A home for “friendless French girls”

About 125 women currently live in the Jeanne D’Arc Home, a residence hotel on Eighth Avenue and 24th Street run by an order of nuns. It’s probably the only residency in the city, single-sex or otherwise, that has its own chapel, and one of the few that prohibits men past the front desk. 

The home has an interesting history. An original brick building was put up in 1896 by the Fathers of Mercy of the Church of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic church on 23rd Street that still holds mass in French. The home was to be a place where “friendless French girls who come to this country” could establish themselves and find work as “femmes de chambre, bonnes d’enfant, and gouvernantes,” as an 1896 New York Times article explains. 

Though the women living there now represent all nationalities, the home still maintains a very Catholic purpose: to care for the spiritual and temporal needs of women, as a mission statement in the foyer reads.

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35 Responses to “A home for “friendless French girls””

  1. AdrianLesher Says:

    See this about the “Parkside Evangeline” off Gramercy Park

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/25/nyregion/thecity/25feat.html

  2. Bronx Bohemian Says:

    This is quite interesting and brings back rapid memories as a newly arrived fashion design student at FIT. I lived in the now defunct Roberts House at 151 East 36th Street from 1989 to 1991. We had a “beau room”. The front door was locked at midnite, but opened when you rang the bell. And we had no telephones in our rooms, the phone was in the hallway — one phone per floor. My younger sister cried when she saw my room on her visit to NY, then promptly moved in upstairs. The neighborhood was uneventful but our parents could sleep at night knowing we were safe. I do remember a theatre across the street in Sniffen Court. I think it was private and the townhouses were landmark with horse heads on the gates. I took a photo standing beside them, I don’t know if they are still there.

    • Donna Grady Says:

      AHHH…..Just for “nostalgia sake” I googled Robert House to see if it was still
      around! I came upon your post and see that we lived at Roberts House at the same time. I remember TWO really sweet sisters who I used to enjoy dining and talking with at the Roberts House. It could be you! I had great memories there. I lived 3 years and ultimately graduated to the Penthouse Suite….(huge room on the corner)
      Only had to pay 400 dollars a month / included meals!! WOw. Only problem it was across the hall from the cranky old dorm Mom. (EEKS can’t remember name!! It is sad to see that it is no longer housing young women.

    • Jules Says:

      WOW!! This is so amaizing! I am currently a design student at FIT and a friend of mine told me about this housing program. Nice to see that there have been others like me on here who have gone through this. =) Thanks for the good word and wish me luck as I apply.

  3. Tom Hanks Says:

    Au contraire. The home for young ladies on gramery park south, which served as the model for my late run 1980s sitcom, does not allow gentlemen passed the first floor.

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    I always thought that the inspiration for the women’s hotel on Bosom Buddies, the Susan B. Anthony, was the Martha Washington on 30th Street. Whaddya know! Thanks Tom.

  5. Quid plura? | "It was Friday morn when we set sail..." Says:

    […] Ephemeral in New York discovers the Jeanne d’Arc Home for “friendless French girls.” […]

  6. Where single girls stayed in New York City « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] single girls stayed in New York City New York always had (and still has) hotels for single women; clean, safe places where a recent college grad looking for her first job […]

  7. Laurie Says:

    Is there any way to get information about the nuns who worked/lived there? I have found information regarding a relative who I believe was a nun at Jeanne D’Arc in 1920. Thank you for any guidance…

  8. Ann Says:

    Laurie,

    The Sisters of Divine Providence are the nuns who run the Jeanne D’Arc House. You can call them in Melbourne, KY and perhaps they can help you. 859-441-0700.

  9. Jeanne d’Arc guarding West 14th Street « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] For more Jeanne d’Arc in New York, check out the Jeanne d’Arc Home “for friendless French girls.” […]

  10. “The Webster Apartments”: women only « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] women’s residences are also still thriving. There’s the Jeanne d’Arc Home in […]

  11. Grace Kelly - Page 480 - the Fashion Spot Says:

    […] finding a real apartment elsewhere. (And the city still has chick-only residences, like this one here.) But the Barbizon Hotel for Women may have been the classiest of all. Built in 1927 on East 63rd […]

  12. Facaderens Says:

    Jeanne d’Arc Home, “For friendless French girls”. They will give them comfort.

  13. Lydia Says:

    Thanks for this post! I lived at Jeanne D’Arc 1979-80, first with a roommate who attended FIT and then getting my own little room with a sink and the shared bathroom down the hall. Kitchen facilities were available and a shared TV room. Made frequent use of the boyfriend room just off the entry way. It was my first place to live in NYC and I remember it with positive thoughts. Met several women from around the world working at the UN. Some had lived there for many many years, but most came and went fairly quickly. The sisters were kind and always working.

  14. Larry Says:

    Please let me know what area of New York 24th and 8th Avenue is called.
    Thank you

  15. wildnewyork Says:

    It’s in Chelsea.

  16. Larry Says:

    What is the exact address

  17. Ms Ford Says:

    Has anyone ever lived at Jeanne D Arc? How are the rooms and food?

  18. Johanna Says:

    What an intersting idea, I thought it was a great arrangement for my fiancee to live there. She lived there and I in washington state. Long distance relationships are hard at best, but at least knowing she was safe, and not bothered by other men made it a little easier. And a very affordable place in a prefered neighborhood. it was strange to visit there however, having to wait in the room by the entry, did’nt know they called it the boyfriend room. In time, she did not like the fact she could not have guests stay the night, and cooking arrangements were difficult, no cooking after certain hours. Personally I wished she still lived there, instead of moving into an apt in Queens with some ( supposed gay guy)… As it tuns out , I have learned more about alternate life styles, then I cared to know.

  19. When Manhattan had a French district « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] As for young French women, they had the  Jeanne d’Arc Home, described as a home for “friendless French girls.” […]

  20. Genie Says:

    Lived at Jeanne d arc when it was French . Mere Celeste. Was the mother superior. Sour henriette was one of the managing nuns.

  21. Jan Morgan Says:

    I lived at the Jeanne D’Arc, 1977 – 1979. It was safe and affordable ($100.00 A MONTH – can you believe it?) and arguably, the cleanest venue in all of NYC, being dusted, mopped and polished daily, by an energetic crew of nice Hispanic ladies. I was a first year student at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and much appreciated the budget accommodations, within walking distance of the school. I had a variety of roommates – dancers, free lance artists, FIT students – the house was filled with women from many different countries. The TV room and kitchen were ‘ruled’ by the residents who had lived there the longest! All in all, the JD’A was both a sanctuary and a trial – but always interesting. Its’ history is quite fascinating.

  22. Jamie Says:

    Does anyone know what the current rent is at Jeanne D’Arc?

  23. Jamie Says:

    Also, do the rooms have desks?

  24. marianela Says:

    how much does it cost per day?

  25. Melodie Bryant Says:

    The Leo House on West 23rd Street also has its own chapel. Run by a German Catholic charity, it operates as a hotel and has great rates if you can book a couple of months in advance. Very quiet, very simple. But not for women only.

  26. beforemybigbreak Says:

    Reblogged this on BeforeMyBigBreak and commented:
    Im moving here

  27. Jennifer Terban Says:

    I lived at the Roberts House in the late 90’s, probably about 96. I am still in contact with a couple of people but would love to track down more. I remember the receptionist was Mary and there was a guy named Ron who helped out in the house… A fun and memorable experience living there.

  28. Sally Says:

    I lived in the Roberts house from 77 – 78. Mrs. Turner was the house mother and the food was delicious. I was in graduate school and it was a great place, clean, safe and all the comforts of home. The girls were all nice, students, working, actresses and no old people. It was a lifesaver.

    • Jen Says:

      That looks like a great place. It brings back memories. In some ways I wish I could go back to my mid 20’s and do that all again. I live in Los Angeles now and constantly daydream about being back living in NYC. Maybe one day….

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  30. A Brief History of Co-Living Spaces | CENmag Says:

    […] the city’s vices.) One, the Jeanne D’Arc Residence in Chelsea, run by an order of nuns, offered a home for “friendless French girls” who immigrated for work as seamstresses or […]

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