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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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CHARITY ORGANIZATION. An early form of consumer protection agency, the Charity Organization was started in 1888 and operated by ladies of the city. The organization warned the public in 1892 of individuals preying on the community. (1)

In February, 1892 officials of the organization announced that it would broaden its operations by opening an industrial school for little girls. Beginning with a class of about fifty, the school would meet Saturday mornings for: singing, instructive story telling, and sewing lessons for one hour. The session would close with singing and march or calisthenics. The officers of the school were Harriet Van Duzee, president; Jennie Powers, vice-president; Susie Weigel, recording secretary; Alice Clark, corresponding secretary; and Martha BAKER, treasurer. (2)

In January 1894 the organization reported that it had 250 families apply for help with 76% found in actual need. The industrial school had a regular attendance of thirty girls learning to sew. Fifty-three families had received "the day before Christmas baskets" with food and a small gift for each child. All of this work was accomplished by nineteen members. (3)



1. "Municipal Molecules," Dubuque Daily Herald, January 23, 1892, p. 4

2. "Girls' Industrial School," Dubuque Daily Herald, February 20, 1892, p. 4

3. "The Charity Organization," Dubuque Daily Herald, January 6, 1894, p. 4