Built in 1893 by a New York businessman to provide a headquarters for charitable foundations, the classically designed United Charities Building housed some of the Progressive Era's most influential women's groups. In the late 19th century, child labor reform emerged as a signature issue for progressive-era women. Dedicated to humanitarian issues, women's groups agitated to force the change of U.S. labor laws and to help shape the development of future policies.
Using the United Charities Building as a base to coordinate a host of reform oriented goals, associations such as the Charity Organization Society, the National Consumers' League and the National Child Labor Committee were among the first reformist organizations given a true voice in the formation of government policies. Representing women's successful entry into arenas of action removed from traditional realms like nursing or child care, the United Charity Building housed the organizations of leaders like Florence Kelley and researchers like Josephine Goldmark--women who helped mold the United States government's modern role in social issues. The coalition of organizations working in the United Charities Building, for example, convinced Theodore Roosevelt to establish the federally funded United States Children's Bureau, a group instrumental in ending child labor in America while also agitating for government regulation of contracts to promote improved labor conditions.
United Charities Building
United Charities Building front entrance
Photographs by Antonio Angileri, CPM, courtesy of the United Charities.
The United Charities Building, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 105 East 22nd St. in New York City, NY. The building is not open to the public.
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