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Female Humane Association

A brief account of the Female Humane Association Charity School of the City of Baltimore (Baltimore: Warner & Hanna, 1803)

3 Some time in the fall of the year 1798, several ladies of Baltimore taking into their consideration the poverty, and consequent sufferings of indigent women, during the inclement season of winter, resolved to form a systematic plan for affording them relief. They according established a society called the Female Humane Association, held regular meetings for the transaction of business, and collected from the generous citizens considerable sums of money. During the winter of 1798-1799, the monies so collected were faithfully distributed among all who became the objects of their peculiar care, according to their several necessities. In the execution of their charity, which the ladies did actually perform in person, they had daily before their eyes not only the scenes of complicated misery themselves, but the causes which had originally led thereto, that is, the abandoned state of the rising generation, particularly the female part thereof, many of whom were literally raised in the streets in filthiness, rags and vice. To remedy the evil in its source, to snatch the child from a fate similar to that of its mother, was considered by the ladies an important public work; for the success of any scheme to ameliorate the condition of such objects, would not only lessen the demand of the public for annual contributions, but it would actually increase the number of those

4 whose labor would be more useful to the community. The subject was often mentioned among the ladies at their meetings, and they as often concurred unanimously in the propriety of establishing a Charity School for the Education and Relief of Poor Female Children. Accordingly a subscription was opened for the purpose, which by the 23d June, 1800, was sufficiently filled to commence the work. The school was opened under the direction of Mrs. Chapelle, and the children admitted thereunto were invariably taken from the lowest conditions in life; many, nay most of whom were, when taken into the school, not only destitute of common decency in their deportment, but wholly ignorant of the first principles of right and wrong; in truth some of them might have been called savages, whom it was necessary first to civilize, before they would be received into a reputable situation to obtain their living by domestic labor.

The more effectually to execute their designs, the Female Humane Association appointed Female Trustees to superintend the management of the school, who took it in rotation to visit and direct the concerns thereof. In this form, and under the guidance of the Female Humane Association, the school was carried on until the winter 1801, when the General Assembly of Maryland though proper to honor the institution with corporate powers; a law was passed for the purpose, a copy of which, No. 1, may be seen in the appendix to this little volume. The Charity School them assumed a more respectable and substantial form. By the law, nine gentlemen were named as trustees, whose duty consists in taking under their care and direction the property and funds belonging to the institution; for the orderly management of the school the Female Humane Association have authority annually to appoint nine female directors. In conformity to the law the

5 first meeting of the trustees was held a the Right Reverend Bishop Carroll’s on January 7, 1802.

Board of Female Trustees state that between 23rd June 1800 and Jan 7 1802 50 poor female children had been helped; 23 had completed their education and been bound out ‘for the purpose of maintaining themselves by domestic labour and employment’; make a point of religious impartiality saying children had been sent to all denominations; funds surrendered to new trust’

6 male trustees resolve ‘that the female trustees heretofore in office have conducted themselves with great humanity, benevolence and impartiality, and highly merit not only the thanks of this incorporation, but of the community in general’

7 annual report of 1803 states that 23 children bound out or ‘returned to their indigent but honest and industrious parents, to labor with them for their mutual support’ 27 children remaining, same nos as last year suggesting no change? Board reckons the School ‘deserves a share of that liberal encouragement and patronage for which the citizens of Baltimore are so remarkable’

8 female directors report that in future all orphans to be boarded, as well as those ‘where the morals of the children would probably be corrupted by remaining any portion of their time with their mothers’ also ‘it not infrequently happens that families have consented to board a poor female child on the condition that it shall be bound to them when fit for service, but in all such cases the will of the parents is obtained before the child is admitted to the school’

ladies claim that ‘the institution has been productive of general and impartial good. If the fact be satisfactorily established that the public have been benefited, the Ladies have no apprehension that the institution will perish, for then every citizen becomes really interested in its continuance.’ Makes point about ecumenical appeal, stating it is vital ‘to the prosperity of the institution’ that it draws support from ‘the whole brotherhood of Christians’

9 An act incorporating a society for the maintenance and education of poor female children, by the name of the ‘Female Humane Association Charity School’ [passed 31 December 1801 – repealed by 1807 ch 145 sec 7 with a proviso confirming all acts done]

Gen ass claims it is ‘desirous to assist such institutions’

But appoints 9 male trustees, but allows FHA to appoint 9 directors who actually run the school, ie the trustees have legal responsibility for the school but don’t manage it

20 Directresses for 1803

Mrs H McCulloch pres

Mrs Rachel Hollingswirth

Mrs Ellen Kent

Mrs S M Williamson

Mrs Mary Wilson

Mrs H Ghequiere

Mrs W Ratien

Mrs Eichelberger

Miss Eliza Hoffman

Trustees 1801-03

RC Bishop John Carroll

Rev William Otterbine

Rev J Daniel Kurtz

Rev George Roberts later Rev Mr Inglis

William Wilson

James H MicCulloch

Jesse Hollingsworth

Charles Ridgely

Emanuel Kent later Mr Christian Keener

23 note on church collections (during 1802)

Presb $180

Bapt $35

Ger Luth $70

Meth $209.16

Ger Calv $45.73

Rcath $90 (1803)