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Boston Female Asylum 1879

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Partial transcript of [https://archive.org/details/bostonfemaleasyl00bost_0/page/n0 Board of Managers Proceedings and Annual Reports] of the Boston Female Asylum, for the year of 1879:


January 28, 1879

The Committee has visited Mrs. Barron and found her rooms clean, and the accommodations sufficient for the children. They must however remain in the Asylum for the present, as their mother had been taken ill with lung fever and obliged to go to the Hospital.

Mr. Schultz's application had been withdrawn and Mr. Stockbridge had not yet sent for his daughter.

Almina Bowdoin was now troubled with a bad scrofulous lung; if the Managers thought best she could be admitted at the Children's Hospital. The Managers thought that this would be a most desirable arrangement.

Mrs. Svenson applied for the admission of her younger child; but as she was at a place earning $2.50 a week, and as the child's board cost her only about one half of this sum, it was not considered best to grant her request.

Inquiries had been made concerning the mother of Edith Wells. The woman could not be found, but there was sufficient evidence that she had no desire to claim her child. It was therefore Voted That there is no objection to the adoption of Edith Wells by any person who shall bring satisfactory references.

February 25, 1879

The Committee reported that Lucy Teel had died during the month of Bright's disease. Ada Black had been very ill, but was now better; others of the children had also been sick and Mrs. Newman herself had been laid up with a bad cold.

Mr. Teel made application for his daughter Sarah, who could have a home with her grandfather, Mr. Chas. West, of Charlestown. Although Mr. Teel's character was so unsatisfactory Mr. West's recommendations were excellent, and it was, therefore, Voted that Sarah Maria Teel be bound to her grandfather.

Letters had been received concerning Mr. & Mrs. Stafford, the mother and step-father of the Gilcrease children. The account of the man was not very good and little was said of the woman; it appeared, moreover, that Mrs. Stafford as well as her husband worked all day in the Mill. After much discussion it was finally Voted That a letter be written to Mrs. Stafford asking how she proposed to take care of her children while working all day in the Mill and also asking her to send references as to her own character.

Mrs. Stout, the mother of the two Lorings, applied for her children. Mr. Stout was a cooper and they lived in the City. Mrs. Stout appeared very well and they brought good recommendations. It was, therefore, Voted That Elizabeth Jane and Annie Gertrude Loring be given into the charge of their mother and stepfather.

Mrs. Fortune was now living again with her husband and wished to take her daughter Laura. As Mrs. Fortune was known to be a good woman, it was Voted To grant her request.

Application was made for the admission of a child named Mary Curtis, whose father was dead and whose mother was intemperate. The child had been boarded with a Mrs. West, who could no longer afford to keep her, as the Mother neglected to pay her board; it seemed very important to find a home for the child. Voted That Mary Curtis be admitted.

The father of Isabel McPherson had died, and her aunt Mrs. Kendall now applied to take her. Mrs. Kendall appeared to be a very respectable woman in comfortable circumstances. Voted That her request be granted provided the Committee for the next month find the references satisfactory.

Almina Bowdoin was at the Children's Hospital; she was very happy and had much improved.

Ida Swift had not been able to go to the Dentist at the time she was summoned, on account of the sickness in the house.

Mary of the children had gone to the Old South on Feb. 22, and Miss Macy had made a pleasant time in the house for those who stayed at home.

March 25, 1879

Mrs. Lyman offered to visit Sarah Maria Teele; Miss Brown made the same offer in regard to the Lorings and Miss Marianna Painefer-Laura Fortune. The Committee reported that Isabella McPherson had gone to her aunt, of whom good references had been obtained.

Application was made for the admission of Mary Elizabeth Hope. Mrs. Hope had left her husband, who was a brutal man; he had since disappeared. It was not thought that he would interfere about his child, as he had never shown any affection for her. The application was made through Mr. and Mrs. Emery who had employed the man and nearly supported the family. Voted That Mary Elizabeth Hope be admitted.

Mrs. Stafford sent a letter saying that she did not now work in the mill; she also sent a note of reference from a friend and came to Boston to see Mrs. Ware, who was pleased with her appearance. It was accordingly Voted That Mary Ann and Sarah Elizabeth Gilcrease be given in change to Mr. & Mrs. Stafford, their mother and step-father.

It was thought desirable that Mrs. Newman should by and by visit Mr. & Mrs. Strafford, that she might form some judgement of the children's home.\ Mr. Grant an Englishman had applied for the admission of his little girl; his wife had died, leaving him with two children, a boy and a girl; he seemed in poor health and found it hard to get work. The matter was left to the Committee for the next month with authority to admit the child, if the father should bring satisfactory references.

Application was made by Miss Revere for the admission of a child under three years, named Bell Isabel. Soon after marriage the father deserted his wife, who was now insane. It was Voted That this child be admitted and placed at board with Mrs. Folsom in Wayland. Also Voted That Grace Rhodes, Annie Hansen and Minnie Hudson be brought into the Asylum.

Mrs. Eastman who had adopted Esther Wiggin had been to see Mrs. Goodwin to make complaints of the child and with an evident desire to be rid of her. Mrs. Goodwin was so unfavorably impressed by Mrs. Eastman herself & by the account she gave of her dealings with the child that it was Voted To send a note to Mrs. Eastman desiring her to return the child, now known as Helen Eastman, immediately to the Asylum.

A letter was read from Mr. Kenrick concerning Susan Amelia Burpee, now just eighteen years old. It was evidently inconvenient for him to bring her to Boston in accordance with the terms of the Indenture. Voted That Mr. Kenrick be excused from this obligation, but he shall send to the Treasurer the Fifty-Dollars, now due to Susan.

April 29, 1879

The Committee reported that the girl spoken of at the last meeting had been engaged and thus far she had given satisfaction to Mrs. Newman. It had been thought better for her to live in the house. The three little children at board had all been brought into the Asylum. Mary Elizabeth Hope had also come.

A few days after the last meeting an anonymous letter had come concerning Mrs. Stafford, stating that she drank and was unfit to have charge of her children. The children had already gone when the letter came. Mrs. Newman had gone to Dodgeville to make inquiries. She found that the woman had been dismissed from the mill for drinking, but she was thought now to be doing better, and her house looked neat. Mrs. Lyman had visited Sarah Maria Teel and had seen nothing to find fault with.

Emma Anderson's eyes were in very bad condition and she was under treatment for them. Board for the whole or part of the Summer in the Country was recommended for Ada Black, Ida Brenton & Edith Wells, who had all been very delicate; Edith Wells was however now so dangerously ill with lung fever that she might not recover.

Application was made by Dr. Cutler for the admission of a child nearly ten years old, whose mother had for some years been living a bad life. It was at first Voted That this child, Ida Mary Hackett, be admitted. The vote was, however, afterwards amended by adding that condition that the mother should not communicate with the child during her stay in the Asylum. To this condition the mother was unwilling to accede and the application was therefore reluctantly refused.

Mrs. Myers made application for the admission of the child of a poor Swedish woman, who had had a very hard time. The woman had however not gone to a place where she would earn $2.50 a week, and it was thought that out of her wages she might pay $1.50 for the child's board at the Children's Friend Society. It was Voted To make this suggestion to the woman but also to authorize the Committee for the month to admit the child provided the application at the Children's Friend should prove unsuccessful.

A letter had been received from Mrs. Eastman saying that she wished to keep the little girl whom she had adopted.

Mr. & Mrs. Walker would not be able to take Bessy Brown, as they had expected to do.

Mrs. Blazo had spoken to two of the Managers about visiting her little girl in the Asylum. Being a nurse it was often impossible for her to come on Friends' Day and she had lately been denied admittance at other times. Voted That permission be granted Mrs. Blazo to visit her child once a month, with the understanding that if possible she should make her visit on Friends' Day.

May 27, 1879

The month had been a sad one for the Committee. Mrs. Coombs had died of lung fever after a short illness, & Annie Bell's suffering had ended on or two days before the meeting.

It was not thought best that the three children spoken of at the last meeting should go out of town, but it was considered desirable that Emma Anderson should be in the Country if she could be brought into town once a week for treatment of her eyes. At Mrs. Robbins's request it was was Voted To board Annie Hanson in the Country until the middle of September.

Mrs. Bartlett had asked permission to take Emma Bartlett with her to Laconia during her vacation & it was Voted That her request be granted.

Mary Barker had been invited by the same family whom she visited last summer and would go to Laconia with Winifred McCarty.

Mrs. Johnson, the mother of the Swedish child, was ill & unable to work. The little girl had therefore been brought again to the Asylum.

Two applications for the admission of children had been received. Ruth Agnes Greaves was the child of a worthy man, a painter, whose wife was insane and who did not earn enough to pay his children's board. The other little girl, Dolenia McCauley, was under two years old and very delicate; Dr. Homans, however, thought that with good care she would improve; her father was a worthless man and her mother was insane; she as well as her sisters had been cared for by her mother's sister, a dressmaker, whose work at her trade interfered with the care needful for this delicate child. It was Voted That Ruth Agnes Greaves be received into the Asylum and that Dolenia McCauley be admitted, and placed at board with Mrs. Folsom.

Miss Howland had taken twelve of the girls to the Public Garden and to the Natural History rooms.

An application to take a baby a few weeks old was received and refused.

Hilda Svenson did not seem entirely well or happy with Mrs. Hutchings and had therefore by Dr. Homans's advice been removed to Mrs. Folsom's, with whom she had improved. Miss Ellis who reported this stated that Mrs. McKee was very doubtful about keeping Agnes Gajin. Mrs. McKee, who had made a favorable impression on Miss Ellis, was interested in the girl, but feared to keep her on account of her own boys.

June 24, 1879

The Committee reported that Lizzy Strain was at her sister's and was much better. Georgie Conn had been brought back to the Asylum when she was eighteen years old & Mrs. Newman had found her a place with her sister.

Application was made for Mary Elizabeth Hope by her aunt who was both able and willing to support her. Good recommendations were received of this aunt, who worked in a straw factory & would board Mary Elizabeth with an aunt in Providence. Voted That Mary Elizabeth Hope be given into the care of her aunt.

Mary Barker had not been able to go to Laconia, because scarlet fever was prevailing there.

The grandmother of Marcena Aitken wished to take her grandchild for a visit of several weeks, but it was not thought best to grant her request.

Voted That Mary Jane Proctor be bound to the house in case there be no objection on her mother's part or her own to such an arrangement.

John Lambrecht applied for the admission of his two little girls. His wife was dead and he himself was unable to find work which would support his children. He brought no recommendations but the case seemed so hard a one that it was Voted That Anna and Fanny Lambrecht be admitted.

Mrs. Adams applied for the admission of her daughter Helen Ada. Mrs. Adams was recommended as a worthy woman, but not very strong or capable and not employed with sufficient steadiness to enable her to support her child. Voted That Helen Ada Adams be admitted.

Mrs. Sampson applied for the admission of her little girl, but the case seemed so doubtful that it was left to the Committee for the month to investigate and report.

Miss Revere and Miss Class wished the Asylum to take charge of Edith Bradley who would be two years old in July and must then pass from the care of the Infant Asylum. Voted That this child can be taken in September and boarded with Mrs. Fry, but that she cannot be taken earlier than this time.

Mrs. Raynor wished her little girl admitted, but the case seemed so much less urgent than many others that the application was refused.

July 29, 1879

The Lambrechts and Ada Adams had come; Mrs. Sampson's application had been refused.

There had been several applications for the admission of children. Mrs. Briggs, whose worthless husband had long ceased to do anything for her, wished to have her two little girls taken in. She was not a very capable woman and seemed very pert but could let a place at low wages if her children could be provided for. Voted That Margaret and Emma Briggs be admitted.

Adeline Packard Gibson was presented for admission. She was one of eight children who had been left without father or mother. A grandmother and aunt would care for some of them but could not very well provide for all. Voted That this child be admitted.

Mrs. Robbins wished that Annie Hanson's older sister should be admitted. Mrs. Hanson had disappeared and there was no one to pay the child's board. Voted That Annie Hanson's sister be admitted.

Mr. Whipple from East Douglas made application for Lily Rowen. He brought very good recommendations and it was Voted That Lily Rowen be bound to Mr. & Mrs. Whipple.

It was now necessary for Almina Bowdoin to go again to the Children's Hospital, where she had already been kindly treated for a long time in the winter and spring. Voted That a present of Fifty-Dollars be sent to the Children's Hospital in consideration of the care already bestowed upon Almina Bowdoin.

Voted That the use of double beds for the children be abandoned and that single beds be provided in their place.

August 25, 1879

The Committee reported that Adeline Gibson and the two Briggs had come; that Lily Rowen had gone to her place which thus far seemed very satisfactory; also that Maria Noyes had gone for board and clothes to Mrs. Coty; this seemed an excellent place for Maria and thus far their had been no complaint of her.

Mr. Greely of East Salisbury made application for Ida Matthews. The place seemed a good one and although there was a great scarcity of older girls the Committee recommended that the application be granted.

Voted That Ida Matthews be bound to Mr. and Mrs. Greely.

Voted That Edith Wells, Ada Black, Addie Anderson and Annie Hanson shall return to the Asylum on September 20.

Applications made for the admission of Effie Mackintosh, a child at present at the Temporary Home. The Mother was dead and the father a worthless man. The case seemed a hard one and it was Voted That Effie Mackintosh be admitted.

September 30, 1879

...the Rev. Mr. Tilden opened the meeting with prayers, after which the children sang. Mr. Tilden baptized Mary Curtis, Ruth Greaves, Adeline Gibson, & Ada Adams.

...The prize for the Most Deserving Girl was awarded to Mary Ella Leach.

  • To Emma Alice Bartlett for Scholarship $5
  • To Mary Jane Proctor for Industry $5
  • To Minnie Bell Clark for Usefulness $5
  • To Margaret E. Colburn for Improvement $5
  • To Alice V. Butler for Improvement $5
  • To Mary Ann Neal for Usefulness $5
  • To Caroline Frances Adams for Industry $5
  • To Mary Giglio for Good Conduct $5
  • To Annie D. R. Leach as Best Little Girl $5
  • To Emma E. Leach for Improvement $5

Effie McIntosh had not come to the Asylum as her father was not willing to give her up. Edith Wells was though too delicate to be brought in at present, but the other little children had returned according to the vote.

Matty Palmer had gone to the Children's Hospital for an abscess in her throat.

Mrs. Coty had returned Maria Noyes with many complaints. Bessy Brown had been taken by her half-sister Mrs. Windsor Whittemore who brought good recommendations. Louisa and Charlotte Walter the half-sisters of Susan Appengeller applied to take their little sister. Both the young women were at work and seemed able to undertake the charge. Their references were good and it was Voted That their request be granted.

Miss Rowell of Amesbury applied for a girl fourteen or fifteen years old. There were no girls of that age in the Asylum but the place seemed so desirable a one that it was Voted To offer Miss Rowell her choice among the girls of thirteen years.

It was thought that Mrs. F. W. de Rochemont would soon want to take another girl & it was Voted That Mrs. de Rochemont shall take any girl whom she may deem suitable.

Application was made for the admission of Sarah Kennedy, a child who had been once before in the Asylum. This application was refused.

Lizzy Strain was still quite ill at her sister's Mrs. Wetherbee's. It was Voted To allow to Lizzy four weeks' pay, as she would have had a vacation for that time had she been well.

Edith Bradley who had been promised a place in September had come and had been taken to Mrs. Fry's to board, in place of Maud Clark who was now old enough to be in the Asylum. It was thought best for Maggy Delory also now to come to the Asylum.

Mr. & Mrs. Eastman again made complaints of Esther Wiggin, the little girl whom they had adopted & were very desirous of returning her to the Asylum. The Managers were by no means satisfied with the treatment that the child had received and accordingly Voted That this request be granted.

October 28, 1879

The Committee reported that Miss Rowell had taken Mary Ann Rounds. That Maria Noyes had gone to Milton to live with Mrs. Davenport, who agreed to pay her wages by and by if she did well. Bessy Brown had been taken by her sister. Mrs. de Rochemont would take Ellen Trout.

The mother of Edith Bradley wished to removed her from the care of the Asylum, as she knew of a very good woman who would give the child a home. Voted That Mrs. Bradley's request be granted.

An application had been received from Miss Childs to take a little girl about ten years old from the Asylum. This application was refused.

The case of a little child under three years old was mentioned, whose mother Mrs. Malcolm was in the House of the Good Samaritan. The Managers did not think they could take the little girl in at present, even if the mother were willing to give her up. It was decided to let the matter lie over till the next meeting.

Mary Giglio was very ill at Mrs. Folsom's and would not probably recover.

November 25, 1879

The Committee reported that Mrs. Benton of South Framingham had made application for a girl and would like to take Emma Norton. The girl could go to school part of the time and would be near church; altogether the place seemed a very desirable one and it was Voted That Emma Norton be bound to Mr. and Mrs. Benton.

Mrs. Abercrombie of Cambridge wished to take Annie Matthews. Miss Brown was much pleased with Mrs. Abercrombie and thought she seemed to feel the responsibility involved in taking a child. Voted That Annie Matthews be bound to Mrs. Abercrombie.

Mrs. Weatherbee would like to take Emma Bartlett, whom she proposed to educate for a teacher. The Managers were much pleased and Voted That her request be granted.

Mr. Cameron who had applied a year and a half ago for the admission of his little girl now renewed the application. He seemed out of health and unable to provide for the child. The woman whom he married after his former application had now left him. Voted That his request be granted.

Application had been made for the admission of a little Swedish girl not yet three years old. Since her mother's death her home had been with Mr. & Mrs. Hall in Stoneham, upon whom she had no claim and who could not afford to keep her any longer. Mrs. Hall would be willing to keep her at low board till she should be old enough to enter the Asylum. Voted That this application be accepted and that $2.00 a week for the child's board be paid to Mrs. Hall until she shall be three years old.

The Aunt of Adeline Gibson applied for the admission of another of the family five years old. Voted That the request be granted.

Mary Giglio had died at Mrs. Folsom's and her family had undertaken the expense of her funeral. Voted That a present of $20 be sent to Mr. & Mrs. Folsom in consideration of the care bestowed on the child during her illness.

Winifred McCarty had for a week been very ill.

December 30, 1879

Winifred McCarty had died during the month.

The little Swedish girl spoken of at the last meeting had not been brought again to the Asylum but the other children had been admitted. Hihlda Svenson, Edith Wells, Margaret Delory & Caroline Johnstone had been brought from their boarding places according to the vote passed at a former meeting. Emma Bartlett would go to Mrs. Weatherbee after Twelfth Night.

Complaint of Caroline Warren had been made by Mrs. Parsons. Mrs. Curtis had already written to Caroline apparently with good effect and it was Voted That she be requested to write also to Mrs. Parsons, with the hope of persuading her to keep the girl.

Complaints were also made of Maria Noyes and Annie Matthews. Mrs. Abercrombie made to the Managers a statement of her trials with Annie but at the same time wished to keep her for another month. Miss Howland had gone to Chelsea to see Jane Barker of whom a poor account had been received. Miss Howland was pleased with Jane's cousin, Mrs. Butler, with whom she lived, but was not satisfied with the character which Jane herself seemed to bear in the neighborhood.

Emma Finn had been at the Asylum; she was at a place and seemed to be doing well.

Girls who Completed their apprenticeship December 1879

  • Ellen Copeland - In her place; doing well
  • Georgiana Jenkinson - In her place.
  • Susan Amelia Burpee - In her place
  • Mary Tebenham - With her mother
  • Alice Webber - With her mother.
  • Emily Finn - At service; improving

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