Guide to the Rebecca Residence Records 1871-1990s

Senator John Heinz History Center

Summary Information

Repository
Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center
Title
Rebecca Residence Records
Creator
Rebecca Residence
Collection Number
MSS 0290
Date [inclusive]
1871-1990s
Extent
12.5 linear feet (19 boxes)
Language of Materials
The material in this collection is in English.
Abstract
The Rebecca Residence was founded in 1871 as The Home for Aged Protestant Women. “Baltimore” Jane Holmes was instrumental in the establishment of the institution, which provide retirement care in a familial setting for elderly Protestant women. The Rebecca Residence Records includes board of managers meeting minutes, financial and expense reports, resident applications and admission records, several bond books, a visitors ledger book, and a small amount of photographs.
Sponsor Note
This collection has been made accessible as part of an NHPRC-funded Basic Processing grant.

Preferred Citation

Rebecca Residence Records, 1871-1990s, MSS 0290, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center

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History

The Rebecca Residence was founded in 1871 in Wilkinsburg, Pa., as The Home for Aged Protestant Women. During the late 19th century it was often difficult for elderly women without family to support themselves into old age. Thus, members of the Women’s Christian Association took it upon themselves to establish a residential care home where older Protestant woman could live in a secure and comfortable setting. The effort was spearheaded by the charitable Jane Holmes, who was born in Baltimore, Md., in 1814, and relocated to Pittsburgh with her father at the age of 18.

Holmes was often confused with the daughter of her father’s brother who also was named Jane. To distinguish between the two, many referred to them as “Baltimore Jane” and “Pittsburgh Jane,” as the latter had been born in Pittsburgh in 1805. The two Janes often collaborated philanthropically, including in 1870, when they raised the necessary funds to finance the Home for Aged Protestant Women on Swissvale Avenue and Rebecca Street. The Home officially opened in October, 1871, housing 12 residents and overseen by inaugural president Mary Brunot, who was followed by Holmes in 1873.

The Home strived to foster a familial community for its residents. The women kept individual rooms, but shared common dining, lounge, and activity areas. Board members were closely involved in the institution, sponsoring lectures, field trips, luncheons, and other activities. Additionally, board members were encouraged to visit residents at the home at least twice a month, a practice that was maintained until the 1990s.

The Holmes cousins partnered again in 1882, and with the help of “Baltimore” Jane, “Pittsburgh” Jane organized and opened the Home for Aged Protestant Men and Couples on land adjacent to the women’s home, which became known as the Jane Holmes Residence and Gardens.

“Baltimore” Jane Holmes died in 1893. The Rebecca Residence moved to a new facility north of Pittsburgh, in West Deer Township, in 1999.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Rebecca Residence Records document the history of the retirement facility formerly known as the Home for Aged Protestant Women. The collection includes board of managers meeting minutes, financial and expense reports, resident applications and admission records, several bond books, a visitors ledger, and a small amount of photographs. There is one folder of photographic materials, housed in box one.

Series I. Minutes and Financial Reports

Series I contains board of managers meeting minutes (1906-1989) housed in ledgers and as loose pages in folders; board of managers attendance records (1934-1986); financial ledgers, treasurers reports, and expense and payroll information (1890-1960); and monthly reports of the director of the Home (1908-1940) to the board, contained in ledgers.

Box 1

Box 1 contains one folder of photographs that depict exterior images of the home, from the original building in 1871, and continuing through subsequent decades (1930s-1970s). There are also some interior shots, as well as several portraits of former presidents. Additionally, there are photocopies of different images, 100th and 125th anniversary invitations, and three Duquesne theatre programs from the 1890s.

Box 1 also holds board of managers meeting minutes between 1935 and 1940. They contain admission and visitor updates, general business reports, and committee listings.

Box 2

Board of managers monthly and annual meeting minutes, 1940 through 1958. They contain admission and visitor updates, general business reports, and committee listings.

Box 3

Board of managers monthly and annual meeting minutes, 1958 and 1973. They contain admission and visitor updates, general business reports, and committee listings.

Box 4

Board of managers monthly and annual meeting minutes, 1973 through 1989. They contain admission and visitor updates, general business reports, and committee listings.

Box 5

Box 5 contains board of managers attendance records (1934-1986); financial treasurers reports from 1890 through 1927; and payroll and expense accounts, and expense and petty cash accounts from 1940 through 1960. Also included are superintendent Maninhart's account and report records (1966-1969).

Ledgers

Board of managers meeting minute books:

  • 1906-1919
  • 1919-1921
  • 1922-1925
  • 1934-1939
  • 1940-1946

Financial account books:

  • 1901-1915
  • 1912-1916
  • 1921-1923
  • 1945-1956
  • 1957

Monthly report ledgers:

  • 1908-1922
  • 1924-1929
  • 1929-1933
  • 1933-1936
  • 1937-1940

Series II. Resident Applications

There are 10 boxes that contain resident application material, mainly consisting of the Home’s application forms, medical examinations records, and reference letters:

  • Box 6 1871-1881
  • Box 7 1880-1889
  • Box 8 1890-1904
  • Box 9 1905-1919
  • Box 10 1920-1925
  • Box 11 1926-1930
  • Box 12 1931-1935
  • Box 13 1936-1940
  • Box 14 1941-1949
  • Box 15 1950-1960

Box 16

Pages from admission ledgers that include date of admissions, name, place of birth, age when admitted, date of death, and date of burial, from 1871 through 1985. Also in this box are undated admission applications, and some assorted materials.

Box 17

Rejected applications and dismissal notices, 1871 through 1899.

Box 18

Rejected applications and dismissal notices, 1900 through 1939.

Box 19

Receipts and cancelled checks, including some check stubs, 1908 through 1918.

Ledgers

Admission ledgers:

  • 1919-1930s
  • 1900s-1970s (birth dates back to the 1830s)
  • 1900s-1970s (birth dates back to the 1830s)

Visitor ledgers:

  • 1877-1907

Bond books:

  • 1874-1896
  • 1902-1917
  • 1918-1931
  • 1932-1944
  • 1944-1958

Bazaar guest book:

  • 1969

Library book list:

  • 1938-1944

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Arrangement

The Rebecca Residence Records consist of 19 boxes and 26 wrapped ledgers, and have been arranged into the following 2 series:

Boxes 1-5: Series I. Minutes and Financial Reports

  • 5 board of mangers meeting minute ledgers (1906-1946)
  • 5 financial account ledgers (1901-1957)
  • 5 monthly report ledgers (1908-1940)

Boxes 6-19: Series II. Resident Administration

  • 3 admission record ledgers (1900s-1970s)
  • 1 visitor record ledger (1877-1907)
  • 5 bond book ledgers (1874-1958)
  • 1 Bazaar guest book ledger (1969)
  • 1 library book list (1938-1944)

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Senator John Heinz History Center Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania , January 2013

Senator John Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
412-454-6364
library@heinzhistorycenter.org
http://www.heinzhistorycenter.org/libraryArchives.aspx

Restrictions on Access

None.

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with the Senator John Heinz History Center. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the Library and Archives of the Senator John Heinz History Center.

Acquisition Information

Gift from Rebecca Residence in 1998.

Archives accession # 1998.0187

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Alex J. Toner on 12/20/12.

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Related Materials

Related Materials

Rebecca Residence: A legacy of Commitment and Caring, 1999, qHV147.W684. Thomas and Katherine Library and Archives, Senator John Heinz History Center

Jane Holmes Residence and Gardens Records, 1881-2007, MSS 0862, Thomas and Katherine Library and Archives, Senator John Heinz History Center

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Rebecca Residence.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pittsburgh (Pa.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Holmes, Jane 1814-1893.

Subject(s)

  • Old age homes--Pennsylvania--Wilkinsburg.

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