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Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphan Records
1836-1972
  MS 24

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


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 14, 2013

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans Records
Dates: 1836-1972 (bulk 1850-1936)
Abstract: The records of the Colored Orphan Asylum document the activities of the institution from 1836 to 1972, with the bulk of the records falling between 1850 and 1936. The records include minutes of general meetings, the Executive Committee, the Indenturing Committee and the After-Care Committee; volumes recording indentures; administrative correspondence; financial records; admission and discharge reports; newspaper clippings; reminiscences; visitor registers; and building plans. These records document the internal workings of an institution dedicated to educating and training African-American orphans in New York City. Portions of this collection have been digitized and can be viewed here.
Quantity: 6.0 Linear feet (40 volumes, 1 box)
Call Phrase: MS 24

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Biographical/Historical note

The Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans was founded in 1836 and was originally located on Fifth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets in Manhattan. In 1884, the institution was renamed the Colored Orphan Asylum and Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans; sometime after 1944, the name was again changed, this time to the Riverdale Children's Association. The institution was also relocated to Riverdale-on-Hudson.

The Asylum was among the earliest organizations in the country to provide housing, training, and employment specifically for African-American orphans. In the late 1880s, the Asylum adopted the "cottage-home" system, in which residents of varying ages lived in small groups under the supervision of a matron. The children in each cottage performed domestic chores. The system was thought to promote a less institutional atmosphere.

During the Draft Riots of July 14, 1863, the Colored Orphan Asylum was attacked by a mob, whose size was estimated by the New York Times at several hundred, mostly women and children. At that time, the Asylum housed some 600 to 800 homeless children in a large four story building surrounded by grounds and gardens. The crowd plundered the Asylum, even looting donated baby clothes, then set fire to the first floor despite the pleas of administrators. The building burned to the ground.

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Scope and Contents note

The records of the Colored Orphan Asylum document the activities of the institution from 1836 to 1972, with the bulk of the records falling between 1850 and 1936. The records include minutes of general meetings, the Executive Committee, the Indenturing Committee and the After-Care Committee; volumes recording indentures; administrative correspondence; financial records; admission and discharge reports; newspaper clippings; reminiscences; visitor registers; and building plans. These records document the internal workings of an institution dedicated to educating and training African-American orphans in New York City.

Arrangement note

Arranged chronologically within each series.

This collection is organized into 13 series.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation note

This collection should be cited as the Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans Records, The New-York Historical Society.

Processing Information note

Processed by Melissa Haley. Machine-readable finding aid created by Cara Brick with electronic finding aid conversion corrections finalized by Melissa Haley, 2003, and Alex Poole, 2009.

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Container List

Series I: Minutes of Board Meetings, 1836-1965

Scope and Contents note

Last 75 years restricted.

Seventeen volumes. Unrestricted volumes (1-14) have been digitized.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Volume: 1 Minutes of Board Meetings
1836 November 26 - 1840 December 18
Volume: 2 Minutes of Board Meetings
1846 December - 1857 December 11
Volume: 3 Minutes of Board Meetings
1863 July 25 - 1874 December 7
Volume: 4 Minutes of Board Meetings
1874 December 14 - 1885 December 14
Volume: 5 Minutes of Board Meetings
1886 January 8 - 1891 December 14
Volume: 6 Minutes of Board Meetings
1892 January 8 - 1898 May
Volume: 7 Minutes of Board Meetings
1898 June 10 - 1903 January 2
Volume: 8 Minutes of Board Meetings
1903 January 9 - 1908 January 10
Volume: 9 Minutes of Board Meetings
1908 February 14 - 1910 December 12
Volume: 10 Minutes of Board Meetings
1911 January 13 - 1914 May 8
Volume: 11 Minutes of Board Meetings
1914 July 10 - 1921 December 12
Volume: 12 Minutes of Board Meetings
1922 January - 1925 December
Volume: 13 Minutes of Board Meetings
1926 January - 1930 July
Volume: 14 Minutes of Board Meetings
1931 January - 1936 December
Volume: 15 Minutes of Board Meetings
1939 - 1945
Volume: 16 Minutes of Board Meetings
1945 - 1953
Volume: 17 Minutes of Board Meetings
1953 - 1965
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Minutes of Board Meetings
1965
Reel: 1 Minutes of Board Meetings
1965

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Series II. Minutes of the Executive Committee, 1891-1938

Scope and Contents note

Last 75 years restricted.

Five volumes. Unrestricted volumes (18-21 and most of 22) have been digitized.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 18 Minutes of the Executive Committee
1891 January - 1902 February
Volume: 19 Minutes of the Executive Committee
1902 March 7 - 1913 November 7
Volume: 20 Minutes of the Executive Committee
1913 December 5 - 1917 April 5
Volume: 21 Minutes of the Executive Committee
1920 January - 1931 June 4
Volume: 22 Minutes of the Executive Committee
1931 November 6 - 1938 May 6

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Series III. Admission Records, 1837-1942

Scope and Contents note

Last 75 years restricted.

Seven volumes. A number of volumes overlap in dates. Some contain short histories, indenture information, and discharges. Unrestricted volumes have been digitized.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 23 Admissions (with some indentures and short histories)
1837 - 1866
Volume: 24 Admissions of Children
Volume: 25 Monthly Reports of Children Discharged and Received
1859 - 1885
Volume: 26 Admissions and Short Histories
1867 - 1888 December
Volume: 27 Admissions
1867 - 1912
Volume: 28 Admissions and Discharges
1885 - 1894
Volume: 29 Admissions and Discharges
1904 - 1942

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Series IV. Indentures, 1878-1916

Scope and Contents note

Last 75 years restricted.

Six volumes. The volumes in this series (30-35) have been digitized.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 30 Indentures
1878 - 1898
Volume: 31 Indentures
1881 - 1910
Volume: 32 Indentures
1898 - 1911
Volume: 33 Indentures--Accounting
1860 - 1886
Volume: 34 Indentures--Accounting
1896 - 1929
Volume: 35 Minutes of the Indenturing Committee
1887 March - 1916 June

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Series V. Book of Records of Stipend Committee, 1881-1905

Scope and Contents note

One volume. The volume in this series (36) has been digitized.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 36 Book of Records of Stipend Committee
1881 - 1905

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Series VI. After-Care Committee Minutes, 1916-1933

Scope and Contents note

Last 75 years restricted.

Two volumes. The volumes in this series (37-38) have been digitized.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 37 After-Care Committee Minutes
1916 - 1923
Volume: 38 After-Care Committee Minutes
1923 - 1933

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Series VII. Visitors Registers, 1908-1947

Scope and Contents note

Last 75 years restricted.

Two volumes. Unrestricted portions of these volumes (39-40) have been digitized.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 39 Visitors Register
1908 - 1935
Volume: 40 Visitors Register
1935 - 1947

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Series VIII. Building Committee, 1905-1907

Scope and Contents note

One volume. The volume in this series (41) has been digitized.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 41 Riverdale Property: Reports, Minutes, Correspondence
1905 - 1907

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Series IX. Bible, undated

Scope and Contents note

One volume.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 42 Bible used at Fifth Ave. and 43rd St. location. Rescued from the fire during the Draft Riots, July 1863.
Undated

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Series X. Centennial Booklet, 1936

Scope and Contents note

One volume. The volume in this series (43) has been digitized.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 43 "From Cherry Street to Green Pastures: A History of the Colored Orphan Asylum at Riverdale-on-Hudson, 1836-1936"
1936

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Series XI. Miscellaneous Items, 1853-1972

Scope and Contents note

Last 75 years restricted.

Clippings, correspondence, minutes, ephemera. Fourteen items. Unrestricted portions have been digitized.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Miscellaneous Items
1853 - 1865
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Miscellaneous Items
1907 - 1972, undated

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Series XII. Bequests, 1882-1893

Scope and Contents note

Six items. The items in this series have been digitized.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Wills and bequests to the Association
[1883] - 1893

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Series XIII. Property Material, 1895-1961

Scope and Contents note

Last 75 years restricted. Unrestricted portions have been digitized.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Abstract of title of property at Amsterdam and 142nd St.
1895
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Approved building plans--12 E. 79th St.
1960 - 1961

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