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Northwestern University Settlement Association Delinquent Boy Case Files

Identifier: 41/3

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

Boxes 1-5: The Delinquent Boys Case Files date from 1929 to 1939, with the bulk of the material covering 1929-1931. The collection consists primarily of 752 numbered case files relating to delinquent boys, 1929-1931. Additional unnumbered files from 1938-1939 are also included, as well as a list of 365 names and addresses of delinquent boys, presumably from 1938-1939. Each case file includes the following information: Boys’ Court case number, date of file, family and individual delinquent boy (D.B.) case number, name of boy, age or date of birth, nationality, citizenship, address, school, grade level, religion, church affiliation, marital status, reading, writing, and speaking abilities in English, occupation and past employers, social life activities, and a brief description of past arrests, criminal and court record, and updated addresses. The case files also include the names of the boy’s parents (including step-parents), their nationalities, citizenship, occupations, wages, and address, as well as the names, ages, and whereabouts of the other children in the family. Notes from interviews and home visits by Settlement staff members are also included with some of the case files, as well as court record cards listing time served in jail and amounts of bail. This supplementary material is scarce in the records from 1930 and 1931, however, the unnumbered case records from 1938-1939 do contain notes on interviews and home visits. Filed with the 1938-1939 case files are two short papers: "Plans for Delinquency Work in the Settlement’s Neighborhood," which outlines follow-up studies, and Settlement programs for delinquent boys under juvenile and boys’ court jurisdiction, as well as programs for parent and neighborhood groups; and "Can the Leisure Time Agencies Be More Effective in the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency?," which discusses the problems related to the prevention of juvenile delinquency. The 1938-1939 files also include a list of acronyms and abbreviations for different agencies and organizations, a list from the Board of Education of delinquent boys enrolled in Chicago schools in 1938, and Polish language newspaper clippings related to specific cases involving boys from the Settlement (of particular interest are clippings regarding an apparently highly publicized case involving a band of delinquent boys under the leadership of a 25 year old woman). Also included are four letters dated September 12, 1931 from the Boys’ Court Representative of the Northwestern University Settlement, Windham Bonham, to the Superintendents of the Pontiac Reformatory and the State Penitentiary in Joliet regarding the parole of specific boys from the Settlement. There is also a proposal for a follow-up study of 559 delinquent boys under the Northwestern University Settlement’s charge in 1930-1931.

Addition (Boxes 6-7): This addition to The Delinquent Boys Case Files is undated and fills two card boxes. Box 6 contains cards divided alphabetically by street name. Cards within each street are filed alphabetically by surname of family. Cards typically contain the names of the delinquent boy and his family, their address and a case number. Over time, many of the street names have changed. The original filing order has been maintained. For the following streets, the street name on the heading card differs from the street name on the cards within that subdivision.

Beach = Bringham Bosworth = Dickson Chestnut = Cornell Cortez = Wade and Emma Crystal = Crystal, Sloan, and Lull Damen = Damen and Robey Elizabeth = Keith Greenville = Holt Haddon = Chapin Honore = Newton and Girard Hubbard = Austin Lemoyne = Lemoyne, Blanche, McReynolds Marshfield = Marshfield, Edgemont, Sist Pearson = Clarinda Pierce = Keenon Race = Emerson St. Louis = Balou Thomas = Thomas, Tell, and Crittendon Throop = Temple and McHenry Willard = Ayers Wolcott = Lincoln


  • 1929-1931, 1938-1938


Conditions Governing Access

Restricted; consultation with University Archivist required prior to use.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored at a remote campus location and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.

Biographical / Historical

While burglaries and robberies comprised nearly all of the major crimes in West Town prior to 1923, during the 1920s and the 1930s criminal charges of disorderly conduct were the most prevalent. These charges included drunkenness and vagrancy as well as charges relating to quarrels, domestic disputes and violence. The Chicago Police Department claimed that the Settlement neighborhood had the most juvenile delinquency in the city. Juvenile delinquency and juvenile crime was attributed to the abuse of alcohol (especially during Prohibition), participation in gangs and “social-athletic clubs,” and dysfunctional family life. Young boys, mostly from immigrant families, relied on the Northwestern University Settlement for assistance with probation supervision, legal advice, employment referrals, and continuing education.


7.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



The Northwestern University Settlement Association Delinquent Boy Case files include case files, address cards, papers containing plans for the program, letters, a list of acronyms for agencies, and other administrative documents.


The case files in boxes 1-5) are arranged numerically by case number, followed by unnumbered cases and other material. Box 6 is arranged by street name; box 7 is arranged alphabetically.

Method of Acquisition

These records were part of accession number 90-160, donated to the University Archives by Ron Manderschied and Doris Overboe of the Northwestern University Settlement on October 15, 1990.

Related Materials

The records’ original arrangement, in alphabetical order by subject, was retained, but several large, coherent categories were separated from the General Administrative Files, organized separately, and assigned their own series numbers.

41/1: General Administrative Files, 1891-1995 (73 boxes) 41/2: Case files, 1908-1976 (79 boxes) 41/4: Financial Records, 1918-1971 41/5: Clubs and Classes Attendance and Registration Cards, 1936-1953 (25 boxes) 41/6: Photographs, 1890-1991 (8 boxes) 41/7: Scrapbooks, 1892-1984 (20 boxes) 41/8: Evanston Woman's Board, 1911-1990 (7 boxes) 41/9: North Shore Junior League, 1937-1992 (14 boxes) 41/10: Lenora E. Clare Diary, 1906-1910 (1 box) 41/11: Food Client Records, 1985-1986 (3 boxes)

Separated Materials


Processing Information

Rachel Erlich, June 1996. Addition processed by Kaia L. Densch, October, 1997.

Guide to the Northwestern University Settlement Association Delinquent Boy Case Files
Rachel Erlich
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US