A Guide to the San Antonio Mother's Service Organization Records, 1945-1998
On Mother's Day, 1945, a group of mothers of all faiths was organized by Reverend Claude Black to curb juvenile delinquency and positively affect youth through cooperation between the home and the community. San Antonio Mother's Service Organization was the first African American group of Christian women to get a state charter for a local club. Rev. Black believed that mothers could encourage changes in the community by creating an environment that supported the strengths and talents of children. Established on a foundation of Christian values and morals, the Mother's Service Organization encourages youth to strive for success in their lives and make meaningful contributions to the community.
The organization holds four annual events: Fellowship Dinner; Pink Tea; Annual Sit-In; and a musical. In previous years they had also held a city-wide Easter egg hunt and back-to-school style show. The annual musical raises funds for the scholarship program, which enables a deserving student to attend St. Philip's or San Antonio College full time for two years. As of 1993, 34 scholarships had been awarded. In 1992 an alternative was added to the scholarship program, "The Special Vocational Assistance Committee", benefiting students who plan to attend trade school. In addition to two youth groups, the organization previously sponsored a junior group in San Antonio called the Modern Day Mothers, and a junior group in Gonzales,Texas.
Mother's Service Organization has contributed to and supported several charities including Needy Families, Ella Austin Orphan Home, Eloise Japhet School, Welcome Home for the Blind, Healy Murphy Center, San Antonio Convalescent Center, Manor Square, Elf Louise and United Negro College Fund. In its early years, the organization was responsible for giving lights, swings, water fountains and a grand stand for Lincoln Park in San Antonio. The city of San Antonio formally recognized the organization's work in November, 1976, when Mayor Lila Cockrell issued a "Citation of Service" to Rev. Claude W. Black, Jr. and the membership.
Legal documents, correspondence, event programs, membership rosters, minutes, newsclippings, newsletters and a scrapbook document the membership, fundraising activities, and functions of the San Antonio Mother's Service Organization. The collection is arranged into three series: Official Records, Events, and Scrapbook. The collection is strongest in documenting the group's activities and membership from 1965 to the 1990s. Although few records date back to the organization's founding in 1945, historical narratives and a scrapbook contains information on the organization's early years.
The Official Records are arranged alphabetically and document the organization's founding, functions and membership. Historical narratives, a certificate of incorporation and constitutions provide an understanding of the principals and mission on which the organization was founded, and procedures for carrying out the mission. A solid run of meeting minutes for the years 1965-1992 comprises the bulk of this series. Minutes prior to 1965 do not exist within the collection. The minute books also contain membership rolls and dues information. The start of the Modern Day Mother's branch of the Mother's Service Organization is documented in a minute book spanning 1966 through 1968. Information on the organization's scholarship program, including applications, recommendations and thank you's from recipients is also in this series. For a summary of the organization's activities for a given year, it is helpful to consult the newsletters. Note that while the newsletters span 1965-1997, there is a twenty-year gap between 1967-1987. The Official Records provide the most significant source of membership information in the collection. In addition to rosters available in the minute book for 1965-1976, bulletins from the funerals of former members provide insight into individual members.
The Events series is arranged alphabetically and chronologically thereunder. This series documents the organization's annual events, primarily through event programs, with the exception of the Easter Egg Hunt. The strongest documentation exists for the annual scholarship musical program and the Pink Tea. A near complete span of programs for 1965-1997 documents the annual scholarship musical program, along with a few tickets, photographs and newsclippings. Invitations to the Pink Tea, primarily from the 1980s and 1990s, and photographs spanning the 1960s-1990s offer insight into the event. For additional photographs from the Pink Tea, as well as other events, see the scrapbook.
The Scrapbook dates back to the organization's beginning up to 1990 and contains historical narratives, photographs and event flyers. Photographs are of the annual Easter Egg Hunts, coronations, musicals, pink teas, and scholarship recipients, but do not exist for every year of an event.
This collection is housed at UTSA's Main Campus and must be accessed via the John Peace Library Special Collections reading room. To request access, please use the Collections Request Form.
Permission to publish material from the San Antonio Mother's Service Organization Records must be obtained from University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.
[Identification of item], San Antonio Mother's Service Organization, 1945-1998, MS 79, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.
Materials in this collection were donated by the San Antonio Mother's Service Organization in November 1998 (Acc. 1998-040).
Processed by Toni Jeske January, 2002
Detailed Description of the Records