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...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Links, Inc. Eastern Area (Creator)
Collection:The Links Inc. Eastern Area Archival Collection
Collection Number:3055
Format: Manuscript
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Online Access:Link to finding aid
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LEADER 13551ntc a2200313 u 4500
001 ead-3055
008 190730i xx eng d
040 |e dacs 
041 0 |a eng 
099 |a 3055 
100 1 |a Links, Inc. Eastern Area  |e creator 
245 1 |a The Links Inc. Eastern Area archival collection  |f 1946-2015, undated 
300 |a 6.7 Linear feet  |f ; 15 boxes, 1 volume, 1 flat file 
351 |b Series 1. Albany District Chapter, 1999 Series 2. Baltimore Chapter, 1948-1999 Series 3. Brooklyn Chapter, 1999 Series 4. Bucks County Chapter, 2001 Series 5. Capital City Chapter, 2001-2003 Series 6. Delaware Valley Chapter, circa 1970s-2000 Series 7. Eastern Area, 2000-2001, 2006-2010 Series 8. Erie County Chapter, 1987, 1989-2000 Series 9 . Essex County Chapter, 1996-2001 Series 10. Farmington Chapter, circa 1980-2000 Series 11. Harbor City Chapter, 1985-2000 Series 12. Jamestown Chapter, 1993-2002 Series 13. Long Island Chapter, 2002-2003 Series 14. Middlesex Chapter, 2000-2001 Series 15. Morris County Chapter, 2000 Series 16. New Haven Chapter, 1986-2000 Series 17. Niagara Falls Chapter, 2000 Series 18. Old Dominion Chapter, 1994-2000 Series 19. Penn Towne Chapter 1988-2000, 2006 Series 20. Potomac Chapter, 2001 Series 21. Raritan Valley Chapter, 1986-2000, 2009 Series 22. Richmond Chapter, 1998 Series 23. Silver Spring Chapter, 1988-2000 Series 24. Southern Maryland Chain Chapter, 2000-2001 Series 25. Suffolk Chapter, 1999-2001 Series 26. Wilmington, Delaware Chapter, 1999 Series 27. South Jersey Chapter, 1978-2006, undated Series 28. Philadelphia Chapter, circa 1954-2010, undated  
500 |a 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.  
506 |a The collection is open for research. 
520 |a 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.  
520 |a 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. 
524 8 |a Cite as: [Indicate cited item or series here], The Links, Inc. Eastern Area archival collection (Collection 3055), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 
541 1 |a Gift of various chapters of the Eastern Area of the Links, Inc., 2000-ongoing. Accession numbers 2006.045, 2009.018, 2013.002 
545 |a Always remaining close to the needs of the community, the Links steadily have increased membership through the incorporation of local civic organizations that apply for “interest group” status, an introductory designation prior to official chartering as a chapter. Local programming varies considerably from chapter to chapter, yet the organization as a whole supports a broad platform of civic duty, educational reform, and cultural awareness. These basic tenets have helped the Links maintain a close relationship with the NAACP – dating back to 1952 – in efforts to improve the quality of life for black Americans. For the past twenty years, the Links Foundation, the organization’s philanthropic division, has allowed the Links to engage in large-scale fundraising to provide financial support for civic-minded individuals and institutions. Connecting Links and Heir-o-Links, two other divisions of Link husbands and children respectively, also provide assistance in raising awareness within the black community. Comprised of chapters throughout the northeastern United States (as well as one in Frankfurt, Germany), the Eastern Area branch of the Links, Inc. functions primarily as an administrative arm for programming initiatives set forth at the national assemblies taking place biennially in even years. As one of four branches of the Links, Inc., the Eastern Area administration assists chapters in designing programs that fall under the basic headings of Link service: National Trends and Services, International Trends and Services, Services to Youth, and the Arts. Area conferences are biennial as well, taking place in odd years. The Eastern Area administration also suggests new approaches to strengthen social bonds and increase member participation – a philosophy at the very heart of the organization structure. Bound by friendship, each member (or “Link”) can better share her talents when tackling the challenges confronting the black community. Praised again and again as the cornerstone of the organization’s success, this concept of Linkdom revolves around one simple principle – to link each member through friendship in order to link the group to the surrounding community. Beyond these administrative duties, however, the Eastern Area is little more than a regional grouping of chapters. Its own records are minimal and shed little light upon the social bonds so essential to the inner workings of the organization. The story of the Links, Inc. takes shape in the holdings of the individual chapters, whose detailed reports continually express the members’ sense of leadership and civic duty. Each month chapters meet to discuss and record their thoughts on issues facing black America and adapt national programming initiatives to fit the needs of their own region. The implementation of national programming varies at the local level as chapters use a variety of approaches to achieve the goals outlined by the Links conventions. For example, the Old Dominion Chapter in northern Virginia concentrates on educational initiatives by way of the regional political system while Baltimore’s Harbor City Chapter approaches these same goals through youth programming. The countless national programming guides and convention ephemera found throughout the collection demonstrate the value placed upon a chapter’s participation in the development of nationwide programming. Maintaining a belief that the organization’s analysis of the changing needs of black Americans begins within community itself, each chapter has been granted a certain amount of autonomy in developing Link platforms and initiatives at the local level. This independence in devising small-scale community programming serves as the backbone to the creation of national initiatives as chapters meet at regional conferences and biennial conventions. Even as the Links continue to increase their membership to over ten thousand women, it is this bottom-up approach to social service that will allow the organization to remain close to the black community. This ability to adapt programming to the needs of the black community has become imperative as the Links spread their social platforms beyond the United States. More recently chartered groups have implemented local programs only to find an increasing regional interest in international aid. For example, in the course of five short years, the Jamestown Chapter of western New York has evolved from funding community college scholarships to providing firsthand assistance in Belize and western Africa. In a 1996 interview with Ebony Magazine, National President Patricia Russell-McCloud stressed the changing mission of the Links on the eve of their fiftieth anniversary: The mission of the Links is to reach people at their point of need, men and women, boys and girls, domestically and internationally. Our mission is to discern the need and fulfill it, whether that is tutoring young children in middle school or visiting the elderly at nursing homes or putting water wells in villages in Africa. We must [p]reserve the culture of the African-American experience and the Diaspora. (Ebony, July 1996; article from Penn Towne Chapter records) That “link” of friendship and respect that unites members throughout the organization remains essential for the coexistence of both local and international initiatives in providing for the black community. Orchestrated by DeLores Weaver from the Penn Towne Chapter of Philadelphia, the collecting of archival materials from each Chapter of the Eastern Area Links began as a time capsule project in October of 1999. Appointed archivists from each chapter were asked to contribute their most notable records, articles and photographs to mark the organization’s role at the start of the new millennium. On November 9, 2000, the Eastern Area chapters held a reception at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to commemorate the establishment of the Eastern Area Archival Repository. In the true spirit of Linkdom, the collection exemplifies the respect given to those closest to the community, honoring the efforts of the talented women shaping the direction organization’s direction in the years to come.  
555 |a Finding Aid Available Online:  
650 0 |a African Americans--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--Societies, etc.  
650 0 |a African Americans--Pennsylvania--Societies, etc. 
650 0 |a African Americans--Societies, etc. 
650 7 |a Philanthropy--Philadelphia--20th Century  |2 Local sources 
650 0 |a Women--Societies and clubs. 
852 |a The Historical Society of Pennsylvania  |b The Links Inc. Eastern Area Archival Collection  |l 3055 
856 4 2 |y Link to finding aid  |u