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Finding Aid to the Mrs. Joseph (Elizabeth) Morcombe San Francisco, Second District, California Congress of Parents and Teachers (PTA) Records
SFH 14  
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Series 1 Organizational History, [1914]-1937

Physical Description: 0.25 cubic feet

Scope and Contents

The records contained in this series document the creation and early development of the Mothers' Clubs and PTA movement in San Francisco and California. The series contains correspondence (1937), histories of the different clubs and associations (1895-1927), handwritten and typed minutes of meetings (1916-1927), semi-annual and annual summaries of each local PTA associations' activities (1916-1927), and copies of the Parent Teacher Journal (1932-1937).
Mrs. H.C. Rothwell's 40-page history of the organization, circa 1937 is of particular interest, as it records the early history and founding date of each Bay Area Mothers Club, its founders' names, and the school affiliation of each club. Additionally, it provides key information on the problems California faced joining the national PTA organization due to confusion over the creation of the California Congress. Also of note is the earliest handwritten history (May 1913), written by the first historian elected by the Congress of Mothers, Mrs. E.A. Brower.
Box 1, Folder 1

Correspondence, 1937

Box 1, Folder 2

History of Mothers' Clubs and PTA Scrapbook: Front Cover [1937?]

Box 1, Folder 3

History of Mothers' Clubs and PTA Scrapbook: Early History of Mothers' Clubs and PTA in San Francisco [1914-1937?]

Box 1, Folder 4

History of Mothers' Clubs and PTA Scrapbook: Histories of the Second District, California Congress of PTA, 1916-1920 [1917-1920]

Box 1, Folder 5

Semi-Annual and Annual Reports, San Francisco Congress of Mothers and PTA [1917]-1927

Box 1, Folder 6

Parent Teacher Journal 1932-1937

General note

See Appendix B for Index
 

Series 2 Publicity Record Books, 1929-1937

Physical Description: 2.0 cubic feet

Scope and Contents

Mrs. Joseph (Elizabeth) Morcombe wrote a series of brief articles focusing on the philanthropic work of the San Francisco PTA for the Sunday section of the San Francisco Examiner. These short articles, and any other press the PTA received from 1929 to 1937, were compiled into scrapbooks and serve as an informal record of the group's activities and platforms. Typical news articles describe PTA members outfitting needy children with new clothes and shoes, arranging for free dentistry work for children, electing and honoring new PTA officers, and holding bake drives. Also included are listings of PTA event calendars and meetings. The clippings disclose the various political platforms of the PTA: elimination of tools of warfare as toys, establishment of a children's court, creation of more playgrounds, tax and legislation awareness and child welfare, education and development. References to founder Phoebe Apperson Hearst and the Fathers' Clubs are found throughout the clippings.
Notable articles include Morcombe's thoughts on the creation and need for the Fathers Councils (1935), the use of the PTA's growing political power (1935), and the emerging drug problem among 16-to-25-year-olds due to the introduction of marijuana into California (1936).
The scrapbooks are in good-to-fair condition. They are arranged chronologically, with the later scrapbooks featuring a table of contents, index, and separate sections for local, state, and national PTA press stories.
Box 1, Folder 7

Newspaper Articles by Mrs. Morcombe 1929-1931

Box 1, Folder 8-11

Newspaper Articles by Mrs. Morcombe 1930-1936

Box 1, Folder 12

Newspaper Articles by Mrs. Morcombe 1931-1936

Box 1, Folder 13

Newspaper Articles by Mrs. Morcombe 1936-1937

Box 1, Folder 14

Newspaper Articles by Mrs. Morcombe 1936-1937

Box 2, Folder 1-2

Newspaper Articles, Vol. I and II 1935-1936

Box 2, Folder 3-6

Newspaper Articles, Vol. I and II 1936-1937

Box 2, Folder 7

Activity Pictures and Portraits (News Clippings) 1929-1933

Box 3, Folder 1

Activity Pictures and Portraits (News Clippings) 1934-1937

 

Series 3 Miscellaneous Records, 1936

Physical Description: 1.0 scrapbook in box.

Scope and Contents

The articles collected in this scrapbook are authored by Dr. Nancy Bayley and Sam Goodheart for the San Francisco Examiner.They pertain to miscellaneous children's welfare and developmental issues.
The articles are in good condition, and arranged chronologically.
Box 3, Folder 2

Newspaper Articles 1936

 

Appendix A:Timeline of Selected Events

 

1874 Elizabeth Sohm is born in Iowa.

 

1878 Silver Street Kindergarten, the first free kindergarten west of the Rockies, opens in San Francisco.

 

1894 Mothers Club of San Francisco Boys Club is formed in San Francisco. Name is changed to First Mothers Club of San Francisco in 1923.

 

1895 Mothers Club is formed at Occidental Free Kindergarten in San Francisco.

 

By 1897 Laguna Honda Mothers Club is organized, first one in San Francisco connected to a public school.

 

1897 Phoebe Apperson Hearst and Alice Birney convene the Mothers Congress conference and create the National Congress of Mothers.

 

1897 California Home and School Child Study Association organized in San Francisco.

 

1900 Los Angeles Federation of Mothers Clubs is formed in Los Angeles. Later known as Los Angeles Federation of Child Study Circles.

 

1902 Los Angeles Federation of Child Study Circles changes name to California Congress of Mothers and Child Study Circles, and joins the national PTA organization.

 

1907-1908 Mothers Clubs and California Home and School Association merge to become San Francisco Congress of Mothers, to cooperate with the public schools.

 

1908 National organization changes name to National Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Associations.

 

1910 Northern California Congress of Mothers formed of Bay Counties members. Likely also known as Bay Federation of Mothers Clubs.

 

1911 California Congress of Mothers and (Child) Study Circles becomes California Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Associations.

 

1912 Bay Federation of Mothers Clubs, including nine counties, becomes the Second District of the California Congress.

 

1918 Elizabeth Morcombe, née Sohm, joins PTA in Iowa.

 

1923 Joseph and Elizabeth Morcombe arrive in San Francisco; she joins Parkside PTA.

 

1924 National group is renamed National Congress of Parents and Teachers.

 

1925 Statewide group is renamed California Congress of Parents and Teachers.

 

1926 Selena Sloan Butler starts the National Congress of Colored Parent Teacher Association (organized separately from the main national group; they merge in 1970).

 

1927 Second District is redistricted to include only San Francisco. Earlier organization is referred to as Old Second District.

 

1929 First article published by Morcombe appears in the collection.

 

1931 State Organization of Fathers Councils is created in San Francisco, functioning only in California.

 

1934 Morcombe becomes Regional Director of Publicity for the California Congress of Parents and Teachers.

 

1935 Morcombe becomes President of San Francisco's Second District of the California Congress of Parents and Teachers, serving a 2-year term, and leads 10,000 San Francisco women. She receives national recognition for her publicity work.

 

1937 Morcombe becomes Publicity Director for the district's PTA and editor of the Journal. She receives life membership in the National Congress and also becomes a member of the board of Journal Trustees.

 

1957 Death of Elizabeth Morcombe in Alameda County.

 

1970s California Congress of Parents and Teachers adopts alternate name, California State PTA. Name changed to California Congress of Parents, Teachers, and Students, Inc. (retained California State PTA).

 

Appendix B: Index to Morcombe Articles in Parent-Teacher Journal

 

Vol. V, No. 9, p. 6

 

Vol. V, No. 10, p. 10

 

Vol. VI, No. 2, p. 8

 

Vol. VI, No.4, p. 6

 

Vol. VIII, No. 5, p. 19

 

Vol. X, No. 9, pp. 21, 53