RG-20. RECORDS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES
The Department of General Services is the central construction, purchasing, publishing and maintenance agency for the Commonwealth. It was created in 1975 to replace the Department of Property and Supplies and the General State Authority. The Department of Property and Supplies was created in 1923 to take over the duties formerly assigned to the Board of Commissioners of Public Grounds and Buildings, the Bureau of Information, the Department of Public Printing and Binding, the Division of Documents, the Director of Publications and several other commissions. Like its successor, the Department of Property and Supplies was the chief purchasing and distributing agent for the Commonwealth’s departments, boards, commissions and related institutions. Included among the services offered to state agencies was the procurement of materials and supplies, the provision of real estate space and facilities, the management of state-owned vehicles, control of the construction, maintenance and protection of buildings and grounds, and the disposal of surplus property. The Board of Public Grounds and Buildings, originally established in 1885, continued to function within the Department of Property and Supplies along with the state Art Commission, which was responsible for examining and approving the design and location of public buildings and monuments.
SECRETARY OF GENERAL SERVICES
Program Correspondence, 1959-1963, 1967-1971, 1974-1979. (6 cartons) Grouped chronologically, and thereunder arranged alphabetically by subject. Correspondence and reports of the secretary of General Services regarding departmental administration and programs. Relating to African Americans are the files on the President’s Commission on Equal Employment for 1962. Among the items found in these files are correspondence between Andrew Bradley, secretary of Property and Supplies, and Vice President Lyndon Johnson regarding a meeting of the commission; an invitation to Secretary Andrew Bradley; and information provided to participants in various workshops.
DEPARTMENT OF PROPERTY AND SUPPLIES, 1923-1975
Building Demolition Files of the Bureau of Real Estate and Insurance, 1951-1966. (3 boxes)
Capitol Park Extension Files, 1951-58. Included in this subseries are correspondence, listings, agreements, and photographs of properties acquired by the state for the extension of the Capital Park. A large portion of these properties were occupied by homes, churches, and businesses belonging to or patronized by African Americans. Examples include: Abe Fortune’s gas station, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Phyllis Wheatley Young Women’s Christian Association.
General Correspondence of the General State Authority, 1957-1962. (20 folders)
Andrew M. Bradley, 1957-1960. The Honorable Andrew M. Bradley was appointed as secretary of Property and Supplies in 1957. He was the first African American ever to serve in the cabinet of a Pennsylvania governor. Prior to his appointment as secretary, he was the second African American in Pennsylvania to be certified as a public accountant. He held his post until 1960. Included in the general correspondence file is an invitation from the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Philadelphia for Bradley to become a member of a proposed Citizens’ Committee of Philadelphia that was preparing for the two hundredth anniversary Celebration of the AME Church. Also present is a news release concerning Bradley’s appointment by Governor Lawrence to an international convention of the American Academy of Political and Social Science together with a list of African American magazines and newspapers notified of the appointment. Other items include a request from Temple University Sociologist Edwin Eames for information concerning housing for African Americans in Harrisburg and a biography and letter of gratitude from Hugh Gloster, author of Negro Voices in American Fiction, for submitting his name for the position of president of Lincoln College. Finally, the collection contains a letter regarding a scholarship to Lincoln University from Virgil Hammond, a list of the names of prominent African American leaders invited to Governor Lawrence’s inauguration, a letter from Governor Lawrence’s secretary responding to a resolution by the Philadelphia Chapter of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, a letter from Governor Lawrence’s secretary acknowledging a brochure from the National Chairman of Equal Opportunity Day of the National Urban League, and a letter from Dick Kent to a reporter at a Philadelphia publication regarding an article on Bradley that appeared in the magazine Ebony.