Old Dominion University Libraries

Special Collections & University Archives

Events & Exhibits

Search Special Collections


Monday - Friday:
9 am - 4:30 pm

Other times by appointment


The Special Collections is located on the east side of the Library at the front of the 3rd floor.

Contact Information

Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0256
telephone (757) 683-5350
fax (757) 683-5954


The Records of the Florence Crittenton Home of Norfolk

Institutional History

The Florence Crittenton Association of America began in New York City in 1883. Charles Nelson Crittenton was a wealthy wholesale druggist whose four-year-old daughter, Florence, died in 1882. Six months later, on April 19, 1883, he opened the Florence Night Mission at 29 Bleeker Street as a memorial to her. Intended initially to help the prostitutes of that city escape from that lifestyle, its scope was gradually enlarged to include other women needing help. The name was changed to The Florence Crittenton Mission, and Congress gave its approval when, by a special act in 1893, it passed its articles of incorporation.

Largely because of Mr. Crittenton's strenuous efforts in support of this new service, many Crittenton Homes were soon opened throughout the country. At first, these homes were also designed as "Rescue Homes," but the scope of services, particularly after World War I, gradually shifted to caring for unwed mothers and their children. The only exception to this was the Barrett Home in New York City, which was a residential treatment center for adolescent girls.

The high-water mark of the National Crittenton Program came during the 1960's when there were more than 70 maternity homes, the Barrett Home, and a non-residential service for unwed mothers in Lowell, Massachusetts. Though changing social patterns, customs, and laws led to a gradual decline in the total number of homes during the 1970's, 35 homes, including one in Lynchburg, Virginia, remained in operation as late as 1978.

For various reasons the National Crittenton organization found it necessary to operate as two separate but cooperative agencies. The first, known as The National Florence Crittenton Mission, is primarily concerned with all financial matters affecting the individual homes and the national organization. The Mission coordinates the various levels of its work through "The Central Extension Committee" which derives its members from the Mission's ranks and from each of the participating homes. This committee had as its initial task the establishment of the Florence Crittenton Association of America, an agency with the tasks of consultation, setting of standards, doing research for the member agencies, and developing relationships with similar organizations.

In this structure, the member homes operated as cooperative but autonomous entities who, apart from certain qualification standards and financial matters, generally charted their own direction.

While the National Association is staffed by professional social workers and is responsible for coordinating the activities of the various homes, the Mission administers an endowment left by Mr. Crittenton and expanded by Dr. Robert South Barrett, longtime President of the Mission. The Mission also pays the largest share of the Association's expenses and keeps in reserve an amount to help the individual homes in building and alteration projects. Any requests for such funds that were received by the Association were passed directly to the Mission, whose president is a member of the Association's Executive Board.

Mr. Crittenton died in 1911 and was succeeded as President of the Mission by Dr. Kate Waller Barrett; upon her death in 1925, her son, Dr. Robert South Barrett became president; and, in turn, his son, Rear Admiral (Ret) John P. Barrett, succeeded him.

The Florence Crittenton Home of Norfolk was certainly among the earliest ones founded in this country. In 1891, Mrs. R. H. Jones, the President of the Virginia Women's Christian Temperance Union, befriended one unwed mother in Norfolk. This action, in turn, was followed by the establishment of a little 2-room house in the Huntersville area, which was later closed when a 5-room house was located in the Brambleton area of the city. These two homes were both known as "The White Anchorage."

At the 1893 National W.C.T.U. Conference in Denver, the Norfolk Chapter gave a report of its work and Mr. Crittenton was so impressed that he contributed one thousand dollars to aid their effort. As a result, the name of the Home was changed to Florence Crittenton and it was incorporated as such in Virginia in 1894.

The subsequent 80 year history of the Norfolk Home was a rich and varied effort to meet the needs of unwed mothers and their children. The following is a brief chronology of that Home:

1891 - Founding of "The White Anchorage"
1893 - The National Convention of W.C.T.U. where Mr. Crittenton donated $1,000.00 to the Norfolk effort.
         - Name changed to the "Florence Crittenton Home"
1894 - April- Charter obtained
1897 - Mr. Crittenton visited Norfolk Home
1899 - Obstetrical ward added
1909 - Clara E. Marshall began working at the Norfolk Home
1911 - Day Nursery for working class children established
1920 - Norfolk Home moved to 52nd Street ("Beth-Haven") and Norfolk Day Nursery began to operate independently.
1923 - Became member agency of Norfolk Community Fund
May 31, 1940 - Clara E. Marshall died
August 1941 -Velma Mauk employed as new Superintendent (hereafter designated Executive Director)
1945-59 - Home consisted of two older houses connected by arcade
              - There were living facilities for 24 residents and all babies were delivered on the premises.
1950-54 - West building condemned
              - A new and larger house built for residents
              - Staff continued to use remaining old house
              - The obstetrical ward at the Home was closed and new arrangements made with Norfolk General Hospital.
1954 - Velma Mauk retired; Genrose Gehri employed as new Executive Director
1955-59 - Staff increased and professionalized
               - New dietary program established
               - New fee schedule introduced
1960-64 - Nursery Closed- Accredited school established in June 1963
               - Registered nurse employed full-time
February 26, 1964 - Mrs. Chesley Lamb employed as Executive Director
March 1, 1964 - Miss Genrose Gehri retired as Executive Director
October 10, 1965 - Mrs. Chesley Lamb resigned, for personal reasons, as Executive Director
                             - Miss Genrose Gehri returned as Temporary Executive Director
February 1, 1966 - Mrs. Elizabeth Collins, ACSW, employed as Executive Director
August 1, 1970 - Mrs. Elizabeth Collins, ACSW, retired as Executive Director
                         - Mr. Joseph Charon employed as Executive Director
March 24, 1971 - Name of Home changed to Florence Crittenton Services, Inc.
October 1, 1971 - Mr. Joseph Charon resigned, for personal reasons, as Executive Director
October 19, 1971 - Mr. Gerald Rosenmeier employed as temporary Executive Director
December 15, 1971 - New aspect of program initiated as limited intake of non-pregnant girls begun.
March 1, 1972 - Mr. Milton Susco employed as Executive Director
July 3, 1973 - On the eve of closing, Mr. Milton Susco left as Executive Director
December 31, 1973 - Florence Crittenton Services, Inc. ceased operation
January 1, 1974 - Property rented to Tidewater Regional Detention
                          - Facilities to be used as Group Home for Girls
January 22, 1975 - Florence Crittenton Board of Directors placed on inactive status
March 19, 1975 - Florence Crittenton Services resigned from FCAA
September 17, 1975 - Florence Crittenton Services merged with Tidewater Children's Foundation
November 17, 1976 - Florence Crittenton Services rescinded merger with Tidewater Children's Foundation
January 6, 1977 - Security of the Norfolk Crittenton Home transferred to ODU
                          - Records of the Florence Crittenton Services partially transferred to ODU Archives

In a brief ceremony on June 1, 1977, Mrs. John A. Byrd, President of the Florence Crittenton Board, turned over the deed to the Crittenton property to Old Dominion University. A resolution from that Board was read by Board member Mrs. Irving Salsbury, and a plaque recognizing the gift was unveiled by Mrs. James A. Howard; Mrs. Byrd; Dr. Charles O. Burgess, Vice President for Academic Affairs at ODU; and Mercer Davis, President of the ODU Educational Foundation.

In expressing the University's appreciation for the Crittenton Board's generosity, Dr. Burgess said "Like the Crittenton Home, Old Dominion University is committed to serving the needs of the area - of this region. ODU's School of Continuing Studies will be located here, allowing continued growth in its programs that are already serving more than 20,000 persons each year in noncredit and off-campus credit programs."


The Records of the Florence Crittenton Home of Norfolk, spanning the years from 1894 to 1973, derive their primary value from the fact that they represent an eighty-year local effort to respond to the needs of unmarried women and their children. In the process of that work, one of the primary concerns of the staff and administration of the Norfolk Home was the assurance of the privacy of mother and child. This privacy right has carried over to the collection as well and every effort has been made to protect individual identities. The researcher will note, for example, that any references to last name of mother and child, as well as any other data which might aid in their identification have been deleted. The cooperation of the researcher in this matter is both essential and appreciated. In turn, the researcher is assured that the integrity of this collection as historical material has, in all other respects, been preserved.

Collection is divided into 18 Series: History, General; History, Financial; History, Payroll; Admissions and Procedures; Studies and Reports; State Licensing Procedure; Office Procedures; Records of the President; Records of the Treasurer; Records of the Board; Committees and Supporting Agencies; Grants and Consultant Services; Memorials and Testimonials; Closing of the Home; Correspondence; Miscellaneous; Scrapbooks and Photographs; and, Memorabilia.


Gift of the Florence Crittenton Board, Louauna S. Byrd, President on January 13, 1977


Collection is open to researchers with two exceptions. Boxes 5-11 are permanently closed to the researcher because they contain personnel records. Secondly, delivery room registers are closed to all patrons except those mentioned in the records because they are health records.* Please note that the last names of all mothers and children born at Florence Crittenton Home have been redacted from the records. Questions on literary property rights should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian and University Archivist.

*Va. Stat. § 2.2-3705.5. Virginia Freedom of Information Act, Exclusions to application of chapter; health and social services records: 1. Health records, except that such records may be personally reviewed by the individual who is the subject of such records, as provided in subsection F of § 32.1-127.1:03 Health records privacy.


39 Hollinger Documents Cases; Seven Hollinger Oversized Boxes; and several oversized posters.


MG 13


Series I - History, General

(Boxes 1 - 2)

Sub-series A - J:

A) Copy of Charter and Articles of Incorporation
B) History of National Crittenton
C) History of the Norfolk Home
D) Influenza Epidemic in Norfolk
E) Appeals
F) Visit of National Superintendent
G) Clara Marshall
H) Guest Book
I) By-laws
J) Board Member's Manual

Series 2 - History, Financial

(Boxes 3-4)

Sub-series A - F:

A) Cashbooks
B) Debts owed by Florence Crittenton Home
C) Debts owed to Florence Crittenton Home
D) Legacies
E) Annual Financial Reports to FCAA
F) FCAA Memoranda

Series 3 - History, Payroll

(Boxes 4-11)

Sub-series A - C, Box 4, is open to researchers. Boxes 5-11 (Subseries D - J) are closed to the researcher because they contain sensitive employee and personnel records. Any questions concerning this series should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian

Sub-series A - J:

A) Personnel Practices Statement
B) Explanation of Job Description Format
C) Job Descriptions
D) Personnel Records Prior to 1973 Closing
E) Personnel Records Circa 1973 Closing
F) Yearly Payroll Records
G) Internal Revenue Service
H) Virginia Department of Taxation
I) Workmen's Compensation
J) National Health and Welfare Retirement Association

Series 4 - Admissions and Procedures

(Boxes 12-14)

Sub-series A - S:

A) Standards for FCAA Maternity Home Services
B) Statement of Policies and Procedures
C) Statement of Intake Process
D) Fee Policy
E) House Rules
F) Things to Bring and Resident's Handbook
G) Citizenship Code
H) Instructions During Pregnancy
I) Deliveries
J) Admission and Discharge Procedures
K) Post Partum Instructions
L) Referral to other Agencies
M) Menus
N) Population Records
O) FCAA Reports
P) FCAA Study
Q) Reports to Medical Staff
R) Delivery Room Registers - (Restricted)
S) Blank Forms

Series 5 - Studies and Reports

(Boxes 15-16)

This series is further divided into 49 subseries. Since each study or report is treated as a separate subseries, they are not listed again here. Researchers should refer to the comprehensive listing in the Finding Aid located in Special Collections.

Series 6 - State Licensing Procedure

(Box 16)

Sub-series A - E:

A) TitleVI Compliance Review
B) Application
C) Staff Background Information and Room Measurements
D) FCH Child Caring License
E) The Maternity Hospital Law

Series 7 - Office Procedures

(Box 17)

This series is further divided into 32 subseries. Since each item is treated as a separate subseries, they are not listed again here. Researchers should refer to the comprehensive listing in the Finding Aid located in Special Collections.

Series 8 - Records of the President

(Boxes 17-18)

Sub-series A - E:

A) Annual Reports, Printed
B) Annual Reports, Oral
C) Superintendent Reports
D) Reports of the Executive Director
E) Executive Committee Minutes

Series 9 - Records of the Treasurer

(Box 19)

Sub-series A - P:

A) Reports
B) Accounts Payable
C) Blair Note
D) Certification of Corporate Authorization
E) Desk Fund
F) Insurance
G) Invested and Special Funds
H) Investment Accounts
I) Investments
J) Ledgers
K) Nonbudgetary Funds
L) Passbooks
M) Savings Accounts
N) Special Accounts
O) Statement- Treasurer
P) Worksheet

Series 10- Records of the Board

(Boxes 20-24)

Sub-series A - E:

A) Minutes, September 1925-May 1977
B) Rosters, 1894; 1913-1977
C) Orientations of New Members
D) Junior Board
E) Auxiliary Board

Series 11- Committees and Supporting Agencies

(Boxes 24-30)

Subseries A - Z:

A) Old Building Committee
B) New Building Committee
C) Christmas Decorating Committee
D) Corresponding Secretary
E) Education Committee
F) Finance and Insurance
G) Hospitality Committee
H) House Committee
I) Long Range Study Committee
J) Medical Health Committee
K) Nominating Committee
L) Personal Needs Committee
M) Personnel Committee
N) Policy-Case Committee
O) Publicity Committee: Publications; Stories
P) Religious Education Committee
Q) Ways and Means Committee
R) Men'-s Advisory Board
S) Sustaining Board
T) Cooperating Agencies
U) Planning Agencies
V) Volunteer Agencies
W) United Communities Fund - Norfolk
X) United Communities Fund - Portsmouth
Y) United Communities Fund - Suffolk-Nansemond
Z) Tidewater Children's Foundation

Series 12- Grants and Consultant Services

(Box 31)

Sub-series A - B:

A) Law Enforcement Administration (VA)
B) Group Child Care

Series 13- Memorials and Testimonials

(Box 31)

Sub-series A - G:

A) Mrs. G. M. Thomson, 1923
B) Clara E. Marshall, June 12, 1940
C) Dr. Robert South Barrett, February 24, 1959
D) Bertram S. Nusbaum, May 8, 1963
E) Ernest Springer Merrill, December 15, 1965
F) Irving F. Truitt, December 15, 1965
G) Odessa L. Frazier, September 25, 1968

Series 14- Closing of the Home

(Box 31)

Sub-series A - F:

A) Progress Report, May 30, 1973
B) Inquiries into use of Home 1973
C) Final Meeting, May 1977
D) Agreement with ODU, June 1, 1977
E) ODU News Release, June 1, 1977
F) Correspondence

Series 15- Correspondence

(Boxes 32-36)

Sub-series A - X:

A) Agencies, Cooperating
B) Agencies, Planning
C) Agencies, Volunteers
D) Appeal Letters
E) Bank
F) Board
H) Nursery Closing
I) Contracts
J) Education and Library Committee
K) Florence Crittenton Association
L) Florence Crittenton Mission
M) Finance
N) Former Clients
O) Friends of Florence Crittenton
P) Grants
Q) History, Financing
R) House and Grounds
S) Insurance
T) Policies
U) School
V) Special Funds
W) Standards
X) Transfer to ODU

Series 16- Miscellaneous

(Box 37a -37b)

Subseries A:

A) Newspaper Articles
B) Addendum, Pearl E. “Bea” Steinhilber

Series 17- Scrapbooks and Photographs

(Oversized box 43)

Sub-series A - B:

A) Scrapbooks and Newspaper Articles
B) Photographs

Series 18 - Memorabilia

(Oversized box 44)
Revised: 5/20/2010