Lucy Flower

Lucy Flower (1837-1921) was born in Massachusetts, raised in New Hampshire, educated in New York and worked her first job at the US Patent Office in Washington D.C. before making her way alone to the Midwest to become a teacher in Wisconsin. After marriage, she and her family moved to Chicago where Flower served on various boards including the Chicago Half-Orphan Asylum and the Chicago Home for the Friendless. Her passion for education drove her to help organize the Illinois Training School for Nurses in Chicago. She served on Chicago’s School Board where she fought to establish kindergartens in elementary schools. She also convinced fellow School Board members to offer manual training programs for girls as well as for boys at the city’s high schools. In 1894, Flower became the first female trustee of the University of Illinois.

Flower is also well known for the work she did in the establishment of a Juvenile Court in Cook County rightfully earning the title, “The Mother of Juvenile Court Law.” A large vocational high school, serving girls from all parts of Chicago, was named for Lucy Flower.

Why this stop? The Brown Line Paulina stop is 8 blocks from where Lucy Flower lived.

Listen to this Curious City podcast to learn about Lucy Flower’s part in the development of the juvenile justice system.

Get involved — Chicago Home for the Friendless? In case you’re wondering, it was a social service organization that had an orphanage, a shelter for women and children and also provided services for poor elderly Chicagoans. It eventually became part of what is now known as Metropolitan Family Services. Contributions of a variety of goods are always needed—art supplies, diapers, baby wash, sheets and towels, gently used furniture and more. Find out more.