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Central Employment Association (Philadelphia, Pa.) Records


Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Northern Female Association for the Relief of the Sick and Infirm Poor was organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, about 1840 by Hicksite Quaker women to distribute food and clothing to poor people. On 12 month 1, 1857, the name was changed to the Central Employment Association, and in addition to relieving the poor, the Association sought to provide employment, primarily sewing, to the poor who were able to work. Priscilla H. Henrey was appointed President, and Sallie H. Henrey, Treasurer, and Ann H. Townsend, Secretary.

The policy was for each person assisted to be visited by a member of the Association. Poor people were provided with materials to sew garments, and they were paid for the work completed. Garments were distributed without charge to those poor people unable to work, due to illness or infirmity.

The Central Employment Association was incorporated in 1874. In 1884 it was located at 4th and Green Street, Philadelphia. The Association continued to function until 1940 when it was dissolved, and it assets were given to the Female Association of Philadelphia for the Relief of the Sick and Infirm Poor with Clothing.

Organizations of this kind, of which there were several in the Philadelphia area in the late 1800's, were often referred to as "Houses of Industry."

This collection contains the records of the Central Employment Association, a women's charity established circa 1840 in Philadelphia by Hicksite Quakers as the Northern Female Association for the Relief of the Sick and Infirm Poor. The collection contains the charter and by-laws, work and financial records, and correspondence, 1840-1942.

The collection is organized into 5 series. The series are:

  1. Constitution
  2. Minutes
  3. Work Reports
  4. Correspondence
  5. Financial Records

For current information on the location of materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Donor: Central Employment Association

Date: 1942

Gift of the Central Employment Association in 1942, upon the dissolution of the Association in 1941.

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Finding Aid Author
FHL staff
Finding Aid Date
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Some of the items in this collection may be protected by copyright. The user is solely responsible for making a final determination of copyright status. If copyright protection applies, permission must be obtained from the copyright holder or their heirs/assigns to reuse, publish, or reproduce relevant items beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to the law. See

Collection Inventory

Constitution. Volume also contains list of members (1927), 1870.
Box 1

Minutes, 1840-1852.
Box 1
Minutes, 1853-1864.
Box 1
Minutes, 1865-1876.
Box 1
Minutes, 1929-1940.
Box 1

Work Records, 1857-1858.
Box 2
Work Records, 1934-1940.
Box 2

Correspondence. Records sewing work distributed, clothing made and distributed, 1926-1942.
Box 2

Treasurer's book, 1936-1940.
Box 2
Contributions and subscriptions, 1934-1942.
Box 2
Lists of securities, 1904-1941.
Box 2
Correspondence, 1914-1941.
Box 2
Receipts for interest on mortgages and securities, 1923-1941.
Box 2

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