Camden Home for Friendless Children

Camden Home for Friendless Children - 1915

Established in 1865, The Camden Home for Friendless Children found its roots at 915 Haddon Avenue in Camden, NJ, by the 1890s. Mrs. Lucretia Read, widow of prominent Camden realtor William T. Read Sr. and mother of New Jersey State Senator William T. Read Jr., played a vital role in the institution. Actively engaged in the Home’s affairs, Lucretia served on the Board of Managers and later assumed the position of President. Even after her passing in October 1936 at the age of 83, she held the title of President Emeritus of the Board.

Post-World War II, in 1946, the institution underwent a name change to the Camden Home for Children. Operating at 56 children’s capacity, the home eventually closed due to age-related constraints and the escalating needs of the community. Renamed as the Camden Home for Children, the foundation operated during the 1960s and 1970s at Kaighn Avenue and Vesper Boulevard, a facility subsequently utilized by the Camden Board of Education.

The original facility at 915 Haddon Avenue faced closure in the 1960s, leading to its demolition. In its stead, the Camden branch of the Salvation Army erected a new building at the same Haddon Avenue location.

In more recent years, the Camden Home for Children organization maintained offices in Westmont, New Jersey. Although, as of 2011, no physical office or facility remains, the organization continues its mission by serving children in need behind the scenes and supporting sister agencies in their endeavors.

Following a merger with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, The Camden Home for Friendless Children underwent a name change to Camden Home for Children & S.P.C.C. In August 2010, John Powell, a longstanding Executive Director, passed away, and Alan L. Stedman succeeded him in this position.

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2 responses to “Camden Home for Friendless Children”

  1. Is there a list of children admitted to the orphanage and where they sent, where and when they died and how? Genealogy searches end and family members cannot be found.

    1. Good question. I’m not aware of any list. Some orphanages in Philadelphia had “yearbooks” for each year and are stored at the national archives, though I have yet to be there and look myself. I have not found any sort of information on kids who were in Camden, beyond the associated news articles.

      Having had family members in orphanages in Philadelphia, I agree it is extremely difficult to find information. Making matters worse, we believe that that some children had their names changed by the staff (perhaps due to literacy) and that adds additional complexity.

      Should I make it to the Library of Congress or to the National Archives, both on the to-do list, I will post updated information.

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