June Robinson Collection on the Florence Crittenton Home, 1954-1988  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Robinson, June
June Robinson Collection on the Florence Crittenton Home
1954-1988 (inclusive)
1 box, ( .42 cubic feet)
Collection Number
1999.68 (accession 1), 1993.17 (accession 2)
Papers relating to the Florence Crittenton Home, a residential facility for young, unmarried, pregnant women, with an emphasis on the Florence Crittenton Home of Seattle. Includes handbooks, annual reports, three academic papers and one photograph of the first Seattle home
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 nine annual reports from the Florence Crittenton Home of Seattle, spanning 1954-1968, as well as two of the Home’s handbooks. It also includes three academic papers written by Robinson (under her unmarried name, June Peterson): a paper on the history of the Florence Crittenton homes in general and the Seattle home in particular; a master’s thesis on Dr. Kate Waller Barrett, a major force in the Crittenton program who was president of the Florence Crittenton Mission from 1909 to 1925; and a paper on the school programs available in Florence Crittenton Agencies nationwide. A 1988 article from the Northern Virginia Heritage Magazine discusses Barrett and Ivakota, the Florence Crittenton Home established by Barrett in Virginia. The collection also includes a 1960 annual report for the Ruth School for Girls, the Burien school for wards of the Juvenile Court. A photograph (11” x 14”) depicts the Young Women’s Baptist College, the first Florence Crittenton Home in Seattle, circa 1899.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

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

June Robinson Collection on the Florence Crittenton Home, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1 Florence Crittenton Home of Seattle-- Handbooks undated
1 2 Florence Crittenton Home of Seattle-- Annual Reports 1956-1968
1 3 Ruth School for Girls-- Annual Report 1960
1 4 "The Florence Crittenton Home: A History of Scope and Services," academic paper by June Peterson (Robinson) 1964
1 5 "Kate Waller Barrett: A Friend of Girls," Master's thesis by June Peterson (Robinson) 1969
1 6 "School Programs in the Florence Crittenton Agencies," by June Peterson (Robinson) undated
1 7 Northern Virginia Heritage magazine, containing article "House of Another Chance: Kate Waller Barrett's Ivakota" by Kathi Ann Brown October 1988
os box Photograph of Young Women's Baptist College, the first Florence Crittenton Home in Seattle, Rainier Beach area
11” x 14”
circa 1899

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Florence Crittenton Homes Association--History
  • Rescue work -- United States -- History
  • Unmarried mothers -- Services for -- Washington (State) -- History
  • Personal Names :
  • Barrett, Kate Waller, 1858-1925
  • Crittenton, Charles Nelson, 1833-1910
  • Corporate Names :
  • Florence Crittenton Home (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Geographical Names :
  • Seattle (Wash.)