Octavia Hill Association


Octavia Hill Association
Philadelphia Immigration


Photos and documents from and about the Octavia Hill Association, a housing development group in the early 20th century in Philadelphia


Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries


1890s - 1920s


Courtesy of Temple University Libraries

Collection Items

Bad Habits Revealed
A sewage- and garbage-lined street betrays the "bad habits" of the people who live there. This photo showcases the unsanitary conditions that working-class immigrant communities lived in.

Before and After
The OHA shows how they improved living conditions in Philadelphia, and they asked people to invest in their company stock

Callowhill Nationalities
Map of a Philadelphia neighborhood showing the different immigrant communities who lived there.

Casa Ravello
Overview of immigrant home projects throughout the course of several years, including one project that had a "demoralizing effect on O.H.A. [Octavia Hill Association]." This list chronicled the organization's efforts to improve housing conditions for…

Filthy Surface Sewage
"Filthy Surface Sewage in Which Children Play" - this Octavia Hill Association photo shows the unsanitary conditions that working-class, immigrant families faced. Their crowded tenements often lacked basic utilities such as plumbing and had no clean,…

Friendly Rent Collectors
Newspaper ad from the Octavia Hill Association showing that Philadelphians could Americanize the foreign-born through friendly rent collectors.

Hector McIntosh Playground
This informational pamphlet describes the benefits of the Octavia Hill Association's project, the Hector McIntosh playground at Front and League Streets. Members of the Octavia Hill Association received this pamphlet so they could see how their money…

Help Us Acquire
Newspaper ad asking for people to buy company stock in Octavia Hill Association reads "Help US Acquire Ownership or Management of Property Like This and rid the city of a menace by replacing it with a sanitary home that will yield a profit at a small…

New Homes For Wage Earners
This flyer advertises how the Octavia Hill Association makes and maintains homes for "wage-earners," making sure to clarify that their housing projects benefit immigrants to work and contribute to the economy.

Housing Bill No. 863, 864
Title page for new legislation. Bill No. 863 regarded water for small dwellings, and Bill No. 864 regarded sanitary inspections.
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