Archives and Special Collections are open by appointment only, limited to UMN affiliates. Appointments must be made one week in advance of your visit. Contact or the curator of the collecting area you wish to use for assistance. We continue to provide scans of requested research materials when possible, especially for our non-campus clientele.


Finding aids are online guides to selected historical records and papers in the Social Welfare History Archive.

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Images / Media

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Search for cataloged books, journals, and records from the Social Welfare History Archives.

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About the collection

The Social Welfare History Archives has over 340 collections document social services and reform movements from the late 1800's to the present.

  • Organizational records of national social service associations, professional social work organizations, and prominent specialized service organizations.
  • Personal papers of social work educator and practioners.
  • Print collections of Social work related books, journals, and pamphlets.
  • Prohibition and temperance publications, including material on temperance, sobriety, the duty of the church, and social and moral issues related to the use of alcohol. 
  • Oral history collections

Subject areas

Social services and concerns represented in the collections include:

  • adoption
  • child welfare
  • citizenship
  • community arts
  • community organization & planning
  • family support services
  • group work
  • housing
  • immigration & migration
  • juvenile delinquency
  • poverty & unemployment assistance programs
  • public health
  • public social policy & public-private sector relationships
  • recreation and camping
  • senior services
  • settlement houses and community centers
  • sexual health
  • single parenting & services for single mothers
  • social casework & related counseling services
  • social work education and the social work profession
  • theories about charity and reform
  • welfare rights & social justice movements
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