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Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children : Records, 1878-1970


252 cartons, 2 file boxes, 3 card file boxes, 1 oversize box


These records of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children were placed on deposit by the MSPCC in August, 1980.


The MSPCC, a private child welfare agency, was founded in 1878 "for the purpose of awakening interest in the abuses to which children are exposed by the intemperance, cruelty, or cupidity of parents and guardians, and to help the enforcement of existing laws on the subject, [and] procure needed legislation and for kindred work..." It merged with Children's Protective Services in 1880. In its early years, the MSPCC lobbied for protective legislation and regulation of "baby farms" and foster homes, aided in law enforcement, and, as an alternative to institutionalizing children, established a Temporary Home where children could stay until the agency found them a new home.

At the turn of the century, the MSPCC became part of the movement toward social work, which focused on education and alleviating the conditions that produced abuse and neglect. The agency continues today with distict offices throughout the Commonwealth.

Scope and Content

This collection contains a complete set of client records from 1878 to 1939, including case books, agents' journals, case files, and photographs of clients and client living conditions. It also contains a scattered collection of reports, appeal papers, unpublished and published works by and about the MSPCC, early subscribers' lists, correspondence, and photographs of homes maintained by the Society.