Guide to the Swabian Beneficial Society Records, 1885-1959 AIS.1976.05

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Swabian Beneficial Society Records
Creator
Swabian Beneficial Society (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
Collection Number
AIS.1976.05
Date
1885-1959
Extent
6.25 linear feet (5 boxes)
Abstract
The Swabian Beneficial Society was officially founded in 1886 to provide health insurance and life insurance to members, all of whom had emigrated from the duchy of Swabia in present-day southwestern Germany or were Swabian descendents. The Society also functioned as a social club. The Society's records include minute books, financial records, and membership information from its inception until 1959.

Preferred Citation

Swabian Beneficial Society Records, 1885-1959, AIS.1976.05, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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History

On July 1, 1886, some Swabian immigrants living in Allegheny County met at David Bauman's newspaper office to create the "Schwaebischer-Kranken-Unterstuetzungs-Verein von Allegheny County." The membership of the Swabian Sick Person's Support Society was limited to Swabian immigrants and their descendents. Swabia, or Schwaben, is an area of Germany in present-day southern Baden-Wuerttemberg and southwestern Bavaria. The Society's acted as an insurance company, paying benefits to members in good standing if they were too ill to work, or to their families in case of death. Around 1891, the Society's name changed to the "Schwaebischer-Unterstuetzungs-Verein von Allegheny County", emphasizing the supporting mission of the group and removing wording about illness. In 1917, a merger united the Swabian Relief Society of Allegheny County and the Swabian Beneficial Society. At this time the name of the society changed to the Swabian Beneficial Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The Society was dissolved in 1973.

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Scope and Content Notes

The records of the Swabian Beneficial Society give a fairly complete overview of the workings of the society from its inception in 1885 until about 1959. There are virtually no records for the 1960s and 70s. The records consist primarily of minute books, financial ledgers, and membership information. This collection is organized into four series: Governance, Finances, Membership, and Artifacts. Detailed descriptions of the records are given below at the series level.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, 1976

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. Kurt Nestel in 1976.

Processing Information

This collection was partially processed in 1976.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Amy Shaffer in April 2004. Information about the collection title and the controlled access terms was extracted from the MARC record in the University of Pittsburgh catalog Voyager ID number: 1426852

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Swabian Beneficial Society (Pittsburgh, Pa.).

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pittsburgh (Pa.) -- Genealogy

Subject(s)

  • Associations
  • Ethnic groups
  • German Americans -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Societies

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Previous Citation

Swabian Beneficial Society Records,1885-1959,AIS.1976.05,Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Swabian Beneficial Society. Records, 1885-1952, AIS 76:5, Archives of Industrial Society, University Library System, University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

Series  I. Governance 

Scope and Content Notes

Series I focuses on information about the governance of the Swabian Beneficial Society, and includes copies of its constitution, by-laws and amendments and the proceedings of the Society recorded in minute books. The minutes are all handwritten, and they are in German script until 1937. This series also has a few physician's certificates verifying illness or death, some blotter cards, blank letterhead stationary, a membership card, and a letter referring to the dissolution of the Swabian Beneficial Society in 1973.

  BoxFolder
Constitution and By-Law Booklets, Constitutional Amendments, and Letter about Dissolution 11
  Folder
Physician's Certificates and Miscellany 2
  Volume
Minute Books, 1886-1904 1
  Volume
Minute Books, 1904-1908 2
  Volume
Minute Books, 1908-1913 3
  Volume
Minute Books, 1911-1916 4
  Volume
Minute Books, 1933-1940 5
  Volume
Minute Books, 1940-1959 6

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Series  II. Finances 

Scope and Content Notes

Series II. contains ledgers with monthly income and expenses, unbound financial statements, business correspondence and receipts are found in the second series. The ledgers and monthly financial statements contain information about income from new member dues, cash register receipts from a bar, and rent, and about operating expenses and benefit payments for members' claims. The ledgers are written in German and English, with English predominating after the 1940s. There are also inventories of the alcohol kept in stock during the 1950s, a book of receipts, and two books of $100 bonds bought by members and organizations. The Director's Meeting book records minutes from executive committee meetings, which almost exclusively deal with financial matters.

  BoxFolder
Financial Statements and Business Correspondence, 1925-1956 21
  Folder
Liquor Inventories, 1951 and 1957 2
  Folder
Real Estate Receipts, 1937-1940 3
  Volume
Receipt Book, 1903-1935 1
  Volume
Financial Statement Ledger, 1917-1928 2
  Volume
Financial Statement Ledger, 1923-1959    (oversize) 3
  Volume
Financial Statement Ledger, 1935-1941 4
  Volume
Financial Statement Ledger, 1941-1943 5
  Volume
Financial Statement Ledger, 1948-1952 6
  Volume
Financial Statement Ledger, 1952-1956 7
  Volume
Directors Meeting Book, 1934-40 8
  Volume
Bond Books, 1949-1955 9-10

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Series  III. Membership 

Scope and Content Notes

Series III contains membership information, including membership applications and dues ledgers. There is a little-used members address book. There are two large bound books that record regular membership applications and about 500 loose applications for passive membership in the Swabian Beneficial Society. Membership records give members' names and addresses, and sometimes also include their age, place of birth, and occupation. Additionally, there are 29 small hardcover passbooks that belonged to individual members in which their dues payments were recorded.

  Volume
Members' Personal Dues Passbooks, 1905-1943 11-39
  BoxVolume
Members Address Book, 1896 31
  Volume
Membership Application Books, 1885-1925 2
  Volume
Membership Application Books, 1925-1952 3
  Volume
Extra Assessment and Passive Membership Ledger, 1941-1942 4
  Volume
Passive Members Ledger, 1942-1947 5
  Volume
Membership Dues Ledger, 1902-1916 6
  Volume
Membership Dues Ledger, 1923-1926 7
  Volume
Membership Dues Ledger, 1926-1930 8
  Volume
Membership Dues Ledger, 1930-1933 9
  Volume
Membership Dues Ledger, 1934-1940 10
  Volume
Membership Dues Ledger, 1941-1946 11
  BoxFolder
Passive Membership Applications, 1938-1949 41-3
  Folder
Membership Notecards, 1948-1952 5

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Series  IV. Artifacts 

Scope and Content Notes

Series IV contains two artifact items related to the Swabian Beneficial Society. There are 33 small, lightweight silver token coins with the letters "S.U.V." on both sides. There is also an embroidered banner about 6 feet long and 4 feet wide edged with metal fringe. The front of the banner is black on top and red on the bottom and reads "Schwaebischer Unterstuetzungs Verein Pittsburgh and Allegheny PA." There is a coat of arms in the middle that shows a lion and a deer holding a shield, and the text on the ribbon beneath it says "furchtlos und treu" which means fearless and loyal. The reverse of the banner is royal blue and says "Founded the 5th of June, 1884."

  Folder
Token Coins Marked S.U.V. 6
  BoxFolder
Embroidered Society Banner 51

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