Manuscript document listing charges for tuition and board submitted by the Connecticut School for Imbeciles and endorsed by the state’s governor. superintendent H. M. Knight, governor William Buckingham.

Manuscript document listing charges for tuition and board submitted by the Connecticut School for Imbeciles and endorsed by the state’s governor

Lakewood, [Connecticut]: 1861. Unbound. The document measures 7.5” x 10”. It was initially dated and signed by Superintendent Knight on 1 October 1861 and endorsed by Governor Buckingham on 3 October 1861. It is in nice shape with some minor smearing to the first three letters in Buckingham’s signature and three numbers in the date of endorsement. It is docketed, “Idiotic Children / Oct 4 1861 / $308.32” on the reverse. Very good. Item #009107

The institution first opened in 1860 at Lakeville, Connecticut, as the Connecticut School for Imbeciles. In those far less politically correct times ‘imbecile’ was a formal medical classification for individuals with an approximate IQ of 26 to 50.

In 1915, the institution’s name was changed to the Connecticut School for the Training of the Feeble-Minded, suggesting that its mission changed from a primarily caretaking role to a residential school focusing on training individuals, perhaps even, to be able to earn a living. The school later collocated and merged with the state’s epileptic care “colony,” expanding its role to become the Mansfield Training School and Hospital.

At the height of its use in 1969, it housed over 1,800 residents in more than 50 buildings and ran a small farm to provide occupational therapy as well as food for its residents. Over the next twenty years, a preference toward a less institutionalized care reduced the facility’s population and a class action suit brought by the Connecticut Association of Retarded Citizens on behalf of 12 residents alleging the school violated their Constitutional rights and federal laws that protected the disabled, accelerated the process. By 1991, only 140 residents remained, and the school shut down in 1993. Today, although some of its buildings remain vacant, a number are being used by other state agencies including the University of Connecticut.

In this document, created shortly after the facility’s opening, Knight identifies the specific charges for “tuition & board [for fourteen students] for the quarter ending Oct 1” which totaled just over $300. Following the itemized listing, the governor approved the bill and forwarded it to the State Comptroller for payment.

An interesting record attesting to an early effort to provide standardized and subsidized care for members of society with intellectual deficiencies.

Price: $250.00