The Links Inc. Eastern Area archival collection
Founded in 1946 and incorporated as a national organization in 1951, the Links have continually developed and refined their means of effectively responding to the social, political, and financial challenges of the black community for over fifty years. Established in Philadelphia by Sarah Strictland...
|Collection:||The Links Inc. Eastern Area Archival Collection|
|Subjects and Genres:|
|Online Access:||Link to finding aid|
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Processing Information: Materials from each chapter were removed from the initial time capsule format – which housed documents in casings as diverse as sealed envelops and cardboard tubes – and then were rearranged into a series to allow incoming materials from each chapter to be added more easily to collection.
Beginning with Series 27 (an accession from 2006) the series names are no longer in alphabetical order.
Processed by Tyler Rudick; additional processing by Joanne Danifo in 2007 and by Cary Hutto in 2012.
6.7 Linear feet ; 15 boxes, 1 volume, 1 flat file
The collection is open for research.
Founded in 1946 and incorporated as a national organization in 1951, the Links have continually developed and refined their means of effectively responding to the social, political, and financial challenges of the black community for over fifty years. Established in Philadelphia by Sarah Strictland Scott and Margaret Roselle Hawkins as a small association dedicated to the changing needs of professional African-American women, the Links today rely on the efforts of nearly ten thousand women from 274 chapters in realizing its national and international initiatives. In 1984, the Links, Inc. established an international headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Initially started as a time capsule project to commemorate the new millennium, the collection has grown substantially with its reconfiguration as an archival effort, which Links members have sometimes dubbed the Eastern Area Archival Repository. As the project evolved, designated archivists and historians from each chapter contributed a diverse range of materials to document the organization’s history and achievements. While the specific materials vary from chapter to chapter, collectively they bring to light the Links’ success in finding new interpretations of and new solutions to challenges within the black community throughout the world.
The records of The Links, Inc., which evolved from a time capsule project into an archival collection around 2000, span from 1948 to 2005 (subject to change as more chapters donate their materials). The materials chart not only the history of the organization from its creation after the Second World War, but also the development of African-American civil service throughout the latter half of the twentieth century. A close study of the organization’s structure – in particular, the manner in which local branches contribute to the design of programming nationwide – unravels the intricacies of developing community-based social aid. Materials from multiple chapters have been compiled to form this collection with each series representing a different chapter in the larger organization. While each series contains the primary elements from the time capsule project (e.g., introduction, chapter history), the subsequent materials donated by each chapter portray the civic value of the Links in more detail. In a letter to Althea Spraggins, the Eastern Area Director of Chapter Presidents and Archivists, Link Weaver encouraged chapters directly: “Tell your own story.” Most chapters’ archival records open with a letter to Link Weaver and a “Message to the Future” to be opened decades into the new millennium. Chapter histories follow, along with charter certificates, by-laws, and photographs, which depict members at various events and conventions. Program reports demonstrate the manner in which the Links’ social service is maintained both financially and structurally. Most chapters have contributed a collection of monthly meeting minutes and program reports, which provide an understanding of the chapters’ operations, and the basis for the organization’s evaluation of the needs of a designated jurisdiction. The style and attention to detail in meeting minutes varies greatly from chapter to chapter, ranging from an agenda-style format to thorough ten-page reports. The New Haven and Jamestown chapters, for example, have provided excellent examples of brief, yet informative reports delineating meeting discussions in two pages or less. Other chapters, such as Delaware Valley and Erie County, have taken a more detailed approach to include financial information and reports on the success of a particular program. Often accompanying the chapters’ administrative information are photographs and scrapbooks, mainly chronicling conventions and events of the past twenty years. The Baltimore Chapter holds the collection’s oldest images, including group portraits and chartering events from the 1940s and fifties. Throughout the collection, most photos have been adequately labeled, including the dates and the names of members depicted. As of 2007, chapter donations are on-going and series may be added.