Special Collections & University Archives
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The Special Collections is located on the east side of the Library at the front of the 3rd floor.
Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
The Records of the Florence Crittenton Home of Norfolk
The Florence Crittenton Association of America began in New York City in 1883. Charles Nelson Crittenton was a wealthy wholesale druggist whose four-year-old daughter, Florence, died in 1882. Six months later, on April 19, 1883, he opened the Florence Night Mission at 29 Bleeker Street as a memorial to her. Intended initially to help the prostitutes of that city escape from that lifestyle, its scope was gradually enlarged to include other women needing help. The name was changed to The Florence Crittenton Mission, and Congress gave its approval when, by a special act in 1893, it passed its articles of incorporation.
Largely because of Mr. Crittenton's strenuous efforts in support of this new service, many Crittenton Homes were soon opened throughout the country. At first, these homes were also designed as "Rescue Homes," but the scope of services, particularly after World War I, gradually shifted to caring for unwed mothers and their children. The only exception to this was the Barrett Home in New York City, which was a residential treatment center for adolescent girls.
The high-water mark of the National Crittenton Program came during the 1960's when there were more than 70 maternity homes, the Barrett Home, and a non-residential service for unwed mothers in Lowell, Massachusetts. Though changing social patterns, customs, and laws led to a gradual decline in the total number of homes during the 1970's, 35 homes, including one in Lynchburg, Virginia, remained in operation as late as 1978.
For various reasons the National Crittenton organization found it necessary to operate as two separate but cooperative agencies. The first, known as The National Florence Crittenton Mission, is primarily concerned with all financial matters affecting the individual homes and the national organization. The Mission coordinates the various levels of its work through "The Central Extension Committee" which derives its members from the Mission's ranks and from each of the participating homes. This committee had as its initial task the establishment of the Florence Crittenton Association of America, an agency with the tasks of consultation, setting of standards, doing research for the member agencies, and developing relationships with similar organizations.
In this structure, the member homes operated as cooperative but autonomous entities who, apart from certain qualification standards and financial matters, generally charted their own direction.
While the National Association is staffed by professional social workers and is responsible for coordinating the activities of the various homes, the Mission administers an endowment left by Mr. Crittenton and expanded by Dr. Robert South Barrett, longtime President of the Mission. The Mission also pays the largest share of the Association's expenses and keeps in reserve an amount to help the individual homes in building and alteration projects. Any requests for such funds that were received by the Association were passed directly to the Mission, whose president is a member of the Association's Executive Board.
Mr. Crittenton died in 1911 and was succeeded as President of the Mission by Dr. Kate Waller Barrett; upon her death in 1925, her son, Dr. Robert South Barrett became president; and, in turn, his son, Rear Admiral (Ret) John P. Barrett, succeeded him.
The Florence Crittenton Home of Norfolk was certainly among the earliest ones founded in this country. In 1891, Mrs. R. H. Jones, the President of the Virginia Women's Christian Temperance Union, befriended one unwed mother in Norfolk. This action, in turn, was followed by the establishment of a little 2-room house in the Huntersville area, which was later closed when a 5-room house was located in the Brambleton area of the city. These two homes were both known as "The White Anchorage."
At the 1893 National W.C.T.U. Conference in Denver, the Norfolk Chapter gave a report of its work and Mr. Crittenton was so impressed that he contributed one thousand dollars to aid their effort. As a result, the name of the Home was changed to Florence Crittenton and it was incorporated as such in Virginia in 1894.
The subsequent 80 year history of the Norfolk Home was a rich and varied effort to meet the needs of unwed mothers and their children. The following is a brief chronology of that Home:
1891 - Founding of "The White Anchorage"
In a brief ceremony on June 1, 1977, Mrs. John A. Byrd, President of the Florence Crittenton Board, turned over the deed to the Crittenton property to Old Dominion University. A resolution from that Board was read by Board member Mrs. Irving Salsbury, and a plaque recognizing the gift was unveiled by Mrs. James A. Howard; Mrs. Byrd; Dr. Charles O. Burgess, Vice President for Academic Affairs at ODU; and Mercer Davis, President of the ODU Educational Foundation.
In expressing the University's appreciation for the Crittenton Board's generosity, Dr. Burgess said "Like the Crittenton Home, Old Dominion University is committed to serving the needs of the area - of this region. ODU's School of Continuing Studies will be located here, allowing continued growth in its programs that are already serving more than 20,000 persons each year in noncredit and off-campus credit programs."
SCOPE AND CONTENTS
The Records of the Florence Crittenton Home of Norfolk, spanning the years from 1894 to 1973, derive their primary value from the fact that they represent an eighty-year local effort to respond to the needs of unmarried women and their children. In the process of that work, one of the primary concerns of the staff and administration of the Norfolk Home was the assurance of the privacy of mother and child. This privacy right has carried over to the collection as well and every effort has been made to protect individual identities. The researcher will note, for example, that any references to last name of mother and child, as well as any other data which might aid in their identification have been deleted. The cooperation of the researcher in this matter is both essential and appreciated. In turn, the researcher is assured that the integrity of this collection as historical material has, in all other respects, been preserved.
Collection is divided into 18 Series: History, General; History, Financial; History, Payroll; Admissions and Procedures; Studies and Reports; State Licensing Procedure; Office Procedures; Records of the President; Records of the Treasurer; Records of the Board; Committees and Supporting Agencies; Grants and Consultant Services; Memorials and Testimonials; Closing of the Home; Correspondence; Miscellaneous; Scrapbooks and Photographs; and, Memorabilia.
Gift of the Florence Crittenton Board, Louauna S. Byrd, President on January 13, 1977
Collection is open to researchers with two exceptions. Boxes 5-11 are permanently closed to the researcher because they contain personnel records. Secondly, delivery room registers are closed to all patrons except those mentioned in the records because they are health records.* Please note that the last names of all mothers and children born at Florence Crittenton Home have been redacted from the records. Questions on literary property rights should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian and University Archivist.
*Va. Stat. § 2.2-3705.5. Virginia Freedom of Information Act, Exclusions to application of chapter; health and social services records: 1. Health records, except that such records may be personally reviewed by the individual who is the subject of such records, as provided in subsection F of § 32.1-127.1:03 Health records privacy.
39 Hollinger Documents Cases; Seven Hollinger Oversized Boxes; and several oversized posters.
Series I - History, General
(Boxes 1 - 2)
Sub-series A - J:
A) Copy of Charter and Articles of Incorporation
Series 2 - History, Financial
Sub-series A - F:
Series 3 - History, Payroll
Sub-series A - C, Box 4, is open to researchers. Boxes 5-11 (Subseries D - J) are closed to the researcher because they contain sensitive employee and personnel records. Any questions concerning this series should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian
Sub-series A - J:
A) Personnel Practices Statement
Series 4 - Admissions and Procedures
Sub-series A - S:
A) Standards for FCAA Maternity Home Services
Series 5 - Studies and Reports
This series is further divided into 49 subseries. Since each study or report is treated as a separate subseries, they are not listed again here. Researchers should refer to the comprehensive listing in the Finding Aid located in Special Collections.
Series 6 - State Licensing Procedure
Sub-series A - E:
A) TitleVI Compliance Review
Series 7 - Office Procedures
This series is further divided into 32 subseries. Since each item is treated as a separate subseries, they are not listed again here. Researchers should refer to the comprehensive listing in the Finding Aid located in Special Collections.
Series 8 - Records of the President
Sub-series A - E:
A) Annual Reports, Printed
Series 9 - Records of the Treasurer
Sub-series A - P:
Series 10- Records of the Board
Sub-series A - E:
A) Minutes, September 1925-May 1977
Series 11- Committees and Supporting Agencies
Subseries A - Z:
A) Old Building Committee
Series 12- Grants and Consultant Services
Sub-series A - B:
A) Law Enforcement Administration (VA)
Series 13- Memorials and Testimonials
Sub-series A - G:
A) Mrs. G. M. Thomson, 1923
Series 14- Closing of the Home
Sub-series A - F:
A) Progress Report, May 30, 1973
Series 15- Correspondence
Sub-series A - X:
A) Agencies, Cooperating
Series 16- Miscellaneous
(Box 37a -37b)
A) Newspaper Articles
Series 17- Scrapbooks and Photographs
(Oversized box 43)
Sub-series A - B:
A) Scrapbooks and Newspaper Articles
Series 18 - Memorabilia
(Oversized box 44)Revised: 5/20/2010