Showing posts with label Charity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charity. Show all posts

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The history of the Chicago Fresh Air Hospital in the West Ridge community. (1912-ca.1960)

The Chicago Fresh Air Hospital was located at 2451 West Howard Street in Chicago (Tel: Rogers Park-0321). It was built in 1912 on 20 acres of the Peter Gouden Farm near the southwest corner of Howard Street between Maplewood and Western Avenues.
The Chicago Fresh Air Hospital building's
footprint is highlighted in green.
It was built by doctors from Augustana Hospital who wanted to build a sanitorium for tuberculosis patients. This was prompted because Augustana would not accept such patients at that time.
Photo courtesy of the Rogers Park West Ridge Historical Society.
The building was constructed at the cost of $126,000.
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease of the lungs and other organs. Once considered incurable, the disease caused its victims to slowly waste away, which was why it was called “consumption.” With a mortality rate of approximately 18 per 10,000 people, tuberculosis was a leading cause of death within the city of Chicago at the turn of the 20th century.

Early attempts at controlling tuberculosis in Chicago focused on home sanitation, public health education, and isolation of the patient. Private hospitals took in a few tuberculosis patients, but public facilities to care for the affected were not available.

In order to raise public awareness, the Visiting Nurses Association and physician Theodore Sachs spearheaded an antituberculosis movement in the early 1900s. This eventually resulted in the passage of state legislation, the Glackin Tuberculosis Law, in 1909, giving the city of Chicago the ability to raise funds for the treatment and control of tuberculosis through a special property tax.

In 1914, there were 10,000 registered cases of Tuberculosis (TB). The number of deaths due to TB in Chicago that year was 3, 384. Yet there were only 300 public beds available in the city for patients who could not afford to pay for treatment. In March 1915, the Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium opened its doors to citizens of Chicago suffering from tuberculosis. Treatment was free to residents of Chicago.
The Chicago Fresh Air Hospital later became known as Bethesda Hospital and, at one time, was affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital (now Sinai Health System).

In 2005 a Korean American gentleman by the name of Park has converted the former hospital into a condominium complex.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Lydia Moss Bradley, Philanthropist and Founder of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

Lydia Moss Bradley (1816–1908)
Lydia Moss Bradley was a wealthy philanthropist famous for her humanitarian works in Illinois and the independent management of her wealth. A pioneer in business and philanthropy, she founded Bradley Polytechnic Institute (now Bradley University) in 1897. Bradley and her accomplishments would be notable in any age, but to achieve all of this as an independent woman in the 19th century makes her simply amazing.

Lydia Moss was born in Vevay, Indiana on July 31, 1816, the daughter of Zeally and Jennett Glasscock Moss. Prior to Lydia’s birth, Zeally Moss owned a plantation in Kentucky, but decided that he did not want to make a living based on slavery. He reportedly, “gave the place rent free to his Negroes to work out their own living, while he crossed over into free territory to make his home and rear his family.” 

Lydia Moss Bradley believed that industriousness was required of all able-bodied members of a community. Despite her limited education – in a neighbor’s kitchen with no heat, few books and handmade quill pens – Lydia learned the practical things of life and developed the strong business sense that would serve her so well as an adult.

Lydia’s father gave a young colt that had lost its mother to his daughter to raise. After raising enough money for a saddle and bridle, and enjoying the horse as the only access to a social life in those days, she sold it in exchange for 40 acres of forested land. She cleared the land and sold the timber, and met Tobias Bradley, who was running the sawmill where her timber was processed.

Marriage and Family
On May 11, 1837, at age 31, Lydia married Tobias Bradley, and the newlyweds initially lived with her parents in Vevay. Their first child, Rebecca, was born January 20, 1839. That same year, Zeally Moss died leaving the family farm to Lydia. Lydia gave birth to their second daughter, Clarissa, on October, 26, 1843, but Rebecca died on September 2, 1845.

In 1847, Lydia and her family, including her mother, moved to Peoria, Illinois to join her brother William Moss. With the proceeds from the sale of their land holdings in Vevay, the Bradleys purchased a large tract of land in Peoria, which was in its early development, and an excellent place for Tobias Bradley and William Moss to prosper in business ventures.

Over the next three decades the Bradleys prospered in real estate and banking. In the early days, Lydia was the housewife and mother, while Tobias became a leading businessman with many entrepreneurial endeavors. He was one of the founders of First National Bank in Peoria and helped establish the first public library there.
Unfortunately, the Bradleys suffered the deaths of five of their six children in rapid succession. Daughter Rebecca had died in 1845 before the move to Illinois, while daughter Clarissa and son Tobias Moss (born April 28, 1847) died during the first year at Peoria. Daughter Mary lived less than a year, dying on April 25, 1852, and son William died August 25, 1855 at the age of two. Daughter Laura (born April 24, 1849) lived longer than any of the other children, dying in 1864 at the age of fourteen.

During these same difficult years, in business dealings the Bradleys were charmed and soon became quite wealthy. In the early days Tobias ran another sawmill, captained the steamboat Avalanche owned by William Moss, and joined Moss in a distilling business, which ran successfully for many years. Tobias also continued to purchase land and bought stock in new companies.

After losing all of their children, the Bradleys began thinking about constructing a monument to their deceased children. They discussed the idea of an orphanage, but Lydia later decided that such institutions were often ill-equipped to help young people acquire the skills needed to become independent, which was her main interest.

Then came the final blow in 1867 when Tobias Bradley was killed in a carriage accident at age 56. Rather than becoming absorbed in her own grief and allowing herself to be protected by her wealth, Lydia took over the management of her estate, which was valued at $500,000. Within ten years, the estate doubled to over $1 million and then doubled again.

At the time of his death, Tobias Bradley was the president of the First National Bank of Peoria. Lydia inherited the stock which he owned in the bank, and became a member of the Board of Directors. 
Lydia sits for a photograph with the First National Bank in Peoria Board of Trustees, the first female member of a national bank board in America.
For twenty-five of the nearly thirty-four years she served as a board member, she held the position of Director. Although it is difficult to determine if any other women in the country held similar positions, it is possible the she was the first female member of a national bank board in the United States.

In 1869, just before marrying Edward Clark, Lydia Moss Bradley became the first American woman to draft a prenuptial agreement to protect her assets. She was savvy enough be careful with her wealth, and was unwilling to place herself in a position of vulnerability. The agreement, which Clark signed, declared that if the marriage did not last each would retain their individual holdings. Bradley and Clark divorced in 1873.

Career in Philanthropy
In Peoria, Bradley gave land to the Society of St. Francis to build a hospital, now known as the OSF St. Francis Medical Center. In 1884, she built the Bradley Home for Aged Women to care for widowed and childless women, and funded the construction of the Universalist church. She also donated over 100 acres of land to the City of Peoria for a park, later named in memory of her daughter Laura.

Lydia Moss Bradley finally decided that she wanted to establish a place of higher learning as a lasting memorial to her husband and children. She began investigating schools as models for the one she planned to endow through her will. In 1877 Bradley visited Rose Polytechnic Institute in Indiana which offered degrees in engineering and the sciences because she wanted to give young people “the most practical assistance at the best time of their lives to make them independent, self-supporting, useful men and women.”

During her research, Bradley learned that the cost of such a school would be far greater than the value of her estate, so she decided to continue her business efforts in order to fully endow a school of the highest standards. One of the ways in which she made such a substantial increase in her wealth was her ability to improve the quality of land.

She owned 680 acres of Manito Marsh; she had the land drained and built farm buildings and fences, and began cultivating the land for farming, but the crops did poorly. When the crops failed to improve over time, she sent samples of the soil to Champaign for analysis. The soil was very rich, but it lacked potash. By amending the soil, Bradley’s farms became successful.

The farmers working her land benefitted, the land became useful, neighboring farmers followed suit and improved their own crops, and the value of the land was increased dramatically. Bradley had purchased this marsh land for $10 per acre, and when the crops became successful, the lots sold for up to $140 per acre.

Bradley was a strong, independent woman at a time when women were still expected to be submissive, but her willingness to seek out experts to aid her in her decision making was perhaps the greatest key to her success. In 1885, after nearly doubling the value of the estate left to her by her husband, she hired W.W. Hammond as her business manager, starting a relationship which lasted until her death and beyond – Hammond managed the affairs of Bradley’s school until his own death in 1920.

Hiring Hammond was a wise decision because he was not only astute in business matters, he was also a lawyer and was subsequently able to protect her interests. Bradley met with Hammond every morning at her home, an imposing brick residence Tobias Bradley built in 1858. Every Sunday, she took a carriage ride to Springdale Cemetery and placed flowers from her own gardens on the graves of her deceased loved ones.
The historic Lydia Moss Bradley house on Moss Avenue in Peoria, Illinois.
Bradley Polytechnic Institute
As a first step toward her goal of establishing a school, in 1892 Bradley purchased a controlling interest in Parsons Horological School in LaPorte, Indiana, the first school for watchmakers in America, and moved it to Peoria with its 100 students, full staff of teachers and all. She specified in her will that the school should be expanded after her death to include a classical education as well as industrial arts and home economics: being the first object of this Institution to furnish its students with the means of living an independent, industrious and useful life by the aid of a practical knowledge of the useful arts and sciences.
One of the best pieces of advice Bradley received came from William Rainey Harper, president of the University of Chicago in October 1896. After looking over her finances he assured her she had sufficient funds, and soon convinced her to move ahead with her plans and establish the school during her lifetime.
Bradley Horology Hall: dedicated on October 8, 1897.
Bradley Polytechnic Institute, now Bradley University, in Peoria, Illinois.
Bradley Polytechnic Institute was chartered on November 13, 1896. Mrs. Bradley provided 17.5 acres of land, $170,000 for buildings, equipment and a library, and $30,000 per year for operating expenses. On April 10, 1897, ground was broken for Bradley Hall and work moved ahead quickly. With 14 faculty and 150 students, classes began in Bradley Hall on October 4, 1897 – with 500 workers still hammering away.
Bradley Hall and Horological School, 1906.
The Chicago Times Herald article about Mrs. Bradley at the school’s dedication on October 8, 1897 stated: the few sentences she uttered were compressed the ideals she had cherished for half a century. She said she hoped the institute would be a real benefit to mankind; that it would be the means of making better men and women; that boys and girls would find in the new institution of learning an incentive to intellectual life was her ardent wish.
Later Years
Bradley knew that to safeguard her initial plans for the Bradley Polytechnic Institute, she could not leave many issues open to interpretation. She purposely placed a majority of Peorians on the board and had the ratio of residents written into the charter to make certain the school always served the interests of the community.

Establishing the school during her lifetime gave Lydia Moss Bradley the enormous emotional satisfaction of seeing the creation brought about by her efforts. All records indicate that she rarely missed special events at the Institute. She is said to have entertained students in her kitchen and garden some afternoons, and she is almost always reported to have been an honored guest on founder’s days and graduations.

In many speeches and memorial addresses after her death, those who knew her felt that the Institute had a profound effect on Bradley’s happiness in her later years. Students, faculty and trustees were also glad that they had the opportunity to express their appreciation to their school’s founder while she lived. Without that satisfaction, she would have had far less reason to live such a long and active life.

Pleased with its progress, Mrs. Bradley transferred to the school the rest of her estate, including nearly 1,000 different pieces of property, reserving its use and profits during her lifetime. At Founder’s Day in 1906 she announced an additional gift to build Hewitt Gymnasium, now Hartmann Center for the Performing Arts.
The Hewitt Gymnasium, 1912.
By 1899 the Institute had expanded to accommodate nearly 500 pupils, about equally divided between men and women, and offered courses in biology, chemistry, food work, sewing, English, German, French, Latin, Greek, history, manual arts, drawing, mathematics and physics.
Lydia Moss Bradley at her home on Moss Avenue in Peoria, Illinois.
Lydia Moss Bradley developed deep convictions on work, skill, thrift and economy. Although her family had become quite prosperous in land holdings during her childhood, every member of the family worked on the farm. Even in her later years as one of the wealthiest citizens in the Peoria area, business manager W. W. Hammond reported:
"Mrs. Bradley never forgot how to work, and until within a short time of her death still made her own butter, raised her own eggs, salted down her own meat and tried out her own lard. She would not have considered herself a good housekeeper had she not done so. The housewife of those times was expected to stock the larder with meats and fruits, to spin the yarn, make the clothing, bedding and carpets, and to prepare food in plenty for all who chanced to be present when meal time came round. All these things Mrs. Bradley did."
Lydia Moss Bradley died on January 16, 1908, at age 91, and is buried at Springdale Cemetery and Mausoleum, Peoria, Illinois.

The Institute continued to grow and develop to meet the educational needs of the region. It became a four-year college offering bachelor’s degrees in 1920 and a full university with graduate programs in 1946, when it was renamed Bradley University. Today it is a fully accredited institution that provides education in engineering, business, communication, teacher education, nursing, physical therapy, fine arts and the liberal arts and sciences.

In 1998, Bradley was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Montgomery Ward fights to keep Chicago's lakefront “open, clear and free” and protect the Public Trust Doctrine.

Aaron Montgomery Ward is probably best remembered as the merchant who invented the mail order catalog sales business in 1872, just after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which enabled thousands of residents in young, rural American to obtain the latest merchandise with a “Cash-on-Delivery” policy. This unique idea of catalog sales helped the country to grow and prosper, and made the Montgomery Ward Company one of the largest retail firms in the nation.

But lessor known, is the fact that Montgomery Ward fought to preserve Chicago’s “forever open, clear and free” lakefront park system, resulting in Chicago being one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Humble Beginnings, Great Aspirations, Tremendous Results
Aaron Montgomery Ward
Aaron Montgomery Ward was born on February 17, 1844 in Chatham, New York. Ward’s family moved to Niles, Michigan when he was 9, but life was never easy for the family. His father was a cobbler of modest means, and too often the family had difficulty making ends meet. Ward left home at age 14, and tried his hand at many trades, including making barrels, and as a stockboy at a general store in St. Joseph.

After moving to Chicago and working for Mashall Field for two years, he became a road salesman for a St. Louis wholesaler. It was when he was on the road, talking to struggling farmers that he hit on the idea of developing a mail-order catalog business, selling directly to rural customers for cash. Ward returned to Chicago, and published his first catalog on a one-page sheet in 1872, quickly seeing a tremendous growth with his company. (Richard Warren Sears started a mail-order watch business in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1886, named "R.W. Sears Watch Company," predecessor to Sears, Roebuck and Company.)

Ward was known for standing behind his products. It was Montgomery Ward who coined the phrase “Satisfaction Guaranteed or your Money Back,” and it became the standard for retailers across the country. The company’s slogan “You Can’t Go Wrong When You Deal With Montgomery Ward” transformed him into a symbol of trustworthiness to millions in rural America. Ward was known for treating his customers like family, seeking their ideas on the type of products they would like listed in his catalog. He wrote countless personal letters, and received many warm responses, as well as sound advice, from his customers. By 1904, over 3 million catalogs weighing 4 pounds each were being sent to households all across America.

Montgomery Ward was also an extremely private man, avoiding the social scene, and shunning public attention. He was also very charitable, making many anonymous gifts of food and coal to the poor, insisting that he should receive no recognition whatsoever for his generosity.

Lakefront Preservation and the Makings of a Park
Chicago had long had a tradition of protecting its lakefront. In 1836, after the decommissioning of Fort Dearborn, citizens petitioned the federal government to set aside 20 acres of Fort Dearborn’s land for a public square. About that same time, Commissioners of the proposed Illinois and Michigan Canal plotted lots near the new Canal, and wrote a proviso that land east of what became Michigan Avenue (to the Lake) and south of Randolph Street to 12th Street should remain “Public Ground – A Common to Remain Forever Open, Clear and Free of any Buildings, or Other Obstructions whatever.” (The Private Rights in Public Lands; The Chicago Lakefront, Montgomery Ward, and the Public Trust Doctrine.)
The Chicago lakefront in the late 1850s as seen from the Illinois Central Station near Randolph Street. Note the railroad trestle between Lake Michigan and the basin which is lined with railcars on its west side.
Lake Park (today's Grant Park) “Row houses along Michigan Boulevard overlooking river and factories, looking north from Harrison Street, 1865.”
After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, much of the debris from the ruins of the city was dumped along the lakefront at the Illinois Central railroad tracks, creating new landfill. By 1890, the prime real estate was still a muddy mess, but “progress” in the name of new buildings, was being proposed by civic boosters for this site.
Mayor Cregier and the City Council wanted to build a civic center on the landfill, as well as a new city hall, a post office, a police station, a power plant and stables for city garbage wagons and horses.

Montgomery Ward, who had just built his company’s stately headquarters building on the northwest side of Michigan and Madison Avenue, gazed out from his office at this expanse and saw the potential for a great city park, which had been ordained by the canal commissioners in 1836. He wound up spending the next 20 years, and a small fortune, fighting to preserve this land from commercial development.

The Fight for the Lakefront
Over the next 20 years, Ward took the city to court to prevent the construction of any buildings east of Michigan Avenue. His efforts to stop this unbridled development incurred the enmity of many civic leaders, businessmen and politicians, as well as the Chicago Tribune, which saw his steadfast stance as an impediment to Chicago’s growth. He was called “stubborn... undemocratic... a persistent enemy of real parks... (and) a human icicle, shinning and shunned in all but the relations of business.”

Undaunted, Ward filed suit on four separate occasions in the Illinois State Supreme Court, and on all four occasions, he won, thereby preserving the open lakefront from Randolph St. south to 12th Street. Compromises, such as the Art Institute, were eventually constructed, but without question his efforts saved Lake Park from private development and sprawl.

Ward always felt he was doing the city a favor with his steadfast struggle, and never understood why he was not appreciated for his vision and efforts. In 1909, he granted an interview to the Chicago Tribune, the only interview he ever gave in his life:
Had I known in 1890 how long it would take me to preserve a park for the people against their will, I doubt I would have undertaken it. I think there is not another man in Chicago who would have spent the money I have spent in this fight with certainty that gratitude would be denied as interest... I fought for the poor people of Chicago... not the millionaires... Here is park frontage on the lake, comparing favorably with the Bay of Naples, which city officials would crowd with buildings, transforming the breathing spot for the poor into a showground of the educated rich. I do not think it is right.

Perhaps I may yet see the public appreciate my efforts. But I doubt it.

The toll of the fight, and an accident (which broke his arm and shoulder blade) greatly weakened Montgomery Ward’s health. Shortly after a fall, which resulted in a broken hip, he developed pneumonia and died on December 7, 1913 at the age of 69.

Ironically, just as the great man was passing, the city awakened to his magnificent contribution. A letter to the Chicago Tribune by J.J. Wallace put it best:
Who shall set a value on his service? The present generation, I believe, hardly appreciates what has been given them, but those who come later, as they avail themselves of the breathing spot, will realize it.
The Montgomery Ward Gardens
For nearly a century there was no park named to honor this great civic leader. Through the efforts of Friends of the Parks on October 14, 1993, that section of Grant Park along Michigan Avenue between Randolph and Monroe Streets was officially named the Montgomery Ward Company, a bust and historical plaque placed at the site, stating:
Aaron Montgomery Ward had a vision for Chicago’s lakefront that set him apart from many of his contemporaries. For two decades (1890-1910) he fought tirelessly to preserve Chicago’s shoreline for recreational use and to assure that the city’s “front yard” would remain free of industry. Lake Park is his legacy to the city he loved... his gift to the future.
In 1999, the Ward Gardens and plaque were removed to make way for the construction of Millennium Park. In 2005, thanks to a grant from the Montgomery Ward Foundation, a new Montgomery Ward Gardens stands at the corner of Michigan Avenue and 11th St., a glorious part of his beloved lakefront park.

Today, these Gardens are a living tribute to Montgomery Ward: a man of vision and conviction, a selfless and tireless advocate for the people, and for parks.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Kate Sturges Buckingham was one of the great women in Chicago's history.

Kate Buckingham died in her home at 2450 North Lakeview Avenue on December 12, 1937 at the age of 79. She was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Zanesville, Ohio alongside her parents, brother and sister.

Kate Sturges Buckingham
In announcing Miss Kate Sturges Buckingham’s passing, the Chicago Tribune noted, “She was godmother to the Art institute; the collections for which it's most famous were her gifts. She was godmother to the opera; at the time of her death she was a guarantor. She was godmother to some 200 or more music and art students. She was a heavy donor to the Field Museum, to innumerable Chicago charities, and to many, many nameless Chicagoans.”

Despite being one of the wealthiest women in the United States and one of the most generous individuals in a city blessed with a long procession of altruistic citizens, Miss Buckingham preferred that no credit come to her for the many contributions she made. Later in life she ordered that her name be removed from the Social Register and severely limited her circle of friends.

Miss Buckingham was born on August 3, 1858, the eldest daughter of Ebenezer and Lucy Buckingham, in Zanesville, Ohio. Her mother’s father, Solomon Sturges, was responsible for bringing the family to Chicago in the 1850’s. At that time the Sturges and Buckingham families controlled a string of grain elevators in Ohio, Pennsylvania and along the Erie Canal. It was sound business sense to move to Chicago and in 1850 Miss Buckingham’s great uncle, Alvah Buckingham, constructed the first grain elevator in the city.

Everything that the Buckingham and Sturges families owned was obliterated in the Great Fire of 1871, their homes on the north side of the city, their grain elevators along the river, the first of many tragedies that would become a motif that ran through Miss Buckingham’s life.

A second Chicago Fire in 1874 gave rise to one of the earliest examples of Miss Buckingham’s generosity. After that second conflagration, the 15-year-old Kate launched a drive to raise funds for a Christmas party to bring some measure of joy to children in the Cook County hospital.

The Tribune describes the effort... “On Christmas eve the Christmas tree, heavily laden with gifts, was set up in the children’s ward and its many candles were lighted. Tragedy swiftly followed. Through some mishap the burning candles started a fire. The tree and all its Christmas largesse burned down. Bur young Miss Buckingham, nothing deterred, set forth to raise anew money enough for gifts for each child. And did.”

The family relocated their home to Prairie Avenue, the city’s most select street, and the family business, J & E Buckingham, prospered beyond measure. In 1882 Miss Buckingham’s father also built a grand home in Lake Forest, but despite its location on a bluff above Lake Michigan, the family continued to make its principal home in Chicago.

It was in the Prairie Avenue home that Kate and her sister, Lucy Maud, were educated. It was in this home that Lucy Buckingham died in 1889, and it was there that Kate’s sister became increasingly incapacitated. From the house Clarence Buckingham, Kate’s brother, and their father expanded the family’s enterprises to include banking, insurance, steel manufacture, and real estate.

The family’s affiliation with the Art Institute began in the 1890’s when Clarence, impressed by the Japanese art that was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, began to collect Japanese prints. Ebenezer died in 1911, Clarence died just over a year later, and Lucy Maud lingered on in increasingly poorer health until 1920. All the losses must have further isolated Kate, a woman left alone in a house that mother, father, sister and brother had shared for her whole adult life.
She continued to collect art, though, following her brother’s lead. Clarence had been a governing member of the Art Institute of Chicago for three decades and a member of the Board of Trustees for a dozen. [Scultz & Hast] After the death of her sister, Kate Buckingham gave her entire collection of Japanese prints, etchings and engravings, Chinese pottery and porcelain, Persian miniatures, Chinese ritual bronzes, Italian silver and English lusterware to the institute. [The Frick Collection.]

She also furnished the Art Institute’s Gothic room in the memory of her sister and finished the Jacobean Room at the museum in the name of her parents. In 1925 she gave her brother’s entire collection of fourteen hundred sheets of Japanese prints to the museum as well.

Miss Buckingham also wrote a check to the Art Institute that was to be used for a great monument to Alexander Hamilton. Of course, her most memorable contribution was the donation that allowed construction of the great [Buckingham] Fountain in Grant Park, dedicated to her brother, along with a $300,000 endowment to provide for its maintenance.
The Buckingham fountain was donated by Kate Buckingham in honor of her brother Clarence in 1927. The fountain was the largest in the world at the time it was built, and is still one of the largest. Edward H. Bennett designed the monument in collaboration with French sculptor Marcel Loyau and engineer Jacques H. Lambert.

The fountain was meant to represent Lake Michigan and the four states that touch the lake - being Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. The fountain is constructed of Georgia pink marble. To give a vision of just how large the fountain is - the bottom pool is 280 feet in diameter, the lower basin is 103 feet. the upper basin is 24 feet and the upper basin is 25 feet above the lower basin.
But here is something else that resulted from her generosity about which most people are unaware. On February 12, 1912 Kate Buckingham bought a property of 81 acres in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. It was not far from where a 55-room “cottage,” which her father had built near Pittsfield, Massachusetts, stood until it burned to the ground in 1899.

On the new piece of land Kate Buckingham built Bald Hill Farm. After her death the farm, to which another 80 acres had been added, was sold to Serge and Natalie Koussevitzky. Mr. Koussevitzky was the conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a man with a dream of one day creating a summer musical festival for the symphony. In 1978 after the death of the Koussevitzky, the organization purchased the property, and it now lies at the heart of the Tanglewood Music Festival.

When she died, Kate Buckingham left a half million dollars to friends and relatives. She left another $126,000 to her maid, chauffeur, children of her caretaker, her nurses, doormen and elevator men at the Lakeview cooperative building. In today’s dollars those gifts would total over nine million dollars. She left another $3.1 million for art and cultural organizations, including two million to the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Tribune article that conveyed the news of Kate Buckingham’s death ended with “a well authenticated anecdote,” dealing with “one of her rare visits to the Continental Illinois National bank and Trust company, in which she was an important stockholder.”

“On this occasion,” the story went, “she stopped at the cashier’s cage to get money. She had no identification papers with her and the teller asked if any one in the bank could identify her. She cast a brief, flashing glance around the nearby desks. ‘They’re all dead,’ she snapped.”

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Chicago Home for Aged Jews was established on the South Side in 1891.

The Chicago Home for Aged Jews was established on April 6, 1891 with Morris Rosenbaum as prendent, at 6140 South Drexel Avenue at 62nd Street (the northwest corner) to serve the German-Jewish community. Abraham Slimmer of Waverly, Iowa, donated $50,000 for such a home in Chicago, on condition that the Jews of Chicago raise an equal amount. The money was obtained without difficulty.
The Home for Aged Jews was dedicated and opened Sunday, April 30, 1893 and at the end of the year the number at the home was 44.

The building was demolished in 1959 for construction of a north wing addition to the 1950 expansion (by then renamed Drexel Home and which is now known as the Drexel Terrace Apartments).

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Chicago Home for the Friendless.

Chicago Home for the Friendless, 51st Street and Vincennes Avenue.
When the population of Chicago grew dramatically, it increased the need for social services to poor and destitute women and children. The Chicago Home for the Friendless, founded on March 18, 1858, responded to that need.
Eventually, the organization served as an orphanage, a shelter for women and children, and also cared for older people in need. From August of 1897 to 1938, the home was located near East 51st Street and South Vincennes Avenue in the Washington Park community area. In 1980, the agency changed its name to Family Care Services of Metropolitan Chicago.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Home for Self Supporting Women, Chicago, Illinois.

The original Home for Self Supporting Women was located at 275-277 East Indiana Street.

The Chicago Woman's Club managed a lodging house, costing $2.50 per week, for temporarily stranded women, and, for at least a few years, the Home for Self Supporting Women ran the Provident Laundry (established in 1889) which provided temporary employment for unemployed women.
The Home for Self Supporting Women moved to this building at 12 E. Grand Avenue in Chicago in 1908 when construction was completed.
Provident Laundry - Objective:
"To provide a new channel of work for able-bodied women out of employment and desirous to become self-supporting; to maintain a training school where superior work is taught, and an Employment bureau where permanent situations are securied for those desiring them."

The laundry was conducted in the read of the home at 275-277 East Indiana Street, overtaxing its accommodations. An average of 20 women find employment daily. A large number of these women become proficient enough to take permanent position in families.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The History of the Tinker Family and the Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum and Gardens in Rockford, Illinois.

The Tinker Swiss Cottage is an historic house museum and gardens in Rockford, Illinois.
The Tinker Swiss Cottage in 1915. Note the sundial on the side of the driveway.
This house was built by Robert Hall Tinker between 1865-1870. The Tinker house was the first in Rockford to have electricity before the turn of the 20th century.
Most striking is the interior for its dimensions including the high ceilings, angled roof, and unique designs in many of the first floor rooms. Many elements of the house were created or inspired by the ideas of Tinker, including the walnut spiral staircase made by Robert out of a single piece of wood and the rooms with rounded corners. The museum contains all the original objects from the family from furniture, and artwork, to clothing and diaries.
The Victorian Living Room of Tinker Swiss Cottage. In 1855, Abraham Lincoln sat in the rocking chair during a visit to the nearby South Main Street mansion of Rockford industrialist John H. Manny.
The museum house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on December 27, 1972.
Robert Hall Tinker (1836-1924) was born to the Rev. Reuben and Mary Throop Wood Tinker on December 31, 1836 in the Sandwich Islands (modern day Hawaii). The family settled in Westfield, New York, when Robert was 13. At the age of 15, Robert left school and began working as a bank clerk. In 1856, William Knowlton was visiting his brother in Westfield, New York, met Robert Tinker, and was impressed with him. Arriving back in Rockford, Knowlton decided to write Robert and offer him a position as clerk in the Manny Reaper Co., where he was business manager for the wealthy widow, Mrs. John H. Manny. Robert accepted the offer and arrived in Rockford on August 12th, 1856.

Knowlton and Mrs. Manny were out of the city when he arrived, so he was given a room on the second story of a small dwelling standing opposite the St. Paul freight house. When Knowlton returned he gave Robert a position as a clerk, which he held before going to work as a bookkeeper for the Emerson-Talcott Company. Later, the eastern young man, who even then was familiarly known as Bob Tinker, returned to his first employer. Knowlton and Tinker formed a partnership to sell Manny Reapers. Tinker was later placed n charge of the Manny factory.

In 1862, Robert spent 9 months traveling extensively throughout Europe. As soon as his trip was over, he began to purchase land near Mrs. Manny’s mansion and started building his cottage. On April 24, 1870, Robert Tinker and Mary Manny married and began living in his cottage in the winter and in her mansion on the north side of Kent Creek in the summer.

When he was 39 years old he served as Mayor of Rockford in 1875. Robert was instrumental in helping Rockford to acquire a Public Library and an Opera House and was prominently identified with Rockford’s business and industrial growth for 68 years.

He became President of the Rockford Oatmeal Co., Rockford Steel and Bolt Co., and of C&R and Northern R.R. until it was absorbed by the C.B.&Q line. He was head of the Water Power for many years until he resigned in 1915. Robert also served on the Rockford Park Board until he retired on February 16th, 1924.

In 1901, Mary, Robert’s wife of 31 years, passed away. He then married her niece, Jessie Dorr Hurd, in 1904. It is thought of as a marriage of convenience. In 1908, Robert became a father, at the age of 71, when Jessie adopted a son, Theodore Tinker. Robert died in the Cottage on December 31, 1924, his eighty-eighth birthday. Upon Robert Tinker's death in 1924, Jessie created a partnership with the Rockford Park District, allowing her to remain in the house until her death. After her death in 1942 the Rockford Park District acquired the property and opened the house as a museum in 1943.

Mary Dorr Manny Tinker (1829-1901) was born August 29, 1829 in Hoosick Falls, New York, the youngest of three. She was reared in her grandparents’ stately mansion and received her education at the Academy in her native city. She became interested in the manufacturing of farm implements, and it was this lively interest in and attention to her family’s occupations, public and private, that attracted her future husband’s regard to her.  She maintained this interest in business through her life, and the great force of her character was intensified highly by just the culture and training she received in her early youth.

In 1852, she was married in her grandparents’ mansion to the young Reaper inventor, John H. Manny. They came to Rockford in 1853 and made their home in a small, white frame house on South Main Street. In January of 1856, John H. Manny died of tuberculosis and left Mary a widow at the age of 28. Mary was a businesswoman, staying involved with the Manny Reaper Company after John Manny’s death. She owned several parcels of land in Rockford, including the Holland House located on the north side of the creek. By 1857, Robert Tinker became her personal secretary, and on April 24, 1870 they were wed. Mary died September 4, 1901 at the age of 72.

Mary was a member of the Second Congregational Church and Women’s Missionary Society, Women’s Christian Temperance Union, Rockford’s Seminary Visiting Committee, and was a founding member of the Ladies Union Aid Society that has evolved into today’s Family Counseling Services of Northern Illinois.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Women of Influence - Babette Mandel (1842-1945), Shaping Chicago History.

Babette Mandel around the
time of her wedding, 1871.
Babette Mandel, Great-niece of Michael Reese and wife of one of the founder of Mandel Brothers department store, came to Chicago at the age of four and grew up to become one of the foremost woman philanthropists of Chicago.

Her parents, Emanuel Frank and Elise Reese Frank, left Aufhausen in Bavaria in the summer of 1846, drawn by hopes of greater prosperity.

Michael Reese, an uncle then living in California, encouraged them to come to America and set aside funds for their support. After a journey by ship and stagecoach that took several weeks, the Franks and their ten children arrived in Chicago on Yom Kippur.

The family settled in a house on Clark Street north of Madison. Sadly, in 1855 Emanuel Frank was killed in an accident, and though she excelled at school, Babette was forced to spend much of her childhood helping to maintain the household.

On April 18, 1871, when she was 29, Babette married Emanuel Mandel. Emanuel’s brothers, Leon and Simon, had founded a dry goods store with Leon Klein in 1855. The business was reorganized as the Mandel Brothers store when Klein retired and Emanuel was brought in as a third partner.

The Mandel Brothers store was then located near Clark and Van Buren Streets. When the Chicago Fire destroyed the building in October 1871, just six months after Emanuel and Babette were married, the Mandels re-established their store on the South Side. 

In 1875 they moved to the Colonnade Building on State and Madison, owned by Marshall Field. Intent on building up State Street, Field persuaded the Mandels to stay by means of a generous, long-term lease, and soon the business was flourishing again. 

The Mandels were active members of Sinai Temple, and in 1888, at a meeting held at Sinai, Leon and Emanuel were among those who pledged money to found the Jewish Manual Training School (later the Jewish Training School). The idea behind the School was to give immigrants manual skills that would enable them to support themselves, while also promoting Americanization. Located on the West Side, the School taught cooking, sewing, woodworking, English and citizenship to Eastern European immigrants.

Babette Mandel was prominent among those who organized the School, at first serving as a director, and then as its president. The Jewish Training School closed in 1912; the inrush of immigrants that had made it so essential was largely over by then.

Chicago Lying-In Hospital and Dispensary was founded in 1895 with the help of Babette Mandel. She also served on its board. This was a maternity clinic at first housed in four rooms on Maxwell Street. It was later renamed the Chicago Maternity Center.

Inspired by the success of Hull House, Mrs. Mandel and others established the Maxwell Street Settlement in 1893 as a cultural center for newlyarrived Jewish immigrants. 

Babette Mandel was a leader in many other organizations as well: Chicago Women’s Aid, Sarah Greenebaum Lodge (United Order of True Sisters), the Chicago Section of the [National] Council of Jewish Women, and others. 

The achievement she is best known for, however, is the establishment of the West Side Dispensary in 1903. Originally opened in 1899 at Clinton and Judd Streets, this building was inadequate, and Babette Mandel gave $10,000 to reestablish it at Maxwell and Morgan Streets. Most of the patients were Russian or East European immigrants from the West Side. In 1910, she again gave a large sum of money to establish the Dispensary in new quartersand at this time, the Dispensary was dedicated to the memory of her husband, Emanuel Mandel, who had died in an accident in 1908. Mrs. Mandel continued to support the clinic with large gifts over the years, and in 1928 it was incorporated into Michael Reese Hospital as the Emanuel and Babette Mandel Clinic. 

Most of Babette Mandel’s charity work was carried out while she raised their three children: Frank, Edwin, and Rose. When she died on March 12, 1945, she left $50,000 to the Jewish Charities of Chicago and $25,000 each to Michael Reese Hospital and the Chicago Maternity Center, among other bequests. 

Her son Edwin became president of Mandel Brothers department store and was also president of Michael Reese Hospital. In 1960, Mandel Brothers was sold to the Weiboldt Corporation, which closed the store in the late 1970s or early 80s.

At a time when women were not expected to work outside the home, Babette Mandel, like many women of her generation, found a vocation and purpose that allowed her to extend her role as mother beyond the confines of the home. Her significance lies in the way she used her position of wealth and privilege to help the Jewish community at a time when immigrants were in desperate need.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Chicago milk stations at the turn of the 20th century.

Chicago Milk stations were established at the turn of the 20th century to help curb infant mortality rates. The poor could buy a container of milk for a penny. Critics argued that it undermined the benefits of breastmilk but often these mothers were so malnourished that they could not feed their children properly. Most of these stations were gone by the 1920s. 
A Chicago milk station, circa 1917. This station was at the Chicago Hebrew Institute.
Gertrude Plotzke, RN and the Chicago Milk Station
By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN

Today, with the widespread availability of infant formula, it seems unfathomable that at one time, virtual armies of women would gather together, pump their breast milk and donate it to infants they never even knew. Yet that is exactly what Gertrude Plotzke organized for the Chicago Board of Health in 1938, creating a complete system for collecting, sterilizing, storing and distributing milk to at-risk infants.

Preemie Care
Plotzke was one of 10 children and a lifelong resident of the greater Chicago area. After completing her nursing training at Jackson Park Hospital, she went to work as a public health nurse, caring for mothers and babies in their homes. While there were earlier breast milk stations serving sickly infants in other parts of the country, the Mothers' Breast Milk Station organized by Plotzke was unique, targeting premature infants as part of a concerted effort to reduce the city's infant mortality rate.

Chicago was already a center of innovative preemie care under the direction of Evelyn Lundeen, RN, then the supervising nurse at Michael Reese Hospital's premature nursery. It was Lundeen's firm conviction that only human breast milk was suitable for her precious charges until they weighed at least 4.5 pounds, which became the standard of care. The Breast Milk Station was developed to ensure that human milk would be available at all times.

Paid by the Ounce
Potential donors were identified by physicians or nurses, who noted when a recently delivered mother under their supervision had an abundance of milk. Almost all of the donor women were African-American, both because the station was located in a predominantly black neighborhood and because African-American women were more likely to breastfeed. Despite the bitter racial disharmony of this period, this program was colorblind.

Much like the wet nurses of an earlier era, donors gave milk as a way to earn money. Each woman donated between 16 and 45 ounces per day for 5 cents per ounce, later increased to 13 cents per ounce. Mothers also received transportation and a free quart of dairy milk per day. Plotzke required donors to drink at least half of the milk before leaving the station to ensure that the milk was not distributed to others. The program also subjected donors to rigorous medical and dental health monitoring.

Plotzke implemented an unvarying procedure for donors: Each mother lined up at a sink to scrub her fingernails, hands, arms and breasts. The donors then gowned, masked and covered their hair. After placing disinfected towels under their breasts, the women hand-expressed the milk into sterile cups, usually for about an hour. So indoctrinated were the donors in this ritual that they often found fault with the habits of visiting nurses.

Lifesaving Milk
After the donors were finished, nurses measured each donor's milk, placed it in bottles and then put the bottles on ice. Later, the nurses, gowned and masked much like the donors, pasteurized the milk. Orders were filled as they arrived, but hospitals and families needing the milk had to transport it themselves.

At the height of the program, 45 donors came to the station each day, all of them usually within six to nine months of giving birth to their own children. In 1943, the station collected 108,000 ounces of milk, which was distributed to more than 1,100 infants.

Babies at home were carefully monitored for weight and care. In many instances, the supervising medical personnel credited the donated breast milk with saving the infant's life.

Throughout its existence, the station was a model of its kind, with nurses coming from many other communities around the country to learn the art of retrieving and distributing breast milk. The Board of Health later promoted Plotzke to superintendent of nurses, responsible for supervising well-baby clinics throughout Chicago, as well as the Mothers' Breast Milk Station.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.