Lawrence House and Warner House: Two Early Settlement Houses in Baltimore, Maryland
These entries about Lawrence House and Warner House are taken from the HANDBOOK OF SETTLEMENTS a national survey of settlements published in 1911 by The Russell Sage Foundation of New York. This collection of detailed information about settlements throughout the nation and operating circa 1910 was collected, organized and written by two settlement pioneers: Robert Archey Woods and Albert J. Kennedy. It is an extraordinary record of history because it describes in some detail the first years of programs and activities conducted in Baltimore, MD.
Note: The citation identifying these two organizations is found in the handbook’s section for Maryland. On page 95 is the following entry: Lawrence Memorial Association Established 1893, as a memorial to Rev. E. A. Lawrence, to continue work which he had begun. Maintains Lawrence House and Warner House (see pages 100 and 103).
Lawrence House 814-816 West Lombard Street
Established in the Fall of 1900. “Lawrence House is a neighborhood club house. It aims to be a center for things of interest to the people, to provide a place for amusements and social gatherings, to furnish opportunities for instruction in any subject for which there is a demand. In co-operation with its neighbors, it aims to work for the betterment of its particular community as well as the city.”
Neighborhood. “We are essentially an industrial neighborhood. There are many large establishments, the principal ones being the Baltimore and Ohio shops on Pratt Street, and Bartlett and Hayward’s Iron Foundry. People live in the neighborhood where they work, so that there is a settled population, and a real neighborhood feeling. I Employment is steady and conditions are fairly favorable. The people are independent in character, self-respecting, and do not need material relief.” They are largely Irish and German, though Poles, Lithuanians, Italians and Jews are moving in.
Activities. Investigations into different aspects of neighborhood life and conditions. Organized the Lawrence House Improvement Association, which published The Budget, a monthly neighborhood news sheet, for three years. The association was active in promoting the interests of the neighborhood. Co-operation in the work of the state Child Labor Committee, Consumers’ League, Tenement House Commission, Trade School Committee, Playground Association and Tuberculosis Association.
Maintains library; kindergarten; playground; gymnasium; classes in chair caning, bent iron work, knife work, carpentry, drawing, athletics, embroidery, knitting, crocheting, cooking, millinery, clay modeling, arts and crafts; clubs with various interests, dramatic, debating, parliamentary drill, citizenship, story telling; game and pool rooms; dances; entertainments, concerts and lectures; mothers’ club. Summer Work.— Roof and backyard playground.
Residents. Women 6.
Volunteers. Women 30, men 6.
Head Residents. Emma G. Salisbury, Fall, 1900-June, 1901; Alice E. Robbins, Oct., 1902-Sept., 1908; Grace O. Edwards, Fall, 1908-June, 1909; Elizabeth C. Bailey, Sept., 1909-Sept., 1910; Josephine Hawks, Fall, 1910-.
Literature. I. Authorized Statements. Annual reports, 1896-1904 — Booklets; Lawrence House, 1903. The Social Settlement and Lawrence House, 1904 — The Budget (published monthly by the Lawrence House Improvement Association), i, No. 1 (April, 1905) to iii, No. 10 (March, 1908)— Four pamphlets, 1909-10. See also: Robbins, Alice E.: Lawrence House, Baltimore. Commons, ix : 628-630 (Dec., 1904). II. Social Studies. A study of fifty Italian families, living near Lexington market. (Unpublished.)— A study in housing. A Block in Our Neighborhood. (Unpublished.) — A Study in Standards of Living. (Unpublished.)
Warner House — Residence and Club House, 918 Russell Street (1908-). Gymnasium, Warner and Cross Streets (1905-)
Established in the fall of 1905. The use of an abandoned church building was offered by a former resident of the neighborhood to the Lawrence Memorial Association for gymnasium purposes. A store room with apartments above was rented for clubs and residence. In 1908 the present house was purchased and remodeled.
Neighborhood. Mixed factory and residence quarter. People largely German of the second generation, hard working and thrifty, but lack initiative.
Activities. “Efforts for civic as well as neighborhood improvement. The Women’s Club has provided the greatest stimulus for neighborhood improvement. At its weekly meetings neighborhood conditions are discussed and the work of improving them is apportioned to committees. This organized group, representing forty families, alive to the needs of the neighborhood and keen to demand justice for themselves and neighbors, shows an awakening community and gives bright promise for the future.”
Maintains classes in plain sewing, embroidery, dressmaking, commercial subjects, gymnasium, and dancing; various clubs—dramatic club, Greek club. Knights of King Arthur, woman’s club, and pleasure club for young men and women. Summer Work.— Kindergarten playground, neighborhood gardens, club picnics, and outdoor entertainments.
Former Locat1ons. 438 W. Cross St., 1905-1907; 816 W. Lombard St., 19071908.
Residents. Women 6.
Volunteers. Women 12.
Head Residents. Jeanne Cassard, 1905-1909; Lettie L.Johnston, 1909-.
Literature. Annual Report, 1905-1906 — Monthly Bulletins, 1909-1910.