[Transcribed from Goss's 1906 History of Grand Rapids]
The U. B. A. Hospital.
The Union Benevolent Association is one of the oldest organizations in the city. On December 16, 1846, the ladies of Grand Rapids met in the Prospect Hill school house, located where now is the northwest corner of Pearl and Ottawa streets, and formed a society for benevolent purposes. At their first meeting Mrs. Charlotte Cuming presided and Mrs. M. E. Church was secretary. A committee consisting of Mrs. Charlotte Cuming, Mrs. W. G. Henry and Mrs. J. C. Nelson was appointed to draft a constitution, which was adopted at their next meeting held on January 5, 1847. The name adopted was The Female Union Charitable Association. The first officers were Mrs. Charlotte Cuming, president; Mrs. W. G. Henry, secretary, and Mrs. Lucinda Shepard, treasurer.
For years the society was simply a union of church workers for organized efforts to relieve the sick and afflicted, clothe needy children, and dispense charity among the poor. System and order were among the earliest virtues of the association. The town was divided into districts and two members assigned for visitation and investigation in each district. For years the society met at the houses of its members, and obtained its funds and supplies from collections taken once a year, when all the churches of the town held a union service for the benefit of the association.
In 1858 a corporation was formed known as the Grand Rapids Orphan Asylum Association, but its work was done by the Female Union Charitable Association. Soon after a small house on Prospect street was rented and used by the association in caring for its wards, with Mrs. Lucia Johnson as matron for a time, and then the association purchased a small house on Lagrave street, which was occupied by the society for about six years.
During the Civil War the regular work of the organization ceased for a time, as all the energies of the people were devoted [Page 1260] to caring for sick and needy soldiers and their families, but after peace came the interest of the society revived and its efforts were renewed. In 1866 its name was changed to the Ladies’ Union Benevolent Society. The house on Lagrave street was sold, and in 1869 the large lot at the corner of Lyon street and College avenue was purchased. In 1873 the society was incorporated as the Union Benevolent Association, for the purpose of doing all kinds of benevolent work, and with the privilege of equipping, maintaining and managing a home and hospital for the aged, infirm, sick, and needy. Within two years the Cuming homestead on Bostwick street was purchased, equipped and opened to receive inmates, and was nearly always filled to its utmost capacity. When the home was opened the society was in debt, but in 1878 the entire debt of the society on its building, amounting to more than eight thousand dollars, was paid by the Hon. Thomas D. Gilbert, the treasurer of the association.
The needs and work of the association increased, and on March 25, 1882, it was determined to erect a building on the lot which had been owned for many years by the association at the corner of Lyon street and College avenue. At the annual meeting, held in October of that year, nine thousand five hundred dollars were reported pledged for building. This amount was soon increased to fifteen thousand dollars, when plans were proposed and accepted, and on September 21, 1883, the association advertised for bids on the foundation work. The Hon. Thomas D. Gilbert, William Widdicomb and Mrs. Marion L. Withey were appointed a building committee, and the structure was erected under their supervision. The building was completed in February, 1886, at a cost of $31,707.32, of which $28, 096.23 was secured before it was finished. While the building was going on a furnishing committee was appointed, and for weeks were actively engaged in soliciting contributions for furnishing the building. The people of Grand Rapids responded most generously and their contributions fully and completely equipped the institution. The new home was opened with an informal reception to the public on February 23, 1886.
When the new home was opened the inmates of the old home were immediately transferred, and about a year later the old [Page 1261] home was sold and the proceeds used to diminish the debt of the new home.
In November, 1886, a training school for nurses was established in connection with the U. B. A. Home. A two-years’ course was arranged and lectures given by the physicians of the city. In 1889, by the liberality of Hon. Thomas D. Gilbert, a suitable home for the nurses was built on the grounds. The first class was graduated in 1888. The following are the classes of each year:
Class of 1888—Lillian Nichols, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Ida Graham, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Nettie Brown, married; Carrie Bucher, married; Louise Engel Corbett, married.
Class of 1889—Margaret Sanderson, deceased; Ellen Webster, not practicing profession.
Class of 1890—Miriam Jacobs, not practicing profession; Edith Brosseau, bookkeeper, Portland, Oregon; Hannah Singer, director in gymnasium, Colorado Springs, Col.
Class of 1891—Ida Haggart, married; Susie Peschmann, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Julia Foote, private nurse, Los Angeles, Cal.; Winifred Dayton, married; Kate Merrill, married; Emma Patton, deceased.
Class of 1892—Katherine Miller, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Henrietta Arnold, head nurse, U. S. Hospital, Manila, P. I.; Ida M. Barrett, superintendent U. B. A. Hospital, Grand Rapids; Ida Van Wormer, deceased; Beulah Grace, married, deceased; Jennie Farnham, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Adele M. Pangler, private nurse, Charlotte, Mich.
Class of 1893—Winifred Sollau, private nurse, Denver, Col.; Fannie Swift, married; Flora Smith, married; Effie Abbott, medical student, Chicago; Alberta Merritt, married; Grace Derby, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Mary Ames, private nurse, Buffalo, N. Y.; Edith Grigg, private nurse, Grand Rapids.
Class of 1894—Mary A. Welsh, instructor in dietetics and matron U. B. A. Hospital, Grand Rapids; Marie Vincent, married; Carrie M. Torrence, private nurse, Charlotte, Mich.; Libbie M. Lines, married; Violet M. Love, married; Helen A. Pemberton, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Louise F. Harmer, private nurse, Tacoma, Wash.; Jean G. Lovell, private nurse, Brooklyn, N. Y.
[Page 1262] Class of 1895—Addie Schram, married; Jessie McRae, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Madeline R. Allen, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Alta A. Hoke, deceased; Mary J. McKelvey, head nurse, U. S. Hospital, Manila, P. I.; Martha J. Hale, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Louise E. Weekes, head nurse Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn, N. Y.; Olive Daley Bassett, married; Emma E. Barr, married; Mary B. Hall, superintendent Olean General Hospital, Olean, New York.
Class of 1896—Mary Fletcher, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Genevieve Fast, superintendent Hospital, Industrial School, Evanston, Ill.; Agnese [sic] T. Donald, married; Eva King, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Addie Browne, Palestine, Texas; Carrie Gregory, assistant superintendent Hackley Hospital, Muskegon, Mich.; Violet Benner, superintendent Lidgerwood Hospital, Lidgerwood, North Dakota; Alida Walbrink, married; Clara Dyring, superintendent Hackley Hospital, Muskegon, Mich.; Cynthia Coburn, private nurse, Pasadena, Cal.; Mary Wilson, married; Ata Pelton, not practicing profession; Flora Niemann, district nurse, C. O. S., Grand Rapids.
Class of 1897—Estella Millard, not practicing profession; Rose Geary, superintendent Lockwood Hospital, Petoskey, Mich.; Mary L. Simm, assistant superintendent U. B. A. Hospital, Grand Rapids; Caroline Felt, superintendent National Homeopathic Hospital, Washington, D. C.; Clara German, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Neva Pierce, married; Effie Moore, superintendent Woman’s Hospital, Saginaw, Mich.; Christina Bauer, head nurse, U. S. Hospital, Manila, P. I.; Harriett Cramer, married; Myrtle Bryan, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Olive Burr, married; Cora Streng, married; Dena Reidsema, private nurse, Grand Rapids.
Class of 1898—Mary Schermerhorn, assistant superintendent Lockwood Hospital, Petoskey, Mich.; Margaret Goodman, married; Clara Davis, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Barbara Cattanach, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Hattie Shaw, married.
Class of 1899—Nettie Tiffany, married; Emma Van Ostrand, not practicing profession; Minnie Richter, assistant district nurse, C. O. S., Grand Rapids; Alvina Fontaine, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Eva Geary, married; Ella Blashfield, Seattle, Wash.; Maggie Parke, superintendent hospital, Sault Ste. Marie, Can.; Lucile Emery, married; Minnie Kellond, private nurse, [Page 1263] Grand Rapids; Theresa Thelen, not practicing profession; Katherine Macauley, private nurse, Grand Rapids.
Class of 1900—Hannah L. Ackerman, private nurse, Dowagiac, Mich.; Edith A. Mason, married; Adelgonda Ali-Cohen, married; Sarah Elizabeth Gannan, private nurse, Champaign, Ill.; Margaret Charbonneau, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Marietta Zuerner, private nurse, New Castle, Pa.; Clara Josenhans, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Camille W. Grout, superintendent hospital, Calumet, Mich.; Mabel R. Smith, superintendent hospital, Ottawa, Kansas.
Class of 1901—Mary Elizabeth Dunford, not practicing, Alpena, Mich.; Maude I. Bachelor, married; Mary Galenteen, married; Helen Millard, married; Fanny F. Waterman, deceased; Helen A. Farnsworth, superintendent Wichita Hospital, Wichita, Kan.; Katherine A. Arthur, married; Nellie Noordhoff, superintendent Hospital Rehoboth Mission, New Mexico; Flora L. Hart, married; Emma C. Johnson, not practicing profession.
Class of 1902—Stella May Hoffman, in hospital, Houston, Tex.; Frances H. Thompson, in hospital, Houston, Tex.; Marie C. Jacox, superintendent hospital, Temple, Tex.; Helen Graham, married; Adda Ensley Roberts, head nurse hospital, Palestine, Tex.; Nelle I. Sias, surgical nurse and supervisor, U. B. A. Hospital, Grand Rapids; Henrietta M. Hugenholtz, married; Mariea [sic] Barendse, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Ora M. Babcock, married; Edyth Young Griggs, First Reserve Hospital, Manilla, P. I.; Margaret C. Reno, married; Alice E. Newport, private nurse, Grand Rapids.
Class of 1903—Mayme H. Rogers, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Mayme E. Sargeant, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Mary A. Doan, deceased; Bessie Goodrich, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Hilma Fosburg, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Emma C. Dowling, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Anna Dyrin, head nurse Eye and Ear Hospital, Boston, Mass.; Lois E. Watson, head assistant Eye and Ear Hospital, Boston, Mass.
Class of 1904—Jane Elizabeth Hall, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Josephine M. Sullivan, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Ida Elsie Walker, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Elizabeth Margaret Kuhn, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Anna M. McMahon, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Edith Burke McClure, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Kittie Hart, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Ada Mar[Page 1264]garet O’Dell, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Wilna [sic] Carlton, private nurse, Grand Rapids; Mary B. Paloski, private nurse, Grand Rapids.
Class of 1905—Dena Kuypers, Caroline Stratton, Gertrude Leggett, Aline Piper, Cora Morrall, Ethel M. Rice, Ada L. Hershey, Edna Bailey.
Butterworth Hospital is the successor of St. Mark’s Home and Hospital which for many years was conducted under the auspices of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. January 1, 1873, the church authorities established a "Church Home," and by the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. E. P. Fuller were given the use of a frame house at No. 60 Kent street, where six sick and aged members were accommodated during the first year. Demands and needs increased, and in 1876 Mr. and Mrs. Fuller donated to the trustees of St. Mark’s the use of a large building on Island street which was occupied as a home and hospital for fourteen years. June 26, 1877, "St. Mark’s Home and Hospital" became incorporated, and ever since the institution has been conducted as an incorporated body to furnish a home and hospital for the sick and needy, irrespective of sect and creed, and to relieve the necessities of persons requiring any assistance by any charitable means that may seem proper, and to educate and train nurses for the care of the sick. Mrs. H. W. Hinsdale, President; Mrs. E. P. Fuller, Vice-President; Miss Louise Miller, Secretary and Treasurer; Mrs. Charlotte Cuming, Mrs. John McConnell, Mrs. P. R. L. Pierce, Mrs. James H. [Page 1269] McKee, and Mrs. George Kendall constituted the first board of trustees.
November 28, 1887, the board of directors received a letter from Richard E. E. Butterworth offering to donate the association a site for a hospital at the southwest corner of East Bridge and Bostock streets, valued at $15,000. The offer was accepted. January 6, 1888, Mr. Butterworth died, and by the terms of his will gave to the association the site mentioned, $15,000 in cash and a block on Canal street valued at $15,000; so that his entire gifts to the association amounted to $41,500. Ground was broken for the new building on August 10, 1888. On Sunday, March 24, 1889, after regular morning services at St. Mark’s church, the entire congregation went in a body to the site of the hospital, and the corner stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies, Dr. Fair pronouncing the benediction. On St. Mark’s day, April 26, 1890, the present hospital building was completed and opened with a public reception and dedicatory exercises conducted by Rev. Dr. Campbell Fair, assisted by Rev. Peter Moerdyke, Rev. Dr. S. H. Cobb, Rev. A. R. Merriam, and Rev. Dr. Knapp. Prayer was offered by Bishop Gillespie.
In the walls of the building is a marble slab about five by three feet in size which words the grateful remembrance of Richard Edward Emerson Butterworth, by whose benevolence the building was erected. There are also life-sized portraits of Mr. and Mrs. E. P. Fuller, by whose fostering care the institution was established and promoted.
At the opening of the building there were rooms furnished by the following philanthropic citizens of Grand Rapids: Mrs. S. L. Fuller, Mrs. Francis Letellier, Mrs. E. P. Fuller, Berkey & Gay Company, Mr. C. W. Wright, Mr. Henry Ives, Mr. A. E. Worden, Mrs. W. F. Bulkley, Mrs. Joseph Penney, Helping Hand Society, Mrs. A. J. Brown, Mrs. M. A. Tinkham, Mrs. Arthur Meigs, Mrs. J. H. Wonderly, Mrs. J. Boyd Pantlind
The building is one hundred and forty-eight feet long by eighty-four feet deep, three stories high, made of Ohio and pressed brick, with Lake Superior and sandstone trimmings, slate roof. It was erected under the supervision of C. W. Davidson. Its total cost was $47,088.42.
On January 25, 1894, the name of the institution was changed [Page 1270] to that of its chief patron and it has since been called "Butterworth Hospital."
It has a high and commanding position, which affords a fine view of the city and Grand River valley. In consequence of its elevated position its drainage is perfect. Exposed to the breeze from every quarter, the air is pure and fresh at all times. It is heated by steam and lighted by both electricity and gas. Each room is provided with an electric call bell by which attendance can be summoned at any moment. There are four general wards and eighteen private rooms furnished with every modern convenience. There is an operating room, dispensary, and all the accommodations of a first class hospital. The institution is open to the suffering of all classes, without regard to religion, sex or color. Persons suffering from accident and serious illness are admitted at any hour of the day and night. It has four free beds. All cases of accident, and diseases, except those which are incurable and contagious, are treated. The association is out of debt. During the past year its total income was $31,345.51, and it paid off a bonded indebtedness of $9,000 and interest and its total expense $22,580.84. Seven hundred and fifty-eight patients were treated during the year past. The following constitutes the present officers and physicians of the institution:
Board of Trustees—George K. Johnson, term expires April 25, 1905; Philo C. Fuller, term expires April 25, 1905; Rev. J. N. McCormick, term expires April 25, 1905; Willard Barnhart, term expires April 25, 1906; J. Boyd Pantlind, term expires April 25, 1906; Claude Hamilton, term expires April 25, 1906; Harvey J. Hollister, term expires April 25, 1907; Edward Lowe, term expires April 25, 1907; Henry Idema, term expires April 25, 1908; Howard A. Thornton, term expires April 25, 1908; J. Edward Earle, term expires April 25, 1908.
Officers of Board of Trustees—President, Edward Lowe; Vice-President, J. Edward Earle; Treasurer, Harvey J. Hollister; Secretary, Claude Hamilton.
Executive Committee—J. Boyd Pantlind, Philo C. Fuller, Harvey J. Hollister, Claude Hamilton, Edward Lowe.
Board of Managers—Mrs. Wm. H. Anderson, Mrs. Roy S. Barnhart, Mrs. Charles H. Bender, Mrs. Eugene Boise, Mrs. J. Edward Earle, Mrs. Campbell Fair, Mrs. Charles Fox, Mrs. F. A. [Page 1271] Gorham, Mrs. Charles S. Hazeltine, Mrs. Charles E. Hooker, Mrs. Wm. Oden Hughart, Jr., Mrs. Collins H. Johnston, Mrs. Joseph Kortlander, Mrs. Daniel McCoy, Mrs. J. Boyd Pantlind, Mrs. Charles H. Perkins, Mrs. Cyrus E. Perkins, Mrs. Geo. Raymond, Mrs. Huntley Russell, Mrs. Stephen A. Sears, Mrs. Wm. R. Shelby, Mrs. Albert Stickley, Mrs. T. W. Strahan, Mrs. Richard R. Smith, Mrs. Bertha K. Witherbee, Mrs. J. H. Wonderly, Miss Katherine O’Brien.
Officers of Board of Managers—President, Mrs. Eugene Boise; First Vice-President, Mrs. J. Edward Earle; Second Vice-President, Mrs. Charles Fox; Third Vice-President, Mrs. J. Boyd Pantlind; Secretary, Mrs. Huntley Russell; Treasurer, Mrs. F. A. Gorham; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. Charles H. Perkins.
Training School Committee—Mrs. T. W. Strahan, Chairman; Mrs. Joseph Kortlander, Miss Elizabeth G. Flaws, ex-officio, Mrs. Charles H. Perkins.
Kendall Home Committee—Mrs. Chas. H. Perkins, Chairman; Mrs. Joseph Kortlander.
House Supply Committee—Mrs. Albert Stickley, Chairman; Mrs. Charles Fox, Mrs. W. O. Hughart, Jr., Mrs. J. H. Wonderly, Mrs. J. Boyd Pantlind, Mrs. Wm. H. Anderson, Mrs. W. R. Shelby, Miss Katherine O’Brien.
Housekeeping Committee—Mrs. Charles H. Bender, Mrs. R. Smith, Mrs. Bertha Witherbee, Mrs. Roy S. Barnhart.
Surgical and Hospital Committee—Mrs. F. A. Gorham, Chairman; Mrs. Richard R. Smith.
Publishing and Advertising Committee—Mrs. Cyrus E. Perkins.
Entertainment Committee—Mrs. Charles S. Hazeltine, Chairman.
House Officers—Superintendent of Hospital, Elizabeth G. Flaws; Assistant Superintendent, Isabel S. Fairchild; Night Supervisor, Fannie McLeod; Instructor of Diet Kitchen and Supervisor of Cooking, Elizabeth C. Carroll; Bookkeeper, Cora E. Barber; Surgical Nurse, Mary L. Stratton; Resident House Physician, F. N. Pritchard.
Dr. George K. Johnson, Honorary Chief of Staff; Dr. Eugene Boise, Chief of Staff.
[Page 1272] Medicine—Visiting Physicians: Joseph Albright, Ralph Apted, Alexander M. Campbell, Elizabeth Earle, William Hake, J. B. Hilliker, Clarence White, Henry Hulst, Collins H. Johnston, C. E. Koon, T. M. Koon, John A. McColl, T. .[sic] W. Toan, J. B. Whinery. Consulting Physicians: George K. Johnson, Eugene Boise.
Surgery—Visiting Surgeons: J. Orton Edie, R. J. Hutchinson, G. L. McBride, Perry Schurtz, Richard R. Smith, Ralph H. Spencer, Rowland Webb, W. G. Young. Consulting Surgeons: George K. Johnson, Samuel R. Wooster.
Gynecology—R. J. Hutchinson, Perry Schurtz, Richard R. Smith, W. G. Young.
Diseases of Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat—Visiting Physicians: R. J. Kirkland, John R. Rogers, Louis A. Roller, E. W. Tolley. Consulting Physician: D. Emmett Welsh.
Obstetrics—Ralph Apted, H. W. Howard, Elizabeth Earle.
Dermatology—Charles E. Hooker.
Diseases of Children—Henry W. Howard, Collins H. Johnston.
Pathology—Joseph B. Whinery.
House Physician—Frederick Pritchard.
After the hospital was opened, great inconvenience and expense was experienced by the management in caring for the nurses, which resulted in a rich donation to the institution from the heirs of George Kendall, who died in October, 1890. Mr. Kendall had long been a faithful and devoted parishioner of St. Mark’s, and his children, Mrs. J. Edward Earle, Mrs. David R. Breed, Mrs. John J. Shields and George T. Kendall, as a remembrance of his interest in church affairs, gave to the institution the Kendall Home, which is a building erected at a cost of over $7,000 on grounds adjoining the hospital, and affords a home for the nurses of Butterworth and also a training school for nurses. The building was paid for by funds from the Kendall estate and was completed in 1892. The first class from the training school for nurses was graduated in 1893 and consisted of seven members. The following are the graduates:
Class of 1893—Miss E. H. Knapp, retired, Hillsdale, Mich.; Miss Luda Konkle, army nursing, Philippines; Miss E. Brosseau [Page 1273], private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss E. Packer, private work; Miss F. Bohn, private work, Chicago, Ill.; Miss C. M. Sturderant, married, Battle Creek, Mich.; Miss Jessie Crichton, private work, St. Johns, Mich.
Class of 1894—Miss Agnes Jamison, private work, New York City; Miss Georgia File, married, Canada; Miss Ruth Handy, private work, Hastings, Mich.; Miss Margaret Dooley, dead; Miss Ruby Hathaway, surgical nurse, Orange, N. J.; Miss Elizabeth Wooster, married, Ohio; Miss Agnes Daw, private work, Chicago, Ill.
Class of 1895—Miss W. Hutchinson, at home, Traverse City, Mich.; Miss Isabel Barr, married, Georgia; Miss Mary Johnston, private work, New York City; Miss Florence Gilchrist, dead; Miss Katherine Booth; Miss Anna M. Gunn, married, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Susan Hewitt, private work, Orange, N. J.
Class of 1896—Miss Rowena Raymond, at home, Canada; Miss Mary Goldie, private work, New York City; Miss Elna Byork, physician, Michigan.
Class of 1897—Miss Addie E. Deutsch, married, Toledo, Ohio; Miss Mary Baldwin, married, Cleveland, Ohio; Miss Mary Crichton, married; Miss Anna Schwender, married; Miss Eva Amas, at home, Toronto, Canada; Miss Carrie McDowell, hospital, London, England; Miss Mary Mingane, private work, New York City; Miss Gertrude Lyle, private work, Grand Rapids; Miss Inez Mosher, private work, Grand Rapids; Miss Anna Burlingame, at home, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Miss Eleanor Lason, U. S. Army Corp.; Miss Elizabeth DePree, married; Miss Maria Harley, private work, New York.
Class of 1898—Miss Pearl Bellows, married, Byron Center, Mich.; Miss Ida Richards, private work, New York City; Miss Josephine Foster, Bass River, Mich.; Miss Lula Cudney, private work, Grand Rapids; Miss Helen Hutchins, married, Toronto, Canada; Miss Isabel Fairchild, assistant superintendent, Butterworth Hospital; Miss Mabel Morehouse, private work, Grand Rapids; Miss Alice Newton, superintendent, Norfolk, Va.
Class of 1899—Miss Ethel Alexander, married, Pomona, Mich.; Miss T. Wilkkinson, private work, Houghton, Mich.; Miss Mary Burgess, assistant superintendent, Liberty, N. Y.; Miss Violet Whitman, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Bessie Wil[Page 1274]liamson, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Jean Elliott, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Emma Himmler, private work, New York City.
Class of 1900—Miss Endora Brown, married, Portland, Ore.; Miss Eva Rockwell, private work, Petoskey, Mich.; Miss Emma Miller, private work, New York; Miss Kate Gifford, hourly nursing, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Class of 1901—Miss Vine Gifford, hourly nursing, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Bertha Stauffer, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss E. J. Rowland; Miss Mary Crosby, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Mabel Jones, U. S. Army Corps; Miss Ella J. Smith, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Agnes Elliott, married, Manistee, Mich.
Class of 1902—Miss Clara Hogle, married, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Nellie Hall, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss May Wylie, married; Miss Kate Innes, at home, Michigan; Miss Hilda Schull, married, Holland, Mich.; Miss Cora Warren, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Class of 1903—Miss Rebecca Hunt; Miss Lucy Breen, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Irma Bechtold, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Mae McIntyre, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Rose De Merse, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Alice DePree, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Nona Michael, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Mamie Moerdyke, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Class of 1904—Miss Abbie Stone, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Mary Sutherland, private work, Shelby, Mich.; Miss Marie Gaiser, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Florence Launt, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Mary Plowman, private work, Copemish, Mich.; Miss Minnie Jenkins, private work, Traverse City, Mich.; Miss Sarah Halsey, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss May VanDommelen, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Louise Shuler, private work, Traverse City, Mich.; Miss Helen Duncombe, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Class of 1905—Miss Katherine Currie, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Mary Marshall, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Luella Bockstahler, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Jeannette Boer, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Miss Beatrice Graham, private work, Grand Rapids, Mich.
[Page 1275] Since the opening of the school the graduates have done good work and carried the practical results of the Kendall Home into every quarter of the earth. The school course is two and one-half years. Suffering humanity has reason to thank the philanthropy of Richard E. Butterworth, George Kendall, Mr. and Mrs. E. P. Fuller, and a host of other members of St. Mark’s Church, whose thoughtful, energetic methods have brought aid and comfort to many distressed bodies and souls.
St. Mary’s Hospital.
145 South Lafayette Street.
The late Mrs. Mary McNamara became the founder of St. Mary’s Hospital by donating her old home at 145 South Lafayette street to the Sisters of Mercy, who now also conduct hospitals at Big Rapids, Manistee, Bay City and Muskegon. Three sisters with Sr. Mary Ignatius at the head arrived from Big Rapids and took possession August 17th, 1893. The McNamara residence was at once remodeled for hospital purposes—another small house from Mrs. McNamara’s property on Sheldon and Maple streets being also moved to the rear and connected with it. During the first year 74 patients were cared for. In August, 1894, Sr. Mary Ignatius was succeeded as superioress by Sr. Mary Philomena, who again was replaced by Sr. Mary Josephine August 2d, 1897, who remained until August 14th, 1903. The present incumbent, Sr. Mary Bernardine, has had charge ever since. In June, 1898, a three-story frame addition with four sick rooms on each floor was begun. It was completed by the end of October of the same year. The building, which was equipped with an elevator, a steam plant and sanitary plumbing, cost about $8,000. In 1900 another addition was made in the rear, consisting of an amphitheatre connected with an operating room on the first floor, a drug room, a dormitory for nurses on the second floor and a dining room in the basement. This improvement cost about $2,000. On January 7th, 1903, the old Coffinberry home adjoining the hospital on the south was bought for $3,500, and in the early spring of 1905 the Smiley residence at the southwest corner of Cherry and South Lafayette streets was acquired for $10,000 which serves as a lodge for the sisters and nurses.
[Page 1276] The hospital has a training school for nurses conducted along the usual up-to-date methods. At present, July, 1905, there are six Sisters of Mercy and ten nurses employed. According to the last printed report there were from August 17th, 1900, to August 17th, 1902, 686 patients in the hospital. Of these 317 were Catholics, 354 Protestants of various denominations, 3 Hebrews and 22 without any religion; 362 paid full rates, 229 paid only a part of the regular rates and 95 were cared for free of charge. Since the above report was printed still more patients have been cared for annually, as more room was obtained. In fact, the hospital has been generally crowded to its full capacity and many patients have had to be refused for want of space.
Charity Organization Society.
In the winter of 1892-93 there were rumors of financial panic. Business became somewhat demoralized and many men were thrown out of employment. There was much distress in the city and all benevolent organizations were taxed to their utmost capacity. In February, 1893, a circular was issued asking all persons interested in the organization of all local charitable societies to correspond with the signers, Thomas D. Gilbert and J. W. Rosenthal. Five hundred responses were received expressing interest in the movement. In March a public meeting was held in Powers Opera House, at which a committee consisting of T. D. Gilbert, J. W. Rosenthal, H. J. Hollister, A. O. Crozier and L. S. Provin was appointed to draft a constitution for a society to be k nown [sic] as the Charity Organization Society of Grand Rapids. On April 11 a meeting was held at the Park Street Congregational Church, to which the committee made its report, setting forth the objects of the proposed organization. It was adopted and is as follows:
The objects are:
1. To reduce vagrancy and pauperism and ascertain their true causes.
2. To prevent indiscriminate and duplicate giving.
3. To protect the community against imposition.
4. To see that all deserving cases of destitution are properly relieved.
5. To make employment the basis of relief.
6. To elevate the home life, health and habits of the poor. [Page 1277]
7. To prevent children from growing up as paupers.
The methods by which the foregoing objects are sought to be accomplished are:
1. By bringing about co-operation among all charitable agencies and persons.
2. By a system of registration, to prevent imposition.
3. By securing thorough investigation and the most suitable action in each and every case.
4. By obtaining from existing charities the precise help needed.
5. By giving temporary relief only in case of extreme emergency.
6. By a system of volunteer visiting, which shall substitute friendliness for alms and inspire to thrift, self-respect and better modes of life.
7. By careful study of the causes of pauperism and of the best method of dealing with destitution and degradation.
Prior to the meeting the city had been canvassed for funds to start and carry on the movement, and $5,442.50 was reported pledged, to which $230 was added at the meeting. To become a member a person promised at least five dollars a year to the organization. At the same meeting the following well-known citizens of Grand Rapids were appointed members of the first Council for the new organization:
L. D. Norris, J. W. Rosenthal, D. A. Blodgett, T. D. Gilbert, H. J. Hollister, Mrs. E. P. Fuller, Miss Frances E. Peirce, Maurice Shanahan, A. O. Crozier, Wm. M. Robinson, T. Stewart White, M. S. Crosby, Frances S. Hillyer, Mrs. M. R. Bissell, N. A. Fletcher, Abraham May, D. J. Doornink, J. G. Kalmbach, Frederick Loettgert, Mrs. T. W. Strahan, Mrs. L. S. Provin
On April 13, 1893, the Council met and organized by electing Hon Thomas D. Gilbert president and Miss Emma Field general secretary. Miss Field for several years had been a teacher in the public schools and was then principal at the Grandville Avenue School. She had done much work in charity and was thoroughly acquainted with the conditions of the city. As soon as she was appointed secretary, she was sent to Buffalo to learn methods where a similar organization was in full and successful operation. On her return Mr. Walter L. Casper, who had had experience in the office of the Cincinnati Asso[Page 1278]ciated Charities, was appointed assistant secretary. The Charity Organization Society, on May 8, opened an office and for a time did business in the private office of the Grand Rapids Gas Company. On June 1 the office of the organization was moved to 139 North Division street, where it has since remained. Mr. Gilbert continued as president until his death, in November, 1894. In January following Harvey J. Hollister was elected president, and continued to hold the office until May, 1903, when he was succeeded by James R. Wylie, who was followed by Mark Norris. Miss Field has been general secretary of the society since its organization. For many years she had an assistant secretary, but for some time past has alone performed the duties of her office. The following were the first committees of the organization:
Executive Committee—J. W. Rosenthal, Mrs. M. R. Bissell, M. S. Crosby, T. Stewart White, Wm. M. Robinson.
Case Investigation—L. W. Wolcott, L. D. Norris, Mrs. E. P. Fuller.
Finance and Membership—J. W. Rosenthal, D. A. Blodgett, Henry Spring.
Friendly Visitors—Dr. Frances S. Hillyer, C. S. Udell, S. L. Withey.
Registration Bureau—Henry Idema, Joseph Houseman, N. L. Avery.
Co-operation and Conference—H. J. Hollister, M. Shanahan, D. J. Doornink.
Mendicancy—F. A. Maynard, Thaddeus Foot, E. G. Studley.
Legal Questions—Wm. Alden Smith, N. A. Fletcher, J. Edward Earle.
Literature—R. W. Butterfield, E. B. Fisher, Isaac P. Powell.
Provident Habits—John S. Lawrence, Wm. M. McBain, Frank E. Pulte.
Wood Yard—L. S. Provin, S. B. Jenksk [sic], J. K. Johnson.
Laundry—Mrs. T. W. Strahan, Mrs. N. W. Northrup, Mrs. H. C. Torrey.
Public and Private Health—Dr. Arthur Hazelwood, Dr. D. Emmett Welsh, Dr. R. H. Stevens.
The present officers of the organization are: Mark Norris, president; Mrs. T. D. Gilbert and James A. Hunt, vice-presidents, and Fred A. Twamley, treasurer. The General Council is [Page 1279] now composed as follows: Abraham May, Fred A. Twamley, Mark Norris, W. J. Stewart, Mrs. L. S. Provin, Dr. Frances Rutherford, M. H. Sorrick, J. R..[sic] Wylie, Mrs. T. D. Gilbert, Wm. M. Graham, C. L. Harvey, Mrs. M. R. Bissell, James A. Hunt, W. Millard Palmer, John W. Blodgett, H. J. Hollister, Cyrus E. Perkins, Henry Idema, C. S. Udell, Mrs. E. P. Fuller, Rev. J. A. Schmitt.
Soon after the society was organized the threatened financial crisis came to the city, and for many months suffering and want were alleviated by its efforts. A work-room was established at the office, 139 N. Division street, in which the needy could work and earn clothing and provisions. During the first year 2, 024 days’ work was there done and 3,577 dinners were served. The winter after its organization D. H. Waters gave to the society a supply of provisions and a stock of wood, amounting to more than $4,000 in value. He gave the society the use of a store on Ottawa street, as a store-room for provisions, and the use of the vacant lot where [sic] the exhibition building now stands, at the corner of Ottawa and Lyon streets, for a woodyard. He also donated a large tract of timber near the city, which was cut into logs, drawn to the woodyard and there cut into stovewood. The woodyard was a busy place for the first winter and a portion of the second winter after the society was organized. During the year 1893-94-95 many a good mechanic and thrift workingman was glad to work under the direction of the society for the necessities of life, and take his pay in provisions and fuel. The business men of Grand Rapids placed at the absolute disposal of the society provisions and fuel, with only the condition that all persons relieved should first be investigated and their worthiness certified to by the society. The reduced numbers each year, for the dozen years sinc [sic] its organization, aided by the society, tell the stor [sic] of the city’s prosperity and the benefits of the society.
A few weeks after the society was organized there was such a demand for nurses to care for the needy sick that appeals were made to the hospitals for help and the services of graduate nurses secured. The society established a supply room, from which bedding, clothing and nourishing food are sent to the sick poor. The work in this department has ever since continued, and most of the time during the past ten years two [Page 1280] nurses or more have been employed. In 1890 Emerson McMillan gave $1,000 to this department, of which $600 was used to hire a nurse for a year and $400 was used for emergency cases. The department is now conducted by the District Nurses’ Association.
The society keepsp [sic] a complete record of its work. Since its organization the society has aided more than eight thousand cases, each of which is recorded. As a result the cost of maintaining the poor department of the city has largely decreased; benevolent associations and fraternal societies do not duplicate each other’s work; fraud is detected; the public suffers little imposition from unworthy pepole [sic]; all worthy cases are investigated and aided; needy sick are assisted, and poverty is vanishing from Grand Rapids. All these benefits are received at a cost of less than twenty-five hundred dollars a year. Surely the good of the Charity Organization Society can hardly be overestimated.
In June, 1896, the National Conference of Charities held its twenty-third annual meeting at Grand Rapids. Two general sessions were held daily, and there were in addition about twenty section meetings held during the week. The president of the Conference that year was Abbot O. Wright, of Madison, Wisconsin. Among the papers read was one upon "The Friendly Visitor," by Mrs. L. P. Rowland, of Grand Rapids, and Rt. Rev. G. D. Gillespie, of Grand Rapids, was a member of the Executive Committee for the year. The following year Harvey J. Hollister also became a member of the Executive Committee. It was a grand gathering of men and women devoted to noble purposes [sic] who did honor to the city. It was an event in local life, and a benefit to all benevolent institutions of the city. In 1897, at Toronto, Ontario, Mr. James R. Wylie gave an address before the National Conference upon the "Organization of City and County Charities" which attracted much attention and excited much favorable comment. use. [sic]
The Y. M. C. A.
The Young Men’s Christian Association of Grand Rapids was organized on June 6, 1866, with the following officers: President, Moreau C. Crosby; vice-president, J. T. Miller; recording secretary, C. E. Hulbert; corresponding secretary, Rev. J Morgan Smith (Page 1281); treasurer, H. W. Slocum. A reading room was opened, regular meetings were held, and a relief department organizd [sic] for assisting the needy poor, which was afterwards turned over to the Union Benevolent Association. The next year rooms were occupied at 30 Canal street, a library started, and an employment bureau organized. The association also conducted large religious meetings in Luce’s Hall. In 1870 the association was legally incorporated. In 1871 the headquarters were moved to Monroe street, opposite the Widdicomb building. In 1872 a general secretary, Mr. John Homer, was secured. The year 1874 saw the association adopting a new constitution, and the next year headquayrters [sic] were removed to the Ledyard block. During Centennial year, 1876, there was an official report submitted to the association which showed that prior to that time more than $20,000 had been expended in Grand Rapids by the local association since its organization, and that more than $1,800 had been expended in relief work. That year the sate convention of the Y. M. C. A. was entertained in Grand Rapids. In 1883 the association moved to the Godfrey block on Ionia street, one door south of Monroe street, where the headquarters remained until 1886, when they were removed to the northwest corner of Pearl and Ottawa streets, where Mr. Julius Berkey had erected a temporary building for the uss [sic] of the association. The state convention was entertained by Grand Rapids in 1887. In 1888 the International Conference of Y. M. C. A. Secretaries was held in Grand Rapids, with nearly 300 delegates attending from all parts of the United States and many foreign countries. The first site of the Y. M. C. A. building, at the corner of Ionia and Pearl streets, was purchased in September, 1888, and in October of the same yeyar [sic], the headquarters were again removed from the corner of Pearl and Ottawa to an old dwelling on the site purchased, and there the headquarters have since remained. In 1899 the international convention of Y. M. C. A. delegates was held in Grand Rapids. It was an event in the religious and municipal life of the city.
The Y. M. C. A. building is a monument of enterprise to the city. It cost $100,000 with its equipments, and is an investment which pays good interest in the forces which work for righteousness in the city, its growth and development.
For more than thirty years the Y. M. C. A. of Grand Rapids [Page 1282] has had a general secretary who has given his entire time to the work, although there have been intervals when the position was not filled. The following will show the names of the general secretaries, their term of office, and the intervals of service: John Horner, 1872 to 1873; L. H.. [sic] Pearce, 1874 to 1875; E. A. Spence, 1877; A. B. Carrier, 1877 to 1879; L. P. Rowland, 1880 to 1884; R. M. Beattie, 1885 to 1891; Charles S. Ward, 1891 to 1897; B. C. Cutler (acting secretary), 1897 to 1898; M. B. Van Vranken, 1897 [sic] to 1903; George B. Landis, 1903 to 1905; Frank H. West, 1905.
In 1890 Clay H. Hollister was elected president of the Y. M. C. A. of Grand Rapids, and continued as president until 1902, when, at his own request, he was relieved from his official duties, and Lee M. Hutchens was chosen president. He was followed in 1903 by A. T. Slaght.
Since 1890 the following have been directors and officers of the association: George N. Wagner, A. E. Yerex, Anton G. Hodenpyl, John B. Martin, Wm. C. Shepard, Henry Idema, J. B. Ware, S. H. Cobb, F. Emory Tuttle, M. S. Crosby, E. G. Studley, L. T. Wilmarth, J. H. Thomas, Wm. Judson, Frederick Macey. [sic], Wm. Logie, Stephen H. Ocker, Wm. N. Rowe, Franklin Barnhart, George W. Gay, J. L. McKee, M. H. Sorrick, James Grant, C. C. Harrington, E. A. Moreley, R. W. Butterfield, Amos Musselman, J. A. S. Verdier, L. C. Stow, Will H. Gay, Van A. Wallin, W. R. Fox, Wm. H. Haggerty, Charles M. Wilson, Wm. H. Gilbert, H. Harvey Innis, D. C. Steketee, L. L. Skillman, George E. Hardy, Harry C. Angell, J. D. M. Shirtz, G. H. Albers, F. C. Miller, Geo. E. Luther, W. C. Hopson, G. S. Booker, Benn M. Corwin, C. S. Burch, C. A. Felger, Howard Thornton, M. C. Sinclair, J. George Lehman, James Leenhouts, Claude Hamilton.
The following were the officers and directors for the year 1903-04: President, A. T. Slaght; first vice-president, W. H. Gay; second vice-president, C. M. Wilson; third vice-president, F. C. Miller; secretary, O. A. Felger; treasurer, Benn M. Corwin; Van A. Wallin, W. R. Fox, W. C. Hopson, H. A. Thornton, C. H. Hollister, J. George Lehman, M. C. Sinclair, M. D., Claude T. Hamilton, L. T. Wilmarth, J. L. McKee, W. H. Haggerty, James Leenhouts
Executive officers: General secretary, George B. Landis; [Page 1283] assistant secretary, A. C. Price; office secretary, Fred C. Coggeshall; membership secretary, H. M. Giddings; physical director, A. W. Brown; assistant physical director, E. O. Baker.
Officers and Board of Directors of the Young Men’s Christian Association for 1905: President, W. H. Gay, Berkey & Gay; secretary, J. C. Knox, G. R. & I. R. R.; treasurer, James Leenhouts, Michigan Trust Co.; vice-president, Van A. Wallin, Leather Company; B. M. Corwin, Houseman building; W. D. Bishop, Bishop Furniture Co.; Walter Clark, Michigan Trust building; W. R. Fox, Fox Machine Co.; C. T. Hamilton, Michigan Trust Co.; W. C. Hopson, 25 Campau street; G. A. Krause, Hirth, Krause & Co.; J. L. McKee, Houseman building; John B. Martin, Monroe street; A. S. Musselman, Grocer Company; H. A. Thornton, Michigan Trust building; C. M. Wilson, Michigan Trust building; J. B. Ware, Citizens’ Telephone Co.; L. T. Wilmarth, 155 Canal street.
Executive Committee: W. H. Gay, C. T. Hamilton, Walter Clark, J. A. Thornton, Jas. Leenhouts, Dr. B. H. Lee, Fred P. Geib, W. D. Bishop, J. W. A. Cairns.
The object for which the Y. M. C. A. was organized and the object for which it continues is to promote the welfare of the young men of Grand Rapids. "The privileges of its membership are for all who may wish to avail themselves of them, without restriction as to nationality, religious belief or occupation. Its door swings open easily to every young man who may desire to enter and within are found the right kind of companions and the means of spending the time pleasantly and profitably." There are innocent games for leisure hours whenever the building is open. There is a well-equipped gymnasium and swimming-pool, shower baths, tennis and athletic clubs for securing strength of body and good health. The gymnasium has about five hundred patrons annually. There are educational evening classes in penmanship, arithmetic, business correspondence, bookkeeping, mechanical drawing, furniture drawing, electricity, English for foreign born, shorthand and typewriting, and public speaking, all of which are well patronized and appreciated. A reading room is open at all times and supplements the evening classes. Educational clubs are organized to pursue any subject in which several members are interested, and courses of practical talks are given. Members with musical abilities can culti[Page 1284]vate their talents. There is a glee club and a mandolin club. The association holds meetings in the factories, and much good results on religious, social, and educational lines. For many years the association has given annually an entertainment course, by which the people of Grand Rapids have heard first-class lectures, musical companies, and singers of national and international reputation at low cost. During the year there are frequent free lectures and talks from people of the city, state and nation prominent in public, professional and educational life. No institution in the city works a wider field of usefulness.
The Holland Union Benevolent Association.
The Holland Union Benevolent Association Home is located at the corner of College avenue and East Bridge street. The association was incorporated in 1892, and soon after purchased from the Bernard estate the house and lot at 245 College avenue which now constitutes a portion of the site of the Home. After a time an adjoining house and lot was purchased and the capacity of the Home enlarged. The original purchases cost about $7,000. About $3,000 was spent in repairs. The association owes $4,000, and has a property worth about $12,000, which is a remarkable showing considering that the association, since its organization, has constantly cared for beneficies [sic] of its bounty to the fullest capacity of the Home. The association had nothing for a start. It was organized to provide a home for aged indigent and infirm persons of general good conduct and character. It has about four hundred members, who pay annual dues of one dollar each. The Home is managed by twelve trustees, two-thirds of whom are males and one-third females, elected for a term of four years each. All religious exercises at the Home must conform to the tenets of the Holland Reform Churches. Religious exercises are held each week, but all inmates are free to attend such church services as they see fit.
It costs about $5,000 a year to maintain the Home. Its income is derived from membership dues, church offerings, private donations, property of inmates and stipends from their relatives and friends. Church offerings are received from all Holland Reform churches in the United States. From October until May of each year the association employs a solicitor who gives his entire [Page 1285] time to accumulating funds for the Home. The Home has continuously from forty to fifty inmates, a large proportion of whom are Hollanders, but there is nothing in the laws of the association limiting the privilege of the Home to any blood, race, or religious belief. The inmates have been of various nationalities. At present the oldest inmate is ninety-five and the youngest sixty; a majority are over seventy-four years of age.
Since its opening the following have been superintendents of the Home: Mr. Vanderviere, Charles Tellinga, A. Haage and H. Zuilersma. Rev. Adrian Krukaard is now president of the association.
The Children’s Home.
The Children’s Home Society is doing an excellent and effective work in Grand Rapids. Its object is to ameliorate the condition of poor and homeless children, and to provide a home for those who are friendless or whose parents and guardians are unable to care for them. The society was organized June 23, 1892. The incorporators were Anna Horton, Ellen C. Moore, Emma Strahan, Cora H. Sweet, Clara S. Morley, Luna E. Colwell and Sara J. Davidson. Prior to its incorporation the society informally did some work along the lines indicated. It first met at the home of Mrs. Sweet, and conducted its work in soliciting clothing and other necessities and distributing where most needed. The society rented a house at 43 S. Lafayette street, where was established the first home. The society found plenty of work, and after incorporation rapidly increased in numbers and enlarged its field of usefulness. In August, 1892, through the generosity of D. A. Blodgett, the society purchased from his estate the residence of I. M. Clark, at 666 Cherry street, which now constitutes the Children’s Home. The first officers of the society were: Mrs. H. N. Moore, president; Mrs. J. W. Rosenthal, vice-president; Mrs. Clara L. Morley, secretary; Mrs. Cora H. Sweet, treasurer; Mrs. T. W. Strahan, Mrs. J. C. Wenham, Mrs. Lena Colwell and Mrs. E. J. Horton, directors. When the transfer of property was made by the estate to the society the heirs generously gave $5,000 of the purchase price to the society for use in its work. The first year in its new home the society cared for 67 children, of whom 7 were adopted into good permanent homes [Page 1286] and two died. During the years 1895 and 1896 a fully equipped hospital was added to the institution. The Home has been fortunate in the health of its inmates. There have been deaths among the infants at the Home, but there has never been a death among the older children.
The management of the Home has always aimed to keep the idea of an institution in the background, and to have home life as far as possible in the front. The children live like one family. There is a dining room where all eat and are taught table manners. They all sleep in two large rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls. Each child has a bed. There is a playroom which, of course, is in constant use. There is also a reading and study room. All children of school age attend the nearest public school in the grade to which each is eligible. All attend Sunday School regularly. The older girls are systematically taught sewing, knitting and mending. The boys are taught manual training. Special efforts are made to inculcate politeness and good works.
Permanent homes are found for all abandoned children as fast as possible. Many households have been made happy by taking a child from the Home into the family, and many a child has been made happy by finding foster parents through the efforts of the society.
Each year the Home cares for from forty to sixty children. Not all the inmates are abandoned and neglected children. Not infrequently a parent dies leaving one or more young children for whom the survivor can not keep up a household, and for such the Home is a place of refuge in time of need. The father leaves his child at the Home and gladly pays for its care; the mother, obliged to become a wage-earner, does the same. Sometimes the breadwinner of a family, by protracted illness or unusual misfortune, for a time is unable to provide for the little ones, and the Home takes the children until better times come to the broken family. The society has reunited many broken family ties and the gratitude of such households is unbounded. Often such households in prosperity have repaid with interest material aid received from the society in days of adversity.
It costs about $4,000 a year for the maintenance of the Home. The sources of revenue are from such assistance as parents and guardians of children in the Home can give, dona[Page 1287]tions from church societies, circles and classes, contributions from individuals, and other usual sources. The society, since its organization, has received two substantial legacies four thousand dollars from the estate of Miss Flora Stewart, and twenty-eight thousand dollars from the estate of Henry O. Schemerhorn. Only the income from the last legacy is available for the support of the Home; the principal can be used only for building a new home. In times of emergency, the Home has never lacked friends.
The matrons of the Home have been Miss Anna Livingston, Miss Josephine Gidley and Miss Esther Robinson. The present officers of the Home are: Mrs. M. J. Clark, president; Mrs. John Hawkins, vice-president; Miss Abbie L. Weller, secretary, and A. H. Nichols, treasurer.
St. John’s Orphan Asylum.
St. John’s Orphan Asylum had its origin in the will of John Clancy, who bequeathed $60,000 for the founding of such an institution. It was given to Bishop Richter in trust. In 1888 eight acres were purchased on East Leonard street, two and a half of which were sold to St. Alphonsus Church, one-half acre used for street purposes, and the remaining five acres constitute the grounds of the asylum. A portion of the present building, completed and furnished at cost of $27,000, was dedicated August 25, 1889. The asylum was opened with three inmates under the control of the order of St. Dominic, an American order having its origin in New York City. At first three Sisters were in charge, but as the needs of the institution increased the number of Sisters increased, until ten are now on duty in Grand Rapids. The first three inmates came from Saginaw, but Grand Rapids and vicinity soon furnished a growing school. Within a year there were nearly fifty inmates. There are now seventy-five boys and sixty girls receiving instruction and care at the institution, in charge of three teachers and ten Sisters. In 1896 the building was completed, at a cost of $75,000. The institution occupies a commanding site, and is one of the first buildings to attract the eye of a stranger in the city.
By the rules and regulations of the asylum children are received between the ages of four and eleven, and are not received for a less period than one year. The asylum is pri[Page 1288]marily for orphans and deserted children, although children and wards whose parents and guardians can aid in there support but have no homes for them are sometimes received and cared for, each case being governed and judged by its own peculiar circumstances.
Homes are often found for children without parents or friends, and friends and relatives are found for those deserted or left alone in the world. The institution is not limited in its charity and good work to the children of any race, creed or color. Any child without home or friends, whose physical and mental condition is normal, is eligible to become an inmate of St. John’s Orphan Asylum.
It is essentially, however, a Catholic institution, organized and governed by the church. Its revenues are largely derived from the church. An annual collection for its maintenance is taken in each church of the diocese. Each year there is held a supper or fair which has become a social event among all the Catholic churches of the city, and whose entire income goes for the support of the asylum. Like all institutions and societies under the control and direction of Bishop Richter, the asylum is out of debt. The beneficence of John Clancy and the careful, prudent management of the trust fund has given Grand Rapids an institution whose benefits can not be overestimated and whose blessings will increase as the years go by.
Little Sisters of the Poor.
Among the many charities of the city none do better and more effectual work than the Little Sisters of the Poor. It is a Catholic order, instituted in France more than sixty years ago. They form a congregation of nuns-hospitallers, converted by vow to the care of infirm and poor aged people. Since its organization the order has founded and built nearly three hundred homes for old people in different countries of the earth, which have sheltered nearly two hundred thousand inmates. There are two requirements for reception into their homes: old age and poverty. Old age begins at sixty; poverty is inability to obtain a livelihood and lack of means for support. Admission is not limited to any religion, sect, race or nationality. The Little Sisters give themselves up to the work of hospitality. They have no servants, no paid employees. They do [Page 1289] all the work of their homes, aided by the inmates who can do service. The houses are built and maintained entirely by alms solicited by the Sisters themselves. Anything which can be used directly or indirectly to support the inmates is thankfully received.
In 1868 the Little Sisters first came to the United States, since which time homes have been founded and built in nearly all the large cities of the country. May 1, 1884, five Sisters came to Grand Rapids to engage in this work. One was directly from France; the others were from various American cities. They began their duties with headquarters on West Bridge street, near St. James Church, where they remained for one year, and then, on May 1, 1885, moved to a stone house that stood on the present site of their fine building, at 158 South Lafayette street. In 1888 a substantial edifice was built and occupied on the feast of St. Anne. The Home then had sixty inmates, cared for by a Mother Superior and five Sisters. In 1898 an addition was built and the buildings and grounds assumed their present aspect and condition. The grounds are two hundred and fifty feet wide, extending from South Lafayette to South Prospect streets. The building is five stories high, built of brick, faces South Lafayette street with two hundred and sixty-one feet front, and is one hundred and fifty-six feet wide. It has a fine chapel sixty-two by twenty-eight feet, and contains dining rooms, dormitories, infirmaries, and all modern facilities for taking care of the sick and the infirm. The Home now has one hundred and forty inmates, with beds for one hundred and sixty, provided for by a Mother Superior and fourteen Sisters. The inmates are well cared for, with donations of provisions and fuel and about five thousand dollars per year in cash. The building of the Home, at a cost of about one hundred thousand dollars, and its support, has been entirely done with funds raised by the Sisters themselves in the diocese of Western Michigan. The citizens of Grand Rapids can do no better charity than to assist the Little Sisters walking modestly about the city and asking alms for their old people.
The House of the Good Shepherd.
On January 18, 1904, two outdoor Sisters of the Good Shepherd arrived in Grand Rapids to make preparations for [Page 1290] opening a home irrespective of creed or nationality for wayward girls and fallen women. They were guests of the Little Sisters of the Poor. The very same house, 363 Bridge street, in which the Home of the Aged was started in 1884, was rented for $35 per month and dedicated to the grand work of reformation of fallen women on March 19, 1904, Mother Mary, of St. Laura, being the first Mother Superioress. In the fall of the same year, the old White place with ten acres of land was purchased for about $8,000, and the little community moved into it October 3, 1904. A new brick three-story laundry building, costing about $35,000, was commenced at once and was dedicated in March, 1905. The lower and part of the second floors are used for laundry purposes and the rest of the building for living rooms and dormatories [sic]. Although the building can accommodate about one hundred and fifty persons, there are now, July, 1905, only sixteen girls and ten Sisters. The laundry, which forms the main support of the institution, is equipped with all modern machinery necessary for the work.
Woman’s Home and Hospital.
In 1885 there was organized among the church women of Grand Rapids a society for "looking after the spiritual wants of the neglected classes," and Mrs. A. S. K. Burton was employed as city missionary. The officers were Mrs. J. Morgan Smith, president; Mrs. Henry Spring, secretary; Mrs. E. E. Judd, treasurer, and a vice-president from each church. There were so many cases of destitution and distress that the city missionary was compelled to devote most of her time and much of her salary to alleviating the suffering of homeless women. The society at first provided one room in the U. B. A. Home and raised funds to pay for the temporary care of such women as went there by the society’s order. Soon a board of managers for the society was appointed, with Mrs. P. B. Whitfield as president, the other members consisting of Mrs. N. A. Stone, Mrs. C. D. Hodges, Miss Lillie McDonald, Mrs. Emma A. Wheeler and Mrs. A. S. K. Burton. An advisory board of men, consisting of Mr. Wm. A. Berkey, Mr. D. A. Blodgett, and Mr. G. T. Whitfield, was appointed. In March, 1886, an arrangement was made with Mrs. S. J. Douglass, of 440 North Ionia street, to give the society the temporary use of her resi[Page 1291]dence as a home for the wards of the society. On May 6, following, the society rented a house at 51 South Ionia street and Mrs. Burton was appointed matron. In May the first annual meeting was held and the following officers chosen: President, Mrs. Dr. M. Veenboer; vice-presidents, Mrs. E. A. Wheeler and Mrs. P. B. Whitfield; recording secretary, Mrs. N. A. Stone; financial secretary, Mrs. Kerr B. Tupper; treasurer, Mrs. C. D. Hodges; advisory board, Reverends Kerr B. Tupper, H. P. Welton, P. Moerdyke, W. F. Richardson, J. Rice Taylor, A. R. Merriam and Wm. A. Berkey.
In September, 1886, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union of the city took charge of the institution, and have ever since controlled its management and policy. It then took the name of the Woman’s Home and Hospital, which it has since retained. Its original object was to provide a home for friendless, destitute women and girls, but its purposes have been enlarged to include women who are ill, or too feeble in health to support themselves, and whose means are too limited to admit of paying a high price for board, but who do not wish to be entirely dependent on charity and are willing and able to pay a small price for a good home with pleasant Christian surroundings and kind care and nursing when sick.
In 1886 the need of enlarged quarters became apparent, and a home containing fourteen rooms, at 250 East Fulton street, was rented at $400 a year. Mrs. Wm. A. Berkey became responsible for the rent and carried the burden for several years. April 1, 1891, the society purchased the Granger property, at 69 Bostwick street, and moved into it April 6, and ever since it has been the Woman’s Home and Hospital. It is one block from the post office. The lot is fifty-five feet front and one hundred and seventy-five feet deep, with a good barn on the rear. The house is brick. The price was six thousand dollars, all of which was paid within a few years. The Home is now free from debt and in an exceedingly prosperous condition, having more than a thousand dollars to its credit, and all running expenses paid. It is managed by the six local Woman’s Christian Temperance Unions of the city, each Union having three directors on the Board of Managers. There are also three gentlemen on the board, composed at present of Mr. Myron H. Walker, Mr. C. S. Burch and Rev. R. H. Bradley. The presidents of the society since its organization have been [Page 1292] Mrs. Dr. M. Veenboer, Mrs. R. E. Watrous, Mrs. L. L. Mitchell, Mrs. Libbie Smith and Mrs. W. T. Johnson, who is now president. The secretaries have been Mrs. Marie Woodworth, Mrs. Libbie Smith and Mrs. Nettie Corser, who is now secretary. The treasurers have been Mrs. Emma K. G. Taylor, Mrs. M. V. Adams and Miss Hattie E. Perrin, who is now treasurer. The present vice-presidents are Mrs. H. C. Fairchild and Mrs. John Schoonfield. During the past year the Home disbursed almost five thousand dollars for running expenses, of which about twenty-six hundred dollars was cash donations, twelve hundred dollars from private parties and the balance from other sources. There were two hundred and ten inmates, sixteen births and eight deaths.
The matrons of the Home have been Mrs. A. S. K. Burton, Miss E. E. Hotch, Mrs. E. J. Hudson, Mrs. Hattie L. Tyler, Mrs. Frances E. Peck, Mrs. A. Amanda Hillis, Miss Jennie Patten, Mrs. T. A. Peck, Mrs. Adele Conklin, Mrs. Sarah Fuller, Mrs. Elmendorf, Mrs. Somers, Mrs. Ellen McNiel and Mrs. Louise I. Mitchell.
The Masonic Home.
On November 5, 1885, several well-known citizens and Masons of Grand Rapids and vicinity formed articles of association for building a Michigan Masonic Home for aged or destitute Masons and for Masons’ widows and orphans, and to provide for their moral, physical and intellectual culture. The following were the charter members: Jno. D. Jennings, Grand Rapids; Edward D. Benedict, Grand Rapids; Wm. Dunham, Grand Rapids; Jacob Barth, Grand Rapids; E. J. Horton, Grand Rapids; Samuel E. Watson, Grand Rapids; W. C. Denison, Grand Rapids; Geo. W. Thompson, Grand Rapids; Charles F. Cobb, Grand Rapids; J. L. Anderson, Grand Rapids; A. J. Elliott, Grand Rapids; Homer W. Nash, Grand Rapids; T. J. Lucas, Grand Rapids; R. D. Swartout, Grand Rapids; Fred K. Baker, Grand Rapids; John T. Holmes, Grand Rapids; U. S. Hayes, Grand Rapids; A. B. Kennan, Grand Rapids; A. H. Fowle, Grand Rapids; J. Goldsmith, Jr., Grand Rapids; R. F. Morse, Whitehall; V. V. Campbell, Grand Rapids; H. C. Taft, Grand Rapids; A. B. Botsford, Grand Rapids; Thos. D. Bradfield, Grand Rapids; Geo. B. Catlin, Grand Rapids; Wm. P. Innes, Grand Rapids; Crawford Angell, Grand Rapids; C. D. [Page 1293] Stebbins, Sparta; Chas. S. Robinson, Grand Rapids; Andrew T. McReynolds, Grand Rapids; Victor H. Middleton, Grand Rapids.
The association accumulated funds and purchased a farm near Reed’s Lake, which constitutes the present site of the Home. A portion of the farm was soon sold so advantageously that the grounds of the Home cost the association nothing. Plans for building were proposed and work commenced. On March 21, 1889, the corner stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies, at which time Grand Rapids saw the largest gathering of Masons and Masonic ladies ever seen in Michigan. Lodges and commanderies were present from all over western and southern Michigan, and leading Masons came from distant parts of Michigan and from other states. In the morning a parade of Masonic bodies took place, with H. T. Hastings as chief marshall. The line of march was from Bridge street, through Canal, Monroe, Division and Oakes streets, to the Union Depot, where four special trains were required to take members of the order to the lake. Hugh McCurdy, of Corunna, delivered the address. After the corner stone was placed contributions for the Home were called for, and amid much enthusiasm thousands of dollars were pledged by individuals and Masonic bodies in a short time.
The work of building rapidly progressed, and the next year a grand Masonic fair was held for the benefit of the Home, at which time more than $20,000 in cash was realized and about $5,000 worth of furniture for the Home was donated. Grand Rapids never saw a more successful fair for charitable purposes. The spirit of giving was in the air and seemed contagious. The formal opening was on Monday night, November 10, 1890, when Mayor Edwin F. Uhl delivered an address of welcome, to which response was made by John S. Cross, grand master of the Masons of Michigan. The fair was held in Hartman Hall, now the Auditorium. There were booths on every hand. The hall was adorned in the grandest style. Music, flowers and decorations abounded in wild profusion. It was made a grand society event, and visitors came in thousands from neighboring cities and towns. Afternoons and evenings, the hall was thronged with crowds, gay and giving. Saturday night, at midnight, the Masonic fair came to an end. The officers of the fair were the following: Brother Heman N. Moore, director-general; Brother H. F. Hastings, first vice-[Page 1294]director-general; Brother Wm. Dunham, second vice-director-general; Brother Wm. P. Innes, secretary-general; Brother Jacob Barth, treasurer-general.
General Executive Committee (includes chairmen of all subcommittees): Brother Heman N. Moore, ex-officio chairman; Brother H. F. Hastings, chairman of Committee on Booths and Sales; Brother Wm. Dunham, second vice-director-general; Brother Wm. P. Innes, secretary-general; Brother Jacob Barth, treasurer-general; Brother George R. Perry, chairman of Committee on Subscriptions and Donations; Brother Dr. T. D. Bradfield, chairman of Committee on Halls and Decorations; Brother George E. Pantlind, chairman of Committee on Music and Entertainment; Brother Dr. S. R. Wooster, chairman of Committee on Refreshments; Brother Wm. A. Gavett, chairman of Committee on Transportation; Brother James N. Davis, chairman of Committee on Printing.
Honorary Committee: John S. Cross, grand master F. & A. M. of Michigan; Brothers Charles H. Axtell, Luman R. Atwater, John H. Armstrong, W. Irving Babcock, C. F. R. Bellows, Charles H. Brown, Edward D. Benedict, Charles P. Bigelow, John W. Champlin, Henry Chamberlain, Arthur M. Clark, A. B. Cudworth, George W. Chandler, Wm. G. Doty, George H. Durand, Wm. Dunham, John W. Finch, James H. Farnum, John P. Fiske, Thomas Greene, Geo. H. Greene, Theron F. Giddings, John Gilbert, John A. Gerow, Wm. G. Hudson, Rufus C. Hathaway, Frank Henderson, R. Allen Hall, Charles T. Hills, Charles J. Kruger, Hollis F. Knapp, Wm. F. King, W. Irving Latimer, Wm. S. Lawrence, Wm. T. Mitchell, Abram T. Metcalf, Hugh McCurdy, John W. McGrath, M. H. Maynard, John L. Mitchell, Salmon S. Matthews, Garra B. Noble, Alanson Partridge, Benjamin Porter, Eugene P. Robertson, Leonard H. Randall, Daniel Striker, Oliver L. Spaulding, Michael Shoemaker, Ebenezer Sprague, Alfred I. Sawyer, David C. Spaulding, Wm. S. Turck, Wm. B. Wilson, Wm. L. Webber, Benjamin F. Watts, Wm. Wente, Thomas H. Williams, and all past commanders-in-chief of consistories, A. & A. S. R., in Michigan.
The Home was dedicated on January 27, 1891, with appropriate exercises by the Grand Lodge of the State of Michigan, and immediately was opened for its beneficence.
[Page 1295] Foundation—The foundations is of a dark stone, from the Holland quarries, in rock face.
The walls are of white brick, upon a heavy gray stone water table, the wood work painted terra cotta colors, giving a pleasant contrast.
Basement—The basement has a hall one hundred and twenty feet long and ten feet wide, and contains a kitchen, pantry, bakery, laundry, dry room, ironing room, a large play or school room, water closet containing three bath tubs, one room for gas machine, and water tank for elevator, and four rooms to use as store rooms for kitchen and bakery. Two flights of stairs leading to first floor.
First Floor—First floor has a hall running north and south the length of the building, ten feet wide, and two side halls to the west, the main one being eleven feet wide, leading to the west main entrance of building. Each end of these halls have vestibules with the floors and iron steps and risers, their ceilings finished in panel work of native oak. It also contains one closed vestibule, a reception room, parlor, dining room, a suite of three rooms for use of matron, with good clothes closets, also seven bed rooms, four of them have fire-places, and all have clothes closets; a water closet. There is a grand staircase fronting west entrance, also a stairway at rear entrance of main hall.
Second Floor—The second floor contains hall, day room, a large sitting room looking out over the lake, a store room for bedding, water closet with bath tub, a room for library, and twenty bed rooms, each one having a good clothes closet. This floor has eight fire-places.
Third Floor—Third floor contains halls, hospital, with two water closets and bath rooms, a large sitting room looking out upon the lake, a store room for bedding, a water closet for north end of hall, and eighteen bed rooms, each having a large clothes closet. Eight fire-places are on this floor.
There is a dumb waiter from kitchen to dining room. A hand elevator from cellar to attic to accommodate each floor, besides a passenger elevator from basement to attic, and a dust chute from third floor to basement.
Every sleeping room is provided with proper ventilation, each receiving a current of fresh warmed air through transom over [Page 1296] doors, passing out at base of rooms through tin tubes located in partitions leading to attic, and out of roof.
Hospital and sick rooms connected therewith have hard wood floors: the dining room, kitchen, bakery and all halls in building above basement have white maple floors, finished in oil.
The roof is covered with dark slate, and the building is entered from the east, west, north and south by stone buttress steps, and having on east and west sides deep, commodious verandas.
The building is heated by steam from boiler house located ninety feet distant, conducted through pipes under ground.
It is furnished with soft water from a three hundred and fifty barrel cistern. For culinary purposes, from a well four hundred feet deep.
The Home accommodates on an average about sixty beneficiaries a year. The cost of maintenance is about nine thousand dollars per annum, derived from a per capita tax upon the Masons of Michigan, from various Masonic bodies, and from individual contributions. There is also a small revenue from the farm. The Home is for Masons, their wives, widows and orphans, and is a perpetual monument to the spirit of Masonry. It is an institution in which every Grand Rapids citizen can have honest pride.
The management of the Home is under the control of the grand Masonic bodies of the state of Michigan. The present officers and Board of Control are as follows: President, Maro M. Read, Ypsilanti; treasurer, Wm. Wente, Manistee; secretary, Rial V. McArthur, Grand Rapids.
Board of Control—Grand Lodge: William Wente, John W. McGrath and Wilson R. Andress. Grand Chapter: Maro M. Read, Judson E. Ries and E. C. Clark. Grand Council: Charles L. Fitch, Eli C. Phillips and A. L. Bates. Grand Commandery: Charles H. Pomeroy, John Rowson and William C. Grobhiser. Eastern Star: Anna A. Mattison, Helen E. C. Balmer and Margaret G. Moore.
The Rescue Mission.
This mission was organized in February, 1900, by Melvin E. Trotter. It was first opened at No. 95 Canal street in a small room not more than 20x70 feet in size. Although its quarters [Page 1297] were poorly ventilated and illy adapted for its purposes, success attended it from its inception.
But the old room was speedily found inadequate to accommodate the throngs that nightly demanded admission. So a new building was erected at Nos. 70 and 72 Market street, with a seating capacity of eight hundred and fifty. Into this the mission was moved in 1901. Scarcely more than two years elapsed and the superintendent and officers found themselves again confronted with the problem—how to find room for the crowds that nightly attended. Especially was this difficulty experienced at the Saturday night meetings when, after seats and even standing room were all filled and occupied, many were turned away, unable to gain admission.
The Rescue Mission is open practically all the time. For three hundred and sixty-five in each twelve months the rooms are open for worship, for testimonials from those who have been saved from sin, efforts to rescue the fallen and unfortunate ones of the earth.
But the work of the mission is by no means confined to religious teaching and efforts to regenerate the criminal, the vicious and the unfortunate classes. Where material help is needed it is freely given. Advice and sympathy are never withheld.
But the extent of the charitable assistance thus rendered to the worthy poor cannot be appreciated by those not familiar with the details. Not a day and hardly an hour passes that does not bring applicants for aid. Especially is this true during the winter months. Last year, 1904, the missions practically supported and clothed sixty-four destitute families. Every Wednesday afternoon there is held a mothers’ meeting, when from thirty to forty earnest women workers gather to sew and make garments for the needy and destitute. Some of these are made from new material, but most are from remodeled donations. Each year a large meeting is held, at which the citizens of Grand Rapids contribute for the support of the mission.
Kent County Bible Society.
In the years that have gone the Kent County Bible Society did a grand work in supplying the people with Bibles. Its early records[Page 1298] are lost but on July 24th, 1842, it was recognized as an auxiliary of the American Bible Society of New York. Its object was to furnish Bibles to everyone at the lowest possible prices, and to give a Bible to anyone who had no Bible and did not feel able to buy one. The funds were raised by contributions of individuals and churches and from the sales of books. February 28, 1843, the first work undertaken was to supply neighboring towns whose wants were ascertained by a voluntary canvass. The Revs. James Ballard, H. E. Waring and T. Z. R. Jones each held himself responsible for an equal share of the work. W. G. Henry was the treasurer of the Society, and the depository of its books and the headquarters of the Society were at his store. July 20, 1846, the following officers were elected: President, Rev. James Ballard; vice-president, L. R. Atwater; secretary, Rev. A. B. Taylor; treasurer, G. Luther; executive committee, E. N. Faxton, G. S. Deane, W. G. Henry, Henry Stone, Wm. Haldane.
In October, 1849, the village was divided into six districts for exploration. One district (north of Bridge street and east of the river) was reported as having four persons destitute and unable to purchase a Bible. They were supplied by the Society.
In the winter of 1853-54 the county was canvassed by the Rev. E. Prince of Cascade who received $30 for his work. On the 20th of April, 1865, twelve ladies were appointed Bible distributors in the five wards of the city. In May of that year Rev. John A. Pindres was appointed county missionary and he made report in 1867. In 1880 another canvass of the city and county was made by the Rev. William J. Johnson which took two years for its completion. W. G. Henry kept the depository until May 12, 1865, when he was succeeded by Henry M. Hinsdell, who had charge until 1871 when he was succeeded by Charles W. Eaton who had charge until 1882 when L. E. Patton was elected. He was followed by Frank M. Hulswit who for many years kept a stack of Bibles at 157 Monroe street. In 1899 he moved to 91 South Division, where the Bibles and books of the Society are now kept. L. B. Stuart was president from 1870 until his death. The present officers are Nicholas Silvins, president; M. E. Tomlinson, escretary [sic]; Frank M. Hulswit, treasurer and custodian.
In these later days when books are cheap and Bibles can be bought for a few cents the work of the Society has largely [Page 1299] ceased, but years ago when books were expensive and Bibles were costly the Society did a grand work in supplying the city of Grand Rapids and the county of Kent with the best and most valuable of all books.
The Bissell House.
Bissell House had its origin in the efforts of an order known as "The King’s Daughters," which was organized on June 11, 1888, at the Woman’s Club House, on Sheldon street. It was divided into circles of "ten" and one of the tens became interested in establishing a kindergarten and creche for the benefit of children in need of help. It held its first meeting at the home of Mrs. H. M. Joy, who was its first president, on July 9th, and in October, 1888, a school was opened at 397 Ottawa street with eleven children in the kindergarten and a young babe in the creche. Miss Emma Chamberlain at first had charge of the work. She was a thorough kindergartner and for the first year donated her services. Mrs. Mary A. Williams of Flint, Michigan, was engaged as matron of the creche, and assistant to Miss Chamberlain in the kindergarten. A mission Sunday School was also established. At the end of the first year Miss Chamberlain retired and Mrs. Williams was engaged as teacher and matron. In 1890 a sewing school was organized. A library was started. In September, 1890, the circle was obliged to move to larger quarters at 442 Ottawa street. Mrs. Williams was much aided by volunteers’ assistance, but the work so increased that a larger home was occupied, and quarters were kept open evenings. The evening work resulted in an organized club. In the spring of 1897 more room was required and Mrs. M. R. Bissell, who had become interested in the circle, decided to build a permanent home for the work. The result was the fine brick building known as the Bissell House at 425 Ottawa street, situate in one of the most congested districts of the city. The home is three stories high. In the basement are the gymnasium, furnace, and bathrooms. On the south side of the hall on the ground floor is the kindergarten room; on the north side are the reception room, library, club room and kitchen. On the second floor are the apartments of the resident helpers and the creche. Bissell House was opened October 10th, 1897. On [Page 1300] July 5th, 1904, The Bissell House Association was incorporated and now has charge of the work.
Report of Bissell House Since 1998.
A Social Settlement.
Bissell House began its work as a social settlement October 10, 1897. Since that time it has grown and made its influence felt in other parts of the city as well as in its immediate neighborhood. Many clubs—social, literary, and industrial—have been organized and successfully maintained. Educational and industrial classes have been formed and re-formed during the past six years. Clubs and classes help to give a more perfect outlook on life, a clearer appreciation of its responsibilities, an opportunity for manual training and an education of the intellectual and moral nature—help in all these and other ways, but most all of they prove the "brotherhood of man," which alone can solve the great social problems.
Entertainments and Social Gatherings.
It has been the desire of the house to give an entertainment once every month. Many musical and literary programs, athletic and stereopticon entertainments have been arranged for the people of the neighborhood, friends from all parts of the city generously responding when called upon. Some very successful entertainments have been presented by young people connected with the house through clubs or classes for the purpose of raising money for repairs or other necessities.
For two years a gathering, which was called the "Pleasant Hour," was arranged for every Sunday afternoon at 4 o’clock. It consisted of musical numbers by the best talent of the city; also talks by prominent men. Last year these same meetings were held in the evenings on Sunday, from 7 to 8 o’clock. The general character remained the same.
New Year’s Day.
For the past six years it has been the custom to keep "open [Page 1301] house" on New Year’s Day, i. e. have music and serve coffee and doughnuts all day and during the evening.
During the holidays every club and class has its individual Christmas party.
The settlement always responds to a call of need, and one of its most practical ways was by using a "Loan Fund." Its object was to help bridge over some financial difficulty by loaning a small amount for a short time.
A flower mission was started in connection with the sewing school. The children and teachers brought flowers, which were afterwards distributed by the children to the sick in the neighborhood.
Ice Water Barrel.
For the past three summers the ice water barrel in front of the Bissell House has been in constant use and has been a real blessing. The ice and water companies fill it each morning during the summer months.
A picture loan was started in order that there might be good pictures upon the walls of the Bissell House. These were loaned by interested people for a month at a time. This year a very successful art exhibit was held, the proceeds to be devoted to the purchase of good pictures. This was the first attempt of this kind, and it has been deemed advisable to make it an annual event hereafter. [Page 1302]
The circulating library has 1,200 volumes on its shelves. From time to time the old books are discarded and replaced by new ones. There is a small fine if books are kept over two weeks. During the past summer Mrs. Field recatalogued all the books. She acts as librarian Wednesday afternoons and Mrs. Cornelius Saturday afternoons.
The reading room, which has the daily papers and many magazines, is open to the public every afternoon and evening except Sunday.
During the past six years classes in music for children and adults have been carried on. Among these have been chorus classes, classes in voice culture, a mandolin and guitar club, and work on the piano in both class and private lessons.
A piano was purchased for the Bissell House through the efforts of the young people, the first payment on it being made by the Dramatic Club of 1902, when they cleared $40 on presenting "Mr. Bob." Other entertainments followed until the debt has finally been paid.
Before the kindergartens were established in the public schools, on either side of the Bissell House, ours was very large. Now the average daily attendance for the past few years has been forty-five. Of this number all the children have been from three to five years of age. All the material has been purchased with the pennies which the children bring, no stated charge being made. We consider this department the nucleus of our work. Many of our strongest and most reliable helpers among the young people were in our kindergarten at one time. For the children who graduate from this department we have various industrial and social clubs or classes, which they may enter, to meet their needs and ages. In this way we keep in touch with them from babyhood to manhood.
We have always had assistants from the Grand Rapids Kindergarten Training School, and their services have been invaluable.
This department of our work consists of two divisions—a Wednesday afternoon class, composed mostly of Jewish children, under the direction of Mrs. Morris Friedman, and a Sat[Page 1303]urday morning class, in charge of Mrs. Mary Williams, assisted by Miss Ellen McConnell and Miss Elvira Boldwood. During Mrs. Williams’ long illness and year’s vacation Miss McConnell took entire charge. In these Wednesday and Saturday afternoon sewing schools there is an average weekly attendance of thirty-five and one hundred and fifty-five girls, respectively. Being entirely dependent upon the good will of the public for teachers, the number of pupils admitted is necessarily governed by the number of ladies who are willing to give their services.
The "Murray Educational System" has been the foundation of the work, and those years when we had sufficient help the girls were able to draft all their patterns and do their own cutting. The children are all eager to learn, but they come to us in such crowds that we are obliged each year to turn many away, even though the fathers and mothers beg of us to admit their children.
Many of the girls who have completed the course have gone out into dressmaking establishments. If it were not for the hearty co-operation of the public in this giving of their time to help in this work it could not be as successful as it is.
Every year a Sunday School has been carried on Sunday afternoons for the children of the neighborhood. The Congregational and Baptist Young People’s Societies have taken charge in turn. The attendance has usually been very large.
Industrial and Educational Classes.
Besides those already spoken of there have been classes in:
Cooking for boys, girls and mothers.
Drawing, including life, perspective and mechanical.
Raffia work and basket making.
Millinery and short-waist making.
Literature, history and German.
Penmanship, business methods and telegraphy.
Parliamentary law and elocution.
Kitchen-garden and knife work.
Clay modeling, pyrography and embroidery.
Transcriber: Ron Springsteen
Created: 28 January 2006