Children's Fresh Air Society of Maryland papers
This collection consists of correspondence, administrative records, and financial material of the Fresh Air Society of Maryland during the first half of the 20th century.
- 1896 - 1965
- Fresh Air Society (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research use.
Conditions Governing Use
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Biographical / Historical
The Children’s Fresh Air Society started informally in 1888 after the Christian Endeavor Society of Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church raised funds to give disadvantaged children summer vacations in the countryside; By 1891 the Fresh Air Society was fully organized by 1891and was giving children a two week summer holiday in the countryside, away from hot, noisy city streets. Much of the thought behind the creation of the Society was the misguided idea that the fresh air contributed to spiritual cleanliness and was a most suitable way to prevent disease.
During its first years the Society secured vacation homes for children who were otherwise unable to visit the country. In 1895, 132 boys and 348 girls were sent on two week stints. Homes were also offered for sixty-two of the children, who otherwise could not attend due to lack of funds. Initially the boys were lodged at Camp Endeavor near Bel Air, MD, and lodges for girls were placed in Mount Washington and Phoenix, Md. In 1907 the Society purchased a 38 acre property called Dunkale Farm from Benjamin Amoss three miles south of Bel-Air.
Applications for attendance to the Fresh Air farm were filled out by families or charitable organizations. These applications were reviewed by a four person staff that made the selections, and then arranged date and length of visit, transportation, place of departure, and individual requirements. The Bureau of Communicable Diseases of the City Health Department sent lists to the office daily of contagious diseases, to insure no exposed children made the trip.
Organizations such as the Kiwanis Clubs assisted the Christian Endeavor group in the early days of the camp. Hundreds of dollars were raised through street carnivals, neighborhood parades, and even small lemonade and snowball stands. In 1926 the Fresh Air Society became part of the Community Chest, and received support from their annual fall appeal.
The later years of the Fresh Air Society included a notable drug bust in which 16 of the 50 counselors were arrested for possession of marijuana and LSD, after repeated complaints of drug activity were reported to the Harford County Sheriff’s Department. The Fresh Air Society closed its doors in 1983 due to lack of funding and the counselor’s inability to deal with “street-wise” youths.
7.0 Linear Feet (14 boxes)
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Richard Glaser of the Habonim Camp Association.
Scope and Contents
The collection has been broken into six distinct series : Charters and Bylaws 1896-1946; Meeting Minutes, 1927-1960; George Klinefelter’s files, 1947-1960; Correspondence, 1913-1957, Subject files, A-Z; and Financial Material, 1928-1965. All of this material was found in the attic of the Habonim Camp Offices in Street, Maryland in 2011. The Habonim Camp had purchased the building, which had been previously occupied by the Fresh Air Society in 1984. The records were forgotten until 2011 when Richard Glaser gave them to the Maryland Historical Society. Original order was protected in series III, George Klinefelter’s files, as these documents were isolated in manila folders. The rest of the collection had no logical order, appearing to have been dumped into four large boxes. The Charters/Bylaws, Meeting Minutes, and Financial series were all arranged chronologically. The correspondence covers day to day life of the camp, hiring and firing of counselors, activities offered, correspondence with the families of prospective campers, etc. This material was arranged chronologically by year. The Subject Files series consist of pamphlets, reports, flyers, brochures, etc.. These were pulled from the general correspondence, as none of these items related to the surrounding correspondence. Material of this nature that accompanied correspondence was kept in the correspondence series.
- Guide to the Children's Fresh Air Society of Maryland papers
- Under Revision
- Eben Dennis
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
- 2020-04-01: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Mallory Herberger.