The Dark Days of Social Welfare at the State Institutions at Howard, Rhode Island — (1943)

The Dark Days of Social Welfare



"In the treatment of the insane, the prisoners, the feeble-minded and the poor, Rhode Island, in those dark days, was singularly backward."

"The Grim Castle of Despair"

From the 1890s to the 1930s, Dr. Henry Aaron Jones served as resident physician for nearly 3,000 inmates at the Asylum for the Insane, the State Workhouse and House of Correction, the State Prison and Providence County Jail, the Sockanossett School for Boys, and the Oaklawn School for Girls. He was also an artist, scholar, author, a gentleman, and Dr. Ladd's close colleague and correspondent.

The Dark Days of Social Welfare is a book as rare as it is unique. Written by Dr. Jones and published in 1943, just 500 copies were printed by the E.L. Freeman Company and distributed to elected State officials, department heads, presidents of colleges in the state, newspaper publishers, and organizations interested in social welfare work. Of only 23 copies known to exist today, most reside at University libraries in the northeastern United States, though examples appear throughout North America from Newfoundland to Hawaii.

Bound in a burgundy cloth hardcover with foil stamping, the copy in hand — procured in 2015 from a private seller in New York — is in very good condition. Though the cover is slightly edge-worn at the corners and the outermost ends of the spine, the binding is tight, and the dust jacket is intact. The interior pages are crisp, thick, and textured, showing only faint foxing at the edges. Not a hundred pages in length, the book is satisfyingly heavy in hand. It smells like old paper and exhibits all the other qualities of an antique and unassuming heirloom.

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