📍New York House and School of Industry. In March of 1850 a group of approximately fifty wealthy women met to discuss the plight of impoverished females. Among them was Catharine Beecher who urged that the best way to help these women was to train them to earn their own income. She advocated the establishment of sewing classes & the House of Industry was founded. By the end of April 1851 the group had enough money to rent a small wooden house at 120 West 16th Street. The owner, Samuel Shaw Howland, offered to sell the house for $7,000 or to rent it at $450 a year. The women chose to rent; however they had to find a man to lease the house for them. Howland was unwilling to contract business with a “society of mere women,” so the House of Industry was forced to sublet.
Later that year the House of Industry was incorporated and by 1852 had accumulated $20,000 in donations—nearly half a million dollars by today’s standards. No doubt with no small amount of satisfaction the women purchased the house from Howland for about $16,000 two years later.