Mid-Atlantic Mental Institutions Photographs
[n.d., possibly ca. 1915]


PRI3192

Quantity: 96 black-and-white photographs (1 box, 0.25 cu. ft.)
Access: Open for research
Acquisition: Source unknown; stamped on back of each photograph: NYSL September 13, 1943
Processed By: Jill Tominosky, Student Assistant, Manuscripts and Special Collections, September 2019

Scope And Content Note:

The subjects of these black-and-white photographs provide visual documentation of the daily activities of patients, as well as external views the buildings of mental health institutions in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the early-twentieth century. Although the images are undated, one photograph (#89) shows a calendar open to February 1915 and two others have 1915 penciled in on the back (#37 and #46).

Most of the images measure 13 cm x 18 cm and are generally in good condition; some are damaged at the corners. Each image, except for those contained in folders 12 and 13, has a penciled or typewritten note on the back.

The institutions represented in this collection are the Manhattan Psychiatric Hospital on Randall’s Island, New York City, New York; the Rome State Custodial Asylum, Oneida County, New York; the Craig Colony for Epileptics, Sonyea, Livingston County, New York; the Syracuse State School [?], Onondaga County, New York; Letchworth Village, Thiells, Rockland County, New York; [Massachusetts School for the Feeble-minded?], Waverley, Massachusetts; Psychopathic Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts (closed in 2003; torn down in 2011); Wrentham State School, Massachusetts; New Jersey Home for the Education and Care of Feeble-minded Children, Vineland, New Jersey; and Elwyn, Pennsylvania (originally: Pennsylvania Training School for Feeble-Minded Children).

Box and Folder List :

Box

Folder

Photo

“Caption” written/typed on back of image [Description by processor]

Manhattan Psychiatric Hospital, Randall’s Island, New York

1

1

1

“R. I.” [8 girls in a kitchen posed with kitchen utensils used in preparing meals; the girls are wearing long, white smocks and white hats]

1

1

2

“School, R.I.” [about two dozen female students sitting at individual desks in a classroom]

1

1

3

“Randall’s” [exterior of an L-shaped, three-story building with a flat roof]

1

1

4

“Bldg. R.I.” [exterior of a three-story, flat-roofed building attached to a one-story high-ceilinged building]

1

1

5

“R.I.” [exteriors of two three-story buildings, one of which has high ceilings]

1

1

6

“Randall’s Island” [exterior of a one-story building]

1

1

7

“Randall’s Island” [another view of the building in #6]

1

1

8

“Randall’s Island” [exterior of a one-story building with a gazebo in front of it]

1

1

9

“Randall’s Island” [exterior of a two-story building with windows in the mansard-style roof connected to a one-story enclosed walkway; the main building also has a domed roof over part of it]

1

1

10

“Randall’s Island” [exterior of a four-story building with a flat roof and a porch extending from the central part of the front of the structure]

1

1

11

“Randall’s Island” [exterior of a two-story house-like building with porches on the first and second floors]

Rome State Custodial Asylum [originally the Oneida County Poorhouse], Rome, New York

1

2

12

“Crippled low grades. Rome” [about two dozen juvenile patients in a community room]

1

2

13

“One of new dormitories. Rome” [a barracks-style room filled with about four dozen single beds]

Craig Colony for Epileptics, Sonyea, Livingston County, New York

1

3

14

“Day ward for men – moderate low grades in Infirmary. Sonyea, N.Y.” [about three dozen men sitting on benches or on the floor; nothing else in the room]

1

3

15

“Laundry at Sonyea, being repaired after fire” [exterior of a two-story building]

1

3

16

“Group of nine bldgs. in women’s section of Sonyea, N.Y.” [two-story buildings]

1

3

17

“Example of crack in wall Sonyea, N.Y.” [crack extends from a second-floor window to a column of the porch]

1

3

18

“Room of a girl patient, Sonyea, N.Y.” [This corner room includes a bed, a carpet over a portion of the hardwood floor, a rocking chair with a small ottoman, curtains on each of the two windows, and pictures and decorations on the wall.]

1

3

19

“Iroquois Bldg., Sonyea, N.Y.” [exterior of a two-story building]

1

3

20

“Hospital, Sonyea, N.Y.” [exterior of a multi-gabled two- to two-and-a-half-story building]

1

3

21

“Central group of bldgs. Sonyea, N.Y. House to left first bldg. in N.Y. devoted to care of Epileptics.” [exteriors of several multi-story buildings]

1

3

22

“Infirmary for men. Sonyea, N.Y. Length across front of bldg. 272 feet” [exterior of a large, two-story, multi-gabled building]

1

3

23

“First house in State devoted to care of Epileptics. Sonyea, N.Y.” [exterior of a two- to two-and-a-half story wooden building with a porch]

1

3

24

“One of ‘Village Green’ group of six houses. Sonyea, N.Y.” [exterior of a two-story building with porch]

1

3

25

“Administration Bldg., Sonyea, N.Y.” [exterior of a three-story brick building]

1

3

26

“The J.R. Hawkins School House, Sonyea, N.Y.” [exterior of a two-story building with a cellar]

1

3

27

“Lentworth & another Bldg., to left of Administration Bldg., Sonyea, N.Y.” [exteriors of a four-story building with a porch and a two-and-a-half-story building]

1

3

28

“Bldg. for Tubercular male patients. Snother [i.e., Another] bldg. duplicate of same for women. Sonyea, N.Y.” [exterior of a two-story building with a screened-in porch]

1

3

29

“Quarantine Bldg., Sonyea, N.Y.” [exterior of a small one-story wooden building]

1

3

30

“3 of ‘Village Gree[n]’ group of houses. 3 others of same type on opposite side of street. Sonyea, N.Y.” [exteriors of two-story buildings with porches]

Syracuse State School [?], Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York

1

4

31

“Boy’s living house, at farm – with inmates of same. Syracuse” [19 men wearing, for the most part, winter hats, sweaters, mittens and boots stand in front of a two-story wood-and-shingle house with a porch; the men are standing in ankle-deep snow and there is snow on the roof with a few small icicles hanging from the eaves]

1

4

32

“Herd Holstein cows at farm. Syracuse” [cows stand between men in the foreground and a very large barn in the background]

1

4

33

“Holstein herd – at farm. Syracuse” [similar image to #32]

1

4

34

“Loom in basement shop. Syracuse” [young man is working at the loom]

1

4

35

“Knitting & Embroidery Classes. Syracuse” [11 young women sitting at tables intent on the projects they are working on]

Letchworth Village, Thiells, Rockland County, New York

1

5

36

“Boys unloading fertilizer from car in snowstorm. Letchworth Village” [six men are standing in the railroad [?] car; three carts with large wooden wheels are parked perpendicular to the fertilizer car; each of two of the carts is hitched to a pair of horses and one cart is hitched to a pair of oxen; a telegraph/telephone pole and wires is on the right-hand-side of the photograph]

1

5

37

“Dormitories at Letchworth Village, Thiells, New York” [exterior of the building(s); trees in the foreground obscure some of the building(s)]

Massachusetts School for Idiotic and Feeble-minded Youth (today?: Walter E. Fernald State School), Waverley, Massachusetts 

1

6

38

“Laundry, Waverley” [exterior of a one-story building with two huge chimneys]

1

6

39

“Infirmary, Waverley” [exterior of a building; men sitting on benches that line one side of the building; children playing on the large cement [?] patio between the building and a four-rail fence]

1

6

40

“Industrial, Waverley” [exterior of a two-story brick building with a field-stone basement]

Psychopathic Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

1

7

41

“Psychopathic Hospital, Boston” [exterior of a four-story brick building, ca. 1912]

1

7

42

“Operating Room. Psychopathic Hospital, Boston” [probably a state-of-the-art operating room, ca. 1912, with operating gurney, huge picture window, a five-lamp chandelier, shelves and case for storing equipment, etc.

Wrentham State School, Massachusetts

1

8

43

“School House Wrentham” [exterior of a two-story, high-ceilinged brick building on a field-stone basement]

1

8

44

“Presumably Office Wrentham Unfinished Bldg.,” [exterior of a one-story, high-ceilinged brick building]

1

8

45

“Laundry Wrentham” [exterior of a one-story flat-roofed building]

1

8

46

“Nurses Home Wrentham Massachusetts” [exterior of a two-story, high-ceilinged brick building on a field-stone basement]

 

Location Unknown, Newark, [no state named]

1

9

47

“Newark” [water-heating system?]

1

9

48

“Newark” [another view of the water-heating system in image #47]

 

 

 

New Jersey Home for the Education and Care of Feeble-minded Children, Vineland, Cumberland County, New Jersey

1

10

49

“Mental ages 8-11 – Morons” [men sitting at sewing machines]

1

10

50

“High Grade Moron – 11 years mentally Vineland” [man at loom]

1

10

51a

“Vineland, N.J.” [image of a dirt road through a field]

1

10

51b

“Mental Ages – 4 to 8 Imbecile type Vineland” [men working on dirt road]

1

10

52

“Mental Ages – 8 to 11 yrs. Moron type Vineland” [three men with a horse and a four-wheeled wagon in field]

1

10

53

“Mental Ages – 6, 8 & 10 Vineland [men working in a field]

1

10

54

“Vineland, N.J.” [two horses in field harnesses; each horse is pulling a plow being guided by a man]

1

10

55

“Vineland, N.J.” [three young men, one of whom is standing in a four-wheeled wagon hitched to two mules; in the background are at least two multi-story buildings partially hidden by trees]

1

10

56

“Vineland, N.J.” [men in a field gathering hay with horse-drawn wagons]

1

10

57

“Vineland, N.J.” [dormitory/hospital beds]

1

10

58

“Main Bldg. in Menantico Colony [name of farm at the school] for dormitories A. & B. etc., Training School, Vineland.” [exterior of a one-story building]

1

10

59

“Mess Hall in Menantico Colony, Vineland” [exterior of a one-story wooden building]

1

10

60

“Home of an Employee’s family on site of Colony – Training School, Vineland” [exterior of a one-story building with a screened-in porch; automobile parked near house]

1

10

61

“Vineland, N.J.” [exterior of several buildings, a gazebo, a smokestack, and a water tower]

1

10

62

“Vineland, N.J.” [exterior of a two-story high-ceilinged brick building with a field-stone basement]

1

10

63

“Homes for Women Students in Training School, Vineland” [four identical two-story buildings in background behind a grassy area and a road]

Elwyn, Pennsylvania (originally: Pennsylvania Training School for Feeble-Minded Children)

1

11

64

“Elwyn” [men working with printing presses]

1

11

65

“Elwyn” [exterior of a multi-story building]

1

11

66

“Elwyn” [duplicate of #65]

1

11

67

“Elwyn” [same building as #65 from another angle]

1

11

68

“Elwyn” [exterior of several buildings, including a raised and covered walkway]

1

11

69

“Elwyn” [foreground: large grassy area with trees which hide most of the building in the background]

1

11

70

“Elwyn” [duplicate of #69]

1

11

71

“Elwyn” [exterior of multi-story buildings; three women standing on a second-floor porch]

1

11

72

“Elwyn” [exterior of a multi-story building]

1

11

73

“Elwyn” [foreground: a field-stone fence; background: a two-story building with basement which is partially hidden by trees]

1

11

74

“Elwyn” [exterior of a multi-winged multi-story building]

1

11

75

“Elwyn” [exterior of a one-story building and of a two-story building, which is mostly obscured by trees]

Unidentified Buildings

1

12

76

Building – exterior of a two-story building with few windows behind which is a tower-style building and behind which is a hexagonal or octagonal one-story building with a porch

1

12

77

Building – exterior of a cluster of one-, two- and three-story buildings which all seem to be connected; snow is on the ground and the roofs of the buildings

1

12

78

Interior – a laundry room; a clothes basket is on the floor near the washtubs; a wringer is positioned between two tubs; a washboard is in another tub; a pot-belly stove is on the right side of the photograph

1

12

79

Interior – dining room set for meal: white table cloths with a dinner plate, a bowl, a cup, cutlery and a napkin at each place

1

12

80

Cityscape with multi-story buildings, a street light, and vehicles

Miscellaneous: Children/Daily Life

1

13

81

About two dozen young girls exercising in a classroom

1

13

82

About two dozen young boys exercising in a gymnasium

1

13

83

Young women working at looms and a sewing machine learning the skills of weaving and sewing; items on the tables and on panels indicate they also learn lace-making and basketry

1

13

84

“Clearing house reception room. Post-Graduate Hospital New York” [men and women sitting and standing in an institutional-setting room

1

13

85

Nine boys in a workspace; one boy is holding a log in place while two others pose with a two-man cross-cut saw that has partly cut through a log; other boys are holding parts of logs that could be used in a fireplace; on the right, in the foreground are a couple push lawnmowers.

1

13

86

11 young women pose next to a large loom, at caning chair seats, at a sewing machine, etc.

1

13

87

6 women in the laundry room of an institution; the focal piece of the image is an industrial press used to iron sheets, etc; piles of laundry are on tables around the room

1

13

88

5 women whose arms and/or legs are restricted by binding them; one woman is standing but her arms are constricted by her "blouse"; the other four are sitting in chairs and they cannot walk around because their arms and legs are restricted by large pieces of cloth

1

13

89

About three dozen men sitting at three tables in a dining room [calendar states February 1915]

1

13

90

“Fancywork” [young boys sewing]

1

13

91

Women sewing

1

13

92

About a dozen young boys in a workroom posing with various tools used in the making of furniture; a sign hanging from the ceiling reads "Let not ambition mock their useful toil." [First line of the eighth stanza of the poem Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray.

1

13

93

3 young men making mattresses

1

13

94

"School" [14 young girls sit at four tables in classroom; a teacher stands in the back of the room

1

13

95

Men and women in a community room

1

13

96

About 20 young boys sit at individual desks in a classroom

 

 

Last Updated: January 22, 2020