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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 605: T-357

Additional records of Rutland Corner House, 1950-1999 (inclusive), 1955-1975 (bulk)


Addenda to the records of the Rutland Corner House (174) founded in 1877 as "Home for Working Women"; the House eventually became a halfway house for mentally ill female outpatients.


  • Creation: 1950-1999
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1955-1975

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Most of the records are open for research. Folders to which access would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy are restricted as noted. Records of former residents of Rutland Corner House are closed for 80 years from the last date within each folder. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by Rutland Corner House are held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


20.3 linear feet ((29 + 1/2 file boxes, 8 cartons) plus 1 folio photograph folder, 1 folio+ photograph folder, 3 audiotapes)

These addenda to the Rutland Corner House records span the years 1953 to 1999, when the House was used exclusively as a half-way house for mentally ill female outpatients. Most files arrived at the library in folders; folder titles were retained when possible and appear in quotation marks. The archivist created the file arrangement, as well as the folders for materials received loose. See also Rutland Corner House (Boston, Mass.) Records, 1877-1955 174 for earlier records.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged" photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back with an asterisk in square brackets [*].

Series I, BOARD OF MANAGERS, 1950-1996 (#1.1-27.8), includes meeting minutes, House reports, Finance Committee-related records of the treasurer, Program Study and Evaluation Committee files, other committees, and material generated by former Board president Susan Storey Lyman. Files in this series are arranged in five subseries.

Subseries A, Meeting minutes, 1953-1996 (#1.1-3.7), includes minutes for monthly and annual meetings, notes, member lists, agendas, committee reports, and attachments.

Subseries B, House reports, 1955-1993 (#3.8-4.18), include monthly and annual reports with resident statistics, resident activities, and incidents. In early reports the House director often included resident names in the margins; these reports have been replaced with redacted copies or "clean" duplicates found with the records.

Subseries C, Finance Committee/records of the treasurer, 1950-1993 (#5.1-16.6), includes committee reports, annual financial reports, financial statements, treasurer correspondence, budgeted monthly statements, household account statements, ledgers (with overlapping dates, but no apparent duplication of information), properties, and federal/state taxes. Following reports and committee files, the remaining folders are arranged chronologically within an overall alphabetical scheme.

Subseries D, Program Study and Evaluation Committee, ca.1950-1981 (#16.7-23.8), contains study reports, forms, notes, drafts, committee files, and raw data on studies conducted for the House. Review and evaluation of services from within and by qualified outsiders played a substantial role at the House from its inception, beginning with the first evaluation in 1887. The Program Study and Evaluation Committee was formed by the Board in the 1960s, and their primary goal was to figure out how on-going research at the House was to be conceptualized, with research becoming an integral part of the program performed by Board and House staff.

Research studies were administered at the House regularly from the 1950s through the 1970s. In 1952, one study was designed to guide the future course of the House by analyzing its programs and finances. Another research study, sponsored by a federal grant (1957-1959), was administered by key Board members, along with anthropologist David Landy and psychiatrist Milton Greenblatt as principal investigators. It studied House operations and followed up on former residents. After a second related study was conducted, a monograph was published in 1965, Halfway House; A Sociocultural and Clinical Study of Rutland Corner House, a Transitional Aftercare Residence for Female Psychiatric Patients . Two other studies in 1970 and 1975 accumulated data on the residents at admission, discharge and follow-up. Files are arranged in chronological order.

Subseries E, Other committees and Board, 1953-1994 (#24.1-27.8), contains files for the following committees: Birthday, Executive, House, Nominating, Personnel, Policy, Vanderpol Report Review. The subseries also includes research files, by-laws, conference material, and papers from Board member Jane Gill, and files of Board member and president Susan Storey Lyman. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Series II, OPERATIONS, STAFFING, AND PUBLICITY, ca.1954-1993, 1999 (#28.1-30.11, T-357.1 - T-357.3), includes histories, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health files, public relations material, forms and policies, and staffing. The series is arranged in four subseries.

Subseries A, Histories, ca.1956-1988 (#28.1-28.9, T-357.1 - T-357.3), includes histories written for research study reports, prefaces for funding proposals, and resident welcome packets. Audiotapes and transcripts for oral history interviews with Dr. Harry Solomon, Maida H. Solomon, and Emma Dawson are also in this subseries.

Subseries B, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, 1971-1989 (#28.10-29.5), includes Resident Care Facility annual reports, task force and council files, and a quality assurance evaluation for Lee Street house.

Subseries C, Public relations, ca.1954-1991, 1999 (#29.6-29.17), includes fact sheets, clippings/articles, annual reports, event invitations, presentations, 110th anniversary material, and fundraising letters.

Subseries D, Staffing and related, 1956-1993 (#29.18-30.11), includes job descriptions/ advertisements, Director Clare Gomness correspondence, insurance, and policies and procedures manuals.

Series III. RESIDENTS, 1954-1994 (#30.12-38.97, FD.1, F+D.1), includes resident applications, clinical records, and photograph albums. Files in this series are arranged in three subseries. UNLESS NOTED, FILES ARE CLOSED FOR 80 YEARS FROM THE LAST DATE WITHIN EACH FILE.

Subseries A, Applications and other, 1954-1993 (#30.12-31.23), includes resident forms and house rules, statistics, progress reports, resident card files for Lee Street House, and applications. Following the open files (#30.12-30.15), the remaining folders are closed and arranged chronologically. UNLESS NOTED, FILES ARE CLOSED FOR 80 YEARS FROM THE LAST DATE WITHIN EACH FILE.

Subseries B, Clinical Records, 1956-1994 (#32.1-38.96), includes alphabetical resident files with admission and discharge forms, notes, referrals, hospital records, correspondence, and incident accounts. Not all former residents have files in this subseries. CLOSED FOR 80 YEARS FROM LAST DATE WITHIN EACH RESIDENT FILE.

Subseries C, Photograph albums, ca.1984-1994 (#38.97, FD.1, F+D.1), includes albums assembled by residents with photographs from holidays, field trips, etc., and an album commemorating the closing of the House. Most photographs are not labeled. CLOSED FOR 80 YEARS FROM LAST DATE WITHIN EACH ALBUM.


Founded as the "Home for Working Women" in 1877, and incorporated in 1878 as the "Temporary Home for Working Women," Rutland Corner House provided a place where "women desirous of making an honest living, but penniless and friendless, may find shelter and employment until able to secure a permanent position." In the first year of operation, 368 women were given shelter in a house on Tremont Street, Boston. Laundry and sewing rooms were set up for the working residents, whose clients were mostly local hospitals. The Home was administered by a Board of Managers, who paid a matron and assistants to live in and oversee the residents. In 1886 a permanent building was purchased at 453 Shawmut Avenue, at the corner of Rutland Street. The three prerequisites for admission were "poverty, respectability, and ability to work." Most residents were referred through social agencies, although some were accepted directly from the streets.

In the early 1920s the Home discontinued its industries in laundry and sewing due to the postwar boom. In 1925 the name was changed to Rutland Corner House. The Board noticed an increase in "undesirable types" among the residents, and the House's new function became to serve as temporary lodging for girls and women awaiting final placement by various agencies. This changed composition of residents continued through the 1940s and early 1950s, as illustrated in an annual report from 1947: "Among those helped were unmarried mothers, psychopathic cases, those discharged from hospitals, young runaways, and court cases." With increasing specialization of social service agencies, the Board came to believe that the House served too varied a clientele to be effective, and should focus their efforts on a specific group of individuals.

A 1952 study of the House and its future direction stimulated consultation with various social agencies. In 1953 the Board voted to reorganize, and the House began to serve as a transitional residence for women who were recuperating psychiatric patients, becoming the first urban resource of its kind in the United States. The House formed a cooperative working arrangement with the Boston Psychopathic Hospital. Although not a "treatment" residence, staff were trained to work with emotionally disturbed persons. The Board continued its function; the matron was replaced by a trained social worker, an associate director, and housekeeper. Referrals were primarily from mental hospitals, and occasionally, private therapists. Admission requirements included regular involvement with a therapist, access to an inpatient facility willing to admit on an emergency basis, and participation in full/part-time employment, study, or day hospital. The reorganization made it necessary to move the facility closer to the Boston Psychopathic Hospital, which could handle emergencies that could not be resolved by House staff; a house was purchased at 103 Francis Street. The Boston Psychopathic Hospital leased the first floor for one dollar a year, using it as a club where former and current patients could meet for group activities. The club served as a social gathering place for Rutland Corner House residents as well. In 1962 a larger house was purchased and residents moved to 1027 Beacon Street, Brookline, Massachusetts.

In 1973, the Cambridge-Somerville Mental Health and Retardation Center invited the Board to open a second facility to provide assistance to both women and men. A house was purchased on Lee Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and opened that same year. However, due to lack of funds and physical deterioration, it was closed in 1980. The Cambridge-Somerville Mental Health Center bought the facility and continued to operate it as a community residence. In August of 1993, the Long-Range Planning Committee decided to discontinue the psychiatric halfway house program; the House closed later that year.


The collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Series I. Board of Managers, 1950-1996 (#1.1-27.8)
  2. Series II. Operations, staffing, and publicity, ca.1954-1993, 1999 (#28.1-30.11, T-357.1 - T-357.3)
  3. Series III. Residents, 1954-1994 (#30.12-38.97, FD.1, F+D.1)

Physical Location

Portions of collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 78-M47, 80-M10, 80-M133, 81-M176, 81-M186, 81-M261, 82-M1, 89-M100, 90-M191, 93-M150, 95-M171, 98-M172, 2010-M21

These additional records of Rutland Corner House were given to the Schlesinger Library by Rutland Corner House, former Board of Managers president Susan Storey Lyman, and Nancy Gleason from 1980 to 2010.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Records of the Rutland Corner House, 1877-1955 (174).

Processing Information

Processed: September 2009

Updated: June 2010

By: Stacey Flatt

Rutland Corner House (Boston, Mass.). Additional records of Rutland Corner House, 1950-1999 (inclusive), 1955-1975 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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