Women of Valor


Outdoor Recreation League

Lillian Wald, 1867 - 1940

"Many years familiarity with the children's attempts to play in the streets has not made me indifferent to its pathos, which is not the less real because the children are unconscious of it. In the midst of the pushcart market, with its noise, confusion, and jostling, the checker or crokinole board is precariously perched on top of a hydrant, constantly knocked over by the crowd and patiently replaced by the little children."  

Wald was deeply concerned about the needs of her Lower East Side neighbors and worked to improve the living conditions of those around her. One of her first Henry Street projects was to transform the settlement house's small backyard into a playground, which became "a heaven of delight to the children." In the same spirit, she helped to found and was an active member of the Outdoor Recreation League, which focused attention on the need for public parks and playgrounds. The League raised funds for the improvement and upkeep of Seward Park, which later became the first municipal playground in New York City.

  1. "Many years familiarity..." From Lillian Wald, The House on Henry Street. (New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc. 1915) 72.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Lillian Wald - Outdoor Recreation League." (Viewed on April 19, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/wald/outdoor-recreation-league>.