Guide to the Harry E. Slonaker Papers 1989.140

Finding aid prepared by Catherine Mills
History San Jose Research Library
1650 Senter Road
San Jose, CA, 95110
(408) 287-2290


This guide was created using Archivists Toolkit, using a printed guide created circa 2007, author unknown.

Title: Harry E. Slonaker Papers
Identifier/Call Number: 1989.140
Contributing Institution: History San Jose Research Library
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 5.0 Cubic feet (4 boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1930-1988
Abstract: Papers contain both personal papers and administrative records. Personal papers include Slonaker family genealogical materials, correspondence, mementos, photo albums, and wedding anniversary keepsakes. Administrative records and other materials related to the Slonaker School in San Jose, Boys Brotherhood, HESA, Boys City and Sons in Retirement.
Language of Materials note: The materials are in English.

Biographical/Historical note

Harry E. Slonaker was born in Chicago in 1903 where, as a teenager, he became active in the Boys Brotherhood Republic (BBR). The BBR, founded by William R. George in New York, and by Jack Robbins in Chicago, attempted to teach boys leadership and responsibility through self-governance in recreational and civic activities. Slonaker was mayor of the BBR of northwest Chicago in 1916. In January 1932, Slonaker met boys shooting craps on the sidewalks of New York and asked if they wanted to help organize a BBR; by the end of the year, their numbers had grown to 175.
During World War II, Slonaker came to California, and by February 1944 was settled in San Jose. Here he founded Boys City modelled on the BBR, and remained as its director until his retirement in 1971. Slonaker was also active in other civic undertakings, especially those related to youth and the prevention of juvenile delinquency. Throughout his life, he stayed in touch with the BBR of New York and with its alumni, who formed the Harry E. Slonaker Association (HESA) in 1947.

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open to the public for research by appointment.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The papers were donated to History San Jose by Besse Slonaker in March 1989.

Preferred Citation note

Harry E. Slonaker Papers 1989-140, History San Jose Research Library, San Jose, California 95112-2599.

Scope and Contents note

The papers are arranged in four boxes and include both personal papers and materials collected through Slonaker's professional involvement with the Boys Brotherhood and other youth organizations. Family and personal materials include genealogical records, personal mementos and clippings, speeches, photograph albums, wedding anniversary keepsakes and a retirement party guest book. Photograph albums detail Slonaker's awards, Slonaker School, retirement from Boys Club, portraits, and photographs of BBR camps. Topics of Slonaker's scrapbooks are Boys Brotherhood Republic clippings, the 25th anniversary of BBR, testimonial dinner in 1957.
Professional materials relate to the dedication of the Slonaker School in San Jose; founding documents, records and newsletters from the Boys Brotherhood; BBR Alumni materials; Harry E. Slonaker Association newsletters and correspondence; Boys City of San Jose clippings, files and brochures; Sons in Retirement correspondence; and materials from Slonaker's involvement in the Entertainment Commission of San Jose and the Grand Jury Committee on Juvenile Delinquency.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with History San Jose. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact History San Jose Research Library.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Slonaker, Harry E., 1909-1989
Boys Brotherhood Republic of Chicago
Boys City (San Jose, Calif.)
Boys Societies and clubs
Harry E. Slonaker Academy (San Jose, Calif.)
photograph albums