Savannah Benevolent Association records
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Savannah Benevolent Association records

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Savannah Benevolent Association (Savannah, Ga.)
Title: Savannah Benevolent Association records
Dates: 1854-2008
Extent: 4.0 cubic feet (8 boxes)
Identification: MS 1645

Biographical/Historical Note

The Savannah Benevolent Association was organized September 12, 1854, in response to the yellow fever epidemic which swept the city, for the purpose of the relief of the sick and indigent in the city of Savannah, Georgia during the prevalence of epidemics, or in case of sudden emergencies. The city was divided into ten wards with each member responsible for the activity within his assigned ward. Membership in the Association was by election with a limit of thirty, later forty, active members. During periods of epidemics, the members met to report on the new cases of disease, the number of dead and discharged, and to coordinate efforts to allocate food, medicine, coffins and burial services throughout the city. The Savannah Benevolent Association evolved over time to become a charitable organization, granting financial gifts to human service organizations in Savannah.

Scope and Content Note

Materials document the relief efforts of the Savannah Benevolent Association. Minutes are bound with financial and administrative information in six books from September 13, 1854 through August 2, 1971. Minutes for the years 1971 to 1976 are filed in two folders. The Organizational files are divided in to five sub-categories: General, Financial, Membership, Leadership, and Correspondence. General files contain historical information about the organization, including three tablets in which John Screven wrote the history of the Association. They also contain the charter and bylaws of the organization as well as material about the relationship of the Savannah Benevolent Association to the welfare community. Financial files contain information about the organization's investments, contributions, and donations received, as well as receipts and treasurer's bonds. Membership files contain a roll book from 1860 to 2008, lists of active members (1940-1969), excuses for absences, letters of invitation to membership, and resignations. Leadership files contain information about committees, officers and directors or the organization. Correspondence consists of a letter book spanning the years 1889-1896 which contains copies of election notices as well as correspondence and a file of miscellaneous correspondence spanning the years 1930-1984. Additionally there are several publications associated with the Savannah Benevolent Association included in the collection and at table of 1876 Yellow Fever cases in Savannah.

Index Terms

Associations, institutions, etc.--Georgia--Savannah.
Bylaws (administrative records)
Financial records.
Letter books.
Letters (correspondence)
Membership lists.
Minutes (administrative records)
Savannah (Ga.)--Social life and customs.
Savannah Benevolent Association (Savannah, Ga.)
Yellow fever--Georgia--Savannah.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

Material was acquired from creator.

Preferred Citation

[item identification], Savannah Benevolent Association records, MS 1645, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Savannah Benevolent Association, 1999.


Further accruals are expected.


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society 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 by the researcher.


Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List



1Minute books, 1854-1949 (3 volumes.)


2Minute books, 1950-1976 (3 volumes and 2 folders.)


3Organizational files including charter, agendas, bylaws, minutes, and organizational history


4Financial reports for contributions and donations, 1929-1979


5Financial reports for investments (1932-1984), receipts (1932-1970), reports, and treasurer's bond


6Membership records, 1930-1969
including memorials, new member information, resignation, leadership committees, and officers.


7Correspondence, letter book and individual letters, 1889-1984
Also includes publications:

Savannah Benevolent Association, complied by John Screven
Savannah, Georgia: The Morning News Print, 1896 and 1939 reprint with supplement. Books 8 and 9.
Proceedings of the 100' Anniversary of the Founding of the Savannah Benevolent Association, 1954 September 13
(2 copies)
Constitution and By-laws, Savannah Benevolent Authority. Savannah, Georgia: Geo. N. Nichols, Printer, 1896
(Adopted and Revised June, 1890, Reprinted 1896)
Charter, Constitution and By-laws of The Savannah Benevolent Association. Savannah Morning News, 1907.
(2 copies)
Charter and By-laws of the Savannah Benevolent Association. Savannah, Georgia: Braid and Hutton, Inc., 1932.
(2 copies)
Charter and by-laws of the Savannah Benevolent Association, Inc. Savannah, Georgia: Mason, Inc., 1958.
(2 copies)
By-laws of the Savannah Benevolent Association, Inc. Savannah, Georgia: Mason, Inc., 1962.
(2 copies) Plus two copies of this pamphlet with Article XXII pasted in (adopted January 14, 1964).
By-laws of the Savannah Benevolent Association, Inc. Savannah, Georgia: Mason, Inc., 1970.
(2 copies)
By-laws of the Savannah Benevolent Association, Inc. Savannah, Georgia: Mason, Inc., 1975 - Secretary's copy with notations for changes for 1983 edition
By-laws of the Savannah Benevolent Association, Inc. Savannah: Mason, Inc., 1983.
(2 copies)
Savannah, Georgia: A Study of Community Organization of Health, Welfare, and Recreation Problems, 1954 March
(3 copies)
"Children of Change ": An Appraisal of Child Welfare Services in Savannah and Chatham County, 1955
Chatham County's Family Court, 1962 Annual Report of Services


8Table of 1876 Yellow Fever cases in Savannah, Georgia. Membership Roll book, 1860-2008