The Ladd School


The Ladd School

Mapping Institutions: A Cartographic History, c. 1870 - 1958

This collection comprises seven distinctive maps and a blueprint, each one illuminating a different aspect of the Ladd School and its surroundings in Exeter, Rhode Island. Most maps in this collection date to around 1958, detailing the institution's layout and structures such as the Evergreen and Riverfield dormitories, constructed in 1953. Interestingly, the Fogarty and Rehabilitation Hospitals, built in 1962, are omitted, indicating the maps' timeline.

Each map in this collection tells its own story. Two maps present proposed names for the various residential units and streets that criss-crossed the campus, reflecting evolving notions of institutional identity. The highly detailed map of Exeter, hand-drawn by locally famed mapmaker George Matteson in 1950, provides context for the Ladd School's geographic setting.

In contrast, the 1870 map of the State Farm in Cranston, Rhode Island, and the modern map of Rhode Island's former State Hospital offer insights into the broader network of institutional sites in Rhode Island, including several abandoned buildings since demolished.

However, the centerpiece of this collection is a 33-inch original blueprint for a proposed sewer line construction at the Ladd School in 1949. This detailed plan envisages multiple new buildings meant to expand the institution's grounds, but these constructions never materialized.

Together, these cartographic artifacts offer valuable perspectives on the evolution of the Ladd School, its relationship with the surrounding community, and its unfulfilled plans, helping us to chart a more nuanced understanding of this complex institution's history.


 Collection Details

Seven reproductions and two original maps including those of the Exeter (Ladd) School and the town of Exeter, as well as the Rhode Island State Farm and the Pastore Center in Cranston, Rhode Island.

1870 — 2000s
10 maps; 8x11", 21x17", 33x22"
Very Good
The Ladd School

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