Lea Demarest Taylor papers
MSTayl66

 An inventory of the collection at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Summary Information

Repository
Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives
Creator
Taylor, Lea Demarest, 1883-1975
Title
Lea Demarest Taylor papers
ID
MSTayl66
Date [inclusive]
1894-1969
Extent
9.5 Linear feet
Language
English
Abstract:
Lea Demarest Taylor (1883-1975) daughter of Graham Taylor, founder of the Chicago Commons settlement house, and Leah Demarest Taylor was active in Chicago's social settlement movement. The collection contains correspondence, memos, articles, speeches, annual reports, minutes of meetings, and photographs.

Preferred Citation

Lea Demarest Taylor papers, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Illinois at Chicago

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Biographical Sketch

Lea Demarest Taylor (1883-1975) was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the daughter of Graham Taylor and Leah Demarest Taylor. Graham Taylor was a fifth-generation Dutch Reform church minister who, at the urging of the Chicago Theological Seminary, moved to Chicago in 1892 and founded the Chicago Commons, a secular settlement house.

Chicago Commons, founded in 1894, was located at first on Union Street in the lower northwest side, serving a neighborhood that was mostly Italian, Scandinavian, and Irish. Just after the turn of the century, the Commons moved to Morgan and Grand streets into a five-story building designed especially for the settlement by the architectural firm of Pond and Pond.

Lea Taylor grew up in the settlement house, along with her siblings. The settlement was a cooperative, with residents performing housekeeping tasks and settlement work alike. As a child, Lea attended Chicago schools, entering high school at the Lewis Institute in 1900. Even as a schoolgirl, her social life revolved around activities at the settlement house, and in 1899, when she was sixteen, she assumed the title, responsibilities, and salary of a full resident at Chicago Commons.

After graduating from Vassar College in 1904, Lea Taylor returned to Chicago Commons as her father's secretary and assistant. She was involved in editing the periodical The Commons and developed a lifelong interest in local and neighborhood issues, which she effectively combined with her activities in national and international organizations to forge a career in social welfare that lasted even beyond her official retirement in 1954.

Lea Taylor was active in the Chicago Federation of Settlements and attended meetings of the organization with Jane Addams, Mary McDowell, and other Chicago settlement pioneers. She was president of the Chicago Federation of Settlements from 1924-1937 and from 1939-1940. She was president of the National Federation of Settlements from 1930-1934 and 1950-1952. Her involvement with the National Federation of Settlements included work on Young Working Girls, a study published in 1913, and Case Studies of Unemployment, published in 1931.

Through her membership in the Women's Trade Union League, Lea Taylor learned about labor organizing, unions and women's working conditions. She was chairman of the Cotton Dress Industry Wage Board, which created legislation establishing a minimum wage for the industry's mostly female workforce in Illinois.

In 1909, Lea Taylor became active in the Chicago Recreation Commission, and as chair of the Wider Use of the Schools Committee, succeeded in having city schools opened for recreational use by neighborhood residents after school hours.

In 1911, when Katherine Taylor won an academic fellowship to Europe, Lea Taylor accompanied her sister overseas and used the opportunity to visit Toynbee Hall and other international settlement houses. When she returned in 1912, her father had acquired a new secretary, and Lea Taylor assumed additional administrative responsibilities. In 1917, she became Assistant Head Resident of the settlement house, assuming new responsibilities for budget planning, fundraising and public speaking.

Also in 1917, as the U.S. entered the First World War, Chicago Commons operated draft board Local No. 39. Settlement residents were called upon to interview prospective inductees and to explain induction procedures and policies to neighborhood residents, many of who were recent immigrants.

In 1921, Lea Taylor became head resident of Chicago Commons. The 1920s and 30s saw the settlement increasingly occupied with analyzing and responding to the needs of the unemployed and those requiring public relief. The continuing influx of poor people and immigrants into city neighborhoods and the shortage of decent housing resulted in a number of house fires in the neighborhood. Lea Taylor was the first woman to becomes a member of the Metropolitan Housing and Planning Council, and served on coroners' juries investigating deaths caused by sub-standard housing.

During the 1940s, the neighborhood served by the Chicago Commons underwent racial change as African Americans moved into a previously all white neighborhood. The settlement's residents responded firmly to white resistance, insisting that neighborhood and settlement resources be shared. Fires in neighborhood buildings persisted, with some of them intended to terrorize African Americans. Chicago Commons and Emerson House, a settlement eight blocks to the west, joined together to form the Chicago Commons Association. William H. Brueckner, head worker at Emerson House was named executive director and Lea Taylor was head resident.

As planning and construction began for developing the Kennedy expressway through their community, Commons neighborhood residents began to move away. The settlement house itself relocated to the former Bowman Dairy Company building in a Polish neighborhood north of Chicago Ave. and west of Ashland.

From 1950 to 1952, as president of the National Federation of Settlements, Lea Taylor focused her energies on housing, integration in cities, poverty programs, and international settlement work. In 1951, she traveled to Europe with Lillie Peck, secretary of the Federation, and visited European settlements. In 1952, in Germany, Lea Taylor participated in a series of institutes and workshops focusing on settlement and social work.

Lea Taylor retired in1954 to her family home in Highland Park, a north shore suburb of Chicago. Even in retirement she was active, remaining on the boards of Chicago Commons, the National Federation of Settlements, and the Metropolitan Housing and Planning Council. She also joined the Highland Park League of Women Voters, and was a founder of the Highland Park Committee on Human Relations. In 1960, she traveled to Europe for a reunion of the Unitarian Service Committee. Lea Taylor died on December 3, 1975.

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Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence, memos, articles, speeches, annual reports, minutes of meetings, and photographs. The materials pertain to operation and activities of Chicago Commons, the Chicago Federation of Settlements and the National Federation of Settlements. The collection also includes writing and publications by Graham Taylor.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Richard J. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives 06-07-2006

801 S. Morgan Street
Chicago, Illinois, 60607
312.996.2742

Restrictions on Access

None

Restrictions on Use

None

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Chicago Commons Association.
  • Chicago Federation of Settlements.
  • National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers.

Personal Name(s)

  • Taylor, Graham, 1851-1938
  • Taylor, Lea Demarest, 1883-1975 -- Archives

Subject(s)

  • Hull-House and Settlement House History.
  • Midwest Women's History.
  • Social reformers -- Illinois -- Chicago -- Biography.

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Collection Inventory

Series I: Subject Files 

This series contains folders based on topics of significance to Lea Taylor. 

Box Folder

Archives, 1969 

1 1

Autobiography, 1895-1968 

1 2

Chicago Recreation Commission - annual reports, 1935-1936 

1 3

Chicago Recreation Commission - Chicago Recreation Conference, 1943 

1 4

Chicago Recreation Commission - Citizens' Committee for Wider Use of Schools, 1948-1967 

1 5

Chicago Recreation Commission - Citizens' Committee for Wider Use of Schools, 1948-1967 

1 6

Chicago Recreation Commission - Conference on Recreation for Older People, 1948 

1 7

Children and Youth, 1931-1954 

1 8

Consumers - Price controls, 1946 

1 9

Council for Social Action, 1954-1965 

1 10

Group Work - printed, 1937-1945 

1 11

Hall, Helen - paper and clippings, 1939-1967 

1 12

Hull House and Jane Addams, undated 

1 13

International Conference of Social Work, 1931-1962 

1 14

International Conference of Settlements, 1922-1929 

2 15

International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers, 1951-1968 

2 16

International Migration Service, 1925 

2 17

Labor - Chicago Workers' Committee on Unemployment - leaflet, 1935 

2 18

Labor - Children - National Child Labor Committee - conference program, 1932 

2 19

Labor - James Mullenbach Industrial Institute, undated 

2 20

Labor - marches and protests - broadsides, undated 

2 21

Labor - Republic Steel Memorial Day Riot - fliers, clippings, 1937 

2 22

Labor - women, 1921-1937 

2 23

Labor - youth unemployment, 1932 

2 24

Peck, Lillie - correspondence, clippings, 1946-1957 

2 25

Perkins, Francis - obituary, 1965 

2 26

Race relations - Chicago, 1944-1949 

2 27

Race relations - Chicago, undated 

2 28

Race relations - Chicago - Race Riot of 1919, 1916-1920 

2 29

Race Relations - Chicago - South Central Association, 1945-1947 

2 30

Race Relations - School Strikes, 1947 

2 31

Settlements - College Settlement Association, 1894-1900 

2 32

Settlements - Illinois - Gads Hill Center, 1951 

2 33

Settlements - Massachusetts - Andover House, 1894 

2 34

Settlements - Massachusetts - Boston Social Union, 1913 

2 35

Settlements - Massachusetts - Lincoln House, 1897-1906 

2 36

Settlements - Massachusetts - South End House, 1922-1923 

3 37

Settlements - Massachusetts - South End House - Bulletins, 1896-1897 

3 38

Settlements - Massachusetts - United Settlements of Greater Boston, 1950 

3 39

Settlements - Minnesota, undated 

3 40

Settlements - New Jersey - Whittler House, 1900-1901 

3 41

Settlements - New York - Henry Street Settlement, 1958 

3 42

Settlements - New York - Huntington Family Center - Syracuse, 1960 

3 43

Settlements - New York - United Neighborhood Houses of New York, 1926-1962 

3 44

Settlements - New York - University Settlement, 1902-1965 

3 45

Settlements - New York - Welcome Hall, 1902 

3 46

Settlements - New York - Westminster House, 1896-1901 

3 47

Settlements - Ohio - Welfare Federation of Cleveland, 1946 

3 48

Settlements - Pennsylvania - College Settlement, 1896-1897 

3 49

Settlements - Pennsylvania - Kingsley House, 1925-1952 

3 50

Settlements - Texas - Julia C. Hester House, 1947 

3 51

Settlements - Texas - Mexican Christian Institute, 1948 

3 52

Settlements - Texas - The Ripley House, 1950 

3 53

Settlements - International, 1920-1968 

3 54

Stone, Mary - correspondence, 1947 

3 55

Woods, Robert A., 1925 

3 56

World Conference on Adult Education, 1929 

4 57

Writings, 1952-963 

4 58

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Series II: Chicago Commons 

This series contains material documenting Lea Taylor's work at the Chicago Commons settlement house. 

Box Folder

Annual reports, 1898-1971 

4 59

Annual reports to Welfare Council, 1926-1932 

4 60

Annual reports to Welfare Council, 1933-1937 

4 61

Annual reports to Welfare Council, 1938-1942 

4 62

Annual reports to Welfare Council, 1943-1946 

4 63

Articles of incorporation [photocopy], 1895 

4 64

Camping - annual reports, 1933-1971 

4 65

Dance, 1938 

4 66

Emerson House/Chicago Commons merger, 1948 

5 67

Influenza Epidemic, 1918 

5 68

National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers, 1969-1970 

5 69

Neighborhood Fires, 1947-1955 

5 70

Neighborhood Fires - racial unrest, 1945-1947 

5 71

Neighborhood Fires - racial unrest, 1947 

5 72

Neighborhood Fires - racial unrest, 1947 

5 73

Neighborhood statistics, 1940 

5 74

Photograph - illustration of Chicago Commons Building, 1900-1912 

5 75

Prohibition, 1934 

5 76

Chicago Commons, vol. 1, 1896-1897 

5 77

Chicago Commons, vol. 2, 1897 

5 78

Chicago Commons, vol. 2, 1897-1898 

5 79

Chicago Commons, vol. 3, 1898-1899 

5 80

Chicago Commons, vol. 4, 1900 

5 81

Chicago Commons, vol. 5, 1900-1901 

5 82

Chicago Commons, vol. 6, 1901 

5 83

Chicago Commons, vol. 6, 1901-1902 

5 84

Chicago Commons, vol. 7, 1902 

6 85

Chicago Commons, vol. 7, 1902 

6 86

Chicago Commons, vol. 8, 1903 

6 87

Chicago Commons, vol. 8, 1903 

6 88

Chicago Commons, vol. 9, 1904 

6 89

Chicago Commons, vol. 9, 1904 

6 90

Chicago Commons, vol. 10, 1905 

6 91

Chicago Commons, vol. 10, 1905 

6 92

Chicago Commons, vol. 17, 1907 

6 93

Publications - Chicago Commons Council, 1909-1911 

6 94

Race Relations, 1945-1948 

6 95

Schedule of appointments, 1909-1910 

6 96

Taylor, Graham, 1934-1938 

6 97

War Draft Statistics - Local Board 39, 1919 

6 98

Women Workers, 1924 

6 99

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Series III: Chicago Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers 

This series contains records documenting Lea Taylor's work with the Chicago Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers. 

Box Folder

Department of Adult Activities, 1929 

7 100

Arts Committee, 1926-1927 

7 101

Conferences, 1925 

7 102

Crime Prevention Conference, 1927 

7 103

Girls and Boys Work, 1916-1936 

7 104

Group Work, 1932-1936 

7 105

League of Mothers' Clubs, 1926-1936 

7 106

Minutes of meetings, 1894-1908 

7 107

Minutes of meetings, 1921-1929 

7 108

Minutes of Meetings, 1933-1939 

7 109

Minutes of Meetings, 1940-1949 

7 110

Minutes of Meetings, 1950-1956 

7 111

Music Committee, 1925-1935 

7 112

Neighborhood Service Work - Committee on March, 1936 

7 113

Neighborhood Study - Lower West Side, 1925 

7 114

Printed Material, 1921-1928 

7 115

Settlement expenditures - study, 1924 

7 116

Settlement organization and standards - study, 1919 

7 117

Settlement personnel management - study, 1925 

7 118

Settlement Work - Tentative Statement of Aims and Principles, 1923 

7 119

Unemployment Survey, 1928 

7 120

Welfare Federation Pan - Committee on, 1934 

7 121

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Series IV: National Federation of Settlements And Neighborhood Centers 

This series contains records documenting Lea Taylor's work with the National Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers. 

Box Folder

Anniversary (50th), 1961 

8 122

Anniversary - 60th Year of Settlement Houses, 1946 

8 123

Archives, 1965-1966 

8 124

Board of Directors, 1949-1965 

8 125

Boys Work, undated 

8 126

Conferences, 1913-1917 

8 127

Conferences, 1918-1919 

8 128

Conferences, 1920-1923 

8 129

Conferences, 1928-1938 

8 130

Conferences, 1944-1947 

8 131

Conferences, 1951 

8 132

Conferences, 1960-1968 

8 133

Digest of Tropics of Social Action, 1911-1937 

8 134

Directory, 1960-1963 

9 135

Directory, 1964-1967 

9 136

International Committee, 1949-1959 

9 137

International Committee, 1960 

9 138

International Committee, 1961-1963 

9 139

International Committee, 1964 

9 140

International Committee, 1965-1967 

9 141

Minutes of meetings, 1918-1924 

10 142

Minutes of meetings, 1925-1929 

10 143

Minutes of meetings, 1930-1933 

10 144

Minutes of meetings, 1934-1935 

10 145

Minutes of meetings, 1936-1937 

10 146

Minutes of meetings, 1938-1940 

10 147

Minutes of meetings, 1942-1944 

10 148

Minutes of meetings, 1947-1949 

10 149

Minutes of meetings, 1950-1951 

10 150

Minutes of meetings, 1953-1957 

10 151

Minutes of meetings, 1960 

11 152

Minutes of meetings, 1961 

11 153

Minutes of meetings, 1962 

11 154

Minutes of meetings, 1963 

11 155

Minutes of meetings, 1963 

11 156

Minutes of meetings, 1964 

11 157

Minutes of meetings, 1964 

11 158

Minutes of meetings, 1965 

12 159

Minutes of meetings, 1966 

12 160

Minutes of meetings, 1966 

12 161

Minutes of meetings, 1966 

12 162

Minutes of meetings, 1967 

12 163

Minutes of meetings, 1967 

12 164

Minutes of meetings, 1968 

12 165

Minutes of meetings, 1968 

12 166

Minutes of meetings, 1969 

12 167

Publications, undated 

13 168

Publications, 1920-1930 

13 169

Publications, 1931 

13 170

Publications, 1936-1939 

13 171

Publications, 1940-1950 

13 172

Publications, 1952 

13 173

Publications, 1960-1964 

13 174

Publications, 1965-1969 

14 175

Publications, 1970 

14 176

Publications - 4 minute report, 1968 

14 177

Publications - Neighborhood: A Settlement Quarterly, 1929-1930 

14 178

Publications - Neighborhood: A Settlement Quarterly, 1931-1932 

14 179

Publications - NFS Legislative News, 1968 

14 180

Publications - Round Table, 1946-1955 

14 181

Publications - News and Round Table, 1958-1970 

14 182

Self-Study, 1958-1961 

14 183

Training Center, 1959-1960 

14 184

Training Center, 1960-1963 

15 185

Training Center, 1964-1967 

15 186

Committee on Unemployment, undated 

15 187

Whitney, Gertrude Schuyler, 1966 

15 188

Workshop, Arden House - Neighborhood Goals in a Rapidly Changing World, 1957-1958 

15 189

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Series V: Hull House and Jane Addams 

This series contains material from the various celebrations of Jane Addams from the centennial of her birth, as well as information about the Hull-House settlement house and the closing of its original buildings in 1963 

Box Folder

Addams, Jane - centennial, 1959-1961 

15 190

Addams, Jane - centennial - Rockford College, 1959-1960 

15 191

Addams, Jane - centennial - Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, 1955-1964 

15 192

Addams, Jane - Death and Funeral, 1935-1936 

15 193

Hull-House, 1932-1961 

16 194

Hull-House - 50th anniversary, 1940 

16 195

Hull-House - 65th anniversary, 1954 

16 196

Hull-House - annual meeting, 1963 

16 197

Hull-House - printed material, 1936-1963 

16 198

Hull-House and the University of Illinois, 1961-1966 

16 199

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Series VI: Publications and Printed Material 

This series contains published and printed material collected by Lea Taylor. 

Box Folder

City of Chicago - housing, urban renewal, race relations, 1936-1945 

16 200

City of Chicago - housing, urban renewal, race relations, 1955-1957 

16 201

City of Chicago - housing, urban renewal, race relations, 1960-1962 

16 202

City of Chicago - housing, urban renewal, race relations, 1963 

17 203

City of Chicago - housing, urban renewal, race relations, 1964 

17 204

City of Chicago - housing, urban renewal, race relations, 1964-1965 

17 205

City of Chicago - housing, urban renewal, race relations, 1965 

17 206

Depression era - relief and unemployment, 1929 

17 207

Depression era - relief and unemployment, 1932 

17 208

Depression era - relief and unemployment, 1933-1935 

17 209

Depression era - relief and unemployment, 1936-1937 

17 210

Depression era - relief and unemployment, 1938-1939 

18 211

Depression Era - relief and unemployment, 1940-1941 

18 212

Taylor, Graham - writings about, 1902-1966 

18 213

Taylor, Graham - writings by, 1893-1919 

18 214

Taylor Graham - writings by, 1925-1939 

18 215

Miscellaneous Social Welfare, undated 

18 216

Miscellaneous Social Welfare, undated 

18 217

Miscellaneous Social Welfare, 1888 

19 218

Miscellaneous Social Welfare, 1883-1905 

19 219

Miscellaneous Social Welfare, 1911-1919 

19 220

Miscellaneous Social Welfare, 1924-1949 

19 221

Miscellaneous Social Welfare, 1951-1959 

19 222

Miscellaneous Social Welfare, 1960-1963 

19 223

Miscellaneous Social 

19 224

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