Twigs, Inc. National Office records

Collection MSS151

1967-1998, undated
(1.2 Linear feet ; 3 boxes, 1 flat file)

Summary Information

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Twigs, Inc. National Office
Twigs, Inc. National Office records
1967-1998, undated
1.2 Linear feet ; 3 boxes, 1 flat file
Finding aid prepared by Katherine Kwiatkowski.
EAD encoding of this collection’s finding aid in 2020 was supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and by the Young Friends of HSP.
The Twigs mothers' club was founded in Yeadon in 1948 as "an association whose objective is to encourage and foster mental, physical, social and cultural development of the children who are members." Its eight founding members were Marion Beckett, Clara Bostic, Evelyn Brown, Margaret Carpenter, Ersula Hawkins, Frances Murray, Lillian Reid, and Mary Varleck. Today, Twigs Inc. is national in scope and sponsors a wide variety of activities within the respective communities of each chapter.

Preferred citation

Cite as: [Indicate cited item or series here], Twigs, Inc. National Office records (MSS151), Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

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Background note

On April 11, 1948, seven mothers met at the home of Clara Bostic at 51st and Ludlow Street in Philadelphia to form an organization of African American mothers and children that promoted strength, growth, and life among African American families. These eight women -- Bostic, along with Marion Beckett, Evelyn Brown, Margaret Carpenter, Ersula Hawkins, Frances Murray, Lillian Reid, and Mary Varleck -- wanted to offer their children and families a richer array of cultural, educational, and social opportunities than what they could each provide alone. The name, suggested by one of the original members, was meant to convey that as twigs depend on the tree's trunk and larger branches for growth, so do children rely upon the care of parents and the larger community.

So began the Twigs, with its core group of mothers and their fourteen children. There was a dollar enrollment fee, and fifty cents dues per family. Activities planned in 1948 included speakers, boat rides, parties, and a rummage sale. The Twig constitution was adopted in June of 1949.

The branches of Twigs grew considerably after the birth of the organization, and it incorporated in March of 1967 with three active chapters: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Trenton, New Jersey; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Other chapters joined to participate in ski trips, community service work in neighboring communities, graduation parties, educational forums, and cultural excursions. Each Twig chapter consists of four age groups: Young (nursery through grade two); Junior (grades three through five); Intermediate (grades six through eight); and Teen (grades nine through twelve). Intermediate and Teen groups elected officers and participated in planning their monthly activities, while parents of the younger groups met in the summer to establish an activity calendar throughout the Twig year (September through June).

The core objective to provide opportunities for African American families to “work, play, and serve together” (the Twig motto) remained constant. The scope of the organization grew on local and national levels, with numerous standing committees, and annual college scholarship fundraisers for non-Twig minority high school graduates.

Twig alumni include well-known Philadelphia figures, such as Common Pleas Court Judge Frederica Massiah-Jackson and sportscaster Ukee Washington.

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Scope and content

These materials span the years 1973 to 1998, and consist of office files from the Twigs national office and some material from various chapters. For this reason, the collection is only one record series - Series I: General Office Files. Material from standing committees, national and chapter agendas and minutes, the Twig constitution and bylaws, national and chapter directories, correspondence between the national office and chapters, and reports from local chapters to the national office can be found within this collection. Court documents and correspondence concerning the demise of the King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and Trenton, New Jersey, chapters can also be found here.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Historical Society of Pennsylvania 2000

1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107

Access restrictions

None. The collection is open for research.


Gift of Margaret Palmer, 1986.

Accession number M86-06.

Processing note

Finding aid reformatted by Lindsey Schwartz, 2020.

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Related Materials

Related materials

At the Historical Society of Pennsylvania:

Twigs, Inc. Marlton, New Jersey Chapter records (MSS 152)

Twigs, Inc. North Montgomery County (Pa.) Chapter photograph (PG379)

Twigs, Inc. North Montgomery County (Pa.) Chapter records (MSS153)

Twigs, Inc. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Chapter photographs (PG382)

Twigs, Inc. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Chapter records (MSS154)

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Palmer, Margaret


  • African American families -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia.
  • African American families.
  • African Americans--New Jersey--Societies, etc.
  • African Americans--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--Societies, etc.
  • African Americans--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.
  • African Americans--Pennsylvania--Societies, etc.
  • African Americans--Societies, etc.
  • African Americans.
  • Social life and customs--Philadelphia (Pa.)--20th century

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Collection Inventory

 Series I:  General office files (1973-1998, undated) 

Box Folder

Activities and events (1974-1998, undated) 

1 1

Amenities Committee (1982) 

1 2

Bylaws (1975-1994, undated) 

1 3

Bylaws committee (1979) 

1 4

Chapter agendas, minutes, and notices (1974-1981) 

1 5

Chapter installations and formations (1974-1982, undated) 

1 6

Conclave: general information (1974-1998) 

1 7

Constitution (1976, undated) 

1 8

Constitution committee (1981-1984, undated) 

1 9

Correspondence (1973-1983) 

1 10-12

Correspondence (1984-1994) 

2 1

Court documents (1982-1984) 

2 2

Directories (1973-1996, undated) 

2 3-5

Executive board- general information (1994, undated) 

2 6

Finances (1967-1983) 

2 7-8

Fundraising committee (1979-1997) 

2 9

History committee (1974-1984, undated) 

2 10

National agendas and minutes (1973-1979) 

2 11-12

National agendas and minutes (1980-1997) 

3 1-3

Newsletter (1974-1997) 

3 4

Nomination committee (1982-1984, undated) 

3 5

Presentation boards (circa 1985) 

Flat file 1
Box Folder

Procedure manuals and parliamentary procedures (1974-1996, undated) 

3 6

Publicity committee (1980-1998, undated) 

3 7

Reports and surveys (1973-1997, undated) 

3 8-11

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