Henry Street Settlement, Lillian Wald Featured in Activism Exhibit

Settlement Artifacts, Rare Footage of Early Nurses on Display

May 19, 2012 - By Ryan Wenzel

Henry Street Settlement and its pioneering founder, Lillian Wald, are featured prominently in "Activist New York," an exciting new exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York about the ways ordinary New Yorkers have advocated, agitated, and exercised their power to shape the city and the nation.

Visitors can screen rare 1920s footage of Ms. Wald at her desk and Settlement workers visiting immigrants in tenement apartments throughout the city. A large brass samovar — one of four from the Settlement’s dining room — is also on display.

Other Henry Street-related artifacts include a silver platter given to Wald on her 70th birthday with the engraved signatures of leading politicians, philanthropists and community leaders, including Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, and Louis and Anne Abrons, whose family continues to support the Settlement to this day. An iPad next to the platter has a facsimile of the tray; touch a signature and a screen appears detailing the individual's relationship to the Settlement. 

The Henry Street section is in the part of the exhibit titled "Houses of Welcome: The Settlement House Movement, 1890-1915" and explores how Henry Street and similar organizations worked to fight the problems faced by immigrants in New York at the turn of the 20th century, which included overcrowding, illness, and poverty.

Visit the Museum of the City of New York's website to learn more about the exhibition.