Table of Contents

Descriptive Summary

Administrative Information

Biographical Note

Scope & Content Note

Organization & Arrangement

Index Terms

Related Items

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Series Arrangement & Description

Series 1: Y. M. C. A.

Series 2: T. O. P.

Series 3: Other Organization Materials

Series 4: Publications

Series 5: Newspaper Clippings

Series 6: Photographs & Oversized Materials

Container Listing
Plainfield Public Library

Marjorie Patterson Papers, 1947-1999.

Patterson
Marjorie Patterson, 1963.

Finding aid written and encoded by Sarah Hull in May 2011;
processed in 2011 by Sarah Hull.


Descriptive Summary

Title: Marjorie Patterson Papers, 1947-1999.
Creator: Marjorie Patterson
Accessions: PPL-2011-013
Size: .5 linear feet of records
Repository: Plainfield Public Library, Local History Department, 800 Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060
Abstract: The personal papers of Marjorie Patterson document her work with the Plainfield Area YMCA, including the Moorland Branch, and the Tenants Organization of Plainfield. Record types include organizational minutes, committee reports, programming plans, letters and cards, ephemera, newspaper clippings, publications, and photographs.
Language: The records are in English.

Administrative Information
Access & Restrictions

The Marjorie Patterson Papers are available for research.

Access is restricted to materials prepared by the Local History department staff. All materials must be viewed in the Plainfield Room and may not be removed to another area of the library without permission of the Library Director or designee. Materials must be handled carefully and kept in order. Materials must not be leaned upon, altered, folded, ripped, or traced upon. Marks may not be added or erased from materials. Materials must be returned directly to Local History department staff and inspected before the researcher leaves the Plainfield Room.

One photocopy may be made (by Plainfield Public Library staff) of each document for the purpose of research; official Local History departmental reproduction fees may apply. Permission to publish must be obtained by the Plainfield Public Library Board of Trustees as delegated to the Library Director. Permission to publish does not constitute a copyright clearance. The researcher is responsible for further copyright restrictions. The Plainfield Public Library is not responsible for the misuse of copyrighted material.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item; Date (if noted); "Marjorie Patterson Papers,” Box and Folder Number; Local History Department, Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield, New Jersey.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated in 2011 by Marjorie Patterson.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Sarah Hull in 2011. The finding aid was written and encoded by Sarah Hull in 2011. Finding aid content follows the guidelines suggested by Describing Archives: A Content Standard.

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Biographical Note

Marjorie Patterson worked at the Plainfield Area YMCA from 1947 until her retirement in 1987. She dedicated her life to helping the youth and underprivileged community of Plainfield.  Her first years with the YMCA were spent as a program aide at the Moorland Branch - known as the “Black Y”. She spent many lunch hours “sitting in” at restaurants where blacks were refused service. She often met the director of the local NAACP branch for lunch (or lack of it). Because the Moorland Y had to raise its own money, she became an extraordinary fundraiser. As quoted in a newspaper interview, Marjorie said. “we had two bowling alleys, and when money was needed, we’d organize a tournament. We had suppers and dinners…everybody helped out.” She was called the “Pied Piper of Teenagers” when she led forums and training for young people. The Royal Banquets of the Hi-Y and Tri-Hi-Y Council for area youth that she helped to organize became an annual tradition in which teenagers from seven local communities were recognized for leadership.

Marjorie Patterson served the YMCA in leadership roles on numerous regional boards, the national council and several task forces.  She directed day camping for two years, worked with young adult, junior high school and grade school groups. She directed the teenage program for ten years.  In 1966, Marge was chosen as one of the 21 American leaders to give guidance to an international YMCA teenage conference in Norway.  In 1968, she was promoted to Youth Executive of the Association.  She was instrumental in forming the Women’s Auxiliary, Moorland Players, Youth and Youth Adult Clubs, Semper Fidelis, and Mixmasters.

On March 10, 1973, a surprise testimonial dinner was given in her honor to pay tribute for her years of outstanding community service.  An assembly of over 175 of her friends and colleagues attended the event.  Despite her significant contributions and service to the community, she was still paid less than what the City of Plainfield paid a starting policeman, and $2,500 to $3,500 less in salary than other Plainfield YMCA executives.  In February 1986, Marjorie was named “Citizen of the Year” by the Union County Association of Black Social Workers. 

She served on Plainfield’s Human Relations Commission for 13 years, and was chairperson and president of the Tenants Organization of Plainfield, and an officer with the local NAACP chapter. She was a member of Camp Crusade, the Community Welfare Council, Union County Welfare Advisory Board, and United Community Services. Her dedication and willingness to aid Plainfield’s youth and community earned her the heart-felt nickname of “Plainfield’s Little Dynamo.” 

[Source: Box 1 Folder 18]

 

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Scope and Content Note

The personal papers of Marjorie Patterson include a variety of material dating from 1947 to 1999, with bulk dates from 1971 to 1979.  The collection documents her work with the Plainfield Area YMCA, beginning with the Moorland Y; and later, the Tenants Organization of Plainfield (TOP).  Record types include organizational minutes, committee reports, programming plans, letters and cards, ephemera, newspaper clippings, publications, and photographs.

Moorland Y materials are limited and include organizational records about programs; there are also several photographs. Plainfield Area YMCA materials document various youth, after-school and summer programs, including Camp Tamenend. There are items regarding the Youth Legislature and Youth Leader Royal Banquet, YMCA Mid-Atlantic Region meetings, and YMCA Executive Committee meetings. There is a letter regarding the 1967 Plainfield Riots and later items about criminal justice planning.

There is a scrapbook of documents and photographs regarding the 1973 and 1983 dinners held in her honor, as well as photographs of a Black United Fund march in 1999.

Also included are several publications, both Y-related and unrelated, as well as newspaper clippings about the YMCA, Plainfield, and Marjorie herself.

 

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Organization and Arrangement

The Marjorie Patterson Papers are arranged into six series:

Series 1: Plainfield Area YMCA (includes the Moorland Branch YMCA)
Series 2: The Tenants Organization of Plainfield
Series 3: Other organization materials
Series 4: Publications (non-YMCA)
Series 5: Newspaper Clippings (non YMCA)
Series 6: Photographs and oversized materials

 

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Index Terms

People:

Lambert, Margaret
Lambert, Thelma
Patterson, Marjorie

Organizations:

Moorland Branch YMCA
Plainfield Area YMCA

Places:

Plainfield (N.J.)

Subjects:

African Americans --History
Children and youth organizations
Moorland Branch YMCA (Plainfield, N.J.)--History
Plainfield (N.J.)--Clubs and organizations
Plainfield (N.J.)--History
Young Men's Christian associations (Plainfield, N.J.)--History


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Related Items
Collections:
The Records of the Y.M.C.A. of Plainfield, N.J, part of the Local Clubs & Organizations Collection at Plainfield Public Library.

Books:
PR 267.3 CEN, Developmental study of the Plainfield Y.M.C.A. / Central Atlantic Area Council of YMCAs (Newark, N.J.).

PR 267.3 FOR, A forward movement to meet a civic need : a jubilee gift to the young men and boys of Plainfield and vicinity, 1867-1917.

PR 267.3 JOH, A history of the Moorland branch Y.M.C.A. of Plainfield, New Jersey / Frederick A. Johnson.

PR 267.3 PLA 1963/1976, Plainfield Area Y.M.C.A. HI-Y-TRI-HI-Y Council recognition of youth as leaders royal banquet.

PR 267.3 PLA 1977/1982
, Plainfield Area Y.M.C.A. HI-Y-TRI-HI-Y Council recognition of youth as leaders royal banquet.

797.2 ON 1, On the guard : the YMCA lifeguard manual / Marjorie M. Murphy.

 

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection consists of paper documents and photographs that do not require any additional technology for access.

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Series Description

Series 1: Plainfield Area YMCA [1947-1980]

Y.M.C.A. Moorland Branch

The first YMCA in the world to serve African Americans was established in Washington DC in 1853; the principal founder was a freed man named Anthony Bowen.  Although interest in starting an Association for African-American youth in Plainfield surfaced in 1894, it did not occur until 1923 with the creation of the Moorland Branch of the YMCA - the “Black Y.”  Also known as the Moorland Y, the branch was located on the old Hope Chapel property when it was purchased in 1926.  The Central Y set a three-month test period to determine whether this new branch could obtain public support. The Moorland building campaign was led and championed by Dr. A. L. Thompson, Sr., a prominent African-American dentist in Plainfield. A group of citizens from the Black community financed and paid all expenses to establish the branch.  At that time in Plainfield, the African American population was approximately 2,800.  At the end of that three-month period, Moorland membership grew to 150, and the branch officially became a part of the YMCA and began to receive financial support from the Central Branch.  It is believed to have been named after Dr. Jesse E. Mooreland (despite the different spelling), the first paid executive of the first Black YMCA in DC.* 

On the evening of September 7, 1955, a fire broke out and by morning the Moorland Y had burned to the ground.  It was a devastating blow to the community which had built it – many with their own hands.  Some of the leadership in the African-American community felt the branch should not be rebuilt because it aided in the segregation of the Plainfield community.  This sentiment was supported by the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  After much controversy, it was ultimately decided that the Moorland branch would not be reconstructed.  Instead, a new policy of full integration into the Plainfield Area YMCA came into effect.  Both the staff and membership of the Moorland Y were merged into those of the central Y in October 1956.

*For more historical information about the Moorland Branch, please refer to PR 267.3 JOH “History of Plainfield Moorland Branch YMCA, 1923-1955.”

MoorlandBowling1956
Moorland bowling team, 1956.

Series Arrangement

Series 1 is arranged chronologically by subject, and fills 18 folders. Scrapbook contents were originally housed in a sticky album. All photographs are included with Series 6: Photographs.

Description

This series contains an award certificate, annual reports, membership drive materials, committee and division reports, letters, and ephemera. There are materials related to: the Moorland Branch, summer programs such as Camp Tamenend and the Vacation Club, the Youth Programs Committee, management operating goals and program objectives, funding proposals, the Youth Leader and Royal Banquet event, and Regional and Executive Committee meetings. 

It is composed solely of paper documents (handwritten and typed) and photographs.

 

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Series 2: The Tenants Organization of Plainfield [1985-1987]

The TOP was organized in 1985 as a result of unfair rent levels and gauging (with increases as high as 30%) in the City of Plainfield. The group strove to establish a Fair Rent Commission and to create a process for rent mediation by the City Council. The association addressed a need for tenant protection and rent stabilization, as 50% of Plainfield residents were renters in need of municipal protection. The TOP helped to organize and educate tenants about their rights regarding security deposits, code violations, and rent increases. Marjorie was chairperson in 1985-1986 and president in 1987.

Series Arrangement

Series 2 is arranged by date and fills one folder.

Description

This series contains materials related to the Tenants Organization of Plainfield or T.O.P. including committee meeting minutes, a letter, and a working draft of an ordinance for the establishment of a Fair Rent Commission in Plainfield. It is composed solely of paper documents.

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Series 3: Other materials [1972, 1988, undated]

Series Arrangement

Series 3 is predominantly arranged by date, and fills one folder.

Description

This series contains materials not related to either the YMCA or the TOP. These few items include minutes from the Community EOP (Educational Opportunity Fund Program) Advisory Board meeting, an invitation to the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition awards reception, an excerpt from an untitled and undated story, and an undated excerpt from an address delivered by Mr. Bola Ige. There is also a printed brochure from the IDS Center in Minneapolis and an undated, unidentified photograph taken on a street in Canada.

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Series 4: Publications [1993, undated]

Series Arrangement

Series 4 is arranged by title and fills two folders.

Description

This series contains non-YMCA publications. It is composed solely of paper documents.

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Series 5: Newspaper Clippings [1963-1998, undated]

Series Arrangement

Series 5 is arranged chronologically by subject, and fills three folders – one is stored with oversized materials. There is also a folder of YMCA-related clippings included in Series 1, Folder 18.

Description

This series contains newspaper clippings regarding the City of Plainfield and Marjorie Patterson. Clippings about the YMCA are held in series 1. 

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Series 6: Photographs and oversized materials [1973 - 1999, undated]

Lambert Sisters
Lambert Sisters, circa 1940s

Series Arrangement

Series 6 is arranged by subject, and fills six folders.

Description

Series 6 contains black and white and color photographs from the Moorland Y, the 1973 Testimonial Dinner, and a 1999 Black United Fund march. Some items are undated, but were taken prior to 1973. There is an oversized paper photocopy of a photo collage from the 1973 National Conference of Black and Non-White YMCA Laymen and Staff.  It is composed solely of photographs and paper documents.

 

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Container Listing

Series 1: Plainfield Area YMCA [1947-1980]

Box Folder Title Dates
1 1 100 Voice Community Choral Club program June 1947
  2 Celebratory cards Circa 1973
  3 Executive Committee Meeting Sept. 16, 1978
  4 Mid-Atlantic Region 1980
  5 Mid-Atlantic Region YMCA’s directory and staff roster 1977-1978
  6 Miscellaneous 1963, 1977, undated
  7 Moorland Branch 1947-1957
  8 Plainfield riots / criminal justice planning 1967, 1972-1975
  9 Programming (Camp Tamenend) 1975-1977
  10 Publication, “I want to be free: a study guide for the World Youth Conference at Stavanger” (Norway) 1966
  11 Publication. “National Board of YMCAs Monday” newsletters 1979-1980
  12 Publication. “The New Hi-Y Manual” 1960
  13 Publication. “Selected Black Leaders of the YMCA, 1853-1978. 1978
  14 Testimonial dinner scrapbook. Page 1- Event Program. March 30, 1973
  15 Testimonial dinner scrapbook. Pages 2-10. March 30, 1973
  16 Youth Leaders Royal Banquet 1971-1975
  17 Youth Legislature 1979
  18 YMCA newspaper clippings 1967-1978, undated

Series 2: The Tenants Organization of Plainfield [1985-1987]

Box Folder Title Dates
1 19 Tenants Organization of Plainfield 1985-1987

Series 3: Other materials [1972, 1988, undated]

Box Folder Title Dates
1 20 Other materials 1972,1988, undated

Series 4: Publications [1993, undated]

Box Folder Title Dates
1 21 “Are parents worrying about the wrong things?” Undated
  22 “Voices,” published by Women of Color International. March 1993

Series 5: Newspaper Clippings [1963-1998, undated]

Box Folder Title Dates
1 23 City of Plainfield 1970-1998
  24 Marjorie Patterson 1963-1987

Series 6: Photographs and oversized* materials [1973 - 1999, undated]

Box Folder Title Dates
1 25 Black United Fund march September 1999
  26 Patterson Dinner September 13, 1987
  27 Testimonial Dinner March 30, 1973
  28 Testimonial Dinner photo album March 30, 1973
  29 Unidentified panoramic photograph (YMCA?) Undated
  30 YMCA 1940s, 1956, 1963, undated (pre-1973)
  31 Oversize - National Conference of Black and Non-White YMCA Laymen and Staff. (visual materials - map case) 1973
  32** Oversize - Dr. Martin Luther King, special issue of “The Voice” (newspaper) May 8, 1971
  33** Oversize - "Plainfield Today," Vol 3, Issue 33 (newspaper) July 10, 1986
  34** Oversize - Testimonial Dinner issue, "The Voice" (newspaper) April 11, 1973

**These oversized items are housed together with Plainfield Newspapers [Row 12A].

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