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Newark Orphan Asylum Record Books (1868 - 1929)
RepositoryNewark Public Library, Charles F. Cummings New Jersey Information Center
Collection IDMG Nwk Orphan
Size3 boxes
Collection Description
The Newark Orphan Asylum, founded in 1847 by a group of Protestant women, was granted its charter in 1848. Elizabeth Stryker Ricord was among the Asylum's founders and was Directress of the Board of Managers until her death in 1865. In 1857 an imposing building, replete with gas lights, steam heat, hot and cold running water, and a fire extinguishing system was erected at 323 High St. (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard); a south wing was added to the building in 1874. The building could house 110 children. Most children were between the ages of 2 and 10 when they entered the Asylum; they generally were released by the age of 12. The asylum also maintained a country home in Westfield, NJ, where children lived, and learned farming, during the summer.

In the 1900 census, 84 orphans between the ages of 4 and 11 were living at the Asylum; they were supervised and cared for by Matron Susan Van Vleck, two caretakers, and a staff of seven who included a "kindergartener," seamstress, nurse, cook, waitress, laundress, and janitor. By 1912, Mrs. F. S. Douglas was Directress of the Board of Managers; Mrs. N. A. Merritt was Secretary and Chair of the Admissions Committee; and Mrs. C. A. Woodhull was Treasurer.

In 1948 the Newark Orphan Asylum and the Protestant Foster Home merged to become the Newark Home for Foster Care.
Collection Contents
The collection consists of 6 small volumes, 7 notebooks, and one folder of correspondence. Contents are as follows:

Box 1: Five Volumes (1868-1929). 1.) a census volume with alphabetical lists of children in the asylum as of October 1, 1868, and as of January 1st in each year from 1870 to 1888; 2.) a census volume with a list of children in the asylum as of January 1, 1869, including their ages and last place of residence, and names of children in the asylum as of January 1st in each year from 1883 to 1888. Following each annual census are chronologically arranged entries for children who entered or left the asylum in that year; these entries include the child's name, age, and hometown before entering the asylum; or the name, relationship, and address of the person with whom the child left the asylum. A few children were sent to the City Home. Many of the children came from, or returned to Newark, but others were connected to cities and towns throughout New Jersey, and occasionally New York State. 3.) a volume containing alphabetical lists of all the children in the asylum as of January 1st, 1908-1911. Following each annual census are entries for the children who left the asylum in that year, and the name and relationship of the person who took responsibility; 4.) a volume, labeled "Record of E. J. Ormandy," with alphabetical entries for children who entered the asylum, with some details regarding the date of admission or discharge, names of parents, address, reason for admission, etc. (1905-1919); 5.) a volume, labeled "Home Report" (1924-1929), with statistics by year of permanent and temporary residents in the asylum, children discharged, families represented, applications for admission, children by nationality, and children who had parents living. Also included is medical information such as the numbers of children admitted to the hospital or the Eye and Ear Clinic, or who were seen by the dentist. This volume also contains lists of children, with birth dates.

Box 2: Ledger, an indexed volume of detailed entries on individual children (1885-1905), including the year admitted, age when admitted, family information (which may include ethnicity, names, occupations, and addresses), the reason for the child's entry into the asylum, and details regarding the child's departure from the asylum (which include the death of the child, the return of the child to his or her family, adoption, or running away)

Box 3: Notebooks and Correspondence. Seven notebooks (1913-1919) contain brief entries on children who left the Newark Orphan Asylum and were placed with relatives or friends, discharged to other agencies, returned to their families, or released on their own recognizance. Some entries include dates of entry and exit. Only a few include details on family members or reasons for the child's admittance to the asylum. These entries appear to be drafts for more detailed files.

One folder contains correspondence from Lydia Bausch Grimm, of 390 Washington St., to Miss Sutphen of the Asylum, regarding Mary Achley who had been placed with Grimm (1912-1913); and a letter from Elizabeth Guild, Children's Aid Society, Newark, to Anne Sutphen, regarding children Rolland, Ronald, and Iris Griswold (June 1919).

NOTE: See also, the Association for Children of New Jersey Records (MG 1087), New Jersey Historical Society. Searchable listings of "inmates" and staff at all orphans' homes in Newark in the year 1900 are available online at:
FormatTextual materials
SubjectsEthnic History; Medicine / Public Health; Poverty / Philanthropy / Charities
Time Periods19th Century; 20th Century
Access policyOpen for research
Finding AidYes
Finding Aid URL