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Salem Female Charitable Society Records

Salem Female Charitable Society Records

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Open Finding Aid

SALEM FEMALE CHARITABLE SOCIETY RECORDS, 1801-2001

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Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Creator:Salem Female Charitable Society (Salem, Mass.)
Title:Salem Female Charitable Society Records
Dates:1801/2001
Quantity:3.5 linear feet (7 boxes, 1 flat file)
Abstract:The Salem Female Charitable Society Records consist of correspondence, financial records (such as bank books, bills, receipts, treasurer's reports and beneficiary lists), sermons, and subscriber lists.
Collection Number:MSS 359

Series List


SERIES I. Administrative
SERIES II. Asylum
SERIES III. Financial
SERIES IV. Miscellaneous

Scope and Content Note

The Salem Female Charitable Society Records consist of correspondence, financial records (such as bank books, bills, receipts, treasurer's reports and beneficiary lists), sermons, and subscriber lists. It also contains material relating to the various anniversary celebrations, the most recent one being the 200th Anniversary celebrated in 2001. In addition, there is a Bible, a metal seal for the Society, a pair of scissors used for cutting coupons and a leather-covered box. The material is arranged chronologically within series. All items on deposit have been left in their original order. The 2001 donation has been placed in box 6 and integrated intellectually in this finding aid.


Historical Sketch

The Salem Female Charitable Society was established in 1801 by the subscription of 140 local women who sought to "raise funds for the benefit of female orphans or children from three to ten years of age whose parents are not capable of supporting them". Housing the children together, they employed a governess to care for them and teach them reading, writing, and other domestic business. When they reached the age of ten or eleven, the children were placed in reputable families employed as maids until the age of 18. A house on Carpenter Street in Salem, Massachusetts was purchased and used as an asylum and all meetings were held there.


The Society incorporated in 1804. During the first four decades of the nineteenth century, the Salem Female Charitable Society took care of 82 children. In 1837, however, the Society ceased accepting female orphans under its patronage and dismantled the asylum house. It was sold in 1844. The Society then shifted its focus to caring for indigent widows. Distributions were made by two members of the Society who visited each recipient. Their work continues today.


Index Terms

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.

Dorcas Society (Salem, Mass.)
Salem Female Charitable Society (Salem, Mass.)
Charities
Charities--Massachusetts--Salem
Household employees
Orphanages
Orphanages--Massachusetts--Salem
Sermons
Societies
Women in charitable work

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.


Administrative Information

Copyright

For the material on permanent deposit, all material dated after 1901 shall be restricted for a period of 75 years from the date of its creation. Requests for permission to quote from, to publish, or to reproduce any part of the deposited material must request permission of the Society via the Manuscript Librarian in writing, stating the nature of the proposed publication and citing the specific passages to be quoted, or specified documents to be published or copied.

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 Museum.

Preferred Citation

Salem Female Charitable Society Records, MSS 359, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.

Provenance

The majority of this material was placed on permanent deposit with the library. Some financial and administrative information, including the 2001 anniversary celebration materials, were a gift from Rosamund Dennis on May 30, 2003 (acc # 2003.026).

Processing Information

Collection processed by Tamara Gaydos, June 2007. Updated by July 2015.


Related Material


Lasser, Carol S. A Pleasingly Oppressive Burden: The Transformation of Domestic Service and Female Charity in Salem, 1800-1840 (Salem, MA: Essex Institute Historical Collections, July 1980, 156-175).


Dorcas Society Records, MSS 113


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