Founded in 1908, the Social Settlement of Omaha was created to help immigrant families acclimate to American life. To participate in the settlement, at least one family member had to be employed at the Omaha Stockyards. The purpose was to teach immigrant families the duties and values of being an American citizen.
Newly digitized at History Nebraska, this collection highlights American citizenship in the first half of the 20th century in Omaha, Nebraska. Here, you can view the finding aid to the manuscript collection, which holds board meeting notes and Settlement diaries.
The Social Settlement continued to help immigrants assimilate through the Depression era. In 1926, two blocks from the settlement home was a cultural center for use by South Omaha’s African Americans. With only three permanent full-time employees, the settlement relied heavily on volunteers. In the 1930s, they had up to 43 volunteers. It was the Settlement’s dream to employ people in the working class who could act as friendly neighbors, to provide educational and recreational opportunities to immigrants of diverse backgrounds, and to encourage positive ethical lifestyles.
In addition to the manuscript collection, a newly digitized photo collection depicts the friendly demeanor of both the employees and the participants. The house continued to offer various recreational, educational, and community improvement clubs for their members, including sewing, cooking, folk dance, wood shop clubs, night school, visiting nurses, nursery school, billiards, plays, musicals, and other community activities.