University of Chicago Library

Commission on Race and Housing. Records 1955-1958

© 2006 University of Chicago Library


Descriptive Summary


Commission on Race and Housing. Records




1.5 linear feet (3 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


The Commission on Race and Housing Papers contain the reports of the Commission, which was an independent, citizens' group formed in 1955 for the purpose of inquiring into problems of residence and housing involving racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States.

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When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Commission on Race and Housing. Records, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Historical Note

The Commission on Race and Housing was an independent, citizens' group formed in 1955 for the purpose of inquiring into problems of residence and housing involving racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States. Members of the Commission served in their individual capacities and not as representatives of any business or other organization.

As originally constituted, the Commission comprised the following seventeen members:

Gordon W. Allport

Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Elliott V. Bell

Chariman of the Executive Committee and Director, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company; Editor and Publisher, Business Week, New York.

Laird Bell

Attorney: Bell, Boyd, Marshall and Lloyd, Chicago.

Reverend John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C.

Director, University of Notre Dame Foundation, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Peter Grimm

Chairman of the Board and Director, William A. White and Sons, New York.

Charles S. Johnson

President, Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee.

Charles Keller, Jr.

President, Keller Construction Corporation, New Orleans, Louisiana

Clark Kerr

President, University of California, Berkeley.

Philip M. Klutznick

Chairman of the Board, American Community Builders, Inc., Park Forest, Illinois.

Henry R. Luce

Editor-in-Chief, Time, Life, Fortune, Architectural Forum, House and Home, and Sports Illustrated, New York.

Stanley Marcus

President, Neiman-Marcus, Dallas, Texas.

Harold C. McClellan

President, Old Colony Paint and Chemical Company, Los Angeles.

Ward Melville

President, Melville Shoe Corporation, New York.

Francis T. P. Plimpton

Attorney: Debevoise, Plimpton and McLean, New York.

R. Stewart Rauch, Jr.

President, The Philadelphia Saving Fund Society, Philadelphia.

Robert R. Taylor

Secretary and Executive Director, Illinois Federal Savings and Loan Association, Chicago.

Earl B. Schwulst, Chairman

President and Chairman of the Board, The Bowery Savings Bank, New York.

Mr. McClellan resigned from the Commission following his appointment as Assistant Secretary of Commerce in 1955. Dr. Johnson and Mr. Taylor died before the Commission completed its work. To fill these vacancies the following accepted appointment to the Commission:

Henry Dreyfuss

Industrial Designer, South Pasadena, California, and New York.

Col. Campbell C. Johnson

Assistant to the Director, Selective Service System, Washington, D.C.

John H. Wheeler

President, Mechanics and Farmers Bank, Durham, North Carolina.

The Commission's inquiries extended over a period of three years, from 1955 to 1958. It was the purpose of the Commission to conduct an impartial study comprehending the all-important aspects of the subject and conforming to the highest standards of scientific research. All members of the Commission accepted appointment with that understanding, and also on the basis that they would be entirely free, individually and as a body, to draw such conclusions from the study as they considered warranted.

The work of the Commission was made possible, financially, by grants from The Fund for the Republic, Inc. The Fund's participation was limited to financial assistance, and it was not in any way otherwise responsible for the studies carried out for the Commission or for its conclusions. In the conduct of its studies and in reaching its conclusions, the Commission on Race and Housing functioned with complete independence.

The research for the Commission was directed by Davis McEntire, Professor of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley. Social scientists at a dozen universities, including Atlanta, California, Chicago, Columbia, Fisk, Howard, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wayne, cooperated in various phases of the inquiry. Expert advice on the planning and evaluation of studies was given by the Research Advisory Committee: Stuart W. Cook, Head of the Department of Psychology, Graduate School of Arts and Science, New York University; Robert K. Merton, Chairman, Department of Sociology, Columbia University; Robert C. Weaver, Administrator, Temporary State Housing Rent Commission, New York; and Messrs. Allport, Rauch, and Schwulst of the Commission. Dr. Charles S. Johnson also served on the Research Advisory Committee until his death in November 1956.

The focus of research undertaken for the Commission was on the problem of inequality of housing opportunity connected with minority group status, both in general and with specific reference to four groups: Negroes, Puerto Ricans, Mexican-Americans, and Orientals. Studies examined the housing conditions of these groups, factors limiting their housing opportunities, aspects of the housing market--including the demand for housing in racially mixed areas and the effects of minority residence on property values, the social and economic consequences of racial segregation, experience with non-segregated housing, the role of government and law, and other subjects.

In addition to information collected on a nation-wide basis, field studies were conducted in New England, the Middle Atlantic States, the Southeast, the Southwest, the Middle West, and the Pacific Coast. Emphasis has been on the larger metropolitan areas, where housing problems involving minority groups have come most urgently to public attention.

A comprehensive Report of the research findings, entitled Residence and Race, by Davis McEntire, appeared in 1959. Supplementary to this comprehensive Report, some thirty special studies and research memoranda were prepared for the consideration of the Commission. Some of these have been previously published; others will be published or otherwise made available for the information of those who may be interested in the specific subjects.

Scope Note

The Commission on Race and Housing Papers contains the Reports of the Commission, which was an independent, citizens' group formed in 1955 for the purpose of inquiring into problems of residence and housing involving racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States.

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Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1

Where Shall We Live? Folder of the Commission on Race and Housing.

Box 1   Folder 2

Maps (of minority group residence in selected cities).

Box 1   Folder 3

Grier, Eunice and George, The Professional Intergroup Relations Worker and Minority Housing Problems.

Box 1   Folder 4

LaViolette, Forrest E. and Joseph T. Taylor, Negro Housing in New Orleans.

Box 1   Folder 5

Laurenti, Luigi, Patterns of Race and Price in the Real Estate Market.

Box 1   Folder 6

McEntire, Davis, et al., Housing Problems of Minority Groups in the United States.

Box 1   Folder 7

Grier, Eunice and George, Case Studies in Privately Developed Interracial Housing.

Box 1   Folder 8

McEntire, Davis, et al., The Housing of Puerto Ricans in New York City.

Box 1   Folder 9

Research Progress Folder and Discussion Memoranda for the meeting of the Commission on Race and Housing, April 25, 1957

Box 2   Folder 1

Laurenti, Luigi, Property Values and Race: Studies in Seven Cities.

Box 2   Folder 2

Mayer, Albert, Russel Woods: Change without Conflict.

Box 2   Folder 3

Rapkin, Chester, Abstract of the Demand for Housing in Racially Mixed Areas: a Philadelphia Study.

Box 2   Folder 4

McEntire, Davis, et al., Southern Approaches to Housing for Negroes: A Comparative Study of Atlanta and Birmingham

Box 2   Folder 5

Helper, Rose. The Role of the Real Estate Business In Minority Group Housing.

Box 2   Folder 6

Case, Fred E. and R. Clay Sprowls. The Housing Status of Mexican-American Families Living in Central Los Angeles, 1956.

Box 2   Folder 7

Grier, Eunice and George. Privately Developed Interracial Housing.

Box 2   Folder 8


Box 3   Folder 1

Goldner, William. The Marketing of New Housing to Negroes: Recent Experience.

Box 3   Folder 2

State of Connecticut Commission on Civil Rights. Private Interracial Neighborhoods in Connecticut.

Box 3   Folder 3

Stetler, Henry G. Racial Integration in Private Residential Neighborhoods in Connecticut.

Box 3   Folder 4

Housing and Minorities. Final Folder to the Commission on Race and Housing. Chapters 1, 2, and 3.

Box 3   Folder 5

Housing and Minorities. Chapters 7, 9, and 10.

Box 3   Folder 6

Housing and Minorities. Chapters 9 and 10.

Box 3   Folder 7

Housing and Minorities. Chapter 12.

Box 3   Folder 8

Housing and Minorities. Chapters 13, 15, 18, 19, and 20.

Box 3   Folder 9

Housing and Minorities. Chapter 19.