The New York Magdalene Asylum. The Midnight Mission. The Home for Little Wanderers.
Nineteenth century New Yorkers built scores of private charitable institutions, each serving a different group in need—and with a different grimly illustrious name.
One of those was the Home for the Friendless. Constructed by the American Female Guardian Society in 1847, the home’s mission was “to protect, befriend, and train to virtue and usefulness those to whom no one seemed to have thought or pity,” according to King’s Handbook of New York City, published in 1892.
Located on 30th Street between Madison and Park Avenue South (above, from Impressions of New York), the home “received and cared for [children] until they could be placed in Christian homes.”
Right, a photo of the Home’s chapel on East 29th Street
In 1891, the home had 446 “inmates,” as they were called then. The Society moved the home to the Bronx in 1901, and in 1974, they merged with another charity in New York State.