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Maria M. Love and The Fitch Crèche of Buffalo | Community Spirit

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Maria M. Love and The Fitch Crèche of Buffalo
Maria M. Love and The Fitch Crèche of Buffalo
  •   The Fitch Crèche, nationally recognized as the first day care center for the children of working women in the United States, one which would serve as a model to be emulated by other American cities.  It was the first to implement a Froebel kindergarten in the U.S.  
  •   Maria M. Love was a prominent Buffalonian and social services pioneer.  In 1881, she established the Fitch Crèche, at 159 Swan Street in Buffalo, near the corner of Michigan Avenue. Ms. Love founded the Fitch Crèche, after a trip to France where she became aware of the plight of children of working mothers.  The building was a dry goods store that was owned by Benjamin Fitch, a native Buffalonian who donated this building for use by the Crèche which formally opened January 6, 1881. By 1881, Mr. Fitch was a wealthy New York City philanthropist.
  •   The Fitch Crèche, was formed under the auspices of the Charity Organization Society of Buffalo, the first organization of its type in the United States.  The first charity organization societies were created to re-organize the public and private charities that had proliferated during the depression of the 1870s. Many charity leaders were disturbed by what they saw as an inefficient and chaotic array of urban philanthropy. The charity organization movement broke from earlier traditions by avoiding the dispensation of direct relief. The following descriptions of the Fitch Crèche, are excerpts taken from the "Proceedings of Charities and Correction at the thirteenth annual session held in St. Paul, Minn." July 15-22, 1886, written by Nathaniel S. Rosenau.  
  •    When we realize the truth of Victor Hugo's words, "All the vagabondage of the world begins in neglected childhood" we will also realize that the beginning of work for the actual prevention of pauperism lies among the children.  To Build up in them ideas of order, of cleanliness, and of thrift; to save them from the neglect of squalid homes; to keep them from the highways and the gutters; and above all, to remove from their lives the taint of beggary, the disgrace of municipal relief, which in the light of modern experience, is a moral disease, more contagious than any known to medicine,---is to build a future generation, self-reliant, cleanly, and thrifty, which will not require alms, which will not need Charity Organization Societies, which will travel the road paved for it in it's younger days,--the road to independent citizenship.   To these ends, the crèche  and the labor bureau are all important factors. We, in Buffalo, are satisfied that no other charities have helped so far toward their consummation.
  •  "We charge a daily fee of 5 cents for each child"... 

The Fitch Crèche Story Continues in The Buffalo History Gazette

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