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Douglas County Community Improvement Association records

Call Number: RH MS 156


The Douglas County Community Improvement Association, popularly known as Penn House due to its location in Lawrence, Kansas, is concerned with developing resources for low-income families. This collection of organizational records includes correspondence, board meeting minutes, financial records, information about service activities, and other office files from the organization's founding in 1969 through its operation into the 1990s.


  • Creation: 1969, 1971-1976, 1984-1990


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Certain records have been designated confidential by the Executive Board of Penn House and are only open to researchers with the written permission of the Penn House Executive Board. Contact staff at or (785) 864-4334 for assistance if wishing to access these materials.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of Penn House

Douglas County Community Improvement Association was founded in 1969, its initial operations funded through grants. The association first focused its operations solely on welfare recipients, but within a year the membership voted to expand to include any and all low-income families wishing to participate in the association's activities.

Known as Penn House because of its location on Pennsylvania Street in Lawrence, Kansas, the association's programs and projects in the early years included providing emergy food and other goods (including clothing, bedding, and small household items); providing emergency medical funds to cover costs of routine medical items that were not covered through welfare; hosting Speakers Bureau presentations; providing counseling and referral services to other social agencies; transportation services; and other programs to assist low-income families become more secure and independent.

In 2005 Penn House's board of directors voted to merge with the Ballard Community Center, which provides affordable, high-quality early education programs and services for essential basic life assistance to low-income families and individuals in need.


11 Linear Feet (23 boxes + 1 volume, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 156

Physical Location

RH MS 1037

Physical Location


Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposit, Douglas County Community Improvement Association, 1974, 1975, 1976.

Guide to the Douglas County Community Improvement Association Collection
Douglas County Community Improvement Association records
Finding aid prepared by lgg, 1974, js, 1976. Finding aid encoded by skt, 2006. Finding aid revised by mt, 2007; cl, 2010; mwh, 2017; mah, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Douglas County Community Improvement Association records, Kansas Collection, RH MS 156, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States