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Guide to the Records of the Association for the Relief of Respectable, Aged and Indigent Females in New York City
1813-1882
  MS 801

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by processed by Joseph Ditta.

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on April 14, 2017
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: Records of the Association for the Relief of Respectable, Aged and Indigent Females in New York City
Dates: 1813-1882
Abstract: Eight volumes of records including pensioners’ rolls, 1813-1832, 1840-1860; meeting minutes, 1814-1817; Advisory Committee minutes, 1867-1882; journal of visits, 1839-1843; expenditures, 1814; receipts, 1849-1862; accounts for extra fuel, 1844-1862; and death register, 1838-1875.
Quantity: 0.417 Linear feet (1 box)
Location note: Manuscript cage
Call Phrase: MS 801

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Historical Note

The Association for the Relief of Respectable, Aged and Indigent Females was formed in the autumn of 1813, organized the following February, and incorporated on 10 March 1815 to aid widows of the recent War of 1812 and the more distant American Revolution, women “who once enjoyed a good degree of affluence,” but were by then “reduced to poverty by the vicissitudes of Providence.”

A subscription begun in 1833 (to which John Jacob Astor donated $5,000 and Peter G. Stuyvesant gave three property lots) allowed the construction in 1837-38 of a four-story brick asylum at 226 East 20th Street (since demolished) to accommodate about one hundred pensioners and association officers. The building provided “a place of comfort to persons of refined sensibilities,” unlike “the common almshouse, filled as it usually [was] with the dregs of society.” An infirmary was added in 1845.

As the Association’s charitable activities expanded, the need for a larger home led to the construction of the extant 891 Amsterdam Avenue, designed by the noted architect Richard Morris Hunt. First occupied in June 1883 (after the records in this collection end), the building formally opened in December during the Association’s seventieth anniversary celebrations that year. The residence accepted any respectable woman above age sixty, provided she was not a Roman Catholic and surrendered any personal property to the Association along with an entrance fee of $150.

The Association operated as late as 1974 — by then it was known as the “Association Residence Nursing Home” or the “Association Residence for Women” — when its occupants were relocated to another facility in anticipation of the construction of a modern building. This never happened, and the Association dissolved. The City of New York acquired the Amsterdam Avenue property in 1978, and after a period of decline, the structure was rehabilitated and now functions as the largest hostel in North America.

For further information, see The Constitution, and First and Second Annual Reports of the Proceedings of the Association for the Relief of Respectable, Aged, Indigent Females (New York: J. Seymour, 1815); Rev. John F. Richmond,  New York and its Institutions, 1609-1872 (New York: E. B. Treat, 1872); and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation report LP-1280 for the  Association Residence for Respectable Aged Indigent Females (Association Residence for Women), 891 Amsterdam Avenue.

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Scope and Contents

This small collection spans the first seventy years of the existence of the Association for the Relief of Respectable, Aged and Indigent Females in New York City, from its inception in 1813 through its move, in 1883, to a substantial (and, ultimately, final) home at 891 Amsterdam Avenue. Due to the significant breaks in coverage, these records are best consulted in conjunction with the Association’s published annual reports; the New-York Historical Society Library holds the years 1815-1871 (with gaps) under call number F128 HV1447 .N5 A87.

Arrangement

The eight small volumes in this collection are housed in a single box. They are individually foldered and arranged in two series:

Series I: Expenditures, Receipts, and Meeting Minutes

Series II: Pensioner and Asylum records

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Accounts.
  • Death registers
  • Journals (notebooks)
  • Minutes.

Subject Organizations

  • Association for the Relief of Respectable Aged Indigent Females

Subject Topics

  • Charities -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Social conditions -- 19th century
  • Older women -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Poor women -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Women in charitable work -- New York (State) -- New York.

Subject Places

  • New York (N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Use Restrictions

This collection is owned by the New-York Historical Society. The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before January 1, 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as Records of the Association for the Relief of Respectable, Aged and Indigent Females of New York City, MS 801, New-York Historical Society.

Related Material at The New-York Historical Society

Printed copies of the Association’s annual reports for the years 1815-1871 (with gaps) are shelved under call number F128 HV1447 .N5 A87.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

McKesson Fund purchase, January 1976.

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Container List

Series I: Expenditures, Receipts, and Meeting Minutes

Scope and Contents note

This series includes the earliest records of the Association in the form of expenditures (1814) and meeting minutes (1814-1817) bound in a volume labeled “ Minutes of | The Ladies Society | For the Relief of Respectable | Indigent Aged Females | 1814” (Folder 1). Advisory committee meeting minutes span 1867-1883 (Folders 3-4), after when the Association moved its operations from the asylum at 226 East 20th Street to the new building at 891 Amsterdam Avenue. A separate volume records receipts (1849-1862) and accounts for extra fuel (1844-1850) (Folder 2).

Container 1     Title Date
Folder: 1 Expenditures (1814 February-April) and meeting minutes (1814 April-1817 February) [labeled vol. 2]
1814-1817
Folder: 2 Receipts (1849 June-1862 November 28) and accounts for extra fuel (1844 November-1858 February) [labeled vol. 6]
1844-1862
Folder: 3 Advisory committee meeting minutes [labeled vol. 7]
1867 December 27-1870 June 20
Folder: 4 Advisory committee meeting minutes [labeled vol. 8]
1870 September-1882 September

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Series II: Pensioner and Asylum Records

Scope and Contents note

This series includes rolls of pensioners visited by Association members before and after the opening of the asylum at 226 East 20th Street. The roll for 1813-1832 (Folder 5) records each pensioners’ name, age, religious affiliation, the name of the Association member in charge of their case, and, in some instances, their date of death. The roll for 1840-1860 (Folder 6) groups pensioners by the name of the Association member who cared for them. A separate register of deaths occurring in the asylum covers the years 1838-1875 (Folder 7). The Weekly Visiting Committee’s book records conditions in the asylum for the period 1839-1843 (Folder 8).

Container 1     Title Date
Folder: 5 Pensioners' roll [labeled vol. 1]
1813-1832
Folder: 6 Pensioners' roll [labeled vol. 5]
1840-1860
Folder: 7 Death register [labeled vol. 3]
1838 October-1875 September
Folder: 8 Weekly Visiting Committee’s Book [labeled vol. 4]
1839 January-1843 July

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