The Ladd School


The Ladd School

Newspaper Archives

Between the Lines: A Century of Public History in Print

This exhibit weaves together a fascinating tale of triumph, tribulation, and transformation from the pages of Rhode Island's historic press. With a focus on the storied history of the Ladd School, "Between the Lines" chronicles nearly a century of events as reported in newspapers, from the Providence Journal to the Newport Daily News, and many more periodicals in-between.

Experience the course of history unfold through over 750 newspaper clippings, entire pages, and spreads, meticulously arranged in chronological order and preserved with archival-quality materials. Witness the world-renowned Dr. Walter Fernald's persuasive meetings with the Local Council of Women of Rhode Island in 1905, the arduous arrival of Dr. Ladd and his wards at Exeter amidst a blizzard in 1908, and the controversial declaration of the institution as "a failure" by the Mental Hygiene Committee in 1928.

Follow the drama of darker times: a coroner's declaration of "murder" following the tragic suffocation of a child in 1955; reports of "deplorable conditions" that led to the closure of the hospital's dental clinic in 1976; and the eventual announcement of the institution's closure by Governor DiPrete in 1986. Finally, share in the poignant departure of the last resident in 1994, marking the end of an era with Dr. Robert Carl, Jr.'s somber declaration, "The beast is dead."

In addition to news articles, the exhibit includes a rich collection of architectural drawings, aerial photographs, and detailed descriptions of building interiors. Explore the work of the late Selig Greenberg, medical reporter for the Providence Journal, who shed light on the issues of punishment and overcrowding through a dedicated series.

Discover the institutional narrative through handwritten memoranda and responses to journalists penned by Superintendent Dr. Smith, Governor Edward DiPrete's official 1986 press release, and the years-long unfolding drama surrounding the establishment of Rhode Island's first group homes.

"Between the Lines" invites you to navigate the complex, multifaceted history of the Ladd School, giving you an opportunity to experience the past through the preserved pages of time.


 Collection Details

Over 750 newspaper clippings about the Ladd School from 1905 to 1994.

Periodicals, Artifacts
1905 — 1994
750 articles
Good to Very Good
The Ladd School

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