In Her Own Right

Association for Jewish Children Records

Date created 1855-01-01 – 1973-01-01
Creators Association for Jewish Children
Abstract The Jewish Foster Home and Orphan Asylum was founded in 1855 as the Jewish Foster Home Society for the purposes of "providing a home for destitute and unprotected children of Jewish parentage." Rebecca Gratz, secretary of the Philadelphia Orphan Asylum, was among the founding members of the Jewish Foster Home Society. This collection contains admission registers for foster home wards, indenture agreements, annual reports, administrative records, and reports on the foster home. The admission registers record the names and ages of children entering the foster home, the date of entry, and in some cases nativity, an abbreviated statement of reason for placement, and date of discharge from the home. Some of the earliest records of admission also include indenture agreements or contracts signed by a parent or guardian binding the institution to provide food, clothing, medicine, and education for children placed there. In return, the parent or guardian committed the child to a stated number of years of labor. Administrative records in this series include Board of Managers meeting minutes, a near complete run of annual reports from 1856 to 1919, and documentation about the creation and administration of a fund to educate wards of the foster home through the Cassie Theobold Pfaelzer Trust. Also of note are the meeting minutes of the Girl's Literary Society, a group consisting of older female wards who engaged in literary recitation and musical performances for the benefit of the residents.
Research interest What makes these records interesting also makes it challenging to fit the collection under the scope of women's rights. Until 1875, managers and officers were all women, while men sat on the Board of Council. Starting in 1875, men filled the roles previously held by women, who were demoted to the associate board. As a result, their voices disappeared from annual reports, where previously they had expounded on the relationship between women and reform work in some detail. While this lends itself to comparing different reform strategies and philosophies, it also makes it difficult to locate women's agency.
Size 29.72 lf
Geographical location
Full collection description Home repository description for Association for Jewish Children Records
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Contributing institution Temple University Libraries
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