1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Inventory

5.   Subjects

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 Providence Reform School Records

 Records, 1850-1880

 Size: 1 lin. ft.

 Catalog number: MSS 214, Sg 3

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, April 1995

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            In 1850, through the petitioning of the Providence Association of Mechanics and Manufacturers, the Providence City Council was authorized to establish a reform school, by act of the Rhode Island General Assembly. The school was intended for the "confinement, instruction and reformation of juvenile offenders and of young persons of idle, vile or vicious habits." It was controlled by seven trustees, including the mayor and six chosen by the City Council.

            The school was located in the Tockwotton House in the Fox Point neighborhood, formerly a hotel. It housed both boys and girls. In 1880, it was formally transferred to the State of Rhode Island. In 1882, the girls were removed to the Oaklawn School in Cranston, and the boys to the Sockanosset School on the same grounds, located in the State Institutions complex.

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Scope and content:

            This collection contains daily journals, reports, and trustee's minutes. There is very little material from before 1858.

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            This collection probably arrived in a gift from the Dexter Asylum in 1957; this gift also contained records of many branches of the State Institutions, which had absorbed the reform school in 1880. The folder of annual reports were given in 1986 by Arthur A. Rogers.

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Series 1: Daily Journals

            Consist of descriptions of daily events, including students admitted, staff activity and some statistics.

1. 1858-1864

2. 1869-1873

3. 1873-1875

Series 2: Reports

            Consist of the superintendent's semi-monthly reports, including lists of admissions and discharges, and financial information. Quarterly reports are also included, which provide statistical information on cause, duration and jurisdiction of commitment; age, nativity and parentage of inmates; and the nature and productivity of student employment.

4. 1861-1866

5. 1866-1872

6. 1872-1878

7. 1878-1880

Series 3: Miscellaneous

8. Board of Trustees meeting minutes, 1860-1876

9. Annual reports, foldered, 1850, 1852, 1854

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Children - Institutional Care - Rhode Island - Providence

Providence, R.I. - Schools

Reformatories - Rhode Island - Providence

Rhode Island State Institutions

Schools - Rhode Island - Providence

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