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The Association operated by committee, made up of executive officers and a Board of Managers. All officers and committee members served without compensation. There were no salaried officers except the superintendent and matron; all other employees received wages not exceeding $15 per month. Physicians were brought in for the constant medical attention the children needed, usually for no fees.

There were three Trustees, annually elected who assisted in the conduct of public business, and helped in the general management of the Home. There were no Black trustees for 9 years when in 1872 Dr. Charles B. Purvis and James Wormley, noted proprietor of the Wormley’s Hotel, were elected. Frederick Douglass became a life member in 1886 and was a trustee in 1879.

For 12 years the organization was managed by white women, the wealthiest and most cultured ladies of the city. Gradually, Blacks had greater representation on the executive committee, and those that did were the most cultivated, occupying places of leadership in political and social circles. A few of the well-known women are featured in this material: Helen Appo Cook, Josephine Bealle Bruce, Charlotte L. Forten Grimke and Dr. Rebecca Cole. Many others were documented in the reports of the Association.

The organization had a membership with annual dues of $2, and a life membership for $50. There were 28 life members by 1865, 25 of whom were women, and 20 of them wives of notable politicians. Among them were Mrs. S.C Pomeroy, Mrs. William H Seward and Mrs. Horace Mann. As a national organization its members represented 28 states, with Massachusetts the most popular. Four members were from Washington DC.

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