In 1905 the world-famous Dr. Walter Fernald meets with the Local Council of Women of Rhode Island to persuade their propaganda and pursue their husbands' vote. In 1908, Dr. Ladd and his eight wards arrive at Exeter amidst a blizzard. In 1928, the Mental Hygiene Committee calls the institution "a failure." In 1955 the state coroner declares "murder" in the suffocation death of a child. In 1962 they build a school, and in 1976, "deplorable conditions" close the hospital's dental clinic. Governor DiPrete announces the institution's closure in 1986, and in 1994 the last man boards a bus. "The beast is dead," said Dr. Robert Carl, Jr., head of the state's Division of Developmental Disabilities.
From triumph to tribulation, from construction to collapse, for almost a century, the public history of the Ladd School played out between the pages of the Providence Journal, the Pawtucket Times, the Newport Daily News, and other periodicals large and small from Woonsocket to Westerly.
Comprised of over 750 newspaper clippings, entire pages, and spreads, our collection is arranged chronologically and bound in archival-quality materials.
Other highlights include architects' drawings, aerial photographs, and detailed descriptions of building interiors; an entire series on punishment and overcrowding by the late Selig Greenberg, medical reporter for the Providence Journal; handwritten memoranda and replies to journalists penned by superintendent Dr. Smith; Governor Edward DiPrete's official 1986 press release; and a years-long drama surrounding the establishment of the state's first group homes.
Over 750 newspaper clippings about the Ladd School from 1905 to 1994.