The Ladd School


The Ladd School

Photographs, 35mm Slides

A Kaleidoscope of Life at The Ladd School: 1958 to 1976

This extraordinary exhibit illuminates the obscured narratives of a complex institution from the mid-20th century. Unearthed from almost a thousand 35mm slides, these vivid color photographs document the intricacies of life behind institutional walls. With each snapshot, we weave together threads of experiences, connecting past and present.

Though we may never know the identities of the photographers or the exact dates of these images, their resonance transcends time and anonymity. The captured moments, mundane or monumental, form an intimate portrait of community life. Amid these unnamed relics of the past, bursts of brilliance emerge, crafting a narrative that is at times as moving as it is revealing.

Witness the ceremonial: Groundbreakings, Independence Day parades, and moments of institutional pride. Delve into the ordinary: Kite derbies, picnics, parties on wards for residents, nurses, and matrons, and upscale soirees at the Superintendent's house.

Explore the personal: Candid shots of an aging Dr. Ladd with his young, second wife, a man in a white union suit proudly posing with his cow, a clown tenderly feeding a paraplegic man.

Discover the rare: Scenes from inside and outside some of the institution's oldest buildings, a dramatic search for a missing child, an intimate view of holiday celebrations, pageants, carnivals, Christmas trees illuminating the dormitories, an entire series dedicated to clowns.

Though not all faces or stories can be named, their impressions remain indelible. This collection celebrates their existence and invites you, the viewer, into their world.

Join us on a journey to uncover hidden narratives, narrated through the lens of color reversal film, and immerse yourself in this kaleidoscope of past life.

For more captivating stories and updates, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Engage with us as we continue to explore, remember, and understand our shared past.

 Collection Details

Over 1,000 full-color 35mm slides on Kodachrome, Ansochrome, and Ektachrome film.

1950s — 1980s
1,000+ slides, 2"x2"
Fair to Very Good, digitally restored
The Ladd School

Related Materials

Exeter Girls: Letters From a Feeble-Minded School on
Exeter Girls: Letters From a Feeble-Minded School on