Terre Haute Council of Churches/Citizens Civic Association
Dates: 1949-1962
Accession Number: 851210B
Donor:  Joe Petty
Description: Twenty-one file folders in a document case 

Terre Haute Council of Churches

    The Terre Haute Council of Churches was formed in 1949.  Its purpose was to express the common loyalty of its member churches to God and to extend the influence of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.  The Council of Churches sought to accomplish this goal by, "providing an interdenominational agency for cooperation and joint service in Christian education, civic and social relations, united worship, evangelism, and other Christian activities; and also by studying the religious needs of the people, churches and devising plans and means through which those needs can be met."  (Constitution).

    The Council of Churches established several committees which carried out the majority of the Council's work, one of which was the Citizen's Good Government Committee.

    The Terre Haute Council of Churches disbanded in 1969.


Citizens Civic Association

    The Terre Haute Council of Churches created the Citizens Good Government Committee for the purpose of, "promot[ing] effective and democratic government and to vigilantly oppose and expose unjust, unsound, or unethical practices in civil government."

    On June 28, 1951, the Citizens Good Government Committee met and decided to separate itself from the Council of Churches and legally incorporate as the Citizens Civic Association.  This action was taken for a number of reasons, the primary reason apparently being that the people of Terre Haute were unable to distinguish between the work done by the THCC committee and the work done by a committee looking at reorganization of the Terre Haute school system.

    The  Citizens Civic Association conducted lectures and debates, and conducted courses in "Municipal Government", "School Government", and in "Correlation of city and county government"  The association conducted forums on the radio and appointed special committees and emissaries for special work in line with their purpose.  The association did not take part in partisan elections by nomination or endorsement of candidates. 

    The leaders of the Citizens Civic Association intended that the organization would be a non-partisan group that would conduct oversight on behalf of Terre Haute citizens over the city government.  Joe Petty, secretary of the CCA from 1951-1956 and actively involved  in the Associations activities, was frustrated with the Association's inability to reduce what he and his fellow members saw as rampant immoral behaviors and the accompanying corruption in city government.  Petty personally investigated a local "under the radar" gambling spot, and witnessed just how much the Citizens Civic Association was failing in its mission.  He wrote to the editors of the Saturday Evening Post, a national magazine, suggesting that they send a reporter to Terre Haute to look into matters themselves.  The resulting article, written by Peter Wyden, resulted in the formation by a small group of women of Housewives Effort for Local Progress (H.E.L.P.).  This organization mobilized hundreds of members to join and continue the work started by the Citizens Civic Association.

    The Citizens Civic Association disbanded in 1962 shortly after the formation of Houswives Efforts for Local Progress.


Content and Scope of Collection

This collection contains records of the Terre Haute Council of Churches and the Citizens Civic Association.   

Document Case





Terre Haute Council of Churches





Folder 1






Folder 2

Committee Reports (Evangelism and Mission)





Folder 3

Citizens Good Government Committee





Citizens Civic Association





Folder 4

Minutes: Executive Committee/Board





Folder 5

Minutes: General Membership





Folder 6

Minutes: Public Meeting / Original Article





Folder 7


Oct. 15, 1951-
Mar. 18, 1952




Folder 8


Mar. 28, 1952-
Nov. 8, 1955




Folder 9






Folder 10






Folder 11

Annual Reports





Folder 12






Folder 13

Educational Committee





Folder 14

Committee on Civic Affairs





Folder 15






Folder 16

Parents of the month award





Folder 17

Newspaper articles (Tribune, Star)





Folder 18

Newspaper articles (Tribune, Star)





Folder 19

Newspaper articles











Folder 20

Newspaper articles





Folder 21

Roster, City Council












Interview with Quinn Steam






Pollution Center