]

Box 10, Folder 2

Photo album, [mid 1990s]

Scope and Contents

Album of color snapshots, most of which document a Family Service Agency fundraising dinner with silent auction at the Colonial Ballroom at the Westin Hotel in San Francisco. Executive Director Lonnie Hicks is pictured in several photos, with various people. Besides the dinner, the album contains a few photographs of people who appear to be clients of FSA, including group shots of seniors outside the FSA/Easter Seal Society/Richmond Senior Center building at 6221 Geary Boulevard, as well as photos of individual unidentified people, and one young couple holding flowers, with the woman wearing a graduation cap.
Box 10, Folder 3

Fundraiser flier with two snapshots, August 5, 2004

Box 10, Folder 4

Miscellaneous snapshots, negatives, and proofs, [1990s]-2001

Box OV Photo 1

Miscellaneous oversized photographs, [undated]

Box OV Photo 2

Blue line photographic proof for poster, [undated]


Additional photographs transfered to the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection

Physical Description: 2.0 folders
Box 10, Folder 5

Negative of 1010 Gough , from Landmark Application Status" file,1978

Box 10, Folder 6

Snapshots from "Fire Damage, 1976" file