Friendless Societies

I was looking over a list of 1900 Chicago benevolent societies and a number of “friendless societies” were listed. Some were like St Vincent’s Friends of the Friendless. “St James Home For The Friendless.” And even a listing for a home in Milwaukee called a home for the shamed and friendless. (this was a home for unmarried mothers

I noticed when I was able to find information it seemed these friendless societies were for orphans. Was “friendless” just a nice way of saying orphan.

I found a Wikipedia article about Friendly societies but these all seem to revolve around in case adults get sick.

So were friendless societies orpahanages? Or was it more a generic term?

“Befriend the friendless” is a term used in a number of Christian prayers (and lampooned in the movie Zorro, the Gay Blade.) “Friendly visitor” was a 19th Century term for volunteer social workers and those who performed charitable works. “Friendless societies” grew out of those usages to denote benevolent organizations.

I’m going to hypothesize that with the decline in popularity of traditional Christianity came a greater conviction in the belief that some people - in fact more and more people - just don’t deserve to have friends.

Maybe “friendless society” was just a polite way of writing “NO QUAKERS ALLOWED”. :wink:

Well, the Society for the Friendless in Kansas seems to specifically refer to prisoners.

My guess was actually going to be the homeless. The idea being that, if you had friends, you’d have someone to stay with. But criminals works, too.

Heck, this society backs me up. It’s talking battered women who live on the streets. I’m starting to think it’s just a term for the “undesirables”.

Of course, nowadays online war games serve much the same purpose.

Another odd name:
There is a humane society in Denver that calls itself The Denver Dumb Friends League.

Heh. I read the thread title and immediately thought of this: Diogenes Club - Wikipedia