The Jamaica Plain Friendly Society


The Jamaica Plain Friendly Society was a public charity incorporated in 1901 and had offices on the second floor of the Curtis Hall municipal building in Jamaica Plain. The Society provided relief to the poor by providing home work sewing garments.

The Society also made payments to households experiencing illness or distress to allow them to purchase food, fuel, clothing, and to pay their light bills. Its mission was, “To relieve temporary distress and befriend the need, without regard to age, sex, color, creed or nationality”. In its annual report for the year ending in 1921, the Society reported that it aided 144 families by dispensing $3,395.00 (worth more than $44,000 in 2014 dollars).

The Society counted among its board members Reverend Charles Dole and Dr. George Faulkner. The Society was the only civic group in Jamaica Plain and perhaps one of the few in metropolitan Boston to contain almost equal numbers of men and women. The women served as officers and members of the executive committee.

The Jamaica Plain Historical Society was fortunate to be the recipient of a donation of the ledgers of the Friendly Society covering the years 1889 to 1901. We have recently scanned the volume and made it available on-line. We have not had the opportunity to carefully read the ledger but we suspect there might be any number of interesting stories embedded within its pages. We are looking for one or more volunteers to read the volume and write a report or article on the contents. You can view a scanned image of the book here.