New Century Trust records, Collection 3097

Date created 1887-1931
Creator New Century Trust
Abstract This collection includes bound copies of the New Century Guild's journal from 1887-1931, the vast majority of which is missing from the New Century Trust Records. The journal changed its name several times, starting as the Journal of Woman's Work and eventually settling on the New Century Journal of Women's Interests. Published every four weeks, the journal included news on the Guild's activities, reprints of annual reports, the names of new members, lists of books and magazines available at the Guild, and more. Additionally, it gave Guild members an opportunity to share their thoughts on a staggering variety of topics. Essays address issues including women's education, pay discrimination, suffrage, gender roles, race relations, marriage, and labor legislation. Some volumes are indexed, with lists of original essays included.
Additional Description In 1893, Eliza Sproat Turner (1826-1903) a progressive women's activist helped create the New Century Trust as the incorporated body of her own organization, the New Century Guild for Working Women, which she founded in 1882. Over several decades, the trust oversaw and provided financial support for guild's activities for women in the workforce, such as evening classes and lectures. For many women, the guild provided a haven away from the stresses of work, a place where they could obtain low-cost meals, sleeping accommodations, and even emergency financial assistance. In 1887, the guild began publishing a newspaper written by and for members, the Journal of Women's Work; it offered event calendars, advice columns, short stories, and poems. It also eventually formed its own library, gymnasium, and a variety of internal committees on which the members could serve. In 1895, the guild shortened its moniker to The New Century Guild and also became a member of the Federation of Women's Clubs of Pennsylvania. The records of the New Century Trust include their own and mostly those of the New Century Guild, and its predecessor, New Century Working Women's Guild. Spanning from the late 1800s to the early 2000s are board and committee meeting minutes and minute books, administrative files, membership materials including members' information cards, financial records, bills, receipts, invoices, photographs, artifacts, clippings, and miscellaneous ephemera. Unaccessioned additions (as of 2/14/11) to the collection consist of copies of the New Century Guild's newsletter The New Century Journal, 1998-2002; mixed minutes and correspondence that appears to be from the files of former president Livia Sparagna, 2000-2001; treasurer's reports and other financial papers, 1990-1994; and a folder of material concerning the Medical College of Pennsylvania/Gimbel Philadelphia Award, 1992. Linear feet and number of boxes have been updated to include these additions.
Research Interest It is extremely rare to get access to working women's voices like this, and for that reason, these journals are a dream source for historians. Although some authors only give initials, it should be possible to cross-reference full names with membership roles to figure out authors' occupations.
Size 0.5 linear feet
Full collection description Home repository description for New Century Trust records, Collection 3097
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Local identifier HQ 1906.P5 N494
Contributing institution Historical Society of Pennsylvania
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