William J. Norton papers: 1906-1987 (Majority of material found within 1916-1972)
Summary Information
Title: William J. Norton papers
Creator: Norton, William J. (William John), 1883-1975
Dates: 1906-1987 (Majority of material found within 1916-1972)
Extent: 4 linear feet, 1 oversize folder
Abstract:
Detroit, Michigan, social worker, executive vice president of the Children's Fund of Michigan, and chairman of various relief commissions during the depression. Materials relating to his welfare activities, his interests in mental health and the work of the American Red Cross, and his general interest in the field of social work; also papers detailing his activities with the Detroit Prismatic Club; essays concerning the legislation of prohibition in Michigan; and photographs and sound recordings.
Call number: 85343 Aa 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Bentley Historical Library staff

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

This collection has been received in several accessions from William J. Norton and his heirs (donor number 4192).

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, William J. Norton papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Biography

William J. Norton, social worker, was born in Maine, April 8, 1883. After graduating from Bowdoin College, he entered social settlement work in Brooklyn, New York and later Cleveland, Ohio. In the period 1913-1917, he organized the Cincinnati Council of Social Agencies; and Community Union and Detroit Community Fund. In 1929, he became executive vice president of the Children's Fund of Michigan, a post he held until the dissolution of the fund in 1954. During the Depression he also served as chairman of the Detroit Emergency Relief Commission (1931), as chairman of the Michigan Emergency Welfare Relief Commission (1933-1938). Norton was also president of Oakland Housing Inc., a low income housing project originally funded by James Couzens and the Rural Rehabilitation Division of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. After the 1943 Detroit race riot, Norton was appointed chairman of the Mayor's Interracial Commission. Other governmental and private social welfare posts he held included president of the National Conference of Social Work (1928); trustee of the McGregor fund; chairman of the Detroit Chapter of the American Red Cross (1944-1945); chairman of the Michigan State Hospital Commission (1938-1945) and chairman of the Michigan Department of Mental Health (1945-1947). Norton died in 1975.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The William J. Norton collection relates mainly to relating to his welfare activities, his interests in mental health and the work of the American Red Cross, and to his general interest in the field of social work. The collection has been divided into seven series: Biographical Material and Correspondence, Presentations and Essays, Articles, Fiction Writing, Social Work Organizations, Audio Tapes and Photographs, and Other Materials.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Charities -- Michigan.
  • Child welfare.
  • Depressions -- 1929 -- Michigan.
  • Detroit (Mich.)
  • Labor -- Michigan.
  • Mental health -- Michigan.
  • Prohibition -- Michigan.
  • Public welfare -- Michigan.
  • Red Cross and Red Crescent -- Michigan.
  • Social service -- Michigan.
  • Fund raising.
  • Hospitals -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Physicians -- Michigan.
  • Nurses -- Michigan.
  • Health care -- Michigan.
  • Medicine -- Michigan.
  • African Americans -- Michigan.
  • Photographs.
  • Sound recordings.
  • Children's Fund of Michigan.
  • Norton, William J. (William John), 1883-1975.
  • Prismatic Club (Detroit, Mich.)
  • Hulbert, Henry Schoolcraft, 1869-1959.
  • American National Red Cross.
  • Children's Hospital of Michigan.
  • Cottage Hospital (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.)
  • Detroit Osteopathic Hospital.
  • Florence Crittenden Hospital.
  • Grace Hospital (Detroit, Mich.)
  • Harper Hospital.
  • Mount Carmel Mercy Hospital.
  • Oakwood Hospital (Dearborn, Mich.)
  • St. Joseph Mercy Hospital (Pontiac, Mich.)
  • St. John Hospital (Detroit, Mich.)
  • Woman's Hospital of Detroit.
  • Providence Hospital (Southfield, Mich.)
  • Sinai Hospital of Detroit.
  • Atwood, Orville E., 1880-
  • Barnard, Harry, 1906-1982.
  • Brennan, John V., 1872-1971.
  • Brown, Prentiss M. (Prentiss Marsh), 1889-1973.
  • Couzens, Frank, 1902-1950.
  • Couzens, James, 1872-1936.
  • Cowgill, Ella Lee.
  • Fitzgerald, Frank Dwight, 1885-1939.
  • Frankensteen, Richard T. (Richard Truman), 1907-1977.
  • Haber, William, 1899-1988.
  • Hilberry, Clarence Beverly, 1902-
  • Johnson, Fred.
  • Kelly, Harry F. (Harry Francis), 1895-1971.
  • Ruthven, Alexander Grant, 1882-1971.
  • Washington, Forrester B.
  • Westbrook, Lawrence, 1889-1964.
  • Williams, G. Mennen, 1911-1988.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Biographical material and correspondence [series]

Biographical Material and Correspondence includes letters from Orville Atwood, John V. Brennan, Prentiss M. Brown, Frank Couzens, James Couzens, Ella Lee Cowgill, Frank Fitzgerald, Richard T. Frankensteen, William Haber, Clarence Hillberry, Fred Johnson, Harry Kelly, Alexander Ruthven, Forrester B. Washington, Lawerence Westbrook, and G. Mennen Williams. Some other correspondents are included but most of the material concerns Norton's social work.

Box   1  
Biographical Material
Box   1  
Correspondence 1906-1975 (18 folders)
 
Presentations and essays [series]

Presentations and Essays help to document Norton's views on public relief during the depression, his interest in the improvement of mental health facilities in Michigan, and the activities of the Children's Fund of Michigan.

Box   1  
Speeches undated
Box   1  
Speeches 1932-1958 (5 folders)
Box   1  
Essays undated
Box   1  
Essays incomplete undated
Box   1  
Essays 1907-1960 (4 folders)
Box   1  
Papers presented at Acanthus and Prismatic Clubs undated
Box   1  
Papers presented at Acanthus and Prismatic Clubs 1951-1963 (3 folders)
Box   2  
Book reviews undated
Box   2  
Handwritten incomplete manuscripts undated (2 folders)
Box   2  
Manuscript on attempts to legislate prohibition in Michigan (draft) undated
Box   2  
Manuscript on the Children's Fund of Michigan (draft) undated
 
Articles [series]

Articles contain published articles authored by Norton. These further illustrate Norton's position on various social issue as well as his standing within the social work community.

Box   2  
"The Class History" in Bowdoin Orient, Brunswick Maine, Commencement Number July 7, 1905
Box   2  
"Chief Kohler of Cleveland and His Golden Rule Policy", in Outlook November 6, 1909
Box   2  
"Social Work in A Competitive World" in The Survey MidMonthly July 15, 1925
Box   2  
"Social Work Grows Up" in Survey Graphic November, 1927
Box   2  
"The Detroit Riots---and After" in Survey Graphic August, 1943
 
Fiction [series]

Fiction Writing contains plays and an unpublished novel written by Norton.

Box   2  
The Crime Wave, a play 1921
Box   2  
Mirrors of Detroit, a play 1922
Box   2  
The Millennium, a play 1923
Box   2  
The Eternal Struggle, unpublished novel undated
 
Social work organizations [series]

Social Work Organizations concerns Norton's work with various agencies in Detroit including the Children's Fund of Michigan, the Detroit chapter of the Red Cross, the Greater Detroit Hospital Fund and the Prismatic Club of Detroit. Printed reports from social agencies in Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, New York and Ohio are also included.

Box   2  
Child Welfare League 1968
 
Cincinnati Council of Social Agencies
Box   2  
Social Engineering in Cincinnati 1919
Box   2  
City Club of Chicago City Clubs of America 1922
Box   2  
Connecticut State Council of Defense Report on War Chest Practice undated
 
Detroit Chapter of the American Red Cross
Box   2  
Memoranda 1960-1972
Box   2  
Red Cross Courier 1946
Box   2  
Detroit Club 1967
Box   2  
Detroit Community Union 1920
Box   2  
Detroit Council for Youth Service 1936
Box   2  
Detroit Public Library 1965
 
Greater Detroit Hospital Fund
Box   2  
Contracts with Hospitals 1954
Box   2  
Development 1950
Box   2  
Finances 1950
Box   2  
Governing Documents 1931-1956
Box   2  
History 1949-1956
Box   2  
Hospital Facilities for Negroes 1948-1952
Box   2  
Interracial Hospital 1948-1954
Box   2  
Membership undated
Box   3  
Kansas Public Welfare April, 1920
Box   3  
McGregor Fund 1955-1972
Box   3  
Meeting Programs (Various Organizations) 1923-1964
Box   3  
Michigan Advisory Committee on Education 1936
Box   3  
Michigan Department of Mental Health Reports 1947-1961
 
Michigan Emergency Welfare Relief Commission
Box   3  
Westacres (2 folders)
Box   3  
Michigan League for Human Services 1987
Box   3  
National Conference of Social Work August 1924
Box   3  
New England Home for Little Wanders Little Wander's Advocate 1920
 
Newspaper Clippings
Box   3  
1925-1972, undated (2 folders)
Box   3  
Detroit Free Press articles concerning retarded children in Michigan 1955
Box   3  
Obituaries of W.J. Norton 1975
Box   3  
Pennsylvania Charity Organizations 1914-1921 (2 folders)
Box   3  
The Philanthropic Boards Established by John D. Rockefeller 1916
 
Prismatic Club of Detroit
Box   3  
Histories
Box   3  
Membership lists
Box   3  
Minutes 1905-1908 (2 folders)
Box   3  
Review of season and miscellaneous 1944-1945
Box   3  
Programs 1924, 1932-1972
Box   3  
Russell Sage Foundation Bulletins 1912-1916
Box   3  
Rochester NY Chamber of Commerce Solicitations Wise and Unwise 1917
Box   3  
State Conference of Charities and Corrections (Minnesota) 1919
Box   3  
Testimonial Dinner, William J. Norton: Scholarship in Social Work May 1954 (3 folders)
Box   3  
Torch Club of Detroit 1951-1972
Box   3  
University of Michigan Committee on Social Problems 1934
Box   3  
Wayne County Board of Supervisors 1936
Box   3  
Welfare League of Louisville The Community 1920
Box   3  
Calendars of Meetings and Conferences 1945-1950, 1954-1957, 1959-1960, 1964-1965
 
Audio tapes and photographs [series]

Audio Tapes and Photographs contain special format materials such as reel-to-reel and cassette tapes. Some tapes are unidentified or partially identified. Photographs of Norton at fund-raisers and other functions are included. The series also contains photos of many of the hospitals in the Detroit as well as portraits of other social activists from Detroit.

 
Audio Tapes
Box   4  
Recording of interview of Judge Phiny Marsh by Norton and Mark Beatty, re: Tracy McGregor
Box   4  
Recording of interview of James Redhouse, re: Tracy McGregor; side 2, W. J. Norton Speech to Prismatic Club, "Saga of a Foundation Executive" November 6, 1954
Box   4  
Recording of Survey Meeting
Box   4  
Unidentified (5 tapes)
 
Photographs
Box   4  
Fundraising dinners 1942-1968, undated
Box   4  
Groups 1939-1966, undated
 
Hospitals (Detroit area) undated
Box   4  
Children's Hospital
Box   4  
Cottage Hospital
Box   4  
Detroit Osteopathic Hospital
Box   4  
Florence Crittenden Hospital
 
Grace Hospital
Box   4  
Main
Box   4  
Northwestern
Box   4  
Harper Hospital
Box   4  
Jewish Hospital
Box   4  
Mount Carmel Hospital
Box   4  
Oakland Hospital
Box   4  
Providence Hospital
Box   4  
Saint Joseph Pontiac
Box   4  
Saint John's
Box   4  
Women's Hospital
Box   4  
Individuals (not Norton) undated
Box   4  
Portraits and informal photographs of Norton 1952-1964, undated
Oversize Folder   1  
Portrait of Norton undated
Oversize Folder   1  
Sketch of Norton 1937
 
Resolutions [series]

The resolutions honored the work of Norton as head of the Children's Fund of Michigan and following his death in 1975.

Oversize Folder   1  
Detroit City Council Resolution in memoriam William J. Norton 1975
Oversize Folder   1  
Michigan Senate Resolution honoring the Children's Fund of Michigan 1954
Oversize Folder   1  
Michigan Senate Resolution honoring William J. Norton 1973
Additional Descriptive Data
Related Materials

The records of the Children's Fund of Michigan are also available at the Bentley Historical Library.