Print / View Finding Aid as Single Page

New-York Historical Society logo

Guide to the Ladies' Christian Union Records
1850-2001 (Bulk 1858-1960)
  MS 359

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


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Maurita Baldock

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on September 05, 2019
Description is in English.

Historical Note

Missing Title
1858 Mrs. Caroline Roberts establishes the "Ladies' Christian Association" to hold Protestant prayer meetings for employed young women. After a request by a young woman for Christian boarding turns up nothing, the women decide to create and maintain housing for young, unmarried, Protestant women living in New York City.
1860 Ladies' Christian Association rents its first house at 21 Amnity Street, now West Third Street, to let to young women. The women are to be self-supporting or students and have testimonials of character.
1870 The "Young Ladies' Branch" is established as an auxiliary group of the Ladies' Christian Union. The group seeks to assist young women by "securing for them safe boarding places in private families, employment, church privileges and intellectual improvement" (1870 Annual Report). The Band of Prayer, in which members pray for the petitions of others, is also established as part of the Ladies' Christian Union.
1871 The "Young Ladies' Branch" of the LCU reorganizes and becomes the independent organization the "Young Ladies' Christian Association," and later the "Young Women's Christian Association," more commonly known as the YWCA.
1873 The LCU embarks upon a temporary home for women of all ages at 133 MacDougal St. Called the Branch Home, it is later transformed into a more permanent home open to all women, married, unmarried or widowed.
1887 New home purchased at 72 Seventh Ave as the Home for Young Girls. The board is kept at a low rate for girls who are especially inexperienced and unskilled in work.
1893 The Eva House purchased at 153 East Sixty-Second Street as a new home for young women.
1908 The Rosemary House, a gift from Joseph Milbank to mark the jubilee year of the LCU, is established at 24 West Twelfth Street as the fourth home of the Ladies' Christian Union.
1911 Also a donation from Joseph Milbank, the Katharine House opens at 118 West 13th Street.
1918 Milbank Memorial Home at 11-13 West Tenth Street given to LCU by Mr. Jeremiah Milbank.
1922 The Roberts House on 151 East 36th Street is given to the Ladies' Christian Union by Miss Mary Roberts, daughter of Mrs. Caroline O. Roberts, its first director.
1923 Two trained nurses are employed to attend to sick girls living in the homes.
1942 The LCU allows women who have married overseas servicemen to remain in the homes. This is the only time the LCU allows married women to live in the homes other than the Branch Home.
1970 The LCU constitution changes to remove religious and/or ethnic restrictions on boarders from its Constitution.
1971 Annual Report states that the Sage House has white and black girls living together "compatibly."
2000-2001 The last LCU homes for women, the Katharine House and Roberts House, close to the public, and the LCU becomes a private grant giving foundation. It awards grants to schools and not-for-profit institutions to help young women with housing expenses who are studying or starting careers in New York City.
2003 Ladies' Christian Union changes its name to the LCU Foundation.

List of LCU Homes with Dates of Operation

Missing Title
1860-1976 Sage House, formerly called the Young Women's Home
21 Amnity Street (1860)
174-176 E. Fourteenth Street (1860-1868)
27 & 28 Washington Square North (1868-1897)
49 West 9th Street (1897-1976)
1873-1968 Hegeman House, formerly called the Branch Home and/or the Temporary Home for Women
133 MacDougal (1873-1878)
268 West 11th Street (1878-1880)
308 Second Avenue (1880-1968)
1887-1890 72 Seventh Avenue
1893-1922 The Eva
153 East 62nd Street
1908-1970 Rosemary House
24 West 12th Street
1911-2000 Katharine House
118 West 13th Street
1919-1994 Milbank House
11 West 10th Street
1922-2000 Roberts House
151 East 36th Street