Organization for Social Service, 1921-1944

RECORD GROUP: Other County Records
RECORD SERIES #: 9200.02
SERIES: Monmouth County Organization for Social Service (MCOSS), Annual Reports
DATES: 1921-1944
VOLUME: .5 cubic feet (3 volumes)


These three volumes (Accession 2008-16) were transferred to the Monmouth County Archives in December 2008 by Ellen Callahan, Collections Manager, New Jersey State Archives, which acquired them as part of an accession from the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services.

In the early 1900s, Mrs. Geraldine L. Thompson was the leading figure in the establishment of what became the Monmouth County Organization for Social Service (later called MCOSS Nursing Services).  Some of its programs are conducted currently by Monmouth County’s Division of Human Services.

Mrs. Thompson’s involvement in this field began no later than 1911, when she helped finance a survey of the operation of New Jersey’s Poor Laws in Monmouth County.  In 1912, she became the first President of the Monmouth County branch of the newly formed State Charities Aid and Prison Reform Association and in the following years, spearheaded the campaign to establish the County Tuberculosis Hospital (1914), the hiring of the first Public Health Nurse (1916), and related social welfare efforts.

In 1918, the State Charities Aid and Prison Reform Association was dissolved and its Monmouth County branch was reorganized as the Monmouth County Organization for Social Service (MCOSS).  In the same year, to provide oversight for such agencies, the New Jersey State Legislature created the State Department of Institutions and Agencies, for which Mrs. Thompson was appointed a member of the Board of Control.  In the next few years, MCOSS, headquartered in Red Bank, established many new programs and services, including a branch office in Freehold (1919), a mobile dental clinic (1920), two mental hygiene clinics (1921), a traveling Tuberculosis Clinic (1921), Baby Welfare Clinics (1921), et al.

In 1924, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial, which in 1929 was consolidated with the Rockefeller Foundation, began a five-year series of $25,000 grants to MCOSS to train social workers in the field of parent-child relationships, including psychiatric social case work students from Smith College.

MCOSS’ multi-year campaign for an old-age home for the indigent led to a resolution on September 19, 1928, of the Board of Chosen Freeholders for the construction of a “Welfare House for the Poor” (now called the John L. Montgomery Home) and the establishment of the Monmouth County Welfare Board (later renamed Monmouth County Board of Social Services [MCBSS] two months later.  The tuberculosis hospital at Allenwood, established by MCOSS in 1920, became the Geraldine L. Thompson Home for long-term care in 1968.  In addition to health facilities operated by MCOSS, a number of other health facilities affiliated with MCOSS are documented in MCOSS annual reports.

In these and other ways, by the mid-1920s, MCOSS developed a wide range of public health, parole, and welfare services.  Mrs. Thompson, who died in 1967, continued to lead the MCOSS for decades, ultimately as President Emeritus.

For additional historical information, see these documents available in the Monmouth County Archives:

Kearney, Thomas J.  “Monmouth County in the Great Depression,” Paper prepared for Rutgers University history seminar under the direction of Dr. Mark Wasserman, December 9, 1999.

McCosker, Jane.  Historical Perspectives of Social Welfare as Administered by the Monmouth County Board of Social Services.  Freehold, NJ: MCBSS, December 1986.

A Decade of Service: Health and Welfare Activities of the Monmouth County Organization for Social Service.  Red Bank, NJ: MCOSS, 1941.  Includes chronology from 1911 to 1940.  [See below].

Scope and Content

The records consist of three bound volumes:

1.  Bound volume of five MCOSS printed reports: Report, 1920-1921; Report, 1922-1923; Report, 1924-1925; Biennial Report, 1926-1927; and Biennial Report, 1928-1929.

2.  A Decade of Service: Health and Welfare Activities of the Monmouth County Organization for Social Service.  Red Bank, NJ: MCOSS, 1941.  [Ten-year report, first report issued after the one for 1928-1929.]

3.  Bound volume of three annual or multi-year MCOSS reports in typescript: 1940-1941; 1941, 1942, 1943; and 1942, 1943, 1944.

Contents of these volumes include narrative summaries; statistics; map; charts; tables; photographs (few); financial summaries; lists of clinics, committees, and boards with names of members; contributing members with amounts donated (Mrs. Thompson was a major contributor), and other types of information.

Contents of the reports vary over time.  A partial list follows:

The 1920-1921 report includes reports of the Executive Secretary; County Advisory Nurse; Auditor, County Supervisor of Child Study; Annual Report to the Monmouth County Tuberculosis Committee; Annual Report of Allenwood Sanatorium; Monmouth Memorial Hospital, Long Branch—Dispensary and Social Service Reports with Offer of Service; and Ann May Memorial Hospital, Spring Lake—Offer of Service.  The Executive Secretary’s report also conveys summaries of activities of the County Adjuster; State Mental Hygiene Clinics; State Tuberculosis Clinic, District Health Officer, Princeton Fellowship (Princeton University graduate student Marshall Thompson’s research on poor laws), Children’s Clinics, School Medical Inspection, Mobile Dental Clinic, Special Classes, Recreation, Family Welfare Work, Court Work (usually involving neglected and abused children), and cooperation with other agencies.  The first two reports include a list of contributors, with gifts ranging from $1 to $7,000; the largest contributor was Mrs. Thompson.

The 1922-1923 report, including updates to activities covered in the preceding report, provides the Report of the County Tuberculosis Nurse, Report of the County Tuberculosis Committee, School Nursing Map; Report of the Department of Family Case Work; Report of the Child Guidance Clinic; Report of the Parole Department; and report of other public and private public welfare agencies, including Bureau of Child Study; Visiting Teacher; American Red-Cross—Monmouth County Chapter; B.P.O.E. Crippled Kiddies’ Committee; Spring Lake Memorial Community House; and House Demonstration Agent.

In the 1924-1925 report, in addition to some of the same contents as above, the researcher will find reports of the Asbury Park Child Welfare Association; Keyport Red Cross Public Health Nursing Association; Long Branch Public Health Nursing Association; Long Branch Public Welfare Society; Matawan Public Health Association; Shrewsbury Child Welfare Committee; Health Department reports from State of New Jersey, Allenhurst, Deal, Ocean Grove, Asbury Park, and Long Branch; Boy Scouts of America, Monmouth County Council; and Chief Probation Officer.

The 1926-1927 report, including some of the same contents as above, prints the reports of the Public Health Department; Rural Nursing Service (Statistics, 1927); Baby Welfare Clinic; Mental Hygiene Clinic; First Grade Survey; Child Study Department; Neptune Township Welfare Association; Red Bank Public Health Nursing Association; Rumson, Sea Bright and Fairhaven, Inc. Public Health Nursing Association; Shrewsbury Child Welfare Association; West Asbury Welfare Association; Monmouth County Public Health Nurses’ Club; Monmouth County Federation – Public Health Agencies; New Jersey Congress of Parents and Teachers Monmouth County Branch; Interlaken Department of Health;

The 1928-1929 report updates news on some of the same activities as above, plus  information about the new state mental hospital at Hillsdale, Monmouth County, and the  State Board of Children’s Guardians, and reports on the Baby Clinic; Tuberculosis Supervisor; Tuberculosis Clinic Service; Ambulance; Child Study Work; Parent Education; and First Aid and Life Saving Department.

The ten-year report, A Decade of Service, covering the Great Depression period 1930-1940, a major challenge for the MCOSS due to the increased need for services, includes eight photographs and President Geraldine L. Thompson’s Letter; chronology of thirty years of service; Officers, Trustees, and Committees; and chapters pertaining to the Health and Welfare Department: Staff; Directory of Activities; Auxiliaries; Social Service Exchange; Rural Public Health Nursing Statistics; Baby and Preschool Conferences; Prenatal Clinics; School Work; Tuberculosis Program; Mental Hygiene and Parole Program; Venereal Disease Control Program; Educational Program (Nurses); Hospital Social Service; Social Security and the MCOSS; Participating Agencies; and Unsolved Health Problems.  The report concludes with Finances.

The third volume, with brief, less detailed typescript reports from the World War II era, in addition to some of the same topics covered in the above reports, documents services for the war effort under the following headings: the Monmouth County Nursing Council for War Service; Office of Civilian Defense; American Red Cross; Selective Service, for which nurses were provided to draft boards, and counselors for 117 individuals rejected for military service between June 1942 and January 1945; and Veterans Services.  Among other topics covered in these reports is the Dental Program for indigent children.


There are no restrictions on use of these records. Researchers are advised that additional records pertaining to the MCOSS may be found in the Welfare Board record series


/social services annual reports