Thursday, December 20, 2007

Talitha Cumi Home

Bethel A.M.E. church, 2008 - Formerly Talitha Cumi home.



Like the original Home for Blind Babies, this was an institution that was unknown to me. The Talitha Cumi home was a residential facility and hospital for pregnant girls that moved from the South End to Forest Hills street. A picture of the facility can be seen at the Jamaica Plain Historical Society web site here. I can well imagine that once the facility was built, few in Jamaica Plain would have been aware of it. Set off at the edge of a residential district that still was not filled in, it was probably out of sight as well as out of mind. Still, if not of Jamaica Plain, it was certainly in Jamaica Plain, so it deserves a mention here.

You can see the location of the home on Forest Hills street at the bottom of this 1914 map.

Edit: I just (3/4/2008) added the contemporary picture above. The building is now used by the Bethel A.M.E. church.


Boston Daily Globe January 19, 1910


Girls Want A Show.

Dr Julia M. Plummer Tells of Talitha Cumi Home.

Haven for Unfortunate Young Women Planned at Jamaica Plain.


"We feel that now the Y.M.C.A. has gotten all it wants and that it is time for the girls to have a turn," said Dr Julia Morton Plummer to a meeting at the hotel Tullieries yesterday. Dr Plummer was pleading for gifts to enable the New England moral reform society to complete the erection of three buildings for the Talitha Cumi home at Jamaica Plain. This society is over 70 years old and has for many years carried on a hospital and home for unfortunate girls, most of whom have come to their unhappiness through no fault of their own and many of whom are under 16 years of age.

The society has now in hand $46,000, two houses on the corner of West Brookline st and Warren av in the South End and three acres of land facing Franklin park in Jamaica Plain. It is necessary that $54,000 shall be raised to erect the buildings desired for the better carrying on of the work.

One building is to be the receiving home, where the girls may enter two or three months before they become actual patients, the hospital building itself and the third building is to be fitted up for industrial training for the girls who are not fitted to become wage earners of any kind and where the weaker ones may be kept until their strength will allow them to be worth while to employers.

Dr Plummer was introduced by Arthur Perry, treasurer of the building fund, who paid a tribute to the work which the doctor has done in the last 20 or more years in giving her entire life to the work of the home, for many years as physician, secretary, speaker, house mother and almost everything else, and then, after severe illness compelled her to relinquish a portion of the work acting as superintendent and corresponding secretary.

Dr Plummer said the work of the home embraced not only the hospital work, and the educational work to which many people preferred to give their money, but it healed the broken hearts of helpless young women, who nowhere else in the state could find tender, sympathetic are in their time of awful need.

"In no hospital or institution supported by the state," said the doctor, "will the girl be taken until the actual hour when she becomes a patient. If she goes to Tewksbury she has absolutely nothing but the most degrading companionship, with no word or care or thought of uplift.

"She goes through her hospital care when the time comes in the barest and most meagre way. She goes forth at a time when she ceases to be a patient with a baby in her arms and with no provision for a place where she can earn the support of that little life for which she is now responsible. It rests absolutely with private charities to stand between these young girls and a dark future."

16 comments:

  1. does anyone know where records from the Talitha Cumi Home for pregnant women may be today? My dad, born 3/21/1911 had a birth certificate saying he was born at the Talitha Cumi Home. His adoptive parents lived in Boston. He passed away 5 years ago. Just curious.

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    1. Since your post is 5 years old you may have already figured it out but I was just watching an episode of "Finding your Roots " and the Talitha Cumi Home was featured when a grandmother of Rebecca Lobo was born there and put up for adoption. You can watch the episode on PBS.org and maybe learn how to look into finding the birth mother of your dad.

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    2. That was Billy Jean Moffit King's great grandmother, not Lobo's.

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  2. I don't have an answer for you. There must be a state office that would know.

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  3. Talitha Cumi is from the Bible. It means "Young Woman, Arise!" Jesus said that to Jairus' daughter when he raised her from the dead. This phrase is used by many Christian organizations for young women.

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  4. In response to the comment of December 4 about the whereabouts of records from the Talitha Cumi Maternity Home, a large collection of annual reports and other material is held by the Texas Women's University Library in Denton, Texas. I was able to obtain a copy of my father's 1913 birth record through the efforts of a kind individual in the library's research department. I suggest you contact them.

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  5. My grandmother, Martha Ellen Smylie went there in 1931 to have my mother, Muriel Ann Smylie, with no information for a father, any help would be grateful. Katheryn Meagher

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  6. I do know that Crittendon Women's Union is still in operation. There were mergers of several agencies (including The Talitha Cumi Home) which resulted in the Union as it is known today. http://www.liveworkthrive.org/

    My grandmother was also born in the home. Good luck!

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  7. My daughter told me about this site. I was born here January 1,1929. It took five years to locate my mother,(deceased). Maybe the TWU can find the name of my Father. My thanks to the person who supplied the info.

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  8. My mother worked there as a nurse in the late 1930s. I still have (packed away) a reference from the home when she looked for work later.

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  9. On 10/10/10, I made the comment of Martha Smylie and now see others helpful information, I see on the "birth certificate" it was dated March 24, 1933 which is almost 2 years after the birth of my mother. Was there an alloted time one had to leave this home? I see on 3/1/2013, the comment of ones mother was a nurse, could you see if any references were made of this or any names? Thanks...

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  10. I called today to follow up on the lead of the
    Crittendon Women's Union Home 05/28/1931, they told me that they DO NOT have any records of Talithai Cumi Home & Hospital and never partnered with them either. However, they have assist pregnant women to come there to have their child and return home and the child was given to an adoption agency. I have reached out to the TX Womens Library also and hope to receive some type of news soon. In addition, I have called the Bethel AME chruch 2x's and left a voice mail and have npt received a call back.
    Still seking to see the person who wrote on 3/1/13 of their mothers journal entries. I cna be reached at www.hrmatters102@aol.com

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  11. TX Womens library in Denton TX was able to tell me they have records from 1880-1928 for Talithai Cumi Home and Hospital.

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  12. Through the Texas Women's Library, I was able to find a bit of information on my grandmother's birth at the Talitha Cumi Maternity Home, but I am still looking for the circumstances that led her mother to have her here.. is there more information out there on this maternity home, books, or other references? Looking to delve into this much more... Thank you. - Kaitlin

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  13. My grandfather was born at the Talitha Cumi Home in the early 1900's and given up to the state for adoption. I was able to get information about him through the Office of Health and Human Services, Dept of Children and Families, 600 Washington St, 6th Floor, Boston, MA. 02111. I spoke with a very helpful woman, the Adoption Search Coordinator. 617-748-2000.

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  14. For those who wnated to know more about the home, I found this online:

    http://archive.org/stream/medicaldirectory03bost/medicaldirectory03bost_djvu.txt

    TALITHA CUMT MATERNITY HOME.

    Organized 1830. 204-206 West Brookline Street. .

    Its object is to provide a home for .the shelter and salvation
    of erring girls who are facing maternity.

    Attending Physicians Dr. Marion Robbins Horton, Dr. Elizabeth E. Shaw.

    Consulting Surgeon Dr. William F. Wesselhoeft.


    Also:
    http://www.triadoption.com/AAOMH/Massachusetts.pdf

    137 CUM1 HOME. 1929/1925: TALITHA CUM1
    MATERNITY HOME AND HOSPITAL, 215 FOREST
    HILLS ST., JAMAICA PLAIN, BOSTON; A
    17-BED MATERNITY HOME FOR UNWED MOTHERS.
    UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE NEW
    ENGLAND MORAL REFORM SOCIETY; ESTABLISHED
    IN 1848. FLOURISHED 1914 AS TALITHA
    CUMl MATERNITY HOSPITAL. CASE HISTORY:
    A NATURAL MOTHER GAVE BIRTH IN 1945
    AT THE TALITHA CUMl HOME AND SURRENDERED
    HER BABY TO THE JEWISH FAMILY
    WELFARE AGENCY IN BOSTON.

    I finally received my mothers birth certificate since I had to petition the court in Boston MA. I knew there was no fathers name on it but I see a physicans name but unsure of the first initial and last name. But it could be either M.A. or W.A. and the last name cound be Hamm or Hann residing at 162 Ashmont, Dorchester MA.

    Still searching though....here is my contact info if anyone has information for births of 1931. hrmatters102@aol.com.

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