The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Salem Fraternity (Salem, Mass.)
Salem Fraternity Records
1 linear foot (3 boxes)
The Salem Fraternity Records
document the 19th-century activities of this Salem, Massachusetts,
SERIES I. Miscellaneous Papers SERIES II. Record Books
Scope and Content Note
The Salem Fraternity Records document the 19th-century activities of this Salem,
Massachusetts, organization. The collection has been divided into two series.
Series I. Miscellaneous Papers includes reports of
meetings, membership lists, a handwritten copy of the articles of association,
circulars and announcements, and correspondence.
Series II. Record Books consists of the Secretary's
record book which includes minutes of meetings; the book acquisition record, which
lists donations and purchases of books and magazines; the Night School record book
listing scholars, teachers, and subjects taught; and five volumes of record books
which contain the aims of the society, articles of association, constitution, roll
of members, committees, and the numbers of people using facilities.
For an item-level description, see original finding aid dated 1995.
The Salem Fraternity was founded on April 21, 1869, in the
Downing Building at 175 Essex Street, Salem, Massachusetts, for the purpose of
furnishing young people of both sexes in Salem and its vicinity a place to spend
their leisure time, to provide opportunities for self-improvement, to help them
obtain employment and suitable housing, to engage in active benevolent work, and to
aid young persons and strangers in the city. The organization was incorporated in
The Salem Fraternity was managed by a "Board of Control" consisting of the
president, the treasurer, and the clerk (chosen annually), and fifteen directors
(five chosen each year for a term of three years), all elected by the corporators at
the annual meeting in October. The detail work was handled by a superintendent (a
paid position) appointed by the Board of Control. The first superintendent was
Stephen Ives Dugan, who had previously been engaged in Boys' Club work under
Reverend Edward Everett Hale. The Fraternity was staffed by volunteers.
Activities offered by the Salem Fraternity included a gymnasium, cobbling,
debating, glee club, drawing, stamp saving, and a library. Facilities consisted of a
library, amusement room, school, two work rooms and, for a time, a women's room.
Although founded originally to provide facilities for both sexes, it eventually
became primarily a boys' club.
The Fraternity was established and conducted by means of funding and bequests by
friends who saw the value of the work conducted by the Fraternity in the
At various times, summer camps for boys were operated at the Prescott homestead,
Hampton Fall, New Hampshire; Potato Island, Rowley; and at Hog Island. The success
of these camps led to the establishment of a permanent camp at Sawyer's Island,
Rowley, and to the purchase of the property in 1905.
A night school was operated by volunteer teachers with subjects including
reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, bookkeeping, Latin, grammar, history,
geography, and composition.
During the years 1898 and 1899 the Salem Fraternity occupied the second floor of
the Lyceum Building on Church Street. In 1899, the Bank Building at 11 Central
Street was purchased.
For 15 years, the Salem Fraternity operated the only free library in Salem until
1899, when the Public Library was established.
In 1906, the national organization, Boys Clubs of America was established. Under
the initial charter there were fourteen established youth services organizations
from across the nation, including the Salem Fraternity for Boys. In 1990 the word
"Girls" was officially added to the name of the National Organization and the Club
became the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons,
or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Boys--Societies and clubs
Evening and continuation school students--Massachusetts--Salem
Evening and continuation schools--Massachusetts--Salem
Girls--Societies and club
Young adults' libraries--Massachusetts--Salem
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in
writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex
The Secretary's record book was deposited by Mr. Farwell of the Salem Fraternity on
September 5, 1933. The record books were presented by the Salem Fraternity on May
25, 1910. The provenance of the remainder of the material is unknown.
Collection processed by Marion Clark, November 1995. Updated by Tamara Gaydos,
The Salem Fraternity Records document the 19th-century activities of this Salem, Massachusetts, organization.
Salem (Mass.); Acquisitions (Libraries)--Massachusetts--Salem; Boys--Societies and clubs; Clubs--Massachusetts--Salem; Evening and continuation school students--Massachusetts--Salem; Evening and continuation schools--Massachusetts--Salem; Girls--Societies and club; Libraries--Massachusetts--Salem; Young adults' libraries--Massachusetts--Salem; Schools--Massachusetts--Salem; Societies
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.
The Secretary’s record book was deposited by Mr. Farwell of the Salem Fraternity on September 5, 1933. The record books were presented by the Salem Fraternity on May 25, 1910. The provenance of the remainder of the material is unknown.