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MC 295

Winchester Home for Aged Women (Charlestown, Mass.). Records of the Winchester Home for Aged Women, 1866-1932: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

The collection was processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (RC-0051-79-1260).

Descriptive Summary

Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 295
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Winchester Home for Aged Women (Charlestown, Mass.)
Title: Records of the Winchester Home for Aged Women, 1866-1932
Date(s): 1866-1932
Quantity: 1.46 linear feet (3+1/2 file boxes) plus 4 oversize volumes, 1 folio+ item)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Annual reports, minutes, applications, admission certificates, etc., of Winchester Home for Aged Women (Charlestown, Mass.)

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 78-M126 79-M280
The records of the Winchester Home for Aged Women were given to the Schlesinger Library in August 1978 and December 1979 as part of the records of the Home for Aged Women (Boston).

Processing Information:

Processed: February 1980
By: Madeleine Bagwell Perez

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by Winchester Home for Aged Women as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Winchester Home for Aged Women Records, 1866-1932; item description, dates. MC 295, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


The Winchester Home for Aged and Indigent Women was established in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1865 through a bequest of Mrs. Lucy Winchester "to establish in her native city a Home for Aged and Indigent Females similar to the one established in Boston." Many of the women who entered the Winchester Home for Aged Women or similar homes throughout the state could no longer lead useful lives. They were considered to belong to a class of women who were dependent but for whom the almshouse would have been an inappropriate place.
The Home's first residence was the mansion of the late James K. Frothington at 12 Eden Street, Charlestown. Donations of funds and useful items were acquired and on July 3, 1866 the Board of Managers voted to admit six applicants. Public opening ceremonies were held on October 3, 1866. By the end of the 1860s the Home needed more room; the Board bought adjoining property and accepted donations for the new building. In 1873 the new Home at 10 Eden Street was dedicated. For a history of the Winchester Home for Aged Women, see the opening addresses of October 3, 1866 and May 1, 1873, both by Oliver C. Everett; they are in lv. of the collection. The work of the Home continued until the early 1930s, when the trustee for the Winchester Home for Aged Women's trust fund was charged with the theft of $120,000. In 1932 the remainder of the Home's assets was transferred to the Boston Home for Aged Women, which took over the care of the residents, moving them to its residence in Jamaica Plain. The Home in Charlestown was abandoned.


The records of the Winchester Home for Aged Women consist of annual reports, minutes of Board of Managers' meetings, applications and other records of residents, and financial records.
The annual reports were issued by the Board of Managers. Each included a report from the Board; names, ages, year of entry, and date of death of the residents; a financial statement; and lists of standing and visiting committees, life members, and donors. The 1867-1876 reports are bound in one volume and there are unbound reports for 1924-1926, 1929, 1930; reports for 1877 to 1923 have evidently not survived.
Minutes of Board of Managers' meetings cover the period from October 1865 through March 1932 and include copies of the constitution and by-laws, memorials, various lists, and reports on special votes.
Records of the residents have been arranged alphabetically and include applications, admission certificates, doctors' reports, and other papers. Not all residents are included and many individual files are incomplete. Number 23 contains miscellaneous certificates of admission, for women other than those in the alphabetical file (#6-22). These certificates are too fragile to be interfiled with the other records.
Financial records available here were created during the period 1885-1932, though no record type is present for the entire period. Types of financial records in the collection are treasurers' reports, 1897-1907; ledgers (arranged by name of account), 1906-1931; cash books (accounts received or paid), 1907-1932; bequests, real estate, and securities, 1885-1918.


Container List

Additional Index Terms

Annual reports
Charlestown (Boston, Mass.)--Social conditions
Old age assistance
Old age homes
Older people--Dwellings
Older people--Health and hygiene