|Birth: ||Dec. 4, 1847|
New York, USA
|Death: ||Jan. 15, 1935|
New Jersey, USA
Social worker and reformer. The daughter of Benjamin and Mary Amory Bradford, whose New York State residences were stopping places for slaves escaping via the Underground Railroad, Cornelia Bradford was raised to believe that people were their brothers' and sisters' keepers. As a young woman, she was deeply affected by the plight of iron miners near Chester, New Jersey, where her father was pastor of the Congregational Church. Later she taught and lectured on history, literature, and travel while attending European universities and visiting England's new settlement houses. When she returned to the United States, Bradford became an associate of Jane Addams at Hull-House in Chicago. Arriving in Jersey City in December 1893, Bradford established New Jersey's first settlement house on Grand Street in Jersey City; Whittier House was named after the Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier.
Whittier House rapidly became a success, particularly among immigrants, who would outnumber the native-born in Jersey City before 1900. Bradford's brother Amory, a noted Congregational minister in Montclair, provided financial assistance and later summer outings for children. Whittier House opened the first playground in Jersey City, sponsored classes, and started clubs, including the first women's club in Jersey City, and established the first free kindergarten. Bradford's legal aid society, the "poor man's lawyer,"was based on English models.
Bradford helped lead New Jersey to major reforms. Her 1904 exploration of conditions in glass factories in southern New Jersey led to the formation of the Child Protective League, an attempt to pass a child labor bill, and the establishment of a watchdog child labor agency. Whittier House residents played key roles in the passing of a state tenement housing code. Bradford's New Jersey Association of Neighborhood Workers, created in March 1905, served as a clearinghouse for legislative lobbyists for the ten-hour workday for women, a juvenile court system, and woman suffrage.
Whittier House Settlement, directed by Cornelia Bradford, sponsored many reforming groups, including the Hudson County Tuberculosis Association, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the North American Civic League, and the New Jersey State Bureau of Immigration. In 1912 Bradford served on Jersey City's Board of Education.
Bradford was honored at celebrations marking Whittier House's twentieth and twenty-fifth anniversaries, and in 1923 was awarded an honorary M.A. by the New Jersey College for Women, now Douglass College.
Benjamin F. Bradford (1820 - 1902)
Mary A. Howe Bradford (1818 - 1872)
Cornelia Foster Bradford (1847 - 1935)
Mary E. Bradford Butler (1849 - ____)*
New Jersey, USA
Created by: Robert Hogan
Record added: Jun 14, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 91912347