The former Brooklyn Deaconess Home of Simpson Methodist Episcopal Church on President Street in Carroll Gardens—now a lovingly kept up, three family home—has long been a favorite local building of mine, and an ongoing obsession. (I've been lucky enough to see the inside on one occasion. The bottom two floors are a veritable museum of 19th-century Brooklyn interiors.)
Recently, a reader sent me this passage from the Twenty-First Annual Report of the General Board of Managers of the Woman’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church for the Year 1901-1902. (Cincinnati: Western Methodist Book Concern Press, 1902 (p. 144).) Very interesting.
Brooklyn Deaconess Home.
238 President Street, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Mrs. F. A. Fowler, Superintendent.
"The Brooklyn Deaconess Home of the Methodist Episcopal Church" is incorporated under the laws of the State of New York under the above title. The Home itself was deeded, however, some years since by the late Emira Christian, as a memorial to her husband, to theBrooklyn Church Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, this City Evangelization Society assuming the entire care of the property in consideration of a preference in the assignment of deaconesses to its fields of labor. Accordingly, all contributions given to this Home are used to place and keep the deaconesses in our own Home. During the past year fourteen deaconesses and probationers have been assigned to work, and (with the exception of one, who for several months worked in the interests of our Seney Hospital, under the direction of its superintendent) all were engaged in parish work in the several Churches with which they were connected. Nearly four thousand dollars was expended by the Treasurer of the Home for its support and the maintenance of the workers. This year a small debt of one thousand dollars, which has been outstanding for several years, is being paid. Most of the deaconesses are assigned to down-town missionary fields. A few more young women who feel called to this work may find admission to our Home.
Our Training-school is of a high order, the Faculty consisting of some of the most scholarly of our city clergymen, and the list of special lecturers includes the ablest preachers of several denominations.
Recently, by an amendment to the Constitution of the Board of Direction, which consists of representatives from the Woman's HomeMissionary Society, the Brooklyn Church Society, and the Conference Deaconess Board, a Board of Managers, consisting of two ladies from each Church in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, and the pastor's wife (ex-officio) was constituted, and to it is delegated all matters pertaining to the raising of the funds needed for the support of the Home. Deaconess work in Brooklyn is growing in popularity, and ourHome, under the efficient superintendency of Mrs. Frances A. Fowler, is an essential factor in our local Church work.