The Ladd School


The Ladd School

Send Pictures of Home

Like Dr. Ladd's house, the original "boys' dormitory" was made of clapboard, painted white, and perched conspicuously against a backdrop of uncultivated New England wilderness. It was low, long, and built like a barracks and made to sleep fifty to each its two wings with no deference to age or ability. In 1909 it was the epicenter of what they called 'the colony." For some seventy years, it remained a stark reminder of the agricultural roots of the red brick and wrought iron machination of the institution's eugenic purpose in the early century.

So, what typifies a collector of postcards?

I like the ones of hospitals. In hospitals, at hospitals, from and to hospitals. I like the insane asylums and reformatories. I like the Old Ladies Homes, the Odd Fellows Homes, and the Soliders' Homes. The tuberculosis sanatoria, the almshouses, prisons, and orphanages. I like the State Schools.

And I especially like the mailed ones; handwritten, stamped, and post-marked. "Am feeling fine. Wish I wasn't here. Send pictures of home."

Among my favorites: Three of the world-famous Templeton Colony, in Massachusetts; the experimental institution upon which the Ladd School was based. Four from the Rhode Island state reformatory, prison, and almshouse. One from Rhode Island's State Hospital, hand-colored, showing the fenced area called the 'sheep pen.' There's a particularly old-looking postcard from Rhode Island's state tuberculosis hospital at Wallum Lake. The rail station at Wickford Junction where families once arrived to catch a horse and buggy to visit their loved ones at the Exeter School. And two extremely rare postcards from the Ladd School itself in the early 1900s when it was called The Rhode Island School for the Feeble-Minded — Dr. Ladd's house and the boys' colony.


 Collection Details

Twenty-five vintage and antique postcards from state and private institutions in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Ephemera, Photography
1800s — 1900s
25 postcards
Fair, Good, Very Good
The Ladd School

Related Materials

Digitized Film

Film, Digital


Photography, Slides
Exeter Girls: Letters From a Feeble-Minded School on
Exeter Girls: Letters From a Feeble-Minded School on