The Residence Sociale

La Residence Sociale, (House of the Good Neighbor), was established to serve the needs of children and orphans. During World War I, with the help of the AWHS and the American Red Cross, a clinic was opened for the facility.

Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy first came into contact with La Residence Sociale during her exploratory fact-finding trip for AMWA to determine how the organization could best help with the war effort. It was the subject of Esther Pohl Lovejoy’s first book, The House of the Good Neighbor, published in 1919. In it she speaks of the women of La Residence Sociale and their work.

Madamoiselle Bassot and some of her assistants lived in the house all the time. They slept there, prayed there, ate there; and having no other life apart, they made the life they were living attractive. They were sensitive women. They had not developed pity-proof epidermis as a result of work among the poor. They shared the joys and sorrows of their neighbors. These were family affairs. And the whole sad business of relieving distress was conducted with an air of sisterly solicitude and personal concern that took the keen edge off the humiliation that is usually felt by unfortunate people who are obliged to ask for help. This was a house of joy as well as sorrow.

American Women’s Hospital Service began supporting La Residence Sociale during the war and continued providing support into the late 1960s.