Biographical / Historical
The Central Soup Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was incorporated on March 6, 1861, with the charitable purpose of distributing soup and other food to the poor and needy during the inclement seasons. The organization was founded by Hicksite Quakers and continued to serve the people of Philadelphia throughout the 20th century. It survives at the turn of the 21st century as a foundation.
The organization operated under a set of by-laws and was funded by donations. The positions of president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer constituted the administration of the organization, as well as an executive committee (composed of three elected members, the president and the secretary) which was later amended to a five-person board of directors (in 1945). While the president provided general supervision over the organization, the executive committee (and later the board of directors) provided the general management and direction of the firm, as well as supervisory and investment powers. Officers were elected by ballot at the annual meeting.
Administration and members convened at an annual meeting, held the second month of the year. If deemed necessary, the president could call special meetings at any time.
Prominent early members include Charles Evans, Charles W. Pierce, George Robins, and Clement M. Biddle (treasurer from 1860-1900). Some contributing members to note include Robert Biddle, who served as treasurer from 1919-1935; Stanley B. Cooper, who served as president, secretary, and treasurer during his membership; and Howard Cooper Johnson, who served as president of the organization for a long period during the 20th century. Other noteworthy members include, William C. Biddle, T. Morris Perot, Edward Parrish, Dillwyn Parrish, Joseph Jeanes, Samuel Jeanes, Joseph Leidy, Joshua Lippincott, Robert K.McInnes, and William S. Ingram.
The Central Soup Society was located on North Street, below 6th street, in Philadelphia, Pa.