Monday, September 10, 2012

Junior League House for Working Women

Junior League House visible at far right
Junior League House for Working Women

Location: East 78th Street, New York New York, USA

Opened: May 1911

Closed: Became "model low-income housing" in 1931

From the New York Junior League website:

During the New York Junior League's first decade, the organization grew to more than 700 members. Its eight committees included Settlements, Hospitals and Direct Nursing, Visiting Teachers, and the Junior League's most ambitious project to date, the construction of a residential hotel at 78th Street and East End Avenue known as the Junior League House.

In an effort led by the tirelessly dedicated Dorothy Payne Whitney, the Housing Committee raised over $250,000 to build the Junior League House, created to provide safe housing, job training, and an enriching environment for working women. Construction was completed by the City and Suburban Homes Company, and the hotel opened its doors in May 1911. In 1912, women living at the hotel paid from $4 to $7 per week, which included the use of laundry and pressing rooms, sewing machines, typewriters, a library, a gymnasium, and a large ballroom, as well as the use of small private parlors, or "courting rooms."

The Bureau of Social Hygiene noted that ". . . of the 58 organizations in Manhattan providing housing accommodations solely for women, the Junior League hotel is the largest, and one of the few in which there is no discrimination against nationality or religion."

NYJL participated in the management of the hotel until 1931, when it became one of the buildings in a 1,300 apartment complex as model low-income housing. The structure is now a landmarked moderately priced apartment building, but when it was the Junior League House, it had 210 single rooms and 64 double rooms, with accommodations for 338 women.

Photo from the New York State Archives

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