The East Boston Social Centers, 68 Central Square, Boston, MA 02128
Louisa Alcott Club and Center, 15 Oswego St, north of E Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02118
Massahusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Room 3-108, Cambridge, MA 02139
476 Jamaicaway, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Isabel F. Hyams (March 22, 1865 – February 17, 1932) was a philanthropist and social and educational worker. The Hyams sisters along with their brother, Geoffrey, supported a settlement house and social service activities in East Boston for many years. In 1937, they established the Fresh Air Camps for local children suffering with tuberculosis. Isabel began the experimental Penny Lunch Club to provide Boston students with nutritious lunches for one or two cents.
Isabel Hyams was a member of the class of 1888 in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For many years thereafter she was associated with Ellen Swallow Richards (1842-1911), assistant professor of sanitary chemistry at the Institute, in her laboratory work relating to public health.
The pioneer effort of Hyams in social and educational work was the Louisa M. Alcott Club, which she founded in 1895 in the South End of Boston. Through clubs and classes for children of all ages she adapted the principles of home economics to the child's physical development, with extension work into the home for the parents. In 1905 an exhibit of this work at the fifth international congress in Washington was given a special medal. These lessons in domestic science were a forerunner of the movement known today as health education. In connection with the Louisa M. Alcott Club, Hyams also conducted during the Summer months the Orchard House at Hingham as a vacation home for children of the club.
For many years Hyams had been a benefactor and prime mover in activities relating to tuberculosis. She was a trustee of the Boston Sanatorium in Mattapan and a member of the special committee of the outpatient department until the sanatorium was taken over by the Boston City Hospital. In this connection she was primarily responsible for the opening of the first outdoor school in Boston, at Franklin Park. Hyams was for 27 years clerk of the Boston Tuberculosis Association, and was a leader in the establishment by that association of the Prendergast Preventorium for Children at Mattapan and of the Sheltered Workshop for discharged tuberculosis patients, who were unable immediately to engage in industrial occupations under competitive conditions.
Hyams and her sister, Sarah A. Hyams (1867-1942), had charge of the disbursement for charitable purposes of the income of a large fund established by their brother, Godfrey M. Hyams. Godfrey Hyams had become wealthy from investments in mining and the railroads. The Hyams foundation still supports many programs for disadvantaged youth in Boston.
Hyams gave her entire life to the promotion of work for the young, the needy, the sick and the unfortunate. In selecting the objects for which she worked and gave, she looked only to the results which might be accomplished, and made no discriminations of race, color or creed.
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