Although the English movement of the mid-19th century to provide better housing for the working classes has received much attention, there has been little published on corresponding activities in the United States. This paper deals with the movement that began in Boston in 1846 and with two groups of buildings: the "model lodging houses" initiated by Charles Eliot Norton and Abbot Lawrence in the early 1850s and constructed from 1855 to 1892. Views, plans, descriptions, and attributions are provided when possible for the four earliest buildings, all of which were demolished before 1875, and current photographs and complete documentation for the four that still stand. Extensive use is made of published and unpublished statements by Norton, Lawrence, and others involved in the movement, as well as of newspaper accounts. The Boston movement and the buildings it produced are related to their parallels in England and, as far as can be ascertained, in New York, which appears to be the only other American city involved in the very earliest phase of the model housing movement.

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