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RG3674.AM:  Comodore E. Prevey, 1872-1957

Papers:  1898-1927

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Neb.:  Social Welfare Administrator

Size:  1.25 cu.ft.; 3 boxes


Comodore E. Prevey, born in 1872 in Elroy, Wisconsin, received a Bachelor of Letters degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1895 and then became Secretary of the Associated Charities of Fort Wayne, Indiana. He left this post in 1898 to begin graduate study in sociology and economics at Yale University, but transferred to Columbia University the following year and received a Master of Arts degree. Before completing his doctorate, Prevey became General Secretary of the Charity Organization Society of Lincoln, Nebraska. He worked for this association, which changed its name to the Social Welfare Society in 1917, until 1923.

From 1900 to 1906 Prevey received half of his salary from the Charity Organization Society and half from the University of Nebraska, where he served as an Instructor in Sociology. In 1906 he became the full-time General Secretary of the Society. Prevey took a leave of absence in 1920-1921 to serve as Executive Secretary of the Nebraska Children’s Code Commission.

Prevey was active in drafting and securing the passage of several Nebraska laws concerning adult probation and juvenile courts. He was active in the establishment of the County Detention House in 1908, and in organizing the Community Chest and the civilian relief work of the Red Cross. He also assisted in forming the Social Service Club and the Nebraska Conference of Social Work, in which he held membership.

Mr. Prevey was a member of the Knife and Fork Club, the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, and was president of the Open Forum Club. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln where he served as deacon and also as treasurer for twenty-six years. Prevey died on February 14, 1957.


This collection consists of the papers of Comodore E. Prevey and is arranged in six series: 1) Correspondence, 1920; 2) Class and Lecture Notes, 1898-1906; 3) Speeches, 1898-1912; 4) Records of the Social Welfare Society of Lincoln, 1909-1926; 5) Clippings, 1904-1927; and 6) Miscellaneous, 1906 and undated. The collection relates to the career of C.E. Prevey as an administrator of social welfare organizations in Lincoln, Nebraska, and as an Instructor in Sociology at the University of Nebraska.

Series 1 consists of one folder of correspondence concerning Prevey’s work in 1920-1921 as Executive Secretary of the Children’s Code Commission, which was created by the Nebraska Legislature to study the subject of child welfare and to recommend legislation. Series 2, Class and Lecture Notes, consists of notes taken by Prevey as a student in classes given by J.B. Clark at Columbia University as well as notes on his readings in economics and sociology. These notes were probably used by Prevey for lectures in his own courses on socialism, social theory and the history of economics, which he taught at the University of Nebraska from 1900 to 1906. Also included in this series are outlines of lecture topics with assigned readings for Prevey’s courses.

Series 3 contains texts, notes, and outlines of speeches given by Prevey concerning social work and social problems. Series 4 includes the Constitution and By-Laws, Annual Reports, and some Treasurer’s Reports of the Social Welfare Society of Lincoln for the years 1909 to 1926. This group was formed in 1891 as the Charity Organization Society of Lincoln to “improve social conditions through the organization and extension of benevolent forces in Lincoln.” In 1917 the name was changed to the Social Welfare Society of Lincoln, and in 1945 its name was changed to the Family Service Association.

Series 5 is comprised of a scrapbook of clippings and clipping files from Lincoln, Nebraska newspapers. They relate to social welfare activities and organizations in Lincoln from 1904 to 1927. Series 6 consists of a small amount of miscellaneous materials, mostly printed matter, including campaign items; a program; and an article, “About the College Settlement.”

Note:  See also the photo component [RG3674.PH] for related images.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1920-1921

Box 1


  1. 1920-1921

Series 2 – Class and Lecture Notes, 1898-1906

  1. Lecture Notes from J.B. Clark’s Class in Economics

  2. Notes on Bohm Bawerk (economics)

  3. Notes from J.B. Clark’s Class on Socialism, Oct. 1898-May 1899

  4. Bibliography of J.B. Clark, 1877-1899

  5. Syllabi with Reading Lists for Prevey’s Courses

  6. Lecture Notes on Socialism, 1902

  7. Notes on Socialism

  8. Notes and Clippings on Socialism

  9. Notes and Clippings on Socialism, 1904-1905

  10. Notes on Fourier (Socialism)

  11. Notes on Baboeuf and Cabet (Socialism)

  12. Notes on Proudhom (Socialism)

  13. Notes on Lasalle (Socialism)

  14. Notes on Rodbertus (Socialism)

  15. Notes on Louis Blanc (Socialism)

  16. Notes on Christian Socialism

  17. Notes on European Socialism

  18. Notes on Socialism

  19. Notes on Social Theorists

Series 3 – Speeches, 1989-1912

  1. “Charities of the City,” 1898

  2. “Relation of Church to Social Problems,” August 26, 1900

  3. Notes for Speeches, 1901-1902

  4. “Some Recent Developments in Philanthropy,” October 15, 1910

  5. “Christ’s Teachings Regarding the Social Life,” 1910

  6. Outlines for Speeches, 1911-1912

Series 4 – Records of the Social Welfare Society of Lincoln, 1909-1926

  1. Constitution and By-Laws of the Charity Organization Society, 1909

Box 2


  1. Annual Reports of the Social Welfare Society, 1917-1925

  2. Treasurer’s Report of the Social Welfare Society, 1925-1926; Form Letters, 1923-1924

Series 5 – Clippings, 1904-1927

Scrapbook of clippings (see oversize)

Box 2

  1. January-June, 1910

  2. July-December, 1910

  3. January-June, 1911

  4. July-December, 1911

  5. January-June, 1912

  6. July-December, 1912

  7. January-June, 1913

  8. July-December, 1913

  9. January-June, 1914

  10. July-December, 1914

  11. January-June, 1915

  12. July-December, 1915

  13. January-June, 1916

  14. July-December, 1916

  15. 1917

  16. 1918

  17. 1919

Box 3


  1. 1920

  2. 1921

  3. 1922

  4. 1923

  5. 1924

  6. 1925

  7. 1926

  8. 1927

Series 6 – Miscellaneous, 1906 and n.d.

  1. Miscellaneous including: Campaign cards for C.E. Prevey, candidate for the City Commission

    Cards announcing garages for rent by Prevey

    Bulletin of the First Congregational Church, Lincoln, Nebraska, March 11-17, 1906

    Pamphlet, “About the College Settlement”



Charities — Nebraska

Charity Organization Society of Lincoln (Lincoln, Neb.)

Children’s Code Commission (Neb.)

Educators — Nebraska

Prevey, Comodore E., 1872-1957

Social Welfare Society of Lincoln (Lincoln, Neb.)

Social work — Nebraska

University of Nebraska


APD/ct   10-20-1975

Revised lw/kfk   07-08-2003

Encoded TMM   03-14-2011