and its history
in Rochester NY
• …The city by the Genesee was very
fortunate in having a populace which
contributed to agencies and volunteered
their time to good causes.
• From the days before the Civil War, there
were organizations which attempted to help
the sick poor, orphans, and others needing
• In 1873, the Benevolent Association sent
volunteer visitors into needy homes to assist
with food and other necessities. This also
occurred after strikes and depressions in the
Help from those at the top
• In 1918, George Eastman and Hiram Sibley
launched a combined united drive for funds
to assist those in need – and raised 5 million
• Eastman personally gave $150,000; there
were over 100,000 contributors. Even
though they all did not volunteer at projects,
there was a large base of support.
• This began during WW I, and continued
thereafter with the startup organized by the
Federation of Churches, Catholic Charities,
and Jewish Women’s League.
• Subsequently the Rochester Female
Charitable Society managed the volunteer
• It’s successor today built upon the 2500
trips per year in the 20’s to over 250,000
trips annually in recent years.
During the Depression…
• Over 10,000 people contributed over 6
million dollars for local work projects.
Again, the spirit of assisting others even
during times of great strain showed the
spirit of the city.
Libraries were an integral part of
The early Reynolds library became
part of the current Rochester Public
Library. The Reynolds family were
successful businesspeople who felt
they city needed a free public library.
The medical reading room of the Reynolds Library, located on Spring Street in the
former home of Mortimer Reynolds. The library had previously operated out of the
Reynolds Arcade. Made from a photograph dated 1895-1933.
Bookmobile and Outreach
• Short history – started in 1923, taken off
road in 2003. Oldest bookmobile service in
NY. The department coordinated volunteer
outreach to shut in’s, physically challenged,
participation in library outreach
• Activities included volunteer presentations
about sight issues, hearing impaired,
physically challenged, newsletters, home
visits, etc. coordinated and arranged by the
staff, with the participation of volunteers
from the community.
The Big Yellow Box Rocks…
• George Eastman and the Community Chest –
• Involvement of Eastman Kodak in the community
– they provided funding for libraries, the
photography museum, supported the sister city
program and sponsored the "Kodakid" evacuees
during WWII; they gave stock as gifts; they
assisted in the UR acquisition of River Campus,
and purchased WWII war bonds.
• Activities include many health related
programs, from fresh air activities to
informing parents of childhood diseases and
how to avoid or treat them.
• Archives are at the library showing
activities including volunteers.
• Durand-Eastman Park, a large park along
the shores of Lake Ontario, was given by
Henry Durand and George Eastman as a
joint project to improve the lives of the
citizens. This was given to the city by the
two wealthy men before Dr. Durand's death
in 1929 (and Eastman’s in 1932).
• Mother Dorsey – she founded the first
orphanage for dependent colored children.
It was in operation 1918-1928, and began as
a volunteer operation, later to become
funded. She died in 1932.
Hillside Home for Children, Pt. 1
Hillside Children’s Center originated at a
meeting of Rochester women at the home of
Mrs. William Atkinson on February 28,
1837. The women named the organization
"The Rochester Female Association for the
Relief of Orphan and Destitute Children."
Labor movement and issues
• Conditions – Lifestyles - Strike and
• Many of the local colleges have programs
for their students to volunteer in the
community, whether one time or as an
Citizens and Churches
• Cultural organizations from various groups
representing cultural backgrounds often
have volunteer opportunities available.
• Churches are well known for their
participation of social projects, whether
they are tutoring, food kitchens,. Clothing,
or other activities.
• History and genealogy is attractive to some
people, and a long standing group from the area
has stepped up to work on various projects.
• These are topics of interest to many people who
are interested in their community, their families,
and how the two interacted to make them who
Sample projects from the RGS
• Docent program at the library – volunteers
on weekends and nights to help people
search their families. Well received,
Cemetery records projects
• Compilation of records from Mount Hope –
• Many thousands of items from 1837 to
1892 have been extracted and printed to
help with the use of these records. This has
been entirely a volunteer project, taking a
total of 12 years, but the 3rd volume took
only two years.
• Presentations at local gatherings – ethnic
festivals, historical gatherings, museums,
And more from them
• Church records copied and preserved for
future research purposes.
• Digitizing – The Gleason Foundation has
given $300,000 to the Library for the
purpose of digitizing valuable and
The late Josephine Tate felt that local
history was of great importance to the
community and left funds for the
collection and outreach of materials
in that subject.