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Boston Female Asylum 1884

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Partial transcript of Boston Female Asylum, Board of Managers: Proceedings and Annual Reports [1] - 1884


January 1884

The Committee reported that the children had gone to the Foreign Exhibition, had enjoyed several Holiday entertainments, besides a sleigh ride and that twenty six of them went once a week to a singing practise [sic] at Mr. Hale's Church.

Annie Marston was still in the Asylum, no place having been found for her. Minnie Clark had been with her mother's approval transferred to another place. Mrs. Waterbury from East Boston had applied for the admission of two sisters whom she wished not to separate. Their mother was dead and their father a drinking man. The Committee thought the elder child too old & the matter was dropped. As it appeared the age of the child was not beyond our limits it was Voted That the Committee for the month are authorized to admit these children, if they are still unprovided with a home.

An application for Lorty Havenden was made by some of her friends, but the place not being deemed a suitable one the application was refused.

Miss Very had suddenly left...The question again came up as to the children attending the public school. A proposal was made that those under twelve who were fitted to enter the grammar school should be sent and a teacher engaged for the younger ones who should also instruct those over twelve for three hours in the afternoon, they being employed in housework and sewing in the mornings. There was much difference of opinion as to this plan. A Committee was appointed to make investigations as to the advantages and disadvantages of such a plan, with power to call a special meeting if in their judgement it should be necessary.

Very good reports were received of Annie Dennis, Mary Rounds and Lizzy Broad.

February 1, 1884: Special Meeting

A special meeting was called by the Committee appointed to consider the question of a certain portion of the children attending the public schools.

The Com[mit]tee were not prepared to advocate the proposed measure...They felt however that by sending the children they would subject them to the dangers of contagious diseases, new influences which might be bad, and to trouble from meeting their friends and relations in the street.

February 1884

Mr. Shaw from Raynham had been at the Asylum and said that Henrietta Howe who had been bound to them was still living in his family, she being now twenty-eight years old.

Katy Davis had been very ill from an attack of croup, but had now recovered.

Mrs. Robbins reported that Frances Whittington's work was not very satisfactory and that the lady did not wish to keep her any longer. Mrs. Robbins thought she could get another place for Frances and the Managers were glad to leave the matter in Mrs. Robbins's hands.

Miss Brown stated that Mrs. Pierce could not keep Almina Brown much longer and that some temporary arrangement might be needed for her till a permanent one could be made. It was suggested that it might be possible to board her at the Training School connected with the Young Women's Christian Ass.

March 25, 1884

Mr. Harrington the grandfather of Annie Roberts had lately inherited a farm in Connecticut, to which he and his wife would removed soon. He brought very good recommendations and wished to take his grandchild. He proposed to get adoption papers made out, so that the child's mother should have no legal claim up her. Voted That Mr. Harrington's request be granted.

Mr. Turnbull wished to take Clara Colon not permanently but for a few weeks. The Managers doubted at first whether such a plan would be wise, but in view of Clara's deficiencies finally decided to try it.

Mr. Walter C. Smith, Deputy Sheriff of Providence, applied for Ida Brenton. The recommendations were excellent and Mrs. Holloway knew enough about the place to feel sure it would prove an exceptionally good one. It was therefore Voted That Ida Brenton be bound to Mr. & Mrs. W. C. Smith.

Another application for the admission of the Houston children, now in the Church Home, was made. At these children were already provided for, they seemed to have no present claim on the Asylum.

John Day, a widower and seemingly a respectable man, wished to put his little girl into the Asylum. He had thought her neglected by his family with whom he had placed her, and after quarreling with them had removed her to the Temporary Home. He was not able to pay her board. Voted That Mary Day be admitted.

Application was made for the admission of Florence Mabel Simmons. Her mother was death, her father was a reckless, drinking man doing nothing for his child, whose support fell upon her grandfather and his wife, not own grandmother to the little girl. They refused to acknowledge that she had any claim on them. Voted That this child be admitted.

Mrs. Aitken wished to take her daughter Mercena but she was not deemed a suitable person and her request was refused.

Miss Mason found her work too hard and had resigned. The Committee recommended that Fanny Scannel, who was very fond of children, should be put in her place and that Laura Martin be bound to the house. Both recommendations were approved.

A poor account of Alice Butler was received and it was Voted That Mrs. Holloway go to see Mrs. Arnold and ascertain more exactly the state of the case.

The promise of the Board to educate Mary Leach to be a teacher was referred to and it was Voted That Mary shall be allowed to go to the High School next autumn if she is able to enter.

April 29, 1884

The Managers met at Mrs. Gordon's house because there were cases of scarlet fever at the Asylum.

Ida Brenton had gone to Providence and a very satisfactory account had been received. Clara Colon was doing well with Mrs. Turnbull, who was likely to keep her for the present. Fanny Scannell was giving satisfaction in her new position. Mary Day and Florence Simmons had been admitted. Mrs. Holloway had been to see Mrs. Arnold and did not think the place altogether a desirable one for Alice Butler, but Alice at present was doing better. Mrs. Clark applied for the admission of her little girl. She wished to put her boy into the Farm School and her girl into the Asylum and support herself at service. The woman seemed peculiar and rather flighty, and from something which came to the knowledge of the Board concerning her previous history her character seemed more than doubtful. It was Voted That the child be admitted.

Mrs. Robbins reported that Frances Whittington had again been unsatisfactory in her place and asked permission to board her for two weeks with Mrs. Folsom before placing her in another situation. Voted That full powers be given to Mrs. Robbins with regard to Frances Whittington.

Miss Brown reported that Mary Rounds was eighteen and that her fifty dollars had been paid to her. Almina Bowdoin had been boarded with Miss Ayres but at the end of three weeks she had proved so troublesome that Miss Ayres was not willing to keep her longer; she had therefore been transferred to the Children's Mission, where a place had been foud for her in Walpole.

Miss Storer asked whether she had better place Sadie Whiton at the Mission as some new arrangement would soon be necessary for her. The Managers thought she had better do so.

May 1884

Mrs. Clark had not brought her little girl for admission. Mr. Schwartz was anxious for the admission of a Swedish child whose mother was dead and whose father was unsatisfactory. It was Voted That this child named Georgia Sherman be admitted.

Mrs. Helger, who had been brought up in the Asylum, applied for the admission of her little girl, Iola. She said that she had been deserted by her husband and thought she could support herself and her baby if she could scatter the rest of her family. The application seemed to need further investigation and was left to the Committee with full powers.

Letty McElroy, who had been given into the care of her mother, was not in need of a place, circumstances having occured which made it impossible for her mother to keep her. Letty was now fourteen years old and had when in the Asylum been a good girl. An apparently desirable place in Newington, N.H. had offered, in the family of Rev. Mr. Hoyt, a place highly recommended by Miss Pickering, and it was decided to send Letty to it.

Voted That the Committee for the month be deputed to thank the five older girls for their ready helpfulness during the scarlet fever time.

As Annie Marston had lost a place to which was on the point of going by the breaking out of scarlet fever, it was Voted That two dollars a week be paid to her for her services during her enforced detention at the Asylum.

Almina Bowdoin had been returned to the Mission but had now gone to another place at Pratt's Junction.

A very encouraging letter about Ellen Trout was read.

June 24, 1884

Mrs. Helger's little girl was found to have epileptic fits and could not therefore be admitted. Georgiana Sophia Sherman had been admitted. Letty McElroy had gone to Mrs. Hoyt and had thus far done well.

Annie Marston had gone to a place in Newton Centre.

Mrs. Moore made application for her daughter Ella, but her character was such that her application was refused.

Voted That Mary Leach have no housework, except before nine o'clock in the morning and in the middle of the day, so that she may have more time to devote to her studies.

Voted That permission be granted to Mr. Black to board Ada for awhile in the Country, provided a suitable place can be found.

Voted That Clara Svenson be allowed to accept an invitation from Miss Rutter to make them a summer visit.

Application was made by Miss Lowell for the admission of a forlorn little girl named Cooke, only two years old. Mrs. Cooke was a widow and meant to go to service if she could dispose of her children.

July 24, 1884

Mrs. Cooke, who applied last month for the admission of her little girl, having stated that she was sickly, she was told to bring the child from Dr. Cutler to examine. She had not appeared.

Mary Hunt, for whom Miss Parkman applied, is at the Children's Friend, where they have whooping cough. It was therefore Voted that the board of this child be paid at the Children's Friend, until such time as he thinks it safe for her to come home.

An application having been received for a girl from Mr. & Mrs. Johnson, Blue Hill Avenue, and the references proving satisfactory, it was Voted that Annie Leach be bound to Mr. & Mrs. Johnson.

Three of the little girls were reported to have contracted a bad habit, and Miss Storer had recommended Mrs. Holloway to apply to Dr. Butler, and ask if he could remedy the evil.

Fanny Scannell did not prove to have sufficient authority with the older girls to warrant employing her after she became of age, and it was thought that the Committee should find a person for Assistant Nurse. It was Voted That Alice Broad and Lavinia Crockett be sent out of town for a two-week vacation.

Mercena Aitkin's grandmother, having applied for permission to take Mercena away for a week, it was Voted That this request be refused.

It was reported that Mrs. Guething had taken an extra room, 176 Shawmut Avenue, for which we are to pay $50 a year, and $3.00 a week, whenver a girl is there.

Mr. Buettner applied for the admission of two little girls one nearly ten, the other three years old age. The mother died last June, and he could make not suitable arrangement for them. Voted That Pauline and Harriet Buettner be admitted.

Nellie Murray applied for the admission of her sister Theresa - 10 years of age June 7 last. The child was an orphan, and her sisters, 19 & 21 yrs. of age, had endeavored to support her, but felt that she needed care wish they, being working girls could not give her. It was Voted That Theresa Murray be admitted.

Mrs. Tripp of Taunton applied for a girl, to be sent to her in September. Mrs. Holloway thought Mary Anderson good for the place.

Mrs. Coburn had written to Miss Ellis, and informed her that Mary Griffiths had run away. She had since heard from her and that she had found a place in Boston. Mrs. Coburn had written to Mary, and appointed a meeting, and was to ascertain if the place was a good one, and if not would find her one, on wages.

August 26, 1884

Application was received from Mrs. E. C. Lowell of Chelsea, to admit a little girl of five years. Mrs. Lowell is a widow, delicate, and with four children to support. Her story was confirmed by Miss Parkman, who represented her as willing to work, and very unwilling to part with her children. It was therefore Voted That Mrs. Lowell's child be admitted.

Mr. Crosby, from the Children's Mission, applied for the admission of three children - two sisters Alice and Martha Nichols, and Ethel M. Smith. The Nichols sisters are respectively ten and seven years old, their mother is at service, and is subject to fits of intemperance. The children had been transferred from one institution to another, and it would be much for their good to have a permanent home. Ethel Smith is four years old, with an intemperate mother, wholly unfit to have charge of her. Voted That these three children be received.

Mrs. Fried applied for the admission of a little girl of four, but as the case did not seem a very pressing one, it was Voted That Mrs. Fried's request be refused.

Theresa Murray, Pauline & Henrietta Buettner came early in the month.

Mr. W. E. Pickering, who had formerly had Nelly Chaddock and Clara Dodge apprenticed to him, applied for another girl - and as Ella Moore was considered the best girl for the place it was Voted that Ella Moore be bound to Mr. Pickering.

Mrs. M. E. Gorham of Fitchburg applied for Florence Macomber. She wished a young, immature girl, to bring up with her own son, like one of her own family. She did not wish her to do hard work. Mrs. Holloway was much pleased with her, and a subsequent letter spoke very well for her. Her references were very good. It was Voted That Anne Florence Macomber be bound to Mrs. M. E. Gorham.

Mrs. Wm. B. Draper, Avon St. Cambridge, applied for Charlotte Hovenden. Her family consisted of her husband, self, and one little boy, a year old, with her husband's mother and sister as boarders. The committee was much pleased with Mrs. Draper's appearance, and her commendation being deeming sufficient, it was Voted That Charlotte E. Hovenden be bound to Mr. & Mrs. Wm. B. Draper.

Mr. Allan M. Farrar of South Groveland Mass, having applied for a girl, and it being ascertained that he had two boys of fourteen and fifteen, it was Voted That the request of Mr. Farrar be refused.

Ada Black, having continued to improve in health, had leave to remain till Oct. 1.

Mary Griffiths, who had run away from Mrs. Coburn of Weston, was reported was living with Mrs. Aldrich at 164 Essex St. Mrs. Aldrich was willing to give her another trial, though she found her unwilling to work, and too much addicted to the society of the other sex. The Managers thought that if Mrs. Coburn was willing to pay Mary wages, she had better return to her, and Mrs. Robbins volunteered to make the arrangement, if possible.

A good report had been received from Annie Leach, who was pleased with her place.

Mrs. Byers have represented to the Managers that her daughter Fanny was ill-treated by Mr. & Mrs. Ripley of Weston, to whom she was bound, and the managers finding that Mrs. Byers was not a responsible person, it was Voted That Fanny Byers continue with Mr. & Mrs. Ripley.

September 30, 1884

Mary Leach had entered the High School, having passed her examinations very well. Fanny Scannell was doing very well in her place in Concord. Ella Moore had gone to Newington, Florence Macomber to Fitchburg. Charles Havenden had not gone to the place proposed as there had been a misunderstanding about the terms of the Indenture. Ethel Smith, Grace Lowell and two Nichols children had all been admitted according to the vote passed.

Mary Griffiths had been visited by Mrs. Coburn and been very glad to go back to live with her; thus far since her return she had done well. Fanny Byers had been found very happy in her home with Mrs. Ripley and there was no reason for her mother's interference.

Mrs. Coombs of Middleboro sent good references and wished to take Mercena Aitken. Voted That Mercena Aitken be bound to Mr. & Mrs. Combs.

Mrs. Capsen of Canton whose references were good had applied for a girl. Voted That if she would like Mary Anderson she have permission to take her.

Mrs. Holbrook of Thompson Conn. applied for a girl. The family was small & no hard work required; references good. Voted That Ruth Graves be bound to Mrs. Holbrook.

Mr. Barth, a German, would like to take Bertha Johnson, who was not yet twelve years old. Voted That the Committee make further inquiries as to this place and report at the next meeting.

Mrs. Locke wished to take her daughter Ada, but as she was not deemed a suitable person to have the care of the child it was Voted That Ada remain in the Asylum.

The Children's Mission made application for the admission of Emma Frances and Isabella Nicholls. There were said to be good children and the case seemed urgent, the mother being dead and the father a drinking man. Voted That these two children be admitted.

Application was made for the admission of Margaret King, a child three years old. The father had deserted his family and the mother had epileptic fits. Her relations in Maine were willing to care for her and one of her children but could do no more. An aunt might have taken care of Margaret but the husband was not willing, as he had already been at considerable expense for the family. Voted That the Committee are empowered to take this child provided the mother will sign the books.

Ada Black had returned from New Hampshire very well.

The case of a little girl named Derwood was presented. The father died suddenly leaving several children by a former wife of whom this was one and another set of children by the second wife. The step mother was willing to keep one of the former set of children to bring up with her own and provision could be made for all excepting this child of six. It seemed a good case for adoption and it was Voted To advice Mrs. Derwood to apply to the Temporary Home; also to give the Committee full powers with regard to the child, in case the application to the Temporary Home is unsuccessful.

The children having been at various times subjected to serious annoyance while walking in the street from a man living in Indiana St. it was thought necessary if possible to stop such proceedings; it was therefore Voted That measures to this effect be taken by the Committee provided they can be accomplished without involving the children in any disagreeable scenes in the Court.

October 28, 1884: Annual meeting

Rev. Mr. Hale...baptized the following children: Theresa Murray, Georgiana Sophie Sherman, Florence Mabel Simmons, Grace M. Lovell.

The prizes were awarded by the First Directress as follows.

  • To Laura H. Martin as The Most Deserving Girl [$]6-
  • To Mary E. Leach for Helpfulness especially in Sickness [$]5-
  • To Ella E. Dodge for Helpfulness especially in Sickness [$]5-
  • To Anna Cameron for Helpfulness especially in Sickness [$]5
  • To Medeline Alice Broad for Improvement [$]5
  • To Charlotte E. Hovenden for Promptness in Study [$]5
  • To Anna F. Martin for Obliging Disposition [$]5
  • To Anna Kirley for Caretaking & Helpfulness [$]5
  • To Clara Hampstead as Best Little Girl [$]5

Managers Meeting October 1884

Reports or letters had been received from Mary Anderson, Florence Macomber, Annie Matthews and Ella Moore. The father of the latter had attempted to make trouble with Mr. Pickering, with whom Ella was placed, and tried to prove that the mother had not signed the books. Under the circumstances as Ella was a girl whom we did not wish to take back to the Asylum, Mr. Pickering consented to keep her for the present without Indentures and the Com[mit]tee hoped and believed that there would be no further interference on the part of the parents.

Mr. Barth of Lowell, who had applied for Bertha Johnson, a girl under twelve years of age, agreed to wait for her until February.

Emma Frances Nichols, voted in last month, was not approved by Dr. Cutler, as having a very case of canker in the mouth, and was returned to the Children's Mission. The Mission sent her to the City Hospital, were some teeth were extracted, and the child pronounced a fit subject for admission, after which Dr. Cutler approved her. The Managers were requested to insist very strongly upon Dr. Cutler's examination of every new applicant, before she was brought to the Asylum.

A lawyer's letter had been received on behalf of Fanny Byers, asking for a conference with the Board on account of alleged ill-treatment of Fanny by Mrs. Ripley, the lady to whom Fanny was bound. Mrs. Goodwin and Miss Paine had been to Weston before the receipt of the letter, and had been both Mrs. Ripley and Fannie separately. They were much pleased with Mrs. Ripley, and Fanny expressed satisfaction with her place. The conference with the lawyer was held at Mrs. Goodwin's house, in presence of several of the Managers. He brought witnesses to testify to Fanny's supposed ill-treatment and also a written agreement with references appended from her uncles in Nova Scotia, agreeing to take both her and her sister, educate and provide for them. At the close of the conference the lawyer asked for a written permission to go and see Fanny, which was given him, and he promised to obtain further references from Nova Scotia and to inform the Managers of the result. As he had not been heard from no action had been taken in the matter.

It was reported that Lizzy Goldthwaite had had several fits within the past few months, and Dr. Cutler thought we ought to consider the expediency of placing her at some not very distant time, in the Mass. Idiot Asylum.

The grandmother of Grace Rhodes had come to the Asylum during the month to state that the child's mother was an unfit person to have charge of her, should she make application for her at any time.

Mrs. H. M. Glidden had written that Lizzie Broad had had diptheria, and that she considered her a delicate child, and would like to give her up, if an easy place could be found for her, and would like to take a stronger girl in her place. Lizzy's guardian was instructed to write to Mrs. Glidden that we had no applications at present, and no girl as a substitute for Lizzy.

Mrs. Wilson was dissatisfied with Frances Whittington. Mrs. Robbins had asked if she would keep her for $1.00 a week and Mrs. Wilson having consented, Mrs. Robbins laid the matter before the Board. Voted That Mrs. Wilson shall receive $1.00 a week if she will keep Frances.

Mr. Chase of the Society for the Suppression of Vice having been consulted as to the assault on Mary Anderson reported that she would probably have to go to court, and that there would undoubtedly be more or less publicity for Mary attached to the prosecution of her assaulters. As Mary, moreover, had gone to a place out of town it was thought best to proceed no further in the matter.

An application was received from Mrs. Coolidge of Wayland for the admission of a little girl named Sally McGee, four years of age. The mother was a hard-working American woman whose husband had deserted her and who was unable to provide for the child. Other circumstances in the case rendering it a proper on for the consideration of the Board, it was Voted That Sally McGee be admitted.

November 25, 1884

The Committee reported that Ruth Graves had gone to her place in Connecticut.

Two applications for the admission of children were made. Mrs. Conolly who had left her husband and was in search of employment wished to put in two children, who were for the present in charge of the Children's Mission. Mrs. Johnson, a widow and recommended as a very deserving woman, earned at Houghton $6 a week but said she could not on that board herself and her child; neither could she find a boarding place where the child could be properly cared for. Voted That Maude Susan Johnson be admitted. Voted That one child of Mrs. Conolly's be admitted. It was thought that she might find a place at service with the other child.

Voted That for the next year Charlotte Hovenden be detailed to do the work of a housegirl without being bound to the house.

Miss Storer reported Sadie Whitton in a very good place in Franconia with a family named Towny, who were interested in her. They found her troublesome but would like to keep her if they could receive $1 a week and an allowance to furnish her with clothes, as those sent from the Asylum did not fit. The Board approved of this arrangement.

Letters were read from the uncles of the Byers children in Nova Scotia expressing a desire to take their nieces. It appeared that they were quite able to assume this responsibility. The Managers thought favorably of sending the children to their relations provided they would sign an agreement drawn by a lawyer never to allow the mother to gain possession of the children and would either come or send some trustworthy person to escort them on the journey.

December 30, 1884

The two children voted in at the last meeting had both been admitted.

A letter was received from the gentleman and lady who had taken Sarah Whiton. They were interested in her but much dissatisfied with her work. They would be willing to keep her if regular board could be paid. It was Voted That board at $3.00 a week until the 1st of April be offered for Sarah Whiton.

The Managers thought that after March 1st Sarah's brother whose wages would be advanced at that time should pay part of the board.

A letter from the uncles of the Byers children was read; but as it did not meet all the requirements of the Managers it was decided that there must be further correspondence before the children could be allowed to go.

List of Girls who completed their apprenticeship during the year 1884

  • Margreta Lambrecht. With her aunt; doing well.
  • Frances Darioli. At service; doing well
  • Mary Ann Rounds. At service; doing well
  • Annie Matthews. In the care of her brothers; at service.

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