Offsite Storage Inventory

Restrictions on Access

The bulk of the Twentieth Century Association records (except one document box of damaged/mildewed materials) is stored offsite and must be requested at least two business days in advance via Portal1791. Researchers needing more than six items from offsite storage should provide additional advance notice. If you have questions about requesting materials from offsite storage, please contact the reference desk at 617-646-0532 or

Note: This collection is PARTIALLY PROCESSED. It has only received a preliminary arrangement.

Collection Summary


This collection consists of the records of the Twentieth Century Association, which was founded in Boston in 1894 by Edwin D. Mead, William O. Partridge, Charles H. Ames, Rev. Edward Everett Hale, John Fiske, J. Pickering Putnam and Robert Treat Paine (1835-1910) to promote a better social order. Records include constitution and by-laws, financial records, membership lists, minutes of meetings, committee reports, printed programs and other miscellaneous publications.

Organizational History

Originally founded as the Twentieth Century Club, the name was changed to The Twentieth Century Association for the Promotion of a Finer Public Spirit and A Better Social Order in March, 1934 in one of the many disputes with the government over its tax exempt status.

The announcement of the first organizational meeting went out in November of 1893. The club officially started in Boston in January, 1894. The club was incorporated under Massachusetts law in August, 1895, by Edwin D. Mead, S.B. Pearmain, Thomas B. Lindsay, Mary Morton Kehew, Davis R. Dewey, Daniel C. Heath, Lucia T. Ames, William Ordway Partridge, John Graham Brooks, and J. Storer Cobb.

Membership in the club was open to men and women over the age of 21 who had "rendered some service in the fields of science, art, religion, government, education or social service; and those who in their business, home life, or civic relations have made some contribution to the life of the community, state or nation, worthy of recognition...[and] young men and women who have manifested an interest in the aims of the club and a desire to fit themselves for civic and social usefulness." There was, at least originally, a cap on the number of women members, keeping them at significantly less than half the membership. Club publicity from 1914 stated that there was "no color bar on membership or guests or speakers."

Club activities centered around Saturday Luncheons. Begun as men-only affairs, they were opened to women by 1895. These informal gatherings were meant as forums for the sharing of ideas and viewpoints across the political spectrum. Originally speakers and topics were chosen from the floor at each luncheon, but as the club grew speakers were chosen formally in advance. Speakers were told to expect vigorous questioning. Members were allowed to recruit other members and use club facilities to mount any kind of campaign, but the club would not take an official stand on any issue. Speakers included: newspapers editors, reformers, missionaries, socialists, educators, authors, labor leaders, economists and others.

The Club was originally divided up into departments: the House Department, Art Department, and Education Department. Later these departments were divided up into committees which came and went as there was interest amongst the members. Committees included Art, Music and Drama, Education, Speakers List, Membership, Tenement, Motion Picture, and Research.

These committees sponsored such events as free organ concerts, plays, ticket exchanges, cheap tickets for students, lectures in schools for educators, Biblical lectures, public forums, and more. They also researched housing conditions in Boston and made suggestions to the city, surveyed the condition of motion picture and vaudeville theaters, protested censorship and film distribution practices, and ran an informal speakers bureau. Many programs started by the club were later taken over by the government or other organizations.

There is no clear indication when the club stopped functioning. Minutes end on May 2, 1964, but event announcements continue to 1969.

Collection Description

This collection is largely unprocessed but contains the following: historical documents, council minutes and reports (including secretary's files), correspondence, committee records, financial records, membership records, programs and speaker records, scrapbooks, and printed material.

Acquisition Information

Donor unknown.

Restrictions on Access

The bulk of the Twentieth Century Association records (except one document box of damaged/mildewed materials) is stored offsite and must be requested at least two business days in advance via Portal1791. Researchers needing more than six items from offsite storage should provide additional advance notice. If you have questions about requesting materials from offsite storage, please contact the reference desk at 617-646-0532 or

Note: This collection is PARTIALLY PROCESSED. It has only received a preliminary arrangement.

Summary Description of the Collection

Note: There is no Vol. 13.

Carton 1SH15PF 5Vol. 1
Minutes of Council, 1895-1901
Carton 1SH15PF 5Vol. 2
Minutes of Council, 1902-1905
Carton 1SH15PF 5Vol. 3
Minutes of Council, 1906-1911
Carton 1SH15PF 5Vol. 4
Minutes of Council, 1912-1918
Carton 1SH15PF 5Vol. 5
Minutes of Council, 1919-1924
Carton 1SH15PF 5Vol. 6
Minutes of Council, 1924-1930
Carton 1SH15PF 5Vol. 7
Art department minutes, 1895-1901
Carton 1SH15PF 5Vol. 8
Minutes of the Lecture Service Committee, 1901-1911
Carton 1SH15PF 5Vol. 9
Tenement House Commission records, 1903
Carton 1SH15PF 5Vol. 10
Records of the Drama and Music Committee, 1904-1908
Carton 1SH15PF 5Vol. 11
Minutes of Club Luncheons, Oct. 1909-Dec. 1918
Carton 1SH15PF 5Vol. 12
House Committee minutes, 1915-1924
Carton 2SH15PG 6Vol. 14
Accounts, Dec. 1899-Nov. 1900
Carton 2SH15PG 6Vol. 15
Accounts, 1901
Carton 2SH15PG 6Vol. 16
House Committee Day Book, Dec. 1901-Nov. 1903
Carton 2SH15PG 6Vol. 17
Accounts, Dec. 1901-Nov. 1903
Carton 2SH15PG 6Vol. 18
Accounts, 1902-1905
Carton 2SH15PG 6Vol. 19
Cashbook, Dec. 1902-Nov. 1905
Carton 2SH15PG 6Vol. 20
Accounts, Nov. 1903-Dec. 1905
Carton 2SH15PG 6Vol. 21
Accounts, 1905-1909
Carton 2SH15PG 6Vol. 22
Cash book, 1905-1909
Carton 2SH15PG 6Vol. 23
Accounts, 1906-1919
Carton 2SH15PG 6Vol. 24
Accounts, Dec. 1907-1909
Carton 3SH15PH 7Vol. 25
Accounts, Dec. 1909-Nov. 1917
Carton 3SH15PH 7Vol. 26
Cash book, July 1909-Apr. 1913
Carton 3SH15PH 7Vol. 27
Accounts, 1911-1913
Carton 3SH15PH 7Vol. 28
Cash book, 1911-1923
Carton 3SH15PH 7Vol. 29
Insurance, 1912-1937
Carton 3SH15PH 7Vol. 30
Accounts, Dec. 1913-1915
Carton 3SH15PH 7Vol. 31
Records, May 1913-May 1917
Carton 3SH15PH 7Vol. 32
Accounts, Dec. 1915-1919
Carton 3SH15PH 7Vol. 33
Cash book, 1917-1923
Carton 3SH15PH 7Vol. 34
Cash book, 1918-1921
Carton 4SH15PI 8Vol. 35
Accounts, 1919-1922
Carton 4SH15PI 8Vol. 36
Accounts, 1919-1923
Carton 4SH15PI 8Vol. 37
Account book, Dec. 1919-1923
Carton 4SH15PI 8Vol. 38
Cash book, 1921-1923
Carton 4SH15PI 8Vol. 39
Accounts, Dec. 1923-1930
Carton 4SH15PI 8Vol. 40
Account book, 1923-1936
Carton 4SH15PI 8Vol. 41
Accounts, 1923-1924; 1933-1942
Carton 7SH15PL BVol. 42
Accounts, Dec. 1924-Nov. 1926
Carton 7SH15PL BVol. 43
Accounts, 1924-1929
Carton 4SH15PI 8Vol. 44
Accounts, 1924-1930
Carton 4SH15PI 8Vol. 45
Accounts, 1924-1939
Carton 5SH15PJ 9Vol. 46
Accounts, 1924-1943
Carton 7SH15PL BVol. 47
Accounts, Dec. 1926-Nov. 1928
Carton 5SH15PJ 9Vol. 48
Kitchen accounts, Dec. 1928-Nov. 1929
Carton 7SH15PL BVol. 49
Accounts, Dec. 1928-Nov. 1930
Carton 5SH15PJ 9Vol. 50
Waitress wages accounts, Dec. 1929-May 1931
Carton 8SH15PM CVol. 51
Accounts, Dec. 1930-Nov. 1932
Carton 5SH15PJ 9Vol. 52
Account book, 1930-1931; 1933-1934
Carton 5SH15PJ 9Vol. 53
Accounts, Dec. 1930-Mar. 1938
Carton 8SH15PM CVol. 54
Accounts, Dec. 1932-Nov. 1935
Carton 8SH15PM CVol. 55
Accounts, Dec. 1935-Nov. 1939
Carton 5SH15PJ 9Vol. 56
Accounts, 1938-1943
Carton 5SH15PJ 9Vol. 57
Accounts, Dec. 1939-May 1942
Carton 6SH15PK AVol. 58
Accounts, Nov. 1943-Dec. 1948
Carton 6SH15PK AVol. 59
Accounts, 1947 (June-Nov.)
Carton 6SH15PK AVol. 60
Membership committee minutes, 1894-1900
Carton 6SH15PK AVol. 61
Membership committee minutes, 1900-1911
Carton 6SH15PK AVol. 62
Membership committee minutes, 1911-1922
Carton 6SH15PK AVol. 63
Membership committee minutes, 1922-1925
Carton 6SH15PK AVol. 64
Membership, 1902-1913
Carton 6SH15PK AVol. 65
Membership, 1914-1922
Carton 9SH15PN D
Historical materials
Carton 9SH15PN D
Council materials, 1923-1964
Carton 9SH15PN D
Secretary's files, ca. 1899-1945
Carton 10SH15PP F
Officer correspondence, ca. 1901-1964
Carton 10SH15PP F
Financial correspondence, ca. 1906-1949
Carton 11SH15PQ G
Correspondence, 1924-1944
Carton 12SH15PR H
Committees, ca. 1912, 1931-1940
Carton 12SH15PR H
Financial records, petty cash records
Carton 13SH15PS I
Financial records, 1923-1965
Carton 14SH15PT J
Financial records, 1922-1962, (including accounts payable, 1954-1962)
Carton 15SH15PU K
Financial records, ca. 1923-1944
Carton 15SH15PU K
Financial records, taxes, City of Boston lawsuit, 1933-1943
Carton 16SH15PV LVol. 66
Clipping scrapbook, 1901-1904
Carton 16SH15PV LVol. 67
Clipping scrapbook, 1904-1907
Carton 16SH15PV LVol. 68
Clipping scrapbook, 1907-1911
Carton 17SH15PW MVol. 69
Clipping scrapbook, 1911-1915
Carton 17SH15PW MVol. 70
Clipping scrapbook, 1915-1920
Carton 17SH15PW MVol. 71
Clipping scrapbook, 1920-1923
Carton 17SH15PW MVol. 72
"League for Independent Political Action" records and accounts, 1934-1935
Carton 17SH15PW MVol. 72 A
Lecture Committee minutes, 1901-1907
Carton 18SH15PX N
Membership card file4 card file boxes
Carton 19SH15PY O
Membership files, A-E
Carton 20SH15PZ P
Membership files, F-Mas
Carton 21SH15Q1 Z
Membership files, Mat-Z
Carton 22SH15Q2 -
Membership committee subject files
Carton 23SH15Q3 .
Programs and speakers, 1897-1944
Carton 23SH15Q3 .
Programs and speakers, printed material
Carton 24SH15Q4
Scrapbook, ca. 1894-1919
Carton 24SH15Q4
Scrapbook, Art Department and Motion Picture Committee, ca. 1893-1932
Carton 24SH15Q4
Scrapbook, ca. 1900-1944
Carton 25SH15Q5 $
Scrapbook, Education Committee, ca. 1895-1935
Carton 25SH15Q5 $
Scrapbook, Education Department, ca. 1895-1925
Carton 26SH15Q6 /
Photographs1 folder
Carton 26SH15Q6 /
Printed Material
Carton 27SH15Q7 +Vol. 73
Twentieth Century Club Bulletin, 1901-1912
Carton 27SH15Q7 +Vol. 74
Weekly Bulletin, 1922 (Jan.-May)
Vol. 75
Announcements, 1934-1938This volume has remains onsite in a document box.Mildew damaged pages removed from three ring binder

See the Curator of Manuscripts about access to vol. 75.

Carton 27SH15Q7 +Vol. 76
Announcements and clippings, Dec. 1940-Feb. 1945
Carton 27SH15Q7 +Vol. 77
The Prairie Schooner and Other Poems, by Edward Everett Dale. Guthrie, Oklahoma: The Co-Operative Publishing Co., 1929

Inscribed by the author, Oct. 27, 1967.

Carton 27SH15Q7 +Vol. 78
Tales of the Tepee, by Edward Everett Dale. Boston: D.C. Hall and Co., Publishers, 1920.

Inscribed by the author, Oct. 27, 1967.

Carton 27SH15Q7 +Vol. 79
Jim Farley's Story: The Roosevelt Years, by James A. Farley. New York: Whittlesey House, 1948.
Carton 27SH15Q7 +Vol. 80
Deep Delta Country, by Harnett T. Kane. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1944.

Damaged/Mildewed materials

These materials remain onsite in a document box.

See the Curator of Manuscripts about access to these materials.

Preferred Citation

Twentieth Century Association records, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.


Fiske, John, 1842-1901.
Hale, Edward Everett, 1822-1909.
Mead, Edwin D. (Edwin Doak), 1849-1937
Paine, Robert Treat, 1835-1910.
Partridge, William Ordway, 1861-1930.
Putnam, J. Pickering.
Ames, Charles H.