Table of Contents

Descriptive Summary

Administrative Information

Historical Note

Biographical Note

Scope & Content Note

Organization & Arrangement

Index Terms

Related Items

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Series Description

Series 1: Ladies Home Program

Series 2: Ladies Home Building

Series 3: Financial Records

Series 4: Resident Information

Series 5: Correspondence

Series 6: Photographs and Blueprints

Container Listing

Plainfield Public Library

Ladies Home of Plainfield, 1910-2007.

ladieshome
Catherine Webster Home, circa 1927.

Finding aid written and encoded by Sarah Hull in November 2009;
collection processed in October 2009 by Sarah Hull.

Finding aid updated in March 2011.


Descriptive Summary

Title: Records of the Ladies Home of Plainfield, 1910-2007.
Creator: Ladies Home of Plainfield; Catherine Webster Home
Size: 7 linear feet of records
Comprised of 9 boxes:
Six  (6) 10” x 15” x 12” archival storage boxes
One (1) 5¾" x 12¾” x 8" shoe box
One (1) 31¼” x 5” x 5” blueprint canister
One (1) 1½” x 14½” x 11½” photograph box
Repository: Plainfield Public Library, Local History Department, 800 Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060
Abstract: The Records of the Ladies Home of Plainfield document the creation and history of the Home from 1910 to 2007. This collection documents the founding, funding, growth and activities of the Ladies Home program and its residents. Record types include minutes, program-related documents, financial records, resident records, correspondence, photographs, blueprints, newspaper clippings, and assorted ephemera.
Language: The records are in English.

Administrative Information
Access & Restrictions

The Records of the Ladies Home of Plainfield are available for research.

Access is restricted to materials prepared by the Local History department staff. All materials must be viewed in the Plainfield Room and may not be removed to another area of the library without permission of the Library Director or designee. Materials must be handled carefully and kept in order. Materials must not be leaned upon, altered, folded, ripped, or traced upon. Marks may not be added or erased from materials. Materials must be returned directly to Local History department staff and inspected before the researcher leaves the Plainfield Room.

One photocopy may be made (by Plainfield Public Library staff) of each document for the purpose of research; official Local History departmental reproduction fees may apply. Permission to publish must be obtained by the Plainfield Public Library Board of Trustees as delegated to the Library Director. Permission to publish does not constitute a copyright clearance. The researcher is responsible for further copyright restrictions. The Plainfield Public Library is not responsible for the misuse of copyrighted material.

Certain series within this collection are restricted (see below).

Preferred Citation

Identification of item; Date (if noted); " The Records of the Ladies Home of Plainfield,” Box and Folder Number; Local History Department, Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield, New Jersey.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated in 2002 and 2010 by the Ladies Home of Plainfield.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Sarah Hull in 2009. The finding aid was written and encoded by Sarah Hull in November 2009. Finding aid content follows the guidelines suggested by Describing Archives: A Content Standard.

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Historical Note

The Ladies Home of Plainfield was incorporated on June 10, 1910, under the New Jersey act of 1898 related to incorporations not for pecuniary profit, to give effect to the Last Will and Testament of Catherine R Webster. Incorporators were Charles J. Fish, George D. Hallock, Horace G. Philips, Clarence B. Vail, Charles B. Vail, J. W. Buttfield and Ernest R. Ackerman. On August 3, 1916, the Plainfield Trust Company was appointed Substitute Administrator with the Will Annexed and Trustee under the Will of Catherine R. Webster after John Van Winkle resigned as executor and trustee of the estate for reasons of ill health. The original co-executor of Webster’s will, Joseph Coward, had passed away on July 25, 1907, leaving Van Winkle in control of the estate.

After unavoidable delays due to the First World War, high building costs, and inadequate endowment to maintain a Home such as Catherine envisioned, the property at 313 Franklin Place was purchased on April 1, 1927 for $34, 856.91. The Catherine Webster Home first opened in the fall of 1927. Entrance requirements were as follows:

  1. Any woman between the ages of sixty-five and eighty years may apply.
  2. Applicants must have been a resident of New Jersey for some time.
  3. Applicants must have been in reasonably good health (Doctor’s certificate required)
  4. Applicants must have furnished a guarantee of payment by two responsible persons acceptable to the Finance Committee, covering payment of weekly board, all expenses of illness (doctors, nurses, etc.) and funeral expenses.
  5. Applicants must have agreed to obey house rules that make for harmonious living.

The Ladies Home of Plainfield served as a residence until the 1990s when it was closed. The vacant building on Franklin Place was bought in August 2006 by the local Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). Their original plan to convert the building to eight apartments for women in need of transitional housing was withdrawn in March 2007 after objections were raised by area neighborhood associations. 

There is no relationship between the Ladies Home and the YWCA. As of November 2009, the building is a privately-owned residence.

Written by Anna Henderson in August 2008

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Biographical Note

Catherine Randolph Webster was born in her grandfather Webster's homestead on Watchung Avenue on March 6, 1825. Her mother, for whom she was named, died when Catherine was three weeks old and her father was fatally injured by a fall from a hay-mow when she was 4 years old. She was raised by her grandparents in Plainfield, living in a house on the corner of East Second and Church Street from age 12 until her death at age 83 on October 15, 1906. Her grandfather, a well-known builder, had constructed the home; it was demolished in 1937 along with its neighbor to make way for a gas station.

Catherine was educated in the Plainfield School system and later attended seminary in Rensselaerville, New York. She was a birthright member of the Friends’ Meeting and was actively identified with many charitable works in Plainfield. The Ladies Home of Plainfield, otherwise known as the Catherine Webster Home, was established by her will, which states:

“All the remainder of my estate which may remain in the hands of my executors or the survivor of them, I do give, devise and bequeath the same to my executors of the survivor of them in trust for the following use, the real estate remaining unsold, to be sold at such time and in such manner as they may think best for the purpose of said trust, and make execute and deliver good and sufficient deed or deeds for the same, and from the funds in their hands, I do authorize and empower my said executors of the survivor of the, to purchase a lot of land in the city of Plainfield, New Jersey, of suitable size on which to erect or assist in erecting a building for the purpose of founding a Home for the aged and infirm women, to be know as a “Ladies Home” a deed for the said tract of land so purchased with its improvements thereon, to be executed and delivered by my executors or the survivor of them to a corporation to be organized for the purpose of said Ladies Home, to be held by it and its successors and assigns forever, for the purposes aforesaid, the remaining part of my personal estate, I do order and direct shall be invested and kept invested by my executors on good security for the purpose of said trust, and held by them until the founding of said Ladies Home and shall then be used by them in assisting to build and complete said building, and the balance of said funds remaining in their hands to be transferred and assigned to said corporation when created and fully established, as an endowment fun for the purpose of assistant in the support and maintenance of the same.”

Written by Anna Henderson in August 2008

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Scope and Content Note

The records of the Ladies Home of Plainfield include a variety of historical material spanning from 1910 to 2007, with the bulk of records dating between 1930 to1980.  Record types include: resident records, program policies, meeting minutes (bound and unbound), correspondence, financial records such as cash books, receipts, bank statements and investment information, blueprints, and photographs.  The two largest series are financial records and correspondence.

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Organization and Arrangement

The Records of the Ladies Home of Plainfield are arranged into five series:

Series 1: Program Materials, 1910-2007, undated.
Series 2: Building Materials, 1926-1997, undated.
Series 3: Financial Records, 1929-1991.
Series 4: Resident Information, 1927-1991.
Series 5: Correspondence, 1927-1965.
Series 6: Photographs, 1934-1998, undated.

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Index Terms

People:

Coward, Joseph
Van Winkle, John
Webster, Catherine Randolph (1825 – 1906)

Organizations:

Catherine Webster Home
Ladies Home of Plainfield

Places:

Plainfield (N.J.)

Subjects:

Nursing homes – New Jersey
Old age homes – New Jersey
Plainfield, NJ –  Clubs and organizations
Plainfield, NJ – History
Women’s history

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Related Items

Blueprints: D-4582, D-8618, and D-12795.

Collier Photographs: Catherine Webster Home, exterior and Catherine Webster Home, porch.

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Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection consists of paper documents, photographs and blueprints which do not require any additional technology for access.

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Series Description
Series 1: Program Materials [1910--2007, undated]
Series Description

Series 1 contains documents relating to the daily business affairs of the Ladies Home. It includes: historical information about the home, excerpts from Catherine Webster’s will, by-laws, informational pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and board member lists and meeting minutes, annual reports, state accreditation, and similar topics.  It is composed solely of paper documents, which are typed and handwritten.

Arrangement

Series 1 is arranged chronologically by subject and fills one box.

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Series 2: Building Materials [1926--1997, undated]
Series Description

Series 2 contains records relating to the physical structure and maintenance of the Ladies Home.  It includes: documents pertaining to building additions and specifications, fire escape maintenance, engineer and contractor files, and an historical inventory of the home.  Also in this series are blueprints and building photographs. It is composed of paper documents, blueprints, and photographs. Documents are typed and handwritten.

Arrangement

Series 2 is arranged chronologically by subject, and fills 5 folders. The photographs and blueprints are housed separately in boxes #7 and #9, respectively.

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Series 3: Financial Records [1929--1991]
Series Description

Series 3 contains the financial records of the Ladies Home. It is composed of three Subseries. Documents are typed and handwritten. Some of the financial records are restricted due to the presence of detailed personal identification information.

Subseries 1 consists of banking and investment records; it contains bank and investment statements, insurance policies, check stubs, and related correspondence and newspaper clippings.  

Subseries 2 consists of payroll records such as hourly wage logs and Social Security and Withholding records. 

Subseries 3 consists of general financial records including policies, treasurer’s records, finance committee reports and minutes, cash receipts and disbursements, yearly financial statements, account and expense ledgers, cash books, and account payable records. 

Arrangement

Series 3 is arranged chronologically by subject, and fills five boxes.

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Series 4: Resident Information [1927--1991, undated]
Series Description

Series 4 contains documentation of resident acceptances, personal histories and employment registers.  There is a bound residents log (fragile and damaged) and two wills.  There is also a small photo album with undated, black and white photographs.  Documents are typed and handwritten.  Some of the resident information is restricted due to the presence of social security numbers.

Arrangement

Series 4 is arranged chronologically by subject, and fills two boxes. The photo album is house separately in box #8.

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Series 5: Correspondence [1927--1965]
Series Description

Series 5 contains letters regarding board meetings, investments, building maintenance, and funding. Most of these documents were originally housed in three binders entitled, “Letter File,” and one marbled, cardboard index file box.  The contents of each binder and the letter box were kept together according to their original provenance, and not distributed into other related series within this collection.  Documents are typed and handwritten.

Arrangement

Series 5 is arranged chronologically, and fills one box.

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Series 6: Photographs and Blueprints [1934 --1998, undated]
treeSeries Description

Series 6 contains photographs and oversized items. There is small photo album. This series includes an undated Catherine Webster family tree (on left). This genealogical record begins with William Ilsley (born 1638, died 1681) and Thomas Blossom (died 1633), and includes the Vail family line.

Arrangement

Series 6 is arranged chronologically and by size, and fills three boxes.
The family tree is housed with oversized items in Map Drawer 4.


Catherine Webster family tree, undated.
Click to view entire image.

 

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Container Listing

Box Series Folder Title
1 1 1 History, 1917-1918, 1942, undated
    2 History Notebook, 1939
    3 By-Laws, 1926, 1966
    4 Board Members, 1960s
    5 Board Meeting Minutes, 1910-1942
    6 Board Meeting Minutes, 1910-1942
    7 Board Meeting Minutes and Annual Reports, 1925-1948
    8 Newspaper Articles, 1915--2007
    9 Pamphlets, undated (contains images of the Home) *Photograph in box 8
    10 Historic Preservation Commendation Application, 1994
    11 Annual Reports, 1940-1956
    12 Accreditations and Standards, 1958-1981
    13 State Standards, 1933-1981
    14 Certificate of Incorporation, 1942
    15 Mail and Publications Received, 1940-1992, undated.
1 2 16 Appliance Information, 1937-1964, undated.
    17 Building Additions, 1938
    18 Fire Escape Maintenance, 1939
    19 Inventory History, 1926-1997
    20 Memorandum Specifications, Undated
    21 Engineers and Contractors, 1938
1 3:1 22 Bank Statements for the United National Bank of Central New Jersey, 1973-1974
    23 Plainfield Trust Company Income and Principal Statements, 1964-1972
    24 Banking and Insurance Policies, 1968-1991
    25 Banking and Insurance Policies, 1952, 1960-1964
    26 United National Bank Statements, 1970-1971
    27 Deposit Books, 1957-1974
    28 Check Stubs, 1991-1992
    29 Correspondence re: Investments and Insurance, 1948-1950
    30 Correspondence re: Investments and Insurance, 1946-1948
    31 NJ Association of Homes for the Aged, 1951-1953.
2 3:1 1 Newspapers Clippings of Stock Market, 1969-1972
    2 Investments in New York, 1941-1942
    3 Investments in New York, 1941-1942
    4 Investments in New York, 1941-1942
    5 Investments in New York, 1941-1942
    6 Investments in New York, 1940
    7 Investments in New York, 1945
    8 Investments, 1953
    9 Investments, 1952
    10 Investments, 1950-1951
2 3:2 11 Hourly Wage Log, 1973-1978
    12 Hourly Wage Log, 1979-1982
    13 Hourly Wage Log, 1982-1986
    14 Social Security and Withholding, 1954-1959
    15 Social Security and Withholding, 1960-1962
    16 Social Security and Withholding, 1963-1964
    17 Social Security and Withholding, 1965-1967
    18 Social Security and Withholding, 1968-1969
    19 Social Security and Withholding, 1970
    20 Social Security and Withholding, 1971
3 3:2 1 Social Security and Withholding, 1972-1974
    2 Social Security and Withholding, 1975-1976
    3 Social Security and Withholding, 1977-1979
    4 NJ Unemployment and Disability Insurance on Non-Profit Employees, 1972-1973
3 3:3 5 Policies and Resolutions, undated
    6 Tax Exempt Status, undated
    7 Funding, undated
    8 Non-Monetary Donations, 1929-1935
    9 Non-Monetary Donations, 1938-1955
    10 Treasurers Records, 1939-1941
    11 Treasurers Records, 1939-1941
    12 Finance Committee Minutes , 1933-1941
    13 Financial Reports and Letters, 1942
    14 Financial Statements and 990s, 1962-1973
    15 Financial Statements and 990s, 1962-1973
    16 Financial Statements and 990s, 1962-1973
    17 Cash Receipts Records, 1986-1996
    18 Cash Disbursements Records, 1987-1991
    19 Yearly Financial Statements, 1937-1980
    20 Yearly Financial Statements, 1982-1991
4 3:3 1 Accounts Payable, 1930s
    2 Accounts Payable, 1930s
    3 Accounts Payable, 1930s
    4 Accounts Payable, 1940s
    5 Accounts Payable, 1940s
    6 Accounts Payable, 1950s
    7 Accounts Payable, 1960s
    8 Accounts Payable, 1960s
    9 Accounts Payable, 1960s
    10 Accounts Payable, 1980s
    11 Accounts Payable, 1990s
    12 Accounts Payable, 1990s
    13 Sundries Expenses Ledger, 1948-1955
    14 Accounts Ledger, 1983-1991
5 3:3 1 Accounting Ledger, 1927-1936 (FRAGILE)
    2 Receipts and Disbursements, 1932-1936 (FRAGILE)
    3 Cash Book #1, 1958-1964
    4 Cash Book #2, 1964-1970
    5 Cash Book #3, 1970-1973
6 4 1 Acceptance Forms and Letters, 1952--1961
    2 Resident Letters, 1950-1975
    3 Resident Diet, undated (DAMAGED)
    4 Resident Information Cards, undated
    5 Inmates (Residents) Log, 1927-1938 (FRAGILE, BROKEN COVER)
    6 Resident Registers, 1962-1984
    7 Residents’ Wills (Mackey, Tyler), 1930, 1965
6 5 8 Correspondence, 1965
    9 Correspondence, 1964
    10 Correspondence, 1963
    11 Correspondence, 1961-1962
    12 Correspondence, 1954-1960
    13 Letter File, 1927
    14 Letter File, 1927-1929
    15 Letter File, 1930-1931
    16 Correspondence, “C”, 1941-1946 (from marbled box)
    17 Correspondence, “H”, 1941-1944 (from marbled box)
    18 Correspondence, “L”, 1941-1942 (from marbled box)
    19 Correspondence, “S”, 1946 (from marbled box)
    20 Documents pulled from A-Z Index File because they are too big for the box.
7 3:3 None A-Z Indexed File of Equipment, Servicers, Donations, etc., 1939-1957 (SEE ALSO: Box 6, Folder 20 for pulled documents)
8 4 None Photograph Album w/ original mailing envelope, undated
8 6 None Building Photos
  6 None Building Photos
9 2 None Blueprints

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