Florence Crittenton Home

Florence Crittenton Home.

Florence Crittenton, the daughter of a prominent New York businessman, Charles Crittenton, was four years old when she died of scarlet fever in 1882. Devastated by the death of his beloved Florence, the millionaire father began attending prayer meetings.

It was at one of these meetings that Charles Crittenton met an evangelist, Smith Allen. During a missionary tour with Allen to the "red light district," Crittenton met two young prostitutes and told them how the death of his much loved daughter led to his religious conversion. The girls, moved by Crittenton's story, expressed a desire to also lead a Christian life. To his dismay, Crittenton discovered that there were no alternatives to life on the streets for these young women.

Florence Crittenton Home.

From that day until the first home was opened on April 19, 1883, Charles Crittenton devoted himself to providing a safe haven for the young women of the streets. When that first home opened in New York City to serve "lost and fallen girls," it was called "The Florence Night Mission" in memory of his own daughter. For the next 25 years, Crittenton devoted his life to the National Florence Crittenton Mission, as the organization he founded came to be known.

Kate Waller Barrett came to devote her life to helping unwed mothers and their babies. Born into a well-to-do Virginia family in 1857, it was after her marriage to the Reverend Dr. Robert S. Barrett that she was exposed to the hardships unwed mothers had to endure in the eyes and attitudes of Victorian America.