The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Dorcas Society (Salem, Mass.)
Dorcas Society of Salem, Massachusetts,
0.75 linear feet (1 box)
The records of the Dorcas
Society, founded in Salem in 1811, reflect the Society's main goal "to provide
clothing to the destitute."
Scope and Content Note
The records of the Dorcas Society, founded in Salem in 1811, reflect the Society's
main goal "to provide clothing to the destitute." The account book contains lists of
contributions and purchases. The distribution books record recipients and the types
of clothing or aid given to each one.
The Dorcas Society of Salem, Massachusetts was founded on
October 17, 1811 by Abigail P. Lawrence, Judith King, and Sally Jenks. According to
the record book, "The primary object is to provide clothing for the destitute." A
secondary object of the society was to promote Dorcas Society members' reading of
"such books as will be profitable and useful," in addition to Scripture, which were
discussed at weekly meetings. The society consisted of two types of membership,
active (of which there was a limit of thirty dues-paying women), and honorary (of
which there was an indefinite number, who were not required to pay dues). Over the
next six decades, the society collected monetary and garment donations which were
then impartially distributed to women and children deemed necessitous by the
This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons,
or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Women--Societies and clubs
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in
writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex
Dorcas Society of Salem, Massachusetts, Records, MSS 113, Phillips Library, Peabody
Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.
The collection is from an unknown source. The constitution was purchased in 1980.
Collection updated by Catherine Robertson, April 2015.
Salem Female Charitable Society Records, 1801-2001, MSS