Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pelham Hall Shelter, a "Refuge for Erring Girls", Founded by Alumnae of Mrs. Hazen's School for Girls in Pelham Manor

As I have written before on the Historic Pelham Blog, during the late 1880s, The Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York had a star teacher. Her name was Emily Hall Hazen. A few Pelham Manor landowners coveted the teacher’s talents and experience. They still were trying to develop the remnants of the subdivision planned by the Pelham Manor and Huguenot Heights Association founded in the early 1870s.

To attract “upper class buyers”, a Pelham Manor landowner named Silas H. Witherbee recruited Mrs. Hazen to open a girl’s preparatory school in Pelham Manor. According to one account, “although Mrs. Hazen was urged to locate elsewhere, she yielded to the persuasion and promise of support given by the residents of Pelham Manor.” In 1889 the little school opened, only to become one of the finest girls’ schools in the country before it closed twenty-five years later at the end of the 1914-1915 school year.

In 1895, alumnae of the nationally-renowned girl's preparatory school established Pelham Hall Shelter located at 31 Webster Avenue in New Rochelle. A directory of "Reformatories for Women" published in 1897 described the institution as follows:

"Pelham Hall Shelter (estab. 1895), 31 Webster Ave., New Rochelle, N. Y. A refuge for erring girls between 15 ande 25 years old who evince a sincere desire to reform. Founded and supported by the alumnae of Mrs. Hazen's School, Pelham Manor. Capacity for 8 girls, who are taught to do housework, and are instructed in other branches of useful employment. Effort is made to find homes for them in the country and situations best suited to their various needs and ability. Girls are received from N. Y. City. The Home is an effective aid to Mrs. Foster in rescue work at the N. Y. City courts and prisons. Mrs. J. C. Hazen, Pres. and Treas., Pelham Manor, N. Y.; Mrs. S. N. Morse, Matron."

Source: Charity Organization Society of the City of New York, New York Charities Directory. - A Classified and Descriptive Directory to the Philanthropic, Educational and Religious Resources of the City of New York Including the Boroughs of Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Richmond, p. 217 (NY, NY: The Knickerbocker Press 1897).

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