(Taken verbatim from historic notes)
Haverhill Gazette, Saturday, May 7, 1955
Haverhill Day Nursery Founded Sixty Years Ago
In celebration of its 60th anniversary, the Haverhill Day Nursery, 64 Pecker Street, will hold open house, May 13th, 1955 from 3 to 5 p.m. Trustees, advisors, agencies of the community chest and friends are invited.
Miss Muriel Hatton, corresponding secretary, has prepared the following history of the Nursery in connection with the 60th anniversary.
The Haverhill Day Nursery Association, Inc. was first known Young Womens Building Association, and it was incorporated under that name on April 23, 1895.
In 1889, Miss Netti Flood, who was active in young women's work, formed a club among her girls, which was called the Building Association. the group had no organization and its only officer was a treasurer, but each member pledged to give $1.00 a year, and to work to raise funds for the Women's building, which would serve all branches of women's work and needs.
In 1893, the Rev. Nehemial Boynton, pastor of the North Congregational Church, realized the need of some place for working girls to spend their free time, so the young women's reading room was established. It was located on the second floor of Main and Merrimack Streets. Miss Flood was in charge, and the women of the North Congregational Church supported it.
On May 1, 1894, this group served its first May breakfast, to raise money for the proposed Women's Building, in Tanner's Hall, at 24 Main Street. This was a great success, and it was repeated on May 1, 1895.
By this time, the membership had grown so large, and interest in the work was so great, it was necessary to organize, so 27 of the active workers sent out a call to a meeting in the police court rooms in City Hall on April 23, 1895.
The organization was incorporated under the name of the Young Women's Building Association. On May 7th, following the organization meeting was held at which time a constitution and by-laws were drawn up and adopted and officers, executive council, and advisory board were elected as follows: President, Mrs. Caroline E. Bennett; Vice-Presidents, Mrs. Harriette E. Johnson, Mrs. Emma G. Alexander, Mrs. Nellie Noyes, Mrs. Melinda A. Adams, Mrs. Mary Croston, Mrs. Mary M Tibbetts, Mrs. Orra Griffin, Mrs. Emily E. Sheldon, Mrs. Jenny Wood, Mrs. Mary Bennett McGregor.
Recording Secretary, Miss Helen M. Sawyer; corresponding secretary, Miss Harriette LeGro; trustees, chairman and clerk, Mrs. Mary Ridgeway, Mrs. Sarah E. Knipe, Mrs. Sarah Amanda Titcomb, Mrs. Lydia A. Noyes, Mrs. Hannah N. Raymond, Miss Sarah N. Kittredge.
Executive council, Mrs. Abby G. Cram, Mrs. Julia Gage, Mrs. Addie E. Dawer, Mrs. Annie Brown, Mrs. Caroline A. Sargent, Mrs. Laura A. Dinsmore, Mrs. Lucy Wood, Miss Maggie Barnet, Mrs. Amanda B. Wadliegh, Miss Lucy A. Tuxbury, Mrs. Charlotte J. Hilton, Mrs. Lizzie W. Potter, Mrs. Clara Lamb, Mrs. Abby Sumner, Mrs. Lucia McGregor, Mrs. Eunice F. Tanner, Mrs. Emma Jacobs, Mrs. Mary E. Johnson, Miss Mary Howe, Mrs. Jennie A. Bickford, Miss Mabel Horne, Miss Emma R. Ross, Mrs. Mary Thom, Mrs. Isabel Hoyt, Mrs. Jennie Curries, Miss Marion Cummings, Mrs. Ambrocene Follette, Mrs. Mary Collum, Miss Augusta McDonald: Auditors, Mrs. Hannal N. Raymond, Mrs. Sarah Amanda Titcomb; advisory board, William E. Blunt, Samuel L. Jewett, Dudley Porter, George H. Carlton, Decatur R. Bennett, George M. Goodwin, F.O. Raymond, Beriah Foster, A.C. Tapley, B.F. Leighton, Frant Mitchell, Enoch Howes, A.P. Jaques and Charles C. Griffin
The avowed purpose of the organization was to "erect and maintain a building which shall be the headquarters of all departments and branches of womens work."
Frequent meetings were held at the homes of members. On June 15, 1895, it was voted to establish a day nursery, and a committee was appointed to make arrangements. One cradle, on crib, and some pillows were promised as the first equipment. In August 1895, the house at 95 Emerson Street was hired and the nursery was opened. An hour after the sign was displayed, the first child was brought in by a widowed mother who was forced to work and who had no one to care for her small son.
In September, 1895, a lying-in hospital for unfortunate women was opened in this house. It was endorsed by the city's physicians, one of whom said, "it will be a God-send to Haverhill."
By the end of 1895, there were four children attending the nursery, and the Association felt that its work was becoming well established.
Late in 1898, the association undertook to buy a house, although no one knew where they would find the money, and, after much searching, the women decided upon the Johnson estate at 64 Pecker Street, and they paid $500 to bind the bargain. In February, 1899, the Young Women's Building Association received $5,000 from the estate of Decatur R. Bennett, one of the first Advisory Board members, and the house was bought for $5,300.
The rooms were furnished by the gifts of friends, the Deo Date Circle of the King's Daughters furnished a room which was kept ready to shelter destitute women. There was not, at that time, another such room in the city. Girls, who came to Haverhill to work in the shoe factories, sometimes found themselves without work, penniless and destitute. There was no agency to help them, and no place for them to go. Those girls were given room, board and clothing, when necessary, by the Young Women's Building Association, until they became once more self- supporting. The Parlor became a gathering place for "young ladies and their gentlemen friends", as social evenings were held.
The nursery, established now in the new house, received children from a few months to eight years of age, gave shelter to lost children and continued to operate a lying-in hospital.
In 1905, the association initiated a district nursing service. A nurse was employed, and she was on call day and night. She lived in the nursery. The fee for "well-to-do" patients was 50 cents; otherwise, the service was free. This work was carried on for 16 years. During the year, 1907, the nurse made 1,266 calls, travelling by street car or on foot. Along with routine work, she did 250 hours of night work, and she had 18 surgical cases, four fractures, five cases of burns and 20 confinement cases. This year, her salary was raised to $10 a week, and the board voted to buy her a winter coat, the price of which should not exceed $35. Later, two nurses were employed, and in 1919, they made 2,741 calls.
The energy of the women of the association seemed to be boundless. The annual food fair alone must have been a tremendous undertaking. It was held in City Hall and it went on for three days. In 1909, it made a net profit of $1307.31.
The annual May breakfast had become an institution. Money was raised also by luncheons, lawn parties, concerts, musicals, cake sales and even the sale of old rubbers. Another source of funds was membership in the association. Anyone could become a member by paying one dollar a year, five dollars for sustaining membership, $50 for life membership and $100 for honorary membership.
The work continued to grow and the association sought constantly to be of greater service to the city. A great deal of sewing was done at the nursery and by clubs and societies who wished to help to provide layettes for babies whose mothers were unable to buy them.
In 1918, during the great influenza epidemic, the nursery boarded "well children of sick parents." Another room was filled with cribs, a nurse retained, and children who were recommended by physicians or the Red Cross were kept in the nursery until the danger at home had passed. One baby was brought to the nursery who was only four hours old.
By 1920, the Young Women's Christian Association and the Haverhill Girl's Club were doing much of the work which the Young Women's Building had started, and the day nursery seemed to be the service which was most needed by the city. Therefore, the members felt that the name of the association was incorrect, and in January 1920, it was legally changed to the Haverhill Day Nursery Association, Inc.
School nurses and city clinics made the district nursing service unnecessary by 1921. An employment bureau, operated at the nursery, continued until 1931.
Then the depression struck the nursery. Few children attended because of the wide-spread unemployment. Entertainment to raise money were out of the question. In 1933, the small fees were lowered to .10 a day, if the mother worked; .15 if the father worked, or .25 if both parents worked.
Still there were not enough children in the nursery to use the equipment. In 1933 and when the nursery received an appeal from the nearby Winter Street School for noon lunches, the association immediately responded. Under the chairmanship of Mrs. Harold M. Goodwin, 50 children were given hot lunches daily; and, under the chairmanship of Mrs. Charlton F. Johnson, 50 more received light lunches after school. Many of the children had almost no other food. The members raised money for this enterprise in many ways since no one had much to spare at that time. Some even went from door to door, collecting twenty-five cents a week at each house.
As early as 1934, the Chamber of Commerce considered forming an organization for social work in Haverhill, and the nursery was invited to become a member, but the Association preferred to remain independent for some time. Finally, in 1952 the Haverhill Day Nursery became a Red Feather Agency, a member of the Haverhill Community Chest. Previously, all funds came from the work of the members of the Board of Directors, gifts and legacies. Now, although the invested funds yielded a sizable income, it still does not meet expenses. Neither do the modest fees paid by the parents cover the cost of feeding the children, therefore, the Community Chest allots a sum sufficient to make up the difference.
The children have a carefully supervised diet. Doctors and Dentists give periodic examinations; professional attention and advice. Vitamins and cod live oil are provided, where needed. the children are weighed and measured every month, and the nursery director, who is a registered nurse, cares for the well being of each child. A social worker interviews the family of each child cared for, to be sure that the best service is being given. Children are received from the age of two and a half years to school age, and a kindergarten is operated for the older children. The fees are graduated according to the family income.
And so, the Haverhill Day Nursery has served the city for sixty years and it is carrying on the work stated so many years ago by a band of courageous and public-spirited women. The purpose of the association is, as it was in 1895, to give the best possible service where it is most needed.
~And so it continues:
As the interesting history continues, we find then n 1953 a deep freeze drawer at the New England Milk Producers Association in Shawsheen Village, in Andover was rented for $1.50 per month, to take care of surplus commodities received from the Massachusetts School Lunch program.
In 1954, rummage sales were being held each year and field trips were held for the children.
A food freezer was purchased for the Nursery in 1955, and it was noted in the history of the facility, which was compiled by the secretary Miss Muriel Hatten. A 60th anniversary tea and open house was hold on May 18, 1955, with representatives of other social agencies in the city attending the affair, held at the 64 Pecker Street address.
Due to the slow work in the shoe factories in 1956, the biggest problem that year was an effort to increase attendance.
Trips to the Winnekenni Castle grounds as well as to other places was held in 1957. Bradford Jr. College girls were assisting at the Nursery.
In 1958, the cost was $2.59, per child per day, an increase of two cents over the previous year. In 1925, the daily cost per child was thirty-four cents. This is in contrast to ten cents, fifteen cents and twenty five cents in earlier years.
In 1959, it was noted that Mrs. Erwin Archibald had knit mittens for all the children, as she had done several years in the past. The tradition of presenting each child with a pair of hand knit mittens for Christmas has been continued.
Urban renewal was in the talking stage in 1960. Mrs. Harold Davis represented the Nursery at these meetings. Fire alarms were installed and improvements made in the hot water system. Now the hot water in the dish-washing system became hot enough to sterilize the dishes, yet the tap water was at a safe temperature for the children. Closing for the entire month of July was initiated. This called for a fine of ten cents for each day of delinquent payment. This money is put into a special fund for the judicial use of the director for buying incidental equipment for the school such as snow shovels, sleds, etc.
In 1961, the by-laws were changed, reducing the number of directors from 38 to 30, and increasing the attendance requirement for directors at meetings from 3 time a year to 5. It was noted that the corresponding secretary, Mrs. Shirley Hasseltine, found some old records, two sheets of penciled notes of history from 1911, which she typed and put with other Nursery history in a vault at the Haverhill Public Library.
The building was painted by one man who also replaced some damaged old boards and gave the south side two coats of paint of a total cost of $500.00
One of the delightful and useful gifts to the Nursery during the Christmas season of 1962 was a set of large hollow blocks given by the Bradford Junior College girls, whose work and interest was very much appreciated. The need of a clothes dryer for wet snow suits and mittens was realized with the purchase of an electric dryer. Girl Scouts of Haverhill earned their child care badges while working at the Nursery and visiting nurses also received credit for their work with the children. The United Fund was established from the former Community Chest.
In 1963, the Nursery was notified that the state now required child study courses to be taken by all staff members over a period of two years. We were also notified that a special form must be filed with the state, each year, before November 1, listing all officers and directors from 1957 to 1963 with a $5.00 fee for each year. The cost of $30 for this was quite a blow. Attendance was lower that year due to slow work in the factories.
The fact that four of the children attending the school in 1964, had parents who had formerly been pupils, was an interesting disclosure.
A part time teacher was hired in order to relieve the director, Mrs. Hazel Rogers, and the other teachers when needed. The board members were knitting mittens and the sewing committee was busy making painting smocks from mens old shirts.
There was great difficulty in replacing teachers in 1965. From 150 answers to an advertisement in the Boston Herald only three could be considered possible candidates. Great community spirit was evidenced when the Nursery returned $400 to the United Fund. This surplus gift was appreciated by them, and no doubt given to another agency.
Each year the Nursery benefits from food commodities dispensed by the U.S. Government. This program was started in 1950 when Miss Mildred L Evans was chairman of the Diet and Health Committee- an office which she performed faithfully and well for several years.
Thirty-eight children were enrolled in 1966. The board voted to cooperate with the U.S. Manpower Training Program, and two Youth Corps girls came to work at the Nursery. A new deep freezer was purchased as well as a garbage disposal. New upward fee scales were put into effect.
Mr. Austin Lewis was hired in 1967 to take over the heavy load of the regular treasurer, who is one of the directors. An adding machine was purchased and $15.00 was sent to the Massachusetts Day Care to be used towards an educational program.
The 73rd anniversary of the Haverhill Day Nursery was noted in 1968, so well operated by a devoted staff and devoted board members. The Y.M.C.A. gymnasium has been a joy to the children of our school, especially on stormy days. The director, since 1949, Mrs. Hasel Rodgers, R.N. reported that we are now classified as a "good nursery" but we are in need of expansion so that we can take care of more children. The by-laws were revised, and each director was given a blue loose leaf folder containing the new by-laws, early history, policies, wage scale, montly treasurer's reports, etc. For the first time, each director had at hand all these facts. During this year, teachers were able to attend more conventions and take extra courses, making finer work a the Nursery possible.
The year 1969 found the nursery in need of raising money due to a deficit in the United Fund drive. A theatre party netted $1,000.
The Urban Renewal Committee alerted us that our facility was slated for relocation in the spring of 1970. Wide spread vandalism in the city had not reached our area. We had to replace many windows and other things.
Service organization at Western Electric Company had generously donated to the Nursery.
In January 1970, local city officials were invited to a regular noon meal with the children. Only government commodities were served.
Still in need of money for regular expenses, the board members conducted two rummage sales and two food sales.
Haverhill's 100th anniversary as a city, was celebrated in June with a week long celebration. Many organizations, agencies and groups participated. Friends donated a truck and boat trailer, so the Haverhill Day Nursery was represented with a small floatin the four hour parade. The motif was "The old woman in the shoe".
Through the courtesy of the Haverhill Co-operative Bank, a hat shop, named the "Mad Hatter" was opened on "olds Haverhill Street" and area in back of the stadium on Lincoln Ave., which was especially erected for the celebration. Many different kind of novelty hats were sold by the board members, and even the husbands of some. $699.11 profit was realized at that time, and everyone had a good time. While crowds of people came each night for the special events and patronized the many tiny shops on the "street".
During the year, Mrs. Rogers discovered a budget which had been submitted to the Community Chest in 1949, which indicated that the Nursery had become a member prior to 1952 as previously noted.
This resume ends with the month of September 1970.
Throughout all the years there is a patternof periodic health and dental checks freely given by concerned doctors and dentists: Investories of furniture and equipment; field trips and picnics; gifts of toys, scrap books, sleds and other things by individuals and groups; friends visits made monthly by board memers, efficient committees doing their tasks cheerfully, and last, but not least, dedicated staff members who keep the Nursery running smoothly and happily. All these things are very much appreciated and tend to make "our" Nursery just a little more special. It is wonderful to know that we are still helping to care for the children of Haverhill's working mothers on our 75th anniversary.
Mildred Y. Wooster, Mrs. Alvin A, Chairmen, Edna V Davis, Mrs. J. Bradford, Mary Goodwin,
Continued History of Haverhill Day Nursery (1971-1975)
In 1971, a Rememberance Fund was established, to shich many gifts were given in memory of Mrs. Harold M Goodwin, a faithful board member for fifty-three years.
Attendance at the Nursery was very poor until the WIN program placed children in the Nursery, full fees to be paid by the government. At this time, the need to relocate became most urgent due to the urban renewal.
A proposal to change the name of the Haverhill Day Nursery to the Haverhill Day Care Center was made and legal pocedures begun.
In 1972, we requested the the State to reimburse those on the WIN program, the sum of $37.10 per week, per child, our present cost.
A male teacher was hired in our 79th year. In this year. as in the past, Board members assisted in the United Fund Campaigns.
In 1973, our 79th year, our growing need to relocate, where the children could live and play in an enriching environment became our primary goal. In this difficult effort, the Board became well acquainted with the Board of Appeals, City Council, Mayor and other City Officials. Mrs. Hazel Rogers, Executive Director for twenty three years, resigned. Mr. Robert DeMeo became our next Executive Director.
Miss Mildred L. Evans, a board member for many years, passed away.
In 1974, it was agreed to have the Nursery remain open during inclement weather. A revised set of by-laws was proposed and so voted. A new Way and Mean Mean Committee was formed. The year 1974, saw us through great financial difficulty. We borrowed on our passbook savings account. However all debts were paid and we are now solvent.
In 1975, the first business of our 80th year was to sell the Pecker street building for $15,000 to Mr. Malvers. The outside sign is being stored.
The Croy fund was established as required by the State and the terms of Miss Mildred L. Evans’ will were accepted. Monies from Various estates were deposited in our building fund.
Due to increase in our enrollment, more cots and blankets were purchased.
The members of the board attended many meetings of the Appeals Board to amend zoning laws to enable Day Care Centers to locate in various sections of the city without obtaining a special permit. Permission was granted to locate at Cedar Street and 12th Ave. An option to purchase was taken on the property. Because of the lack of funds, the option was dropped.
Mr. Robert DeMeo, Executive Director, resigned.
Staff was granted a five and one half percent increase in salary. Two new directors were approved from the parents’ group.
At this time, negotiations began to obtain the Thornton property, 367 South Main Street, Bradford and efforts were progressing. Permission was obtained to use some of our invested funds as a down payment. The family Mutual Savings Bank was willing to mortgage and a hearing for a permit was held January, 21, 1976. That permit was subsequently granted, making possible purchase of the Thornton property.
Mrs. J. Bradford Davis
Mrs. Donald P. Wright