Feb.7, 1899 – On this day, one-hundred and thirteen years ago, the League was formed in downtown Boston’s Park Street Chapel. Founder Anna Harris Smith and a few close colleagues agreed on the need for an organization to care for homeless and abandoned animals, and decided to form an organization for that purpose.

It all began with just 110 supporters and $1,200. Today, there are over 400 volunteers and 92 employees. From the beginning, Anna Harris Smith commonly used the phrase“Kindness Uplifts the World” to describe the League’s overall philosophy, encapsulating her desire to care for both animals and their human companions.

Her philosophy still rings true as the ARL of Boston continues the work she began.

About Anna Harris Smith of Dorchester

League founder Anna Clapp Harris Smith – a descendant of the founders of Dorchester – was also a resident of the area, where her house still stands today. The house is believed to have been constructed circa 1635 based on the age of its stone foundation. The Clapp house is currently undergoing a restoration. The restored home will offer a glimpse into the city’s storied past but is also a reminder of the neighborhood’s – and the League’s – early history.