The Ladd School


The Ladd School

Glass Plate Negatives

Revealing History: The Ladd School through Magic Lantern Slides

Discover the hidden facets of the Ladd School through the distinct lens of glass plate negatives, also known as magic lantern slides. This collection, steeped in a century of history, provides a rare peek into the early days of this significant institution.

Erected in 1911, the Gleason House was initially designed as a beacon of education within the Ladd School. However, the reality was complex, with the building housing more functional spaces than classrooms. For example, the basement harbored essential areas such as a scullery and a sewing room.

The collection includes unique images that document the expansion of Gleason House from 1920 to 1924. These glass plate negatives capture the physical transformation, offering insight into the school's changing architectural landscape.

Among the images is a singular photo of Rhode Island's earliest classroom for the 'feeble-minded.' This stand-alone picture provides a sobering glimpse into the contentious educational methods utilized within the Ladd School.

The collection also showcases early infrastructure, with photographs of the initial men's and women's dormitories, the first power plant, and the original laundry building. Of note is the only surviving image of the clapboard shanty, marking the humble beginnings of the institution.

Engage with this visual archive to delve into the layered history of the Ladd School. Each image is a portal to the past, linking today's viewers with a long-gone era, and shining a light on the lived experiences of those who resided within its walls.

 Collection Details

Six genuine glass plate negative photographs of the first buildings at the Ladd School.

Photography, Artifacts
ca. 1920 — 1924
6 gelatin dry plate negatives, 4"x3.25"
Fair, Good, digitally restored
The Ladd School

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