American reformer, writer, initiator of the improvement of public housing, and the foundation of an organization, Albion Fellows Bacon was born on April 8, 1865 in Evansville, IN.
Several years post-graduation of high school, Fellows worked as a secretary, married a man by the name of Hilary Bacon, birthed several children, and published Songs Ysame. After this early portion of Bacon’s life, she had an urge to assist the public in the Evansville area.
The Desire of Progress
Bacon’s interest in reform was sparked in 1980 after having been drawn from what she described as a young life full of willful ignorance concerning the conditions around her. This shift in Bacon’s life is largely attributed to the condition of the school her daughters attended and the hygienic issues that allowed her daughters to contract scarlet fever.
The discovery of Evansville’s riverfront slums jump-started Bacon’s push to improve low public housing standards, along with other societal faults that existed in the community. Bacon created multiple organizations including, the Flower Mission, the Men’s Circle of Family Visitors, an Anti-Tuberculosis League, and the Monday Night Club. Bacon’s determined mindset to improve the substandard housing in Indiana lead her to draft a model Indiana state law. This bill passed in 1909, but was only usable in Evansville in Indianapolis. With further will power and petitioning, Bacon organized the Indiana Housing Association in 1911, which made the bill applicable statewide.
Beauty for Ashes was the published book created by Bacon that explained the experiences from the campaign she led. Along with Bacon’s efforts to improve substandard housing, she helped with condemning unsafe or unsanitary housing. In the later years of Bacon’s life, she continued to serve the community as executive on the committee of the Indiana Child Welfare Association, assisted with establishing a juvenile probation system, and pushed for child labor and school attendance laws. Bacon’s life ended on December 10, 1933, but her legacy lived on through the work of others.
The Legacy Continues
The groundwork laid by Bacon prompted a group of citizens in the Evansville area to come together in the fight against domestic violence. This group of concerned individuals was the beginning of Albion Fellows Bacon Center. The inspiration for the organization came from the determination and drive Bacon utilized to benefit citizens in the Evansville area. Albion Fellows Bacon Center now serves all victims of sexual and domestic violence, and is determined to end the generational cycle of abuse.
A Woman’s Mission
Women’s History Month is celebrated throughout the month of March, and recognizes the successes of women. Albion Fellows Bacon was an exceptional woman who depicted leadership, self-starting initiatives, and defined the meaning of this month. Her actions to help the community later inspired a non-profit organization specializing in the drive to transform community awareness of domestic and sexual abuse. The growth of Albion Fellows Bacon Center is a reflection on her life and the continual desire she had to strengthen the community.