Maida Miller Collection on the Florence Crittenton Home, 1912-1973  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Miller, Maida
Maida Miller Collection on the Florence Crittenton Home
1912-1973 (inclusive)
2 boxes , (.5 linear feet)
Collection Number
Papers and photographs related to the Florence Crittenton Home, a residential facility for young, unmarried, pregnant women. Mostly comprised of materials related to the Florence Critttenton Home of Seattle, including newspaper clippings, brochures, photographs and ephemera.
Museum of History & Industry, Sophie Frye Bass Library
Sophie Frye Bass Library
Museum of History & Industry
P.O. Box 80816
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-324-1126
Fax: 206-780-1533
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public by appointment.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Florence Crittenton homes are residential care facilities for teenage girls who are pregnant, parenting or at-risk. Originally opened as refuges for young prostitutes, the homes soon became maternity centers for young, often poor, unmarried pregnant women, providing medical care, therapy, support services and educational opportunities. After 1960, many homes discontinued in-house medical services and focused on counseling, education and support for young women and families, and public advocacy on behalf of at-risk teenagers, particularly unmarried, pregnant girls.

The first Florence Crittenton home was opened on Bleecker Street in New York on April 19, 1883. Charles Crittenton, a wealthy New York businessman, had become despondent after the death of his four-year-old daughter Florence from scarlet fever. Finding comfort in religion, he began evangelizing to young prostitutes. Realizing that they would need lodging and support in order to have hope of leaving such circumstances, Crittenton devoted the rest of his life to providing a safe haven and rehabilitation for these women. In 1890, Crittenton decided that such homes should be established nationwide; thirteen homes were opened by 1893.

In 1893, Crittenton met Kate Waller Barrett, a woman who was to become a major force in the Crittenton program. The wife of Reverend Robert Barrett, she became, through his work, exposed to the hardships of unwed mothers and their babies. In affiliation with Crittenton, Barrett opened a rescue home for young women in Atlanta. Together, Barrett and Crittenton opened a home in Washington, D.C., which became the national headquarters of the Florence Crittenton Mission. After Crittenton's death in 1909, Barrett became the organization's president, until her death in 1925. Barrett was instrumental in helping to shift the focus of the rescue-home movement away from the reformation of prostitutes and toward the social welfare of the unwed mother.

In 1950, the Florence Crittenton Association of America, an autonomous federation of Crittenton Homes, was established. Among the Association's stated purposes was to promote a better understanding of the problems of unmarried mothers and their babies and to work with other organizations in related fields. In 1976, the Association became a division of the Child Welfare League of America. Today, there are a number of Florence Crittenton agencies across the country.

The Florence Crittenton Home of Seattle

Crittenton arrived in Seattle in March 1899 to evangelize, and with hopes of opening a new home. Soon, a newly organized Seattle group purchased a 27-room house overlooking Lake Washington in Dunlap, the location from which the home would operate until it closed in 1973.

The Florence Crittenton Home of Seattle was opened on November 21, 1899, with two maternity wards and space for 50 women. A larger home, built on the same property, was opened in 1926. The home closed temporarily during World War II, when the city of Seattle leased the Florence Crittenton building and property for use as a venereal disease quick treatment center. In the late 1940s, the delivery of babies was moved out of the Home itself and into a local hospital; by 1951, all medical care was handled by staff doctors at Swedish hospital.

A 1953 wing added residential and administrative space; in 1965, four cottages increased capacity from 40 to 90 residents. Though there was a waiting list for beds in the 1960s, by the 1970s the climate had begun to change. Society became more accepting of unwed mothers, for whom more resources were available; the number of residents at the Seattle home dropped dramatically. In 1973, the Seattle Home, already in debt, lost crucial funding from the United Way because of a lack of need for its services. On March 15, 1973, the facility was closed.

The building currently houses the Thunderbird Treatment Center, operated by the Seattle Indian Health Board, and providing treatment for Native Americans with chemical substance dependency.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection contains various publications of Florence Crittenton associations, including annual reports, a 1917 national magazine and 1968 newsletter. The collection contains a large amount of ephemera related to the Seattle home, collected by Ms. Miller during the years of her employment. The collection also includes a number of photographs from the Seattle home, including photographs of the interior and exterior of the Home as well as snapshots of staff and others at Home related events.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View selections from the collection in digital format by clicking on the camera icons in the inventory below.

Restrictions on Use

The Museum of History & Industry is the owner of the materials in the Sophie Frye Bass Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from MOHAI before any reproduction use. The museum does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Maida Miller Collection on the Florence Crittenton Home, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Florence Crittenton homes and associations , 1917-1971Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
Girls Magazine, published by the National Florence Crittenton Mission
1917 May
1 2
Florence Crittenton Homes Association-- "Proposal for Organization"
1949 September
1 3
Florence Crittenton Homes Association-- Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws
1950 July 21
1 4
Florence Crittenton Homes Association-- annual reports and minutes of 1953 Annual Conference meetings
1 5
Florence Crittenton Homes Association Western Regional Conferences:
"Yesterday", a paper presented by June Robinson
1970 October 15
Banquet program
1 6
Florence Crittenton Homes history:
"The Field Reporter," Florence Crittenton Association of America newsletter
Typewritten outline of Florence Crittenton Home history
1 7
"Crittenton Home's New Role," Los Angeles Times article about the Los Angeles Crittenton Home
1971 February 14
1 8
Brochure for Florence Crittenton Home of San Francisco

Florence Crittenton Home of Seattle , 1912-1971Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 9
Annual reports
1912; ; 1946-1955
1 10
Pamphlets describing services
circa 1950s-1960s
1 11
Clippings on Seattle home
1 12-13
Guilds--clippings, flyers and letters
1 14
Plaque from Board of Directors to Executive Director Aileen Overton
1 15
Newspaper clippings on donations to Seattle home
1962-1970; ; undated
1 16
Dedication of new facilities at annual meeting--clippings and ephemera
1966 February 16
1 17
Valentine from Bill Hewitt of Hewitt's Catering Service
1 18
Ephemera from events
1 19
Graduations--clippings and ephemera
1 20
Benefit dinner at Mirabeau restaurant--clippings and ephemera
1969 June 12
1 21
Aileen Overton--clippings and ephemera
1969, 1973
1 22
Clippings and press releases on people associated with the Seattle home
1 24
Clippings on the Katherine Luther Home closing.
Residents of the Katherine Luther Home for unwed mothers were transferred to the Florence Crittenton Home of Seattle.
1971 August 15

Miscellaneous Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 23
Clippings on unwed teenage mothers

Photographs Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
2 1 circa 1900
2 2
People at annual meeting event for dedication of new Seattle facilities
1966 February 16
2 3
Women displaying and selling crafts and food at Florence Crittenton Home Bazaar
1966 October 26
2 4 1966 October 31
2 5
Raffle prizes for "Crittenton Carousel"
2 6
Women making crafts; nurse with student; Head Teacher June Robinson with students; Home exterior; people at Guild Council meeting
1968 September
2 7
Decorations for Home Halloween party
1968 October
2 8
Aileen Overton and others at Florence Crittenton Homes Western Regional Conference in Pacific Grove, California (photos removed from staff scrapbook)
1968 November
2 9
Florence Crittenton Home bazaar
1968 November 13
2 10 before 1969
2 11
Students being examined by doctor and nurse
2 12
FCH Bazaar; annual meeting; Easter party
2 13
Benefit dinner at Mirabeau restaurant
1969 June 12
2 14 1969-1970
2 15
Staff and other officials at graduation luncheon
1970 January 23
2 16
Home exterior; girls inside Home
Contact sheet photographed by Channel 9 "for program"
1970 February
2 17
Annual picnic at home of Dr. and Mrs. Homer Hartzell
1970 July
2 18
Photographs of staff and others, removed from staff scrapbook
2 19
FCH office remodel; students at Halloween party; Christmas decorations and dinner
2 20
Staff at events
Three pages and loose photographs removed from staff scrapbook
2 21
Florence Crittenton Home Bazaar
2 22
Staff and volunteers painting interior of Home

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Florence Crittenton Homes Association
  • Rescue work -- United States
  • Unmarried mothers -- Services for -- Washington (State)--Seattle
  • Personal Names :
  • Crittenton, Charles Nelson, 1833-1910
  • Corporate Names :
  • Florence Crittenton Home (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Seattle (Wash.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographic prints