Current Guidelines for Onsite Research at Chesney Archives
The Johns Hopkins Hospital Colored Orphan Asylum began operations in 1875. It provided for the care and education of African American children in Baltimore who had lost one or both of their parents. The Asylum was founded by Johns Hopkins, a wealthy Quaker merchant and banker who bequeathed his fortune for the establishment of several institutions, including a university, hospital, and “Orphans’ Home.”
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The orphan asylum operated as its own facility from 1875 to 1914. It was overseen by a standing committee of The Johns Hopkins Hospital Board of Trustees, while day-to-day operations were managed by an all-female Board of Visitors, matrons, teachers, and other staff. The asylum primarily cared for female children and provided food, housing, medical care, education, and religious instruction, as well as training in domestic service so that wards were fitted for “respectable employment” when they came of age.
In 1914, the trustees decided to convert the asylum buildings into a convalescent home for African American children who required orthopedic care. That facility, The Johns Hopkins Hospital School and Convalescent Home for Colored Children, closed in 1917 due to hospital funding issues. While the convalescent home was in operation, a small number of orphan asylum wards continued to live on the premises with a matron; the rest were placed in private homes as domestic servants or boarded at other schools or institutions. After the convalescent home closed in 1917, all wards of the orphan asylum were placed or boarded elsewhere. The hospital continued to manage wards’ care until the last young women reached the age of majority (21) in 1923.
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The Records of The Johns Hopkins Hospital Colored Orphan Asylum are arranged in three series: Administration (1898-1916), Financial records (1895-1924), and The Johns Hopkins Hospital School and Convalescent Home for Colored Children (1914-1917). The collection documents the governance, administration, and regular expenses of the orphan asylum, as well as basic information regarding patients admitted to the convalescent home. Related collections at the Chesney Archives include a significant amount of material on the orphan asylum.
Board of Trustees Minutes and Supporting Papers
Executive Committee Minutes
Report of the Superintendent of The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Department of Social Work/Social Services
Index of the Johns Hopkins Nurses Alumnae Magazine
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