Travelers Aid Society of New York

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The Travelers Aid Society of New York (TAS-NY) was founded by Grace Hoadley Dodge in New York City in 1907.[1] Thirteen other prominent Christian and Jewish women, including the social worker Belle Moskowitz, made up the Society's first Board of Directors.[2] The Travelers Aid Society's purpose was to provide social work to women traveling alone in order to protect them from moral danger. The TAS-NY believed that the greatest threat to female travelers in the early twentieth century was white slave trafficking, defined as the coercion of "white" women into prostitution and their subsequent sale to procurers or male clients. Agents of the Travelers Aid Society patrolled Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station, as well as the city's piers where transatlantic ocean liners docked, looking for women who they identified as vulnerable. Services usually entailed safely escorting women, immigrant and native-born alike, to city addresses, other transportation lines, or to a temporary lodging home, such as the YWCA.[3][4] The TAS-NY's first headquarters was a four-story row house located a short walk from Grand Central Terminal at 238 East 48th St in the Turtle Bay neighborhood.

When Grace Dodge died in 1914, General Secretary Orin Clarkson Baker became the driving force behind the Travelers Aid Society. Baker oversaw the expansion of its work in the city. By 1917, the TAS-NY had agents on duty at all the major rail terminals in New York and New Jersey and met all of the incoming transatlantic ocean liners, as well as some domestic ships. Baker abruptly resigned from the TAS-NY in 1919.[5]


  1. ^ "Guide to the Records of the Travelers Aid Society of New York". New-York Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  2. ^ Perry, Elizabeth (2000). Belle Moskowitz. Boston: Northeastern University Press, p. 34.
  3. ^ McCall, Bertha (1950). History of the National Travelers Aid Association, 1911-1948. New York, pp. 3-5.
  4. ^ Cimino, Eric (Winter 2016). "The Travelers' Aid Society: Moral Reform and Social Work in New York City, 1907-1916". New York History. 97 (1): 35, 42–45.
  5. ^ McCall. History of National Travelers Aid. pp. 31-33. Cimino, "Travelers' Aid Society," p. 50