Ms 227 San Diego Center for Children Records

Summary Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection
San Diego Center for Children.
San Diego Center for Children Records
MS 227
Date [inclusive]
10.75 Linear feet (20 boxes)
This collection contains the records of the San Diego Center for Children of which includes details of registered children, scrapbooks, photographs, and documents regarding internal operations.

Preferred Citation

San Diego Center for Children Records, MS 227, San Diego History Center Document Collection, San Diego, CA.

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Biographical / Historical Notes

In 1887, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, San Diego Chapter, invested $1000 in a “home for indigent gentlewomen.” On February 17, 1887, the Center, located at 1365 16th Street, began as the Women’s Home Association for poor, aged and destitute women. In 1888, the Women’s Home Association created a Day Care Nursery as a service for working mothers and widowed fathers. The County began placing more and more children in the Day Nursery due to a surge of disadvantaged people. San Diego businessman and philanthropist, Byrant Howard, proposed a union of the Woman’s Home and Day Nursery and his Children’s Industrial Home which was an organization to serve the needs of homeless, abused, and delinquent children in San Diego. The Home and Day Nursery accepted the proposal which qualified the establishment for state aid. The San Diego Children’s Industrial Home, relocated to the present site of the Naval Hospital. In 1898, the name was changed to the Women’s and Children’s Home of San Diego and then the name was changed once again in 1904 to the San Diego Children’s Home Association. Finally, in 1975, the San Diego Children’s Home Association changed its name to the San Diego Center for Children. In an agreement with the City in the 1950s, the Home received an eight-acre building site in Kearny Mesa and $160,500 in cash in exchange for its 16th Street property which would be bisected by freeway construciton in 1957. An additional amount of $130,000 was raised through a fundraising campaign for the new Home, and on January 9, 1959, construction began of the Home at its present location on 3002 Armstrong Street in Kearny Mesa. The new Home consisted of three child care cottages, a classroom, a utility building, and a treatment building, which housed administration offices. The classroom, called the Cosgrove School, was the Home’s first on-grounds classroom with a capacity for nine children at a time.

Many women were involved in the prosperity of the Center beginning with founders Mrs. George Marston, Mrs. E.S. Babcock, Mrs. W.W. Stewart, Mrs. Carl S. Murray, and Miss E.M. Chapin. Women who served as presidents included Mrs. H.P. Davison, Mrs. M.H. Lesem, Mrs. Julius Wangenheim, Mrs. B.J. O’Neill, and Bernice Cosgrove. Another woman, Mrs. Winifred Lee Percival, served as Superintendent. It is also noted that George Horne served as Superintendent and Executive Director for some time.

The Center is San Diego’s oldest accredited non-profit organization and depends largely on the support from organizations and the San Diego public for funding. Promotional events such as the first Charity Ball in 1905, held under Mrs. Lena Sefton Wakefield, also contributed to the Center’s financial needs. Much later, a Gala party was thrown at the Hotel del Coronado on April 16, 1977 to celebrate 90 years of the Center’s success in San Diego. In 70 years, the Center took in approximately 6,000 homeless and neglected children.

The Center was known to provide care, affection, and understanding for children and it was never a disciplinary institution. According to the circumstances, the Center provided temporary or permanent housing for orphans, half-orphans, and abandoned children. Children were also taken in, in the case of sickness or an emergency in the family. Ages of children ranged from a few weeks to 14 years old.

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Scope and Content

The collection contains records from the San Diego Center for Children since its inception in 1887, including admission and medical records on the children admitted to the Center as well as general administrative and operational documents. Administrative documents include Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws, reports, internal and external correspondence, and financial records. There are also newsletters, brochures and pamphlets regarding community outreach. Documents pertaining to the central focus of the Center, the children, include admission registers and medical history cards of children admitted as early as October 6, 1888, as well as a visitor’s book dated from 1911 to 1991 and scrapbooks containing photographs and newspaper clippings. Also included are photographs of the children, the Center’s buildings and grounds, and events.

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Collection is arranged into six series:

Series I: Administration

Series II: Reports

Series III: Finances

Series IV: Correspondence

Series V: Membership, Development, and Publicity

Series VI: The Children

The items in each series are arranged by subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

San Diego History Center Document Collection December 19, 2011

1649 El Prado, Suite 3
San Diego, CA, 92101

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The San Diego History Center (SDHC) holds the copyright to any unpublished materials. SDHC Library regulations do apply.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number 911024.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Aimee Santos on December 19, 2011.

Collection processed as part of grant project supported by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous funding from The Andrew Mellon Foundation.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • California. Dept. of Social Welfare.
  • California. State Relief Administration.
  • Child Welfare League of America.
  • Community Chest.
  • First Women’s Christian Temperance Union of San Diego.
  • Gary, Cary, Ames and Driscoll.
  • Holly Sefton Memorial Hospital.
  • San Diego (Calif.). Dept. of Public Health.
  • San Diego Center for Children.
  • San Diego Chargers (Football team).
  • San Diego Trust & Savings Bank (Calif.).
  • United States. Food and Drug Administration.

Geographic Name(s)

  • San Diego (Calif.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Babcock, E. S., Mrs.
  • Chapin, E. M., Mrs.
  • Chojnacki, Frank
  • Cosgrove, Bernice
  • Crosby, Bing, 1903-1977
  • Daugherty, Charles
  • Davison, H. P., Mrs.
  • Day, Horace B., Mrs.
  • Fischer, Adam, 1888-1968
  • Gill, Irving, 1870-1936
  • Howard, Bryant
  • Jennings, F.S.
  • Kelcher, Louis
  • Lesem, M. H., Mrs.
  • Marston, George White, 1850-1946
  • Marston, George, Mrs.
  • Murray, Carl S., Mrs.
  • Neyes, Charles
  • O’Neill, B. J., Mrs.
  • Percival, Winifred Lee
  • Sefton, Joseph W., 1882-1966
  • Sefton, Joseph, Mrs.
  • Stewart, W. W., Mrs.
  • Stewart, W. W.
  • Wakefield, Lena Sefton
  • Wangenheim, Julius, Mrs.
  • Wangenheim, Julius
  • White, Ed
  • Whitney, W. W., Mrs.
  • Zarelli, George


  • Abandoned children
  • Charities
  • Child mental health
  • Child welfare
  • Children — Institutional care
  • Day care centers
  • Education
  • Hospitals
  • Mental health
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Orphans
  • Social service

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Collection Inventory

 Series I: Administration

Articles of Incorporation, 1887-19071:1
Articles of Incorporation, 1930-19461:2
Articles of Incorporation, 1947-19751:3
Application to change name to San Diego Children’s Home Association (SDCHA), 1904-19151:4
Health Officer’s License of Women and Children’s Home, 19031:5
By-laws, 1954-1975 and undated1:6
Rules and regulations, 1909-19481:7
Accreditations, 1996-19991:8
Proposal to the Board of Directors – governing board, staff, and institution descriptions, 19411:9
Board of Directors and Committee members, 1933-1977 and undated1:10
“Book of Minutes 1900-1905” – meeting minutes, 1900 May-1905 May1:11
“Record – Minutes 1905” – meeting minutes, 1905 May-1911 May1:12
“Record – Minutes 1911” – meeting minutes, 1911 June-1914 April1:13
“Record – Minutes 1914-1916” – meeting minutes, 1914 May-1917 January1:14
“1917 Minutes” – meeting minutes, 1917 January-1920 December2:1
“Record – Minutes 1921-1924” – meeting minutes, 1921 January-1924 December2:2
“Record – Minutes 1925” – meeting minutes, 1925 January-1929 October2:3
“Minutes 1930” – meeting minutes, 1929 November-1935 July2:4
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 1930 July-November2:5
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19382:6
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19392:7
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19402:8
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19412:9
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19422:10
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19433:1
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19443:2
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19453:3
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19463:4
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19473:5
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19483:6
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19493:7
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19503:8
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19513:9
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19523:10
Minutes of Directors’ meetings, 19533:11
Waiver of Notice of Special Meeting of Board of Directors, 1930-19343:12
Strategic Planning Committee meeting minutes, 19863:13
Minutes of SDCHA members annual meetings, 1930-19443:14
Statement of personnel practices, 19543:15
Personnel payroll lists, 1946-19533:16
Summary of Services and Charges (draft), 19863:17
Property documents, 1903-1961


Grant Deed

Building Agreement

List of Contractors

Miscellanea, 1930-1986


Notes on food consumption

Girls Institutions


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 Series II: Reports

Annual Reports, 1985-19993:20
Annual Reports by the President, 1939-19424:1
Annual Reports by the Superintendent, 1944-19474:2
Annual Reports by the Personnel Committee, 19414:3
Annual Reports by the Secretary, 1938-19454:4
Annual Reports by the Hospital, 1932-19494:5
Annual Reports by the Maintenance Committee, 19414:6
Annual Regular Enrollment Admission and Discharge Reports, 1930-19514:7
Annual Receiving Home Admission and Discharge Reports, 1950-19524:8
Social Statistics Reporting for Children’s Institutions, 1915-19194:9
Junior League Child Welfare Project Reports, 1938-19394:10
Study Salaries in Child Welfare Agencies, 19474:11
State Department of Social Welfare Reports, 1942-1943 and undated4:12
Department of Public Health – City of San Diego Reports, 1936 and undated4:13
“Challenge in Eduation Through Creativity” – report, 19654:14
Public Health Informational Brochures, 1935 and undated4:15

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 Series III: Finances

Monthly Treasurer’s Reports, 1926 July-1929 June4:16
Monthly Treasurer’s Reports, 1929 July-1933 June4:17
Annual Financial Reports, 1932-19524:18
Annual Financial Comparative Reports, 1950-19514:19
U.S. Treasury Department documents, 1940-19554:20
State of California – Office of Franchise Tax Board documents, 1955, 19764:21
State of California – Board of Control: claim for aid, 1917, 19194:22
County of San Diego – Office of Assessor documents, 1939-19534:23
San Diego County Tax Collector: tax bills, 1948-19534:24
County of San Diego – Office of County Auditor, 19474:25
San Diego Trust and Savings Bank documents, 1954-19634:26
Community Chest of San Diego documents, 1926-1951 and undated5:1
Community Chest of San Diego documents, 1954-19565:2
Child Welfare League of America, Inc. documents, 1937-19575:3
Stocks and Bonds lists, undated5:4
Stocks and Bonds (A-B), 1932-19575:5
Stock and Bonds (C-K), 1931-19575:6
Stocks and Bonds (L-P), 1929-19575:7
Stocks and Bonds (R-W), 1928-19565:8
Record of Shares: Stocks and Bonds – standard bound notebook, 1943-19615:9
Property insurance, 1935-19535:10
Treasurer’s list of members of Association, undated5:11
Auditor’s Report: Estate of W.W. Whitney, 1925-19265:12
“Cash Book” receipts and disbursements, 1906-191617
Receipts and expenditures, 1907-1950 and undated5:13
Expenses – ledger, 1914 January 1-1918 July 315:14
“S.E. Ledger” – Building Fund, 1926 March 17-1928 December 215:15
Expenses – ledger, 1927 July 1-1935 June 305:16
“Ledger” – expenses, 1930 December-1937 July6:1
“Cash Book” – financial records, 1930 July 30-1935 July 156:2
“D.E. Ledger” – expenses, 1937 August-1948 December6:3
“Double Entry Ledger” – expenses, 1949 January-1957 December6:4
“General Ledger,” 1945 June 30-1954 December 316:5
“Cash Receipts, Cash Disbursements, Claims Payable Register,” 1955 January 7-1958 December 3018
“Record of Journal Entries” (1 of 2), 1958-1963


“Cash on Hand”

Accounts Receivable


Designated gifts

Foster Home income

“Record of Journal Entries” (2 of 2), 1958-196320:2
“General Ledger: Accounting,” 1958 January 17-1963 March 31






Miscellaneous checks and receipts, 1943 January 13-1962 August 1


Checks payable to the Standard Oil of California and United Community Services

Miscellaneous financial correspondence, 1940-19597:3
Financial miscellanea, 1941-1962 and undated


“Designations” and “Checks Received”

Financial suggestions report


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 Series IV: Correspondence

Superintendent, 1905-19507:5
President, 1938-19467:6
Assistant Director, 19537:7
Secretary, 1942-19487:8
County of San Diego Department of Public Welfare and Office of City Clerk, 19387:9
Family Service Association of San Diego, 1941-19447:10
Department of Social Welfare, 19457:11
California State Relief Administration, 1939-19407:12
Junior League of San Diego, 1937-19397:13
Works Progress Administration, 1937-1939 and undated7:14
U.S. Department of Agriculture – Food and Drug Administration, 19477:15
Affiliations and publicity, 1907-19827:16
Internal, 1909-1953 and undated




Thank You Cards


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 Series V: Membership, Development, and Publicity

Lists of SDCHA members, 19087:18
Designated “Direct” pledges to agencies, 19267:19
Pledges to “Building Fund,” 1958 and undated7:20
Newsletters, 1964-20007:21
Center’s flyers and pamphlets, undated


Outreach for Donations and Membership

Charity events flyers and pamphlets, 1938-20008:1
Newspaper clippings, 1939-20008:2
“San Diego Center for Children ‘Bring Back the Children'” (VHS tape), undated8:3
“San Diego Center for Children ‘A Better Day Down the Road’ Annual Dinner 1999” (VHS tape), undated8:4
“Centennial Charity Ball” photo album, 19878:5
“SDCC Campaign ’89 – Community Outreach” – photos and pamphlets, 19898:6
“San Diego Humane Society ‘We Help the Helpless'” parade photograph, 191420:3
“The Escalera’s” family photograph, undated20:4
Membership, development, and publicity miscellanea, 1950-1980 and undated


“The Solar Blast” p. 16: Children of the Home are to receive a Christmas tree and gifts from the Tool Shop’s sixth annual Christmas celebration

“Where Do You take Your Troubles?” from the Family Service Association

Essay and articles on the Center


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 Series VI: The Children

“Register of Children Book #1” (Book #1), 1888 October 6-1906 September 248:8
“Record – San Diego Children’s Home #2” (Book #2), 1890 October 15-1913 June 3019
“Record of Orphans #3” (Book #3), 1915 September 30-1936 July 2219
“State Children and County Children” – monthly payments ledger, 1914 January 1-1929 April 49:1
“Ledger” – monthly payments ledger, 1922 August 25-1937 January 169:2
“Visitor’s Book – Children’s Home San Diego, Calif.,” 1911 August 15-1991 May 3017
“Register 36-41” – monthly register of children, 1936 January-1941 May9:3
“Register 41-45” – monthly register of children, 1941 June-1945 June9:4
“Register 46-51” – monthly register of children, 1946 July-1951 July10:1
“Single Entry Ledger” – monthly register, 1951 August-1954 September10:2
“Single Entry Ledger” – monthly register, 1954 October-1962 April10:3
“S.E. Ledger – Register 1938-42” – daily record of children’s illnesses, 1938 January 1-1942 September 1210:4
“Record of Orphans – State Record Book” – record kept by the corresponding Secretary of “Whole Orphans, Half Orphans, and Abandoned Children,” 1908 January-1914 May 1618
“S.D.C.H. July 1931- ” – chronological list of admitted children, 1923 October 23-1932 July 1710:5
Register of children admitted, 1888 October 2-1975 January 120:5
“Record” – list of admitted children (A-K), 1888 October 16-1974 December 2010:6
Medical examinations (A), 1923-1938 and undated11:1
Medical examinations (B), 1919-1934 and undated11:2
Medical examinations (C), 1919-1934 and undated11:3
Medical examinations (D), 1922-1938 and undated11:4
Medical examinations (E), 1920-1933 and undated11:5
Medical examinations (F), 1921-1933 and undated11:6
Medical examinations (G), 1919-1929 and undated11:7
Medical examinations (H), 1913-1934 and undated11:8
Medical examinations (J), 1920-1934 and undated11:9
Medical examinations (K), 1914-1933 and undated11:10
Medical examinations (L), 1919-1932 and undated11:11
Medical examinations (Ma-McI), 1920-1930 and undated11:12
Medical examinations (McK-My), 1919-1933 and undated11:13
Medical examinations (N), 1922-1932 and undated11:14
Medical examinations (O), 1921-1930 and undated11:15
Medical examinations (P-Q), 1919-1933 and undated11:16
Medical examinations (Ra-Rod), 1921-1934 and undated12:1
Medical examinations (Ron-Ru), 1922-1933 and undated12:2
Medical examinations (Sa-Sp), 1919-1935 and undated12:3
Medical examinations (St-Sy), 1923-1934 and undated12:4
Medical examinations (T), 1919-1932 and undated12:5
Medical examinations (U-V), 1920-1932 and undated12:6
Medical examinations (Wa-Wh), 1922-1935 and undated12:7
Medical examinations (Wilc-Wils), 1920-1934 and undated12:8
Medical examinations (Y-Z), 1924-1932 and undated12:9
History card (A), 1917-192812:10
History card (Badger-Bigler), 1913-192912:11
History cards (Billingster-Brown, Frank), 1912-192612:12
History cards (Brown, Herman-Butler), 1914-193112:13
History cards (Caletrino-Christensen), 1910-192912:14
History cards (Church-Correll), 1914-192912:15
History cards (Cosper-Cuccia), 1917-192812:16
History cards (Dalton-Dehr), 1909-192912:17
History cards (Demangos-Domintz), 1911-192912:18
History cards (Dowdy-Dursley), 1914-192613:1
History cards (E), 1917-192613:2
History cards (Fee-Ford), 1915-192713:3
History cards (Forester-Funkhouser), 1914-192713:4
History cards (Gaian-Gershon), 1915-192313:5
History cards (Gibbs-Goldie), 1913-193013:6
History cards (Gonzales-Guinan), 1915-192913:7
History cards (Habeshc-Harrison), 1914-192813:8
History cards (Hartley-Hirch), 1915-192913:9
History cards (Hodges-Hume), 1913-192813:10
History cards (I), 1918-192013:11
History cards (J), 1915-192913:12
History cards (K), 1913-192813:13
History cards (Laidlow-Lingren), 1909-192913:14
History cards (Logston-Lyons), 1915-192913:15
History cards (MacDougall-McIntyre), 1912-192613:16
History cards (McKagne-Mills), 1911-192913:17
History cards (Mitchell-Mustain), 1913-192913:18
History cards (N), 1916-192914:1
History cards (O), 1910-192914:2
History cards (Page-Phelps), 1916-192814:3
History cards (Philip-Quintana), 1913-192414:4
History cards (Randall-Robinson), 1913-192814:5
History cards (Roche-Rykde), 1908-192914:6
History cards (Sanchez-Sloane), 1913-192614:7
History cards (Smith-Steadman), 1913-192914:8
History cards (Steffan-Sykes), 1916-192914:9
History cards (T), 1890-192914:10
History cards (U), 1918-192014:11
History cards (V), 1915-192814:12
History cards (Waago-Weissman), 1916-193014:13
History cards (Wells-Whyte), 1918-193014:14
History cards (Wilcox-Wouten), 1906-192914:15
History cards (Y-Z), 1915-192714:16
Scrapbook, 1891-190914:17
Scrapbook, 1904-193014:18
Scrapbook, 1909-191614:19
Scrapbook, 1923-194015:1
Scrapbook, 1935-198020:6
Scrapbook, 1940-195215:2
Scrapbook (1 of 2), 1953-196015:3
Scrapbook (2 of 2), 1953-196015:4
Scrapbook, 1955-196215:5
Scrapbook (1 of 2), 1963-196520:7
Scrapbook (2 of 2), 1963-196520:8
Scrapbook, 1967-197015:6
Scrapbook, 1971-197416:1
Scrapbook, loose items, 1973-197716:2
Scrapbook, loose items, 1976-198616:3
Illustration, undated


Pencil drawing of unidentified boy with bicycle, by “Schneider, ’87.”

Book of Common Prayer – Bible from St. Mark’s Church, undated16:5

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