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Cornelia Foster Bradford

Cornelia Foster Bradford (1847-1935) established Whittier House, a Jersey City social establishment in 1894.

Whittier House provided a variety of services to improve the lives of immigrants and the poor; including the city’s first free Kindergarten program and the development of playgrounds for local residents. The idea was so popular that the city took over the program.

In 1900, Bradford aided Juliet Clannon Cushing in founding the Consumers’ League of New Jersey. This helped to achieve New Jersey’s child labor laws and the Child Protective League. Whittier House had almost twenty years of experience in social settlement work and urban reform when its 19th Annual Report was written in 1913. A wide variety of clubs, activities, and initiatives are noted in the report. Whittier House’s Headworker at the time was still Cornelia Bradford. She remained in this position until 1926.


Burstyn, Joan N. 1990. “Cornelia Foster Bradford”. Past and Promise, Lives of New Jersey Women. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/54486202

James, Edward T., Janet Wilson James, and Paul S. Boyer. 1971. Notable American women, 1607-1950: a biographical dictionary. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/221275644  

Questions to Explore

What did Bradford do after leaving the Whittier House’s Headworker position in 1926?

How did Whittier House provide services to immigrants and the poor?

What happened to Whittier House after the city took over the program?

Additional Resources

Burstyn, Joan N.. Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women. United States: Syracuse University Press, 1997.

Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary. United Kingdom: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971.