Settlement House

Robert F. Kennedy Photo credit: University Archives

Penn’s Christian Association, in existence now for more than a century, has pioneered gay and lesbian peer counseling programs, formed a Black Students League and launched a Women’s Erotic Empowerment series. It has also consistently advocated for peace and justice through direct action and dialogue. Back in 1899 the CA’s predecessor, the Christian Society of the University of Pennsylvania, showed its commitment to social welfare by opening a settlement house at 2624 South Street to provide services to vulnerable children and families living in inner city Philadelphia.

As the program grew, the CA moved the University Settlement House to 2601 Lombard Street, which is where this c.1908 photograph was taken. The program continued to expand to include other settlement houses and two summer camps for children. In 1963, it was split off from the University and placed under the control of a non-religious body so it could be eligible for funding from the United Way.

For more on this and other notable moments in Penn’s history, visit the University Archives web site at

Originally published on November 16, 2006.

Originally published on November 16, 2006