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Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia and Suburban Fair Housing Records

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG4-112

Scope and Contents

Contains the records of the Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia, its predecessors, and its affiliated organization, Friends Suburban Housing, Inc. Of particular interest are the real estate case files of Suburban Fair Housing, Inc.

Organized into eight series:
  1. Minutes
  2. Case files of Friends Suburban Housing Inc.
  3. Legal records
  4. Financial records
  5. Advertising and publicity
  6. Related organizations
  7. Correspondence
  8. Miscellaneous

Dates

  • 1956-2003

Creator

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Biographical / Historical

Friends Suburban Housing, Inc., was a non-discriminatory real estate brokerage firm in the Philadelphia suburbs. It was founded in 1956 by a group of concerned individuals, mostly Quakers, who worked towards racial intergration in housing. In 1963, its name was changed to Suburban Fair Housing to reflect a broadened base of support. In 1968, the group broke legal ground with a successful lawsuit against the Main Line Board of Realtors. The lawsuit resulted in opening access to the Board of Realtors multiple listing service. Margaret H. Collins was executive secretary of the company, which ended operation in 1976. Collins, the daughter of a wealthy Philadelphia Quaker paper manufacturer, was born in 1908. She was educated at Sarah Lawrence College, University of California at Berkeley, and Bryn Mawr College where she did graduate work in social research. A tireless advocate for racial equality, she continued to work to make housing available to low and moderate income families after Suburban Fair Housing was closed. She died in 2006.

The Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia was also founded in 1956 as the Southeast Delaware County Area Committee of Friends Suburban Housing Committee. A year later the name was changed to Committee for Democracy in Housing of Lansdowne & Vicinity. Early board members included Quakers George and Helen Hardin, Francis Nicholson, and Margaret Collins; many of its supporters were also involved with the Race Relations Committee of Philadlephia Yearly Meeting, and the program was endorsed by the Social Order Commmittee and the Community Relations Program of the American Friends Service Committee. The initial aim was to provide non-financial encouragement and support to African Americans seeking to buy homes in the area and to sellers who became victims of racial violence because of their commitment to open housing.

By the 1960s the group was increasingly inter-faith and inter-organizational and became the Lansdowne-Upper Darby Fair Housing Council. "Friendly Neighbor" ads, signed by area homeowners, were published in the local press. The Committee began monitoring real estate agencies' performance and "testing" for compliance became the organization's major program. As a result of discrimination charges brought by them against a local real estate firm, the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission suspended the owner's license. The LUDFHC was renamed the Fair Housing Council of Delaware County in 1981, and in 1992 changed its name again to the Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia to reflect its expanded service area. In 1994 the FHCSP moved its offices from the Media Fellowship House to Swarthmore

Extent

20 Linear Feet (41 boxes)

Language

English

Overview

Contains the records of the Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia and its affiliated organization, Friends Suburban Housing, Inc. Friends Suburban Housing, Inc., was a non-discriminatory real estate brokerage firm in the Philadelphia suburbs, founded in 1956. The Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia also began in 1956 as the Southeastern Delaware County Area Committee of Friends Suburban Housing Committee. Records include minutes, case files, financial and legal papers.

Physical Location

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, 2004.

Transferred from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research

Gift of Bill Henderson, 2012 (2012.007)

Related Materials

RG 4/030, Records, 1966-1975, records of Friends Housing, Inc., a non-profit Quaker organization founded in 1966 to aid in the rehabilitation of low income housing in the Mantua section of Philadelphia, Pa.

RG5/226, Margaret H. Collins Papers

Processing Information

The first records came to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection in 2004 and were sorted, inventoried, and catalogued as DG 207. These materials were subsequently transferred to Friends Historical Library and were combined with additional papers transferred from the Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. Although the bulk was of the former, the records of Suburban Fair Housing Inc. and the Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia were so intertwined, a decision was made to unite them in one collection. More records came in 2012 from the files of Natalie L. Gorvine and Kathleen Henderson.

Creator

Title
Fair Housing Council of Suburban Philadelphia and Suburban Fair Housing Records, 1956-2003
Author
FHL staff
Date
2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

Contact:
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA