Early History
of the National Association
for the
Relief of Destitute Colored Women
and Children
On the 31st of January 1863 an association of ladies was formed for the purpose of founding an asylum for the
freed orphans and destitute aged women. Two weeks later the charter granted them by Congress was approved by
the President.

In June they were put in possession by the order of the Secretary of War Edward Stanton a house and grounds on
the heights of Georgetown of 80 acres. (the owner of
Burleith, Richard Smith Cox, had taken his family and slaves
to Richmond. Because he had left a loyal district to join the Confederate government, his property was confiscated
by the Secretary of War, and turned over to Dr. Breed.) Within the first year 13 died at the home. Most inmates of
the home were children. Cox was pardoned in June, 1866. On December 7, 1866 the evicted orphans moved to a
new building being constructed for it by the Freedmen’s Bureau on Eighth Street extended.

In September of 1864 Miss Maria Mann became the teacher of the home (She was the niece of Horace Mann, anti-
slavery congressman from Massachusetts, and “Father of American Education”.) The school had 37 students. They
were in 1864 receiving contribution from the New York National Freedmen's Association. The President Mrs.
Pomeroy of Kansas died in the first year as well as Mrs. Potter of Wisconsin another founder. There was much
friction between Miss Mann and whoever became matron. Harriet Tubman worked at the asylum for a month.

Incorporation Act
An Act to incorporate the National Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
That Sayles J. Bowen, Daniel Breed, George E. Baker, their associates and successors, being members of the said
society, by paying into its treasury the sum of two dollars annually, or life members by paying fifty dollars at one
time, are hereby incorporated and made a body politic by the name of "The National Association for the Relief of
Destitute Colored Women and Children," for the purpose of supporting such aged or indigent colored women and
children as may properly come under the charge of such Association; to provide for them a suitable home, board,
clothing and instruction, and to bring them under Christian influence, and by that name shall have perpetual
succession, with power to use a common seal, to sue and be sued, to plead and be impleaded, in any court of the
United States; to collect subscriptions, make by-laws, rules and regulations needful for the government of said
corporation not inconsistent with the laws of the United States; to have, hold, and receive real and personal estate
by purchase, gift, or devise; to use, sell or convey the same for the purposes and benefit of said corporation, and to
choose such officers and teachers as may be deemed necessary, prescribe their duties, and fix the rate of their
compensation.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the officers of said Association shall consist of a President, Vice-President,
Secretary, Treasurer, and a Board of Managers to be composed of nine members, the whole to constitute an
Executive Committee, whose duty it shall be to carry into effect the plans and purpose for which said Association
was formed; all of which officers shall be elected on the fifteenth day of March next, and hold their offices until the
second Tuesday of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-four, on which day, and annually on the second Tuesday
of January, in each succeeding year, at the annual meeting of said Association, which shall be held on such day,
their successors shall be elected, and hold their offices for the term of one year, and until their successors shall be
duly elected; and in case of a vacancy it shall be filled by the other members of the Executive Committee.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, that said society may receive into a house or building, to be provided by it, any
destitute child or children, at the request of the parents or guardians, or next friend, or the mother, if the father be
dead, or has family, or does not provide for their support, or is an habitual drunkard, such parents, guardians, or
next friend or mother making a written surrender of such child or children. The Superintendent, or other officer in
immediate charge may, with the concurrence of the Executive Committee, or a Board of Trustees, to be appointed
by said Committee, and to consist of three persons, citizens of Washington, govern the inmates, preserve order,
enforce discipline, impart instruction in useful knowledge and some regular course of labor and establish rules for
the preservation of health, and for their proper physical, intellectual, and moral improvement. The Trustees may,
with the consent of the Executive Committee, bind out by indenture such children as may be deemed capable of
learning trades or becoming useful in other occupations, to such persons as will give them the benefit of good
examples, wholesome instruction, and other means of improvement on virtue and knowledge and the opportunity of
becoming intelligent, moral, and useful members of society.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for said Association, by and with the advice and consent of
the Secretary of War, to occupy, for the objects of said Association, and lands, not exceeding one hundred acres,
and the improvements thereon, which the Government may now own or may hereafter acquire contiguous to the city
of Washington, by confiscation or purchase, such occupation to continue for such a number of years as the
Secretary of War may, in writing prescribe.
Approved February 14, 1863.

Officers for 1864
President
Mrs. T. D. Eliot, New Bedford.

Vice President
Mrs. A. M. Gangewaer, Washington

Treasurer
Mrs. W. R. Johnson, Washington

Secretary
Emily Howland, Washington

Board of Managers
Mrs. Henry Wilson, Massachusetts
Mrs. A. H. Gibbons, New York
Miss M. A. Donaldson, Washington
Mrs. Louisa Howells, Washington
Mrs. George E. Baker, Washington
Mrs. C. C. Leighton, Georgetown
Mrs. Frederick T. Brown, Georgetown
Mrs. Anna M. Hooper, Boston
Mrs. Samuel Wilkeson, Washington

Trustees
S. J. Bowen
A. M. Gangewer
George E. Baker

Administrative Committee
Mrs. L. Howells, Washington
Mrs. Samuel Wilkeson, Washington
Mrs. George E. Baker, Washington
Miss M. A. Donaldson, Washington

Investigating Committee
Miss Anna M. Hooper, Boston
Mrs. C. C. Leighton, Georgetown
Miss Georgiana Willetts, Washington

Committee of Ways and Means
Mrs. H. B. Stowe, Andover, Mass.
Miss Elizabeth Peabody, Boston, Mass.
Miss A. M. Hooper, Boston, Mass
Mrs. Wm. Endicott, Boston, Mass
Mrs. Henry Wilson, Mass.
Mrs. A. H. Gibbons, New York
Mrs. Eliza Randolph, Philadelphia
Miss Margaret Robinson, Philadelphia
Mrs. Passmore Williamson, New Jersey
Mrs. Benj. F. Wade, Ohio,
Mrs. Dawes Elliott, New Bedford, Mass.
Mrs. J. M. S. Williams, Cambridge, Mass.
Mary W. Wells, Hartford, Conn.
Miss E. Bright, Madison, Wis.
Mrs. L. L. Rice, Oberline, Ohio
Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth, Georgetown
Mrs. John Jolliffe, Washington
Mrs. H. Bridge, Washington
Mrs. Gulielma Breed, Washington
Mrs. H. D. Cooke, Washington
Mrs. Jane G. Swisshelm, Washington
Mrs. Joseph D. Badgly, Albany
Miss Mary McClintock Hunt, Waterloo, N. Y.
Mrs. Sarah M. C. Gardner, Fayetteville, N. Y.
Mrs. H. L. Howland, Sherwood, N. Y.
Rebecca C. Tatham, New York
Ednah D. Thomas, Union Springs, N. Y.
Mary H. Thomas, Union Springs, N. Y.
Mrs. Rev. Dr. R. S. Storrs, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Mrs. C. B. Webster, Norwich, Conn.

Life Members (1864)
Miss Elizabeth P. Peabody, Boston
Mrs. Hemmenway, Boston
Mrs. R. C. Greenleaf, Boston
Miss A. Wigglesworth, Boston
Mrs. John Cushing, Boston
Mrs. Horace Mann, Concord
Miss Maria R. Mann, Concord
Miss Minot, Boston
Mrs. M. S. Williams, Cambridge, Mass
Mrs. Wm. Gliddon, Cambridge, Mass
Mrs. R. G. Shaw, Boston


Bylaws (1866)
Adopted by the Association, 1866.
1. Any person may become a member of the Association by paying the sum of two dollars. At the meetings of the
Association ten members shall constitute a quorum. At the meetings of the Executive Committee five shall constitute
a quorum for transacting business.

[This By-Law was amended June 10, 1879, as follows: "Any person may become a member of the Association, upon
nomination at a regular meeting of the Association, by a vote of two-thirds of the members present, and by paying
into the treasury the sum of two dollars. At the meetings of the Association ten members shall constitute a quorum.
At the meetings of the Executive Committee five shall constitute a quorum for transacting business."]

[This By-Law further amended October 13, 1891, by inserting after "treasury" the word annually, also, on January 8,
1895, that the annual membership fee be one dollar.]

2. At the stated meetings of the Executive Committee, and at the quarterly meetings of the Association, the order of
business shall be: First, minutes of the preceding meeting; second, reports of committees and officers; third,
unfinished business, new business, adjournment.

3. The President, or, in her absence, the Vice-President or President, pro tem., shall preside at the meetings,
preserve order, and see that the officers perform their duties, and all drafts upon the treasury, approved by the
managers, shall be signed by the presiding officer at the meeting at which they have been passed.

4. The Secretary shall keep correct minutes of the proceedings of the meetings of the Association and of the
managers, and give due notice of the place of all meetings--a notice of the annual and quarterly meetings of the
Association to be advertised for at least two days in a daily paper published in Washington City. The Secretary shall
conduct the correspondence and countersign all drafts upon the treasury.

5. The Treasurer shall take charge of all moneys belonging to the Association not otherwise ordered by the Board,
and shall deposit them in such institutions or invest them in such ways as the Board may direct, and shall make no
payment except by its order. All bills ordered by the Board shall be paid by the Treasurer. She shall report in writing,
at each monthly meeting, to the Executive Committee the amount received and expended during the month; also all
indebtedness. She shall keep a list of the contributors and an accurate account of the receipts and expenditures of
the institution, which accounts shall at all times be open to the inspection of the managers. She shall make a written
report to the annual and each quarterly meeting of the Association and give bonds in the sum of one thousand
dollars for the faithful performance of her trust.

6. At the first stated meeting held after the annual meeting of the Association, the Executive Committee shall elect
from their number the following standing committees A Committee upon Education, Committee upon Clothing,
Committee upon Household, Committee upon Admission and Dismission.

7. Of the Committee upon Admission and Dismission.--The Committee, or one of its members, shall visit the Home
once each month. To this Committee all applications for admission shall be referred. They shall keep a book of
registry, in which they shall enter the name and age of every woman and child received, the date of admission,
whence and from whom received. If the woman or child has near relatives, note the degree of kindred and
residence of same ascertain whether the children have measles, whooping cough, or small-pox, and whether they
have been vaccinated. These particulars shall be recorded, together with other circumstances which may be of
importance to them or to the institution at a future day. If the child be brought by a parent, obtain his or her
signature to the form provided for the same. When children are placed out, state particularly with whom, the
residence and occupation of master and mistress, and note the date of removal from the Home whether by death or
otherwise. When children are placed on trial, if returned they shall be well clothed by their employer, or he be
required to pay twenty-five cents a week for as many weeks as they have served him. A promise to do so shall be
made by him in writing, on receiving the child.

8. The Household Committee, or one of its members shall visit the Home once a month, and oftener if necessary.
They shall see that its affairs are administered with order prudence and economy; that proper attention is paid to
the habits, manners, and persons of the children, and that peace harmony, and domestic religion are cultivates;
and, whilst obedience is required of the children to the duly appointed officers, of corporal punishment shall be
allowed. They also shall keep a book of the record of all gifts and benefits conferred on the institution which do not
appear on the Treasurer's record. They shall make a monthly call on the Matron for a report in writing, of the same.

9. It shall be the duty of the Committee on Clothing to see that the women and children are supplied seasonably with
all necessary clothing, including hats, caps, shoes, and other articles of wearing apparel which may be needed, on
leaving the Home. They shall report when necessary to the Board.

10. The Committee on Education, or one of its members, shall visit the school once a month, and provide furniture,
books, and whatever may be needed for the use of the school.

11. The above-named committees shall render monthly reports to the Board, all of which shall be in writing, as well
as all resolutions and resignations. The Executive Committee shall elect three Trustees, to continue in office until
their successors are chosen. A special meeting of the Association may be called by the Board at any time, due
notice being given.

12. The By-Laws may be amended at any regular or duly called meeting of the Association by a vote of two-thirds of
those present.
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Freedmen Aid Societies
National Freedmans Relief Association of the
District of Columbia
National Association for the Relief of Destitute
Colored Women and Children
Evening School for Freedmen