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Settlement Workers of Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD

United Settlement Workers of Washington and Baltimore

Editor’s Note: This original list of settlement houses serving neighborhoods in Baltimore was probably published sometime between 1912 -1915. It is a remarkable document that briefly describes the many ways early settlement house residents and volunteers provided facilities and resources in order to assist  recent immigrants and very poor families to play, socialize, learn a variety of skills, save money, organize and take steps to improve their lives and the communities in which they lived.

The document was contributed by Harris Chaiklin, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland School of Social Work; he has also been a Fulbright scholar and visiting professor at Haifa University School of Social Work. His teaching specialties centered on the social aspects of practice and research. His research interests are in practice relating to crime and delinquency, the family, poverty, health, and history.  This is just one of many documents he has contributed to the SWH Project.   

Introduction: Organized October 20, 1906, at Lawrence House, Baltimore, Md., by the settlement house workers of Washington, D. C., and Baltimore, Md.:  “…for the development of its members, and for the promotion of the cause of civic and social betterment in Washington and Baltimore.”

Activities. Joint meetings, biannually and monthly meetings of the local branches. The association discusses local and general problems, listens to experts on forms of settlement and civic work, and holds public meetings to interest the local communities

Officers. President: Mrs. Rudolph Gerlick, Catonsville, Md.; Secretary: Minnie S. Hanaw, 112 Jackson Place, Baltimore.

Organization Members

The Baltimore Settlement Association

Organized December 4, 1906, as a branch of the United Settlement Workers of Baltimore and Washington. Separate constitution adopted October, 1907. The Branch has worked largely through committees: The Playground and Fresh Air committee; Public Education committee, which has inquired into the accuracy of school census, co-operated in securing the provision for teachers’ pensions, and co-operated in the movement for school centers; the Trade School committee, which studied conditions (Study—Why Girls Leave School), printed a pamphlet (Trade Schools, by Jacob M. Moses), and held various public meetings to promote the cause of trade training; Health committee, which co-operated in securing a revised building code and a better milk ordinance; Amusement committee, which investigated pool rooms and agencies of public amusement; Child Labor committee; Public Morality committee. The association gives a yearly course of lectures which are addressed by leaders in social work.

Officers. President: Anna Herkner, 608 S. Ann St., Baltimore. Secretary: Lettie J. Johnson, 918 Russell St., Baltimore.

Literature. Inter-City Settlement Association: Char, and Commons, xviii : 174 (May 4, 1907) — Neighborhood Work Gains in Baltimore: Char, and Commons, xix: 1077-1078 (Nov. 16, 1907) — Inter-Settlement Publication: The Budget. Published by Lawrence House, Warner House, Maccabean House, Locust Point Social Settlement, and Hampden-Woodberry Neighborhood Association. First Issue, April, 1908.

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 1oo and 103).

Ann Street Settlement

608 South Ann Street (1909-)

Established January 1, 1910, continuing the work of the Polish Coffee House (see description below), and a housekeeping and homemaking center organized November 1, 1909. Supported by private individuals.

Neighborhood. “The Polish quarter of the city. There are twelve thousand Poles in this colony, which lives a life quite its own. There are two Roman Catholic churches, each with its own parochial school, and an Independent Catholic church with a parochial school. The community also has its own commercial and business life. There are two Polish building and loan associations through which very many of the Poles have acquired their own homes, and in which they commonly deposit their savings. The colony has its own Polish doctors, lawyers, dentists and real estate men, and there are also numerous provision and other stores owned and managed by Poles. The industrial standing of the colony is low. Its people are to be found in greatest numbers in the seasonal occupations, in unskilled labor and in the clothing factories. The people go by hundreds to the country about the middle of May to work on the farms picking strawberries and peas. They continue working on the farms and in the canneries until about the end of October, thus depriving the children of the closing and opening months of school. Many of these families, though not all of them, go again later to work in the oyster canneries in the South.

“The section is one of the oldest in the city. The pavements are poor and the streets are made more objectionable by surface drainage. There are many narrow streets and blind alleys and courts. The old one-family houses are commonly occupied by several families, the average number of rooms occupied by a family being about two. Most of the lots, if not practically all, covered by the front building have also a house on the rear. The public school, the police station, and the market hall are the only public institutions in the neighborhood. The American influence that penetrates into the Polish colony through its social life is but slight and of a very low order.”

Maintains: playground, supervised by a resident playground teacher, and an athletic director; lighted and supervised for evening work; indoor gymnastics. The house was successful in having a newly erected public school so equipped as to be available for neighborhood work. Classes in English for Poles; drawing, homemaking and gardening; Sunday evening lectures; a station of Public Library; entertainments, etc.

Residents: Women 3, men 1. Volunteers: Women 9, men 3. Head Resident. Anna Herkner, 1910 -.

The Polish Coffee HouseEstablished in September, 1908, by Anna Herkner “to provide a community center after the type of the continental coffee houses.” Capital for necessary equipment was provided by selling shares at one dollar each. Seventy-five shares were taken by fifty-four Poles and one hundred and twelve shares by thirty-seven Americans. The rooms were open from 7:30 to 11:00 pm.; also Sunday afternoon. Tea, coffee, and cakes were sold. The receipts from such sales were used to defray current expenses. During the second year of the existence of the Coffee House, when enlarged and apparently permanent quarters had been secured, the active opposition of the Polish Catholic church and the strong “nationalists” among the Poles so reduced the attendance and active co-operation that the work under this organization was discontinued.

Neighborhood. The Polish quarter.

Maintained: Educational and recreational features. Programs of music, recitations, etc., were arranged for Saturday evenings. Talks and lectures on the various public institutions, departments, work, and social efforts were given Sunday evenings. During the first year books obtained from the public library were given out on application. There was a mixed chorus class; several small groups for the study of English and for practice in English conversation; a class in Polish folk dancing. During the second year the Sunday evening meetings grew in importance, became more radical and alive, and the discussion more lively and open. The study groups continued and several of the young Polish men asked for more special instruction, mathematics, etc., the need of which they felt in their work.

One young man was discovered who could be recommended to the Charity Organization Society as worthy of a training for its work. He promises to be a help in solving at least one of the problems that the Polish colony presents. Another young Pole was assisted to become a teacher of foreigners in the public night school. His was one of the most successful classes. A third man was placed in the Provident Savings Bank. It is expected that his presence there will attract the Poles in that immediate neighborhood, which is somewhat distant from the Polish Building and Loan Associations, to entrust their savings to this safe depository.

Locations. 1741 Canton Ave.; 1723 Canton Ave., Nov., 1908; 606 South Ann St.

Head Worker. Anna Herkner, Sept., 1908-1909.

Literature. Neighborhood Work Gains in Baltimore. Char, and Commons, xix: 1077-1078 (Nov. 16, 1907).

Carrolltown House (Center)

Address: Ward Street – Founded in 1909 by a group of colored people, as an outgrowth of work started by the Charity Organization Society. Aims “…to provide a club house for colored people.” Maintained by fees and subscriptions from the colored people themselves, only the rent being guaranteed by outsiders

Neighborhood. Southwest Baltimore. Very wretched, with many saloons. No active churches on good lines for colored people.

Maintains: parents’ club; classes in story telling, sewing, manual training and cooking.

For information apply to Miss Ethel Johnson, 1148 E. Carey St., Baltimore.

Channing House

 506 South Charles Street (1905-)

 Founded February 15, 1905, under the auspices of the First Independent (Christ’s) Church, “…to extend the social opportunities of the members of the Sunday school in their own neighborhood.” The house membership has extended and its large majority are not connected with the church. Aims “…to furnish a social, recreational, and educational center which shall increasingly focus and invigorate the neighborhood life.

“Neighborhood: The center of the tobacco manufacturing district which contains also several large bakeries. A large element of the population is negr0, resident chiefly in alleys between the main streets. Other racial elements in approximately even numbers are American, Hebrew, Italian, and German. They do not represent the progressive people of these nationalities. They live chiefly in two and three-story houses with one or two families in a house. These houses are mainly without sewer connection. Tuberculosis prevails. Park and playground facilities are as yet entirely inadequate. There is one public bath in the neighborhood. The house has lent its interest and support to all neighborhood improvement.

Maintains:  Lunch room where inexpensive hot lunches, averaging eight cents, are served at noon to the women operatives of the neighboring factories. Clubs and classes similar to those usual in settlements.

Head Worker. Miriam Cover, Sept., 1907-.

Literature. Neighborhood Work Gains in Baltimore. Char, and Commons, xix: 1077-1078 (Nov. 16, 1907).

Hampden-Woodberry Neighborhood Association

 210 West 25th Street

Established October 27, 1907, as an outgrowth of social, home garden and library club work undertaken by S. Elizabeth Spicer (Mrs. Gerlach) and Miss Spencer (Mrs. Bouton) “to study the social conditions extant in the districts known as Hampden and Woodberry, and to determine in what way these conditions may be improved; to afford healthy and instructive amusements for the people both young and old, living in these districts; to co-operate with the schools in the neighborhood in the endeavor to make domestic economy and manual training an integral part of the education of the young; to provide facilities for proper bodily exercise, especially for the young men and girls who work all day in the mills; to stimulate in every possible way the gentle art of home making; to bring people of all classes together in such a way as to show them that we are all alike, rich and poor, ignorant and cultured, children of one Father.”

Neighborhood: The Hampden-Woodberry district. The population, which is almost exclusively of American extraction, numbers about 20,0oo; and the chief industry is the cotton duck mills. Women and children, as well as men and boys, are commonly wage-earners. There is much child labor, irregular work, bad housing, unsanitary municipal housekeeping, and consequent poverty.

Activities: “The association started a movement to establish recreation centers, and the first one will be erected in West Park, situated in the center of Hampden. The center will contain an auditorium, gymnasium, public bath, library, reading and club rooms, etc. The building will be completed enough for occupancy by May 1, 1911.”

Maintains: Kindergarten; milk dispensary (co-operation with milk comm1ttee); classes in cooking and gymnastics; social clubs. Summer Work.—Outdoor gymnastics; school garden clubs; home garden clubs.

Former Locations: Barton’s Hall, Railroad and Woodberry Aves., Oct., 1907-; McCann’s Hall, Falls Road and Third Ave., Nov., 1908-June, 1909; 818 Blucher Ave., Oct., 1908-June, 1909; 912 Third Ave., Nov., 1908-June, 1909; 912 Third Ave., Oct., 1909-May, 191o.

Residents: Women 2. Volunteers. Women 10, men 2. Head Residents. S. Elizabeth Spicer (Mrs. Rudolph Gerlach), Oct., 1907-June, 1909; A. Rebecca Oliver. Nov. 1, 1909-Jan., 1911; Miss N. K. Warner, Nov., 1910-Jan., 1911.

Literature. Author1zed Statements. Prospectus, 1907 — First Annual Report, Oct., 1908. See also: Neighborhood Work Gains in Baltimore. Char, and Commons, xix : 1077-1078 (Nov. 16, 1907).

The Jewish Educational Alliance Of Baltimore

Address: Boys’ Center, 1204 E. Baltimore Street. Girls’ Center, 121 Aisquith Street (1910). Country House, Gwynnbrook, Md.

Established January, 1910, by the union of the Maccabean House and the settlement work of the Daughters in Israel. Supported by the Federated Charities.

Maintains: Day nursery; kindergarten; penny savings; milk dispensary; headquarters of immigrant agent of Council of Jewish Women; headquarters of district nurse; weekly public dances under supervision; boys’ and girls’ gymnasium; recreation rooms; athletic club; military drill; printing shop; art class; chair caning; singing society; sewing, hand and machine embroidery; darning; cooking; housekeeping; dressmaking; millinery; stenography and typewriting; nursing; night school for immigrants; classes in elementary and cultural subjects. There are many lectures, entertainments, etc., and clubs for adults, young people and children. Summer Work. Many clubs and classes; camp at Gwynnbrook; excursions, outings and picnics.

Head Res1dents: Martha Stromberg, 1909. (Boys’Center); Fitta Barnet (Girls’ Center); Mr. and Mrs. Max Carton, 1910-.

Maccahean House
(Boys’ Center)

Established October, 1906, as an outgrowth of a library and reading room for boys organized in 1896 by a group of fifty young men. Gradually expanded by the addition of class and social features, and when the house at 1204 East Baltimore Street was taken, a day nursery, kindergarten and other work was started.

“The residents live as a normal family in the settlement. The life itself is as independent as the family life of any other home. We provide, in connection with our home, a center for the development of civic, social, moral and intellectual life; aiming as residents to promote better industrial, hygienic and educational facilities in our community. We emphasize ethical principles and strive to help people to help themselves.”

Neighborhood: The heart of the Jewish immigrant quarter in East Baltimore.

Maintained: Day nursery; kindergarten; legal aid bureau; headquarters of visiting nurse; music school (branch of the Peabody Music School); classes in gymnastics, carpentry, printing and military drill; clubs for men, women, young people and children. The house gave a Wednesday evening dance in a neighborhood hall, at five cents admission. Summer Work.—The activities of the winter continued, and a milk station and camp work were added.

Locations: 1110e. Baltimore St., 1896-1904; 1204 East Baltimore St., 1904191o.

Head Residents: (Mrs.) Rose Zella Lichenstein, 1905; Minnie S. Hanaw, 1905-191o.

Literature: Author1zed Statements. Federation of Jewish Charities Report, 1908. See also: Neighborhood Work Gains in Baltimore. Char, and Commons, xix : 1077-1078 (Nov. 16, 1907).

Settlement of the Daughters in Israel
(Girls’ Center)

Established October, 1907, by the Daughters in Israel, as the partial outgrowth of a working girls’ home maintained by their organization, “for club and class work” with girls. The work is carried on in a building next door to the home. Supported by the Federated Charities.

Neighborhood: (See Maccabean House, page 99.)

Maintained: Penny savings; station of the public library; playground work at Public School No. 43; sewing school; afternoon game clubs for children; evening classes in English, pian0, singing, dancing, and shirtwaist making; glee, social, literary and dramatic clubs; monthly entertainment and dance; a Sabbath school and children’s Mincha service.

Location: 117 Aisquith St., 1907-1910.

Head Workers: Eugenie Schlom, 1907; Rosa Fried (Mrs. Max Carton), May, 1908-.

Literature: Author1zed Statements. Report of the Federated

Jewish Charities

1908. See also: New Head Worker for the Baltimore Daughters of Israel. Char, and Commons, xx : 221 (May 9, 1908).

Lawrence House

814-816 West Lombard Street

Established in the Fall of 19oo. “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 1nployment 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, 19oo-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: Author1zed 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, 1909-1o. 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.)

Locust Point Settlement

(Formerly Hull Street Settlement)

1504-1506 East Fort Avenue (1904-)

Established April 20, 1896, by Mrs. J. S. Dinwoodie, who later organized the Locust Point Settlement Association (March 23, 1897), “…to maintain a settlement house with residents, who shall devise and promote methods for the improvement of the people physically, morally, intellectually, and spiritually.” Incorporated March, 1898. Affiliated with College Settlements Association, 1911.

Neighborhood: Situated in the outskirts of the city in a tenement district of small houses. The people are 90 per cent of German descent with a small proportion of Americans, Bohemians, Poles and Irish.

Activities: Maintained a kindergarten from 1901 to 1905, a modified milk station from 1905-1908. In 1908 the school board was stimulated to open evening classes in English and manual training, and to equip a cooking center in the neighboring school building. In 1910 a new public library building was erected to house the branch library. In 1904 the house discontinued its religious work at the request of the clergymen of the local churches.

Maintains: Children’s library; kindergarten; provides instruction in home gardening; rug weaving equipment with opportunity for sale of product; daily rummage sale; classes in English, dancing, sewing, drawing, and games; clubs for women, boys and girls. Summer Work.—Vacations in co-operation with Fresh Air agencies.

Former Locations: Plant, 1409 Hull St., April, 1896. 1240 Hull St., 1898.

Residents: Women 3. Volunteers. Women 13, men 7. Head Residents. Mrs. J. S. Dinwoodie, April, 1896-1898; Mary Lamb, Sept., 1899-Jan., 1903; Anne C. Stover, Sept., 1903-Oct., 1904; Dr. Jane Robbins, Dec. 12, 1904-April 13, 1905; Jeanne Cassard, April, 1905-Sept., 1905; Helen Child, Sept., 1905-Jan., 1911.

Literature: Authorized Statements. Circulars of March, 1897; April 1, 1898; and October 1, 1899 — Annual Reports, 19oo, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909. Seealso: News Items. Commons, March and Sept., 1897.

St. Paul’s Guild House (Episcopal)

539 Columbia Avenue

Founded 1893, as the outgrowth of a boarding house and Sunday afternoon club for working boys. After two years the boarding house was discontinued, and neighborhood features gradually added. Maintained by St. Paul’s P. E. Church.

Neighborhood: Located in southwest Baltimore near the railroad yards and some large machine shops. There are many saloons. The people, once American and German householders, are being replaced by Lithuanians.

Activities: Closed two objectionable saloons, and prevents the issuance of additional licenses. Instrumental in securing a branch of the Public Library. Has carried on art loan and tuberculosis exhibits.

Maintains: Mission chapel and Sunday school; kindergarten; co-operative sales of dry goods at wholesale prices; sewing school; classes in athletics and stenography; clubs for women, young people and children; lectures, entertainments, socials, dances, etc. Summer Work.—Picnics; excursions and summer camp for boys.

Former Location. W. Lombard and Penn Sts.

Residents: Women 1. Volunteers: 6o. Head Worker. Rev. Frank Hay Staples.

Literature: Reports and statements in Parish Notes, the organ of St. Paul’s Church.

Saints Philip And James Guild (Catholic)
402 West 29th Street

Founded January 11, 1911, by the Ladies of Charity of SS. Philip and James parish. Formally opened by His Eminence James, Cardinal Gibbons. Aims “…to assist school children with class work, and to be helpful to women, girls and boys of the neighborhood.” Maintained by subscription.

Maintains: Daily afternoon classes for school children; evening classes for working girls and boys; classes in sewing, millinery, cooking, mechanical drawing; clubs for boys and girls; Sunday afternoon meetings for women.

Paid Workers: 2. Volunteers: 25.

For information address Mrs. James J. Ryan, President, 2820 Saint Paul St., Baltimore, Md.

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 Locations. 438 W. Cross St., 1905-1907; 816 W. Lombard St., 1907-1908.

Residents: Women 6. Volunteers: Women 12. Head Res1dents. Jeanne Cassard, 1905-1909; Lettie L.Johnston, 1909-.

Literature: Annual Report, 1905-1906 — Monthly Bulletins, 1909-191o.

Morrell Park Neighborhood House

Established February 23, 1904, by Mr. and Mrs. Ruths as a spontaneous expression of good will toward the children of their neighborhood. Clubs and classes were established in the home and an outhouse was remodeled into an “armory” for drills, dances, clubs, entertainments, etc.

Neighborhood: The outskirts of Baltimore in a suburban industrial quarter. There are brick yards, a glass factory or tw0, and some small industries. The houses are of the small detached cottage type. The people are largely of German ancestry, with Americans, Irish and a few Bohemians; generally moderately skilled, many endeavoring to pay for small homes on small wages.

Activities: Secured library privileges from the state library commission; better school facilities for its district; and provides instruction in athletics, music, and hygiene in co-operation with Baltimore institutions. The Parents and Patrons Club of the public school meets at the house; and the military company acts as official escort of the Dushane Post, No. 3, G. A. R.

Maintains:  Library; military drill; classes in gymnastics, music, cooking, housekeeping, sewing, dressmaking, needlework, nursing (the girls are the Red Cross nurses of the military company); weekly socials and dances. Summer Work.—Military camp, outings, etc.

Locations: Present house, Feb., 1904-; Remodeled, Aug., 1907-; Additions, Feb., 1908-.

Residents: Mr. and Mrs. Ruths and four sons. “We could not do this work unless we worked together. In this family there is no such thing as stated work for one person. We do the thing that is to be done.” The older sons are leaders in the social and dramatic clubs. Mr. Ruths drills the boys of the “Volunteers” and looks after the gymnasium; Mrs. Ruths superintends the household classwork.

Literature: Authorized Statement. Neighborhood News, i, No. 1 (Oct. 4, 1909). See also: Robbins, Alice E.: Real Neighbors. Survey, xxii : 597-598 (July 31, 1909).

How to cite this article (APA Format): “United Settlement Workers of Washington and Baltimore.” (n.d.). United Settlement Workers of Washington and Baltimore. Social Welfare History Project.  Retrieved from

2 Replies to “Settlement Workers of Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD”

  1. I am looking for settlement houses in Washington, D.C. I volunteered at one in 1966-67. Thought it was in the Kalorama area but looking at that area today it is very upscale. Perhaps significant gentrification went on?

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