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Repression or Reformation? Nineteenth-Century Reform Homes and the Treatment of Juvenile Offenders



By Poppy Tuck
Featured image: Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Transfer from the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Social Museum Collection. Sourced at
According to James Nutting, “The twig is easily held in place, the sapling is easily made straight; but to straighten the trunk of a white oak tree that has been growing in a crooked way for half a century would be an impossible task”.(1) This remark has relevance to the history of juvenile offenders as in nineteenth century America, reformers campaigned against juvenile inclusion in the adult judicial system, arguing that it paved the way for a life of criminality and led juveniles to grow in a “crooked way” in which their reformation was an “impossible task”. They suggested that juveniles, like sapling or a twig, could easily be held in place and “straightened out” through a separate system of reformation. A new era of juvenile judicial reforms began that sought to conserve children’s innocence and shield them from the evils of the city, which were thought to “blacken [the soul] and change its hue for ever.”(2) The idea that childhood and adolescence were life-stages characterised by vulnerability and a need for greater protection and therefore distinct from adulthood became widespread. Reformers began to advocate the parens patriae ideology, seeking to transfer responsibility of children’s behaviour from the parents to state institutions. The family, which in Jane Addams words was once “the fountain of morality” and a “source of law”, was overruled by specially trained “experts” in state institutions.(3) The state no longer aimed to repress juvenile offenders with prison sentences but rather sought to establish a new juvenile judicial system centred on a programme of reformation.
Reform homes were founded throughout America during the middle five decades of the nineteenth century, aiming to re-educate and rehabilitate juvenile offenders in order to turn them into “model” citizens. Reform was not to be achieved through corporal punishment but rather through education, labour and strict regimentation. Between 1825 and 1876, fifty-one reform homes were established in America.(4) The Providence Reform School of Rhode Island operated between 1850 and 1880 and was the first school to accept both boys and girls, together with “coloured” inmates. Over the first decade, the school’s population grew to more than one-hundred and sixty inmates of whom roughly twenty-percent were girls and nine-percent were children of “colour”.(5) Run by seven trustees, the school – according to the Reform School Act—sought the “confinement, instruction and reformation of juvenile offenders and young persons of idle, vicious or vagrant habits.”(6) Although the primary focus of this study centres on Providence Reform School, the institution’s practices can be considered representative of the reform home movement as a whole given that the schools were not detached or isolated from one another but instead formed an interconnected network of institutions, as evidenced by the bylaws set out by Providence city council, which proved nearly identical to those of the reform school at Westboro.(7)
James Nutting praises Providence Reform School as an “unbroken success” and an “honourable chapter in the history of the city of Providence and the State of Rhode Island.”(8) Enoch C. Wines reinforces this, writing that “Providence Reform School has been among the most successful in its class in the country”.(9) In comparison to the re-incarceration rate of former inmates of other reform schools which stood at fifteen percent, it was held that the former-inmates of Providence Reform School held no more than a four percent re-incarceration rate.(10) A former inmate, F.C. Brooks, was recorded after release as having attended the Medical College Cambridge, Massachusetts.(11) Furthermore, William P. Talbot, who was regularly in trouble and attempted to escape during his time at the school, wrote a poem detailing his appreciation of the school and its reformative effects:
I’ve learned at least to almost like
Tockwotton on the hill.
We have plenty here to eat,
Potatoes, fish and greens,
And mush, and beef; and Sunday noons
We punish pork and beans.
Our Superintendent ever waits
To lift us, with a helping hand.
We are not punished here for crime,
But pointed to the better way
Which leads beyond the things of time,
The end whereof is perfect day.(12)
Nevertheless, the investigations and corruption scandals revealed towards the end of the 1860s repudiate these claims and affirm that Providence Reform School was not a place of reformation but one of repression. The investigation made by the Board of Aldermen, reported “That vices against chastity, decency and good morals have prevailed in the school and […] that children usually leave the school more corrupt than when they entered it.”(13) Although the hearing of the school proved inconclusive, the poor conditions and inhumane practices initiated the dismissal of two supervisors and led to the general assembly assuming control and closing the school in 1880. Therefore, the reform home movement was not reformative but rather, as Robert Mennel suggests, the conditions and organised care in reform homes “remained abysmally low”.(14)
The advent of women’s and feminist history brought new accounts of juvenile justice. Published in 1978, Stephen Schlossman and Stephanie Wallach’s The Crime of Precocious Sexuality: Female Juvenile Delinquency in the Progressive Era, is thought to have “dropped a bomb” on earlier scholarship.(15) “In an effort to call attention to a neglected subject” and “use history as a force for social change”, they proposed that females received longer sentences and harsher punishments than males.(16) A double standard existed which meant “precocious sexuality” was treated as an offence for girls but was not for boys. Girls were convicted for inappropriate language, masturbating and becoming involved in lascivious thought, while boys were exonerated for this behaviour.(17) In 1995, Mary Odem’s Delinquent Daughters: Protecting and Policing Adolescent Female Sexuality in the United States, 1885-1920 and Ruth Alexander’s Female Sexual Delinquency in New York, 1900-1930, developed the work of Schlossman and Wallach. They accepted that girls were more mistreated than boys in institutions of juvenile justice. While male delinquency was disregarded as “boys being boys” and simply conforming to the “natural precocity of masculinity”, female delinquents were perceived to be violating established notions of femininity and “in a peril which threaten[ed] the run of her whole life” and therefore needed stricter rehabilitation.(18)
At first glance, the proposition that females were more repressed than males appears applicable to Providence Reform School. Following the publication of the 1868 Investigation by the Board of Aldermen, the repressive treatment of females at the school was widely condemned. The Board of Aldermen claimed that abuses had been carried out “which no man should ever inflict on a woman.”(19) In response the Ladies Visiting Committee was established to safeguard female inmates; their reports highlight the injustices and poor conditions that girls were exposed to. In addition, Lillie Buffum Chase Wyman, the daughter of Elizabeth Buffum Chace (a member of the Ladies Visiting Committee), wrote The Child of the State to publicise the treatment of girls at Providence Reform School. Published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1887, it was a realist depiction of Providence Reform School based on her mother’s accounts. It described the poor conditions, verbal abuse and brutal corporal punishment inflicted at the school.
Nevertheless, surviving reports, journals and letters from the school indicate that the injustices towards male delinquents were hidden from the public view. This was not because they were less severe, but rather due to popular gendered ideas. Female abuse was emphasised as girls were perceived as physically weak and vulnerable, compared to boys who were thought to have the necessary masculine requisites to cope with ill-treatment. Victorian attitudes towards childhood suggested that it was acceptable for girls to be fearful, but boys were expected to possess courage.(20) Boys, as part of their transition to manhood, were encouraged to have “pluck”, a nineteenth century term denoting courage, boldness and spirit.(21) Nineteenth century children’s stories such as the Rollo series featured a young boy who conquered his fear in order to save his sister from a bully.(22) Boy’s exposure to repression and violence was regarded as acceptable because it was a way in which to cultivate masculinity. Consequently, early accounts of Providence Reform School overlooked male suffering because it was regarded as more tolerable for boys rather than girls to be exposed to abuse.
Therefore male delinquents, who have been neglected from recent historiography and nineteenth century accounts of Providence Reform School, must be returned. Tamara Myers identifies that “juvenile justice history has been slow to problematize the male delinquent body”.(23) However, in order to construe a full and accurate account of juvenile justice in the nineteenth century, boys and girls must be studied alongside one another. According to David Gilmore, masculinity has been “neglected in today’s growing feminist literature” and it “still suffers from the “taken for granted” syndrome.(24) He proposes that historians must recognise that “women and men are defined in terms of one another and no understanding of the other could be achieved by entirely separate study”.(25) Gender must not be accepted as synonymous with “women” or “femininity”, but should incorporate cultural identities associated with sex such as masculinity and femininity, recognising its overlap with ideas of race, class and religion. This study of juvenile justice proposes that far more repressive practices were pursued than initial reports suggest.(26) It challenges feminist histories by suggesting that both boys and girls were victims of juvenile institutions, subjected to corporal punishment and social and cultural discourses.

Reformed School. Sourced:

The Agenda of Reform Homes
The degree to which the juvenile judicial system assimilated inmates with particular social and cultural discourses has been a popular topic of historical discussion. Anthony Platt’s 1977 book, entitled The Child Savers: the Invention of Delinquency, explores the intentions of reformers, suggesting that they were not advocates of the “spirit of social justice” but rather “disinterested reformers” who sought the preservation of their own ideals.(27) Intentional or unintentional, reformers and institutions enforced their own elite social and cultural values. In contrast to a criminal act that was judged in relation to the criminal code, delinquency lacked a strictly legal definition. Reform homes judged juveniles according to their own discourses of morality, aiming to reform perpetrators by re-assimilating them with elite social and cultural norms. From the perspective of juvenile institutions delinquency became functionary and a means of social control; a way in which to regulate the “lower orders” and prevent them from engulfing “respectable society.”(28)
Providence Reform School was led by seven trustees, including the Mayor Thomas Doyle, William I King, Dr Edwin W. Snow, William Grimmel and Professor Dimon. They were middle and upper class educated elites and held prominent religious and political positions in Providence. Similarly, members of the Ladies Visiting Committee were from middle class backgrounds. For example, Elizabeth Buffum Chace was born to Arnold Buffum and Rebecca Gould, two of the oldest families in New England and married Samuel Buffington Chace, a birthright Quaker of an ancient New England family.(29) Although it is questionable whether it was an intentional move, the Board of Trustees and the Ladies Visiting Committee enforced an elite set of social and cultural values onto inmates, in particular targeting juveniles from working class and immigrant families.(30)
The majority of those sent to Providence Reform School had working class backgrounds and nearly one-fifth of those submitted were orphans through the loss of both parents.(31) The homes of inmates visited by officers of the reform school were described as poverty-ridden, for example, during a visit to an inmate’s house the superintendent wrote that, “They live in a very poor house and small farm [which] very much needs culture”.(32) In addition, the vision of the school as a home for working class children is evidenced by the shorter sentences for middle class inmates. The appeal made by the Mayor of Newport for Thomas Riley was accepted, while the majority received from working-class parents were ignored.(33) The reform school sought to re-educate working-class children, advocating that “juvenile delinquency was a symptom of […a] failure of cultural transmission among the lower classes in larger cities.”34
Immigrants were also likely to be sentenced to Providence Reform School due to their unfamiliar cultural patterns of behaviour and their inability to fit with elite ideals. It was generally accepted by juvenile institutions that the cultural differences of immigrants made them unsuitable and unfit parents. According to the August 1861 report, twenty-five percent of inmates of Providence Reform School were non-American. More inmates were from Ireland, England and Scotland than other states in the America.(35) The Irish were the second largest nationality at the school; in August 1861, nineteen percent of boys and twelve percent of girls were Irish.(36) Hostile attitudes towards Irish inmates prevailed, for example, Sarah Smith, described as “a large Irish girl”, is perceived as having little prospects of reform because “her antecedents, before, committed to the institution were as bad as they could be and it has sometimes seemed to us as though she was [in] actual fact possessed of the d[evil.]”(37) Particular social groups became targets of the juvenile institutions due to their incompatibility with elite social ideals. They were sentenced to reform schools to be re-assimilated with “appropriate” social and cultural values.
Despite the claim of feminist historians that girls were more repressed than boys in institutions of juvenile justice, all juvenile offenders were victims by being sentenced to a reform home even though their offence didn’t violate the criminal code. Juveniles were commonly convicted for acts which were “semi-delinquent” or “pre-delinquent”. Institutions upheld that a juvenile in a pre-delinquent state should be treated the same as a delinquent, since the underlying causes were the same. In order to regulate juveniles, institutions “invented […] new categories of youthful misbehaviour” and by doing so convicted juveniles who had committed a minor or petty offence.(38)
Feminist historians have recognised that females were regularly convicted for offences that were not punishable in adult courts. They were commonly sentenced for victim-less crimes such as incorrigibility and sexual immorality. During the social purity movement, reformers campaigned against prostitution, disseminated sex education and sought to repress any forms of sexual immorality. A language of social purity became endorsed by reformers and integrated into a definition of delinquency. Schlossman and Wallach identify that girls became victims of a double standard of sexual morality; they were deemed punishable for exploring their sexuality.(39) Many girls were submitted to Providence Reform School on the grounds of prostitution, for example, in May 1862 over thirty-percent of the girls committed were for “prostitution”.(40) Many historians have highlighted that what the police deemed “prostitution” was often code for merely exploring their sexuality. Therefore, girls were sentenced not on the grounds of criminality, but rather for violating the elite’s social and moral ideals.
Wallach and Schlossman claim that in contrast to girls, “the majority of boys were charged with offences that fell under the criminal code”.(41) However, the records of Providence Reform School suggest that this was not the case. Even though, boys were convicted for different offences, their offences were also “semi-delinquent”. In July 1860, of the one-hundred and fifty-six inmates at Providence Reform School, sixty-percent were convicted for “theft”, twenty-percent “vagrancy” and four-percent for “malicious mischief”.(42) Although, “theft” was an offence included in the criminal code, the acts of theft carried out by juveniles were minor and petty offences. Jasper McCabe and William Dorr were received from the Court of Magistrates for stealing fruit, and George H. Stone and John Ralph for stealing cotton.(43) Neither boys nor girls violated the criminal code or would have been punished under the adult judicial system, indicating that both male and female inmates were unjustly treated.
Corporal Punishment
Corporal punishment was a common disciplinary measure in nineteenth century reform homes. Early accounts of the discipline at Providence Reform School focused largely on the abusive treatment of girls. The investigation carried out by the Board of Aldermen emphasised that young women were brutally treated, regularly “kicked, knocked down, [and] ragged about by their hair of their head”.(44) Following the publication of the investigation, newspapers reported on the abusive practices that were carried out at the reform school, drawing attention to the ruthless treatment of girls. In 1869 The New York Tribune described how,
The most popular instrument of reform is composed of five or six leather shoe-strings, attached to a pen-handle; not a formidable looking weapon, but one of the officers testified that he could easily draw blood with it. It was usually applied to the bare back, and, shocking so it seems, young girls were subjected to this degrading punishment, their clothing being stripped from the upper part of their bodies, so that the little instrument might have a fair chance […] they have been dragged out of bed and whipped in their night dresses, “pushed” under the table with the “foot” and repeatedly “kicked.(45)
The case reached the headlines nationally and became a topic of public concern not due to the severity of the violence, but rather due to the sex of the recipient.
The Ladies Visiting Committee also drew attention to female mistreatment in Providence Reform School, condemning the use of corporal punishment on girls. After Alice Murphy was caught sending letters to Timothy Hanley and punished with a rattan, Elizabeth Buffum Chace told the Superintendent that “You ought not to have used the Rattan” “Such punishment should never be used upon a girl 17 years old”.(46) However, the Ladies Visiting Committee denounced the use of corporal punishment not due to its brutality but rather because they considered its use on girls’ bare bodies to threaten their femininity, innocence and purity which the school sought to restore.(47)
Similarly, The Child of the State provided a bleak and horrifying depiction of female punishment at the School. The story describes the punishment that Josie, a female inmate of the school, received for disobeying the matron. The superintendent poured water over her and “hit her under the chin with such force that she nearly bit her tongue off. Her mouth filled with blood, which poured out and stained his hands. He saw his advantage over the dizzy, half-stunned girl and followed it up.”(48) Following this, Josie was confined to her room and forced to have her long brown hair cut. Although, The Child of the State held a didactical purpose seeking to challenge public memory of the school, it was to some extent based on accurate accounts. For example, Ann Cusicks had “three dippers (1/2 pint) of cold water” thrown over her, Julia McGuinnis was given “three smart slaps with his left hand upon her right cheek” and Anna E. Braman had her hair cut off due to disobedience.(49) Therefore, The Child of the State can to some extent be regarded as an accurate depiction of female punishment in the school.
However, nineteenth century accounts over-emphasise female repression and neglect the mistreatment of boys at the school. Both boys and girls were subject to the same disciplinary system. A grade system was enforced in which inmates began at the second grade and could progress up through the five grades. Violation of rules resulted in grade demotion, a loss of privileges and forms of corporal punishment.(50)
Officers inflicted corporal punishment using instruments such as strings, ferrules and various sized rattans. The rattan was the most commonly used instrument. Girls were regularly punished with the rattan for disobedience, for example, Mary Sullivan was punished on her arm with a rattan one foot long receiving “eight sharp blows […] each bearing a slightly raised red mark on her arm.”(51) It was also a favoured means of male punishment, for example, Charles Bender and Patrick Lynch were placed in an empty room, forced to remove their clothing and were told to “take a position” before being hit with a rattan multiple times.(52) Corporal punishment was brutally enforced in the school, with Mr Sprague recorded to have punished James Kenneday with three leather shoe laces, causing “quite discoloration of the lower eye and a little inflammation of the eye itself”.(53) Corporal punishment was feared by inmates and Charles Bender, at the sight of the rattan, insisted that it was enough and fell on his knees before the overseer, pleading for his forgiveness.(54)
In addition, confinement served as a means of punishment. Inmates were sentenced to their room, the attic, the closet or room number twelve and in many cases were forced to stay there for several days. Mary Ann Sullivan was confined for four days to her room for being disobedient and disorderly; she was released only during work hours and was prohibited from communicating with other inmates.(55) Male inmates were subject to similar treatment, George Peopall was sentenced to his room for fourteen days, given limited food and “no companion but his bible”.(56) Confinement was essentially an oppressive and abusive measure; detaining inmates in a small and often empty room restrained their fundamental freedoms and for many affected their well-being. William Johnson was sent home to recover because his “health [was] evidently suffering from confinement” which was “obvious from the enlargement of the left side of his neck”.(57) Furthermore the attic room, where inmates were regularly confined, overheated in the summer and was cold in the winter: when Margery Daugherty was confined to the attic it was recorded that “The room proved cold and she was so chilled”.(58)
Therefore in the light of Providence Reform School, the proposition that girls were more abused than boys in juvenile institutions appears inaccurate. Boys and girls were subjected to one disciplinary system and inflicted with the same forms of corporal punishment, suggesting that the reform home movement was repressive regardless of the inmate’s sex.

The Slein boys. Meyer Slein (12 yrs. old) his brother Abe (10 years old) who has just returned from Industrial School (Reform School). Another brother is in the School. Show effects of street life and are Juvenile Court boys. Location: St. Louis, Missouri. 1910. Photographer: Hine, Lewis Wickes, 1874-1940. Sourced

Gendered Discourses
Alongside corporal punishment, the implementation of social and cultural discourses furthered the school’s repressive practices. According to Foucault, discourses which form “regimes of truth” and “enable one to distinguish true and false statements” are constructed “by virtue of multiple forms of constraint”.(59) In other words, discourses are established through various relations of power. Rather than perceiving power to be top-down, Foucault recognised that subjugation was caused through “bio-power”: various forms of internal power which enforced and regulated discourses.(60) The school enforced discourses of gender, religion and sexuality, expecting inmates to internalise them as a “regime of truth” and consequently be reformed into “model” citizens. However in doing so, they threatened the inmates’ identities and their own discourses, suggesting that it had far more repressive than reformative effects.
The school strictly enforced discourses of gender and regarded a reformed inmate as someone who fulfilled the attributes of their gender and ascribed to the gendered division of labour. Even though, feminist historians have particularly drawn attention to the repressive nature of femininity in institutions of juvenile justice, at Providence Reform School both gender binaries were enforced and instigated some degree of repression.
The School upheld a gendered division of labour, for according to the Reform School Act inmates were to be “instructed in such regular course of labor, as shall be best suited to their age and strength, and seem best adapted to secure the reformation and amendment, and future benefit of the children.”(61) Girls were encouraged to fulfil ideals of femininity: subdued, emotive and sensitive. They were assigned to domestic work preparing them for a position as a wife and mother in the private sphere. In contrast, boys were encouraged to embrace masculinity, upholding physical strength, intellect and dominance in the public sphere. They were taught a trade and assigned to labour such as shoe manufacturing, general work and gardening. According to a May 1862 report, seventy-one percent of boys were assigned to shoe-making, seventeen percent general work and seventeen percent sewing and knitting for the armed forces. In contrast, fifty-two percent of girls carried out sewing and knitting and forty-eight percent cooking, laundry and general work.(62)
For many females, training in domestic work was a form of repression rather than reformation, their lack of skills outside of the home offering few employment prospects after leaving the school. The Ladies Visiting Committee criticised the school for not teaching females an “article or a trade”, claiming that “No girl should be kept for years at peeling potatoes or washing dishes who is capable of making a good bookkeeper or a fine wood carver or engraver”.(63) Similarly, in Child of the State, the fictional character Mrs Keyes (of the Ladies Visiting Committee) condemned the school for inadequately preparing girls, stating “what do you give to the girls to reform them? Vacant minds, a dismal present, and despair for the future.”(64) Although there were exceptions, such as Mary P. Thorpe who found work in a cotton mill, the majority of females held limited prospects and struggled to find work.(65) This is illustrated by the case of Anna E. Braman, a former inmate who returned to the school as an unemployed single mother inquiring, “What can I do? Must I go with my babe to the asylum?”(66) Female inmates were forced to assimilate with elite ideas of femininity, encapsulated by motherhood and wifehood, which proved unsustainable and caused many to return to a world of criminality.
Furthermore, while girls had to wait for an adequate and suitable home to be found, boys often found themselves receiving an early release because their skills brought employment opportunities. In August 1861, sixty-six percent of boys were released before their sentenced expired, in comparison to fifty-percent of girls.(67) Many boys left the school to become machinists, blacksmiths and carpenters. In addition, the school upheld that when boys reached the fourth class they were to be discharged as reformed, however when girls did so they were to be placed on trial with friends or kept at the school until a suitable home was found.(68) Ultimately, the school projected boys into the public sphere, while girls were kept confined to the private sphere.
Nevertheless, for many male inmates conceptions of masculinity proved to be repressive. In order to adhere to notions of masculinity, inmates were subject to demanding and arduous physical labour. According to Nutting, at least five-thousand dollars was produced annually through forced labour.(69) Although, it provided boys with the required skills after leaving the institution, in many cases it left boys with injuries and in ill-health. Charles Grey claimed that despite his medical condition he was forced to carry out work in the shop, he stated, “I always feel a sickly disposition and cannot therefore accomplish so much in the whip shop as I otherwise might”.(70) Machine and work-shop related injuries were also common at the school. For example, William N. Taylor severely injured his arms and another boy caught his two forefingers of his left hand in a machine for splitting leather in the shoe shop.(71) Moreover, their injuries were not treated sympathetically; Edward Bryan is recorded as “disobedient and careless” when his hand and arm was drawn into a mangle for handkerchief production.(72) This suggests that there a lack of care for boys well-being, resulting in many feeling oppressed by physical labour and the endorsement of masculine ideals.
The Civil War provided the school with an additional opportunity to encourage masculinity. By the end of 1863, three hundred inmates had enlisted for the army – fifty to sixty percent of the males admitted to Providence Reform School since its opening.(73) This included Black inmates; twenty-percent who enlisted in the army joined the Fourteenth Rhode Island Coloured regiment.(74) The school encouraged boys to enlist in the army by subverting the idea that the army brought the necessary conditions to cultivate their masculinity. Boys worked on sewing socks for soldiers, were visited by ex-inmates who had enlisted and regularly sang patriotic songs, for example, during the flag raising they sang,
Then hail our Union standard true,
Which treason ne’er shall sever;
And vow as one, the stripes and stars
Shall, blending wave forever;
That we will shield it with our lives.
And keep our armor handy(75)
The school portrayed the armed forces as a way for male inmates to receive public recognition of their masculinity and to be considered reformed.
The armed forces were also promoted through the acknowledgements of Superintendent Talcott. Talcott emphasised the success of previous inmates who enlisted in the army. For example, William E. Mott, a former inmate who was regularly in trouble at the school, was described as having been reformed by the army, leaving it to become a successful land-owning farmer in California.(76) This was also illustrated by Talcott’s praise of Henry Cokely, who after returning from seven months in the army was described as having “improved seeming more manly”.(77) The army was spoken of as a reformative process, transforming the delinquent into a respectable and honourable man. These ideas were internalised by some male inmates, for example, William Short after enlisting in the army claimed, “This, you see, is another great turning point. It is altogether a new aspect of life for me”. The army became regarded as an opportunity for change and a transition to manhood.(78)
However, those who enlisted in the army for glory, prestige and manhood, often suffered from physical and emotional distress associated with warfare. Many of those who survived returned with various injuries; Patrick Foley who joined the first battalion returned with defective sight and chronic conjunctiva-inflammation of one eye.(79) The Board of Trustees were also given the opportunity to exploit boys by serving as financial managers to those who enlisted. They accompanied the boys to the recruiting office and received their bounty money. It was recorded in 1862 that each boy received two-hundred and thirty-nine dollars, which “will be deposited in a Savings Bank and remain on interest until the return of the boys or in case they do not return, disposed of as Trustees shall determine”.(80) Considering that three-hundred inmates enlisted in the armed services, the aggregate would have accounted to approximately seventy-one thousand dollars. Furthermore, thirteen of the three-hundred who enlisted did not return, resulting in the trustees retaining the inmates’ bounty money.(81) This suggests that the armed forces did not always fulfil its expectations to masculinise and reform inmates, but often brought repression and exploitation. Male inmates, like females of the school, became victims of gendered discourses.
Discourses of Religious Intolerance
A further cultural discourse enforced on inmates was Protestantism. In the growing secular climate, the school sought to restore Victorian social norms by participating in a religious revival of Protestantism. Following the American Revolution, Protestantism wielded fewer legal privileges and exerted less influence over American culture, it no longer dominated the intellectual elite or dictated the printed and spoken word.(82) Social and cultural activities had shifted away from churches towards new forms of modern entertainment.(83) In 1871 Mark Twain noted that the gospel no longer was taught from the “drowsy pulpits” but, rather filtered into nineteenth century Americans through stage plays and through the “despised novel”, which the church condemned as “secular” and “worldly”.(84) While Protestantism was in a state of decline, the Catholic communities in Providence were increasing; in January 1843 Reverend John Corry claimed that the Providence Catholic community had grown from one-hundred and fifty in 1830 to more than two-thousand in the succeeding twelve years.(85) In an attempt to rescue protestant influence and conserve the Victorian social order, Providence Reform School implemented a strict system of Protestant worship.
Protestantism formed a compulsory part of life at the school irrespective of the inmate’s religious denomination. The investigation carried out by the Board of Aldermen declared, “That a spirit of proselytism and of religious intolerance has prevailed at the school […] children of different creeds are compelled to attend a form of worship.”(86) Thomas Cosgrove declared that this violated the freedom guaranteed by “our national constitution and the spirit of American institutions” which held that “No man shall be compelled to frequent or to support any religious worship, place of ministry whatever, except in the fulfilment of his own voluntary contract.”(87) Inmates were forced to attend regular protestant worship including morning and evening devotion, where members of the Board of Trustees, including William I. King, Edwin W. Snow and William T. Grimmell, read scripture and prayers.(88) They also received regular scripture lessons and were visited by the Baptist Sabbath School of Rhode Island.
For inmates of other denominations, the religious programme of the school was largely repressive. Catholic inmates were prohibited from reading Catholic texts. In July 1867, Bishop McFarland met with one of the Schools trustees to question the school’s religious intolerance. Mr Arnold met with Bishop McFarland but refused to allow children to read Catholic texts, claiming that only non-sectarian books were permitted.(89) The school were reluctant to accept Catholic inmates, when Mary Gray was admitted to the reform school, an officer wrote to the superintendent stating that, “we are afraid we shall have some trouble for she [is] Irish” and she will attend a Congregational Church.(90) The letter asked the superintendent whether they “are under obligations to keep her for a certain length of time” and whether she should attend Catholic services once in four Sabbaths.(91) They were aware that the limited Catholic practices caused discontent among inmates. Inmates such as Rosanna Smith attempted to escape after declaring that she wanted to attend Catholic services, illustrating her unhappiness at the school.(92)
Reverend Isaac Hecker made further accusations against Providence Reform School for violating fundamental religious freedoms, suggesting that the school intentionally placed Catholic children with Protestant families in an effort to undermine and erode Catholic identity. The practice of “placing out” begun by the Children’s Aid Society was common throughout America; Clark Kidder estimates that between 1854 and 1929 150,000 children were placed on “orphan trains” to families in Midwestern states.(93) Hecker claimed that Catholic children were being transported from the institution to Midwestern locations on “orphan trains” as an attempt to cultivate their protestant faith.(94) However, it is questionable whether this was part of an active effort to convert Catholics or occurred because the Superintendents’ connections were largely Protestant. Yet, the practice of “placing out” Catholic inmates to Protestant families still proved repressive, regardless of the school’s intentions.
The religious intolerance of Providence Reform School received extensive opposition from the Catholic community in Providence. A Catholic Citizen’s Resolution was published in September 1868 that declared:
Be it resolved that as Catholics, taxpayers, and voters, in view of this violation of our most cherished rights, and prompted by a desire for proper and humane execution of the laws, we condemn the abuses existing in the school […] The Policy which deprives Catholic children of learning or practicing their own religion [and…] compelling their attendance at Protestant worship in contradiction of the well-known rule of their faith and other efforts in favour of proselytism.(95)/h5>
The Catholic Church in Providence sought to publicise the mistreatment of Catholic inmates. During the 1868 meeting held in the Cathedral of Providence, Bishop Patrick McFarland described that unlike reform homes such as Connecticut where children were provided with the services of priests and permitted to attend mass, the children at Providence Reform School were prohibited from practicing Catholicism.96 They declared that “it is time that our people, by a united expression of their sentiments should evince a sincere disposition to overthrow a reformatory regime, which is alike destructive of the physical and religious existence of the rising generation.”(97) The campaign from the Catholic community, which received widespread publicity in Providence, suggests that the school became renowned as one of religious and cultural repression, rather than a source of reform.

Orphanage Reform School. Sourced

Sexual Discourses
The school also inflicted discourses of sexuality on to inmates, imposing authority over their bodies. As Tamara Myers claims, girls’ experiences of the “juvenile justice system necessitated a new relationship to their bodies”.(98) However, the regulation of sexuality was not limited to female inmates, but was rather imposed on girls and boys in Providence Reform School. Foucault recognised that new attitudes towards sexuality developed during the eighteenth and nineteenth century as sexuality, a topic regarded as free and open, became a regulated and private discourse.(99)
One of the ways in which the school regulated girl’s sexuality was by subjecting those of lower grades to have their hair cut short. In the Child of the State, Josie is described as having “wept bitterly” for the loss of her “beautiful dark hair cut short”.(100) For many girls, their hair symbolised both their femininity and sexual freedom. A journalist wrote that “A woman’s long hair, after all, is the emblem of her femininity, more than that it is a symbol of her sexuality, and the longer, thicker and more wanton the tresses the more passionate the heart beneth them.”(101) Their hair was not just a bodily feature, but held greater symbolic meaning. Herbert Spencer recognised that “hair had symbolic, nearly institutional social and religious functions; its sacrifice ‘mitigated anger’, signified ‘subordination’ and demonstrated ‘both political and domestic loyalty.’”(102) Many Christian churches forced women to wear bonnets in church because they regarded women’s hair as a sexual evil.103 Those who disobeyed the church and refused to wear a bonnet were considered to be symbolising their equality and sexual freedom. Similarly, for many girls at Providence Reform School their hair characterised their sexual freedom and equality so the removal of it therefore represented a state of repression and signalled their subjugation to authority.
The school also imposed control over boy’s sexuality; officers subjected boys to sexual abuse, forcing them to carry out sexual activities against their will. In February 1868 an officer was dismissed by the Judiciary Committee for committing “a nameless crime”.(104) Although the mayor of Rhode Island, Thomas A. Doyle, denied the accusations printed in the Herald that accused an officer of having regular sexual intercourse with boys at the School, he affirmed that the officer had been “teaching boys Masturbation”.(105) For many his actions were tolerable, for example Thomas Doyle stated “it is a well-known fact that [masturbation] exists to a greater or less degree in all assemblies of boys above the age of fourteen years.”(106) It was regarded as acceptable for boys to carry out sexual activities, as masculinity (in contrast to femininity) permitted some degree of sexual exploration. Nevertheless, the pressure placed on boys to carry out sexual acts was evidently an abusive practice. It potentially caused boys to look at their bodies differently, viewing themselves as sexed individuals. Foucault recognised that this identification brings with it greater anxieties, as sexed behaviour causes individuals to judge themselves morally and often negatively.(107) Therefore sexual abuse brought both physical and psychological harm.

Meyer Slein (12 years old) his brother Abe (10 years old) who has just returned from Industrial School (Reform School). Another brother is in the School. Show effects of street life and are Juvenile Court Boys. Location: St. Louis, Missouri. 1910. Photographer: Lewis Wickes Hine, 1874-1940. Sourced

Historical Actors
Nevertheless, even though Providence Reform School was a repressive institution, inmates and their parents retained some form of agency to negotiate their conditions. Mary Odem identifies that juvenile justice functioned as a “triangulated network of struggles and negotiations” highlighting the involvement of inmates, parents and the institution.(108) The inmates and their parents were historical actors, willing to negotiate their conditions with the school’s Board of Trustees. Furthermore, inmates did not necessarily accept social and cultural discourses that were enforced by the school or internalise their repression. As Tamara Myers claims many rejected the “essentializing of their identity” and “contested this social construction that tied their bodies to badness and subsequent punishment.”(109)
A large amount of inmates attempted to escape the school in an effort to resist their repression. In October 1867 Sarah Sherman left during the night by picking the lock of the fence and in December 1873 Frank Cram successfully escaped the school.(110) However, the majority of attempts were interrupted by officers of the school; in one instance, four boys attempted to escape during recess and were returned after one and half hours.(111) In addition, John Miller Talbot Conway and Theodore Hall were caught when they were devising an escape plan; they were put under restrictions and questioned until one of them confessed.(112) Therefore even though attempts were made by inmates to resist their repression, their opportunities to escape remained limited.
A more successful way in which inmates and their parents resisted the school was by adopting a language of gender. Although, masculinity often proved repressive, it provided boys with a mechanism with which to negotiate their repression. Boys recognised that through a language of masculinity they could challenge their release and shorten their length of sentence. Male inmates appealed for their release on the condition that they would learn a trade and therefore live according to the gendered division of labour. Charles Grey appealed to the Board of Trustees for his release, claiming “Illiterate through I Be yet if I do not vindicate my personal rights and privileges in youth I will be unfittest to take my place on the stage of life, and unable to encounter the trials and tribulations of the world, in manhood.”(113) By utilising a language of masculinity he strengthened his appeal.
Likewise, female inmates were also aware of the schools preconceived gender ideals and used them to challenge their confinement. Girls were aware that they were judged through a lens of femininity, perceived as physically weak and vulnerable to abuse. Through the Ladies Visiting Committee’s regular visits and gifts, they had also learnt these gendered ideals were particularly upheld by the committee. On one occasion Sarah Lake, who was admitted in July 1869 for defacing a building, reported to a member of the Ladies Visiting Committee that she was struck with a bell by an officer at the school for disobedience and revealed a large bruise on her arm. She later confessed that her accusation was false and she had made the bruise herself by placing her arm against the window stool and striking it with the chair back because she “hoped to get sympathy from the Ladies”.(114) She sought to negotiate her oppression through an appeal founded on established ideas of femininity. Even though her appeal proved unsuccessful, the very fact that she was capable of appealing to the Ladies Visiting Committee indicates that females held agency to challenge and resist the school’s repressive measures.
The parents of the inmates were also active in challenging their child’s conditions. Between April 1876 and March 1878, eighty-five appeals were made by family members for the release of their child, of which twelve were made twice and four made three times.(115) Mrs Barry appealed for the release of her son twice in the year 1876 and each time her appeal was refused.(116) The majority of appeals were rejected by the Board of Trustees; the few that were successful were submitted by prominent figures (as was the case with the appeals of Thomas Riley and Patrick Murta Warrens) or because they included discourses of gender.(117) Relatives of male inmates appealed to notions of masculinity to strengthen their appeal, affirming that the boy’s release was necessary so he could learn a trade and achieve the necessary requisites of manhood. For example, Patrick Callahan left the school before his sentence expired because his father wanted him to work with him to become a stonemason or a carpenter.(118) By endorsing the gendered expectations of the school, parents were able to challenge their child’s exclusion.
Nevertheless, even though inmates and their parents must be regarded as historical actors in institutions of juvenile justice, their actions were met with constraints. The school’s Board of Trustees still ran a repressive regime that left inmates and their parents with few opportunities to challenge the school. The seven trustees of the school—according to the Reform School Act – “disciplined, instructed, employed and governed” inmates of the school, indicating that the trustees retained authority.(119) The investigation carried out by the Board of Aldermen in the sixth article claimed that, “a needless disregard for the rights and feelings of their parents has been often evinced by the officers of the school.”(120) The investigation highlighted that officials were changing the names of inmates to ensure their parents couldn’t find them.(121) Mrs Coyle accused Superintendent Talcott of withholding information on the whereabouts of her daughter, Eliza Ann Coyle. In an interview she stated that “Talcott never let me know where she was: I went there on the first Wednesday in April, and also in May and in June, and on the fourth of July and on Christmas day, and Thanksgiving day and also in September when I came from the country.”(122) Despite Mrs Coyle’s regular visits she was refused access to her daughter. Thus, despite the efforts of parents and inmates, often the Board of Trustees and the staff of the School left little room for negotiations.
Therefore, Providence Reform School was far from an “unbroken success” or an “honourable chapter” of the history of Providence, but rather an establishment which was characterised by physical brutality and cultural repression.(123) Nutting’s account of Providence Reform School is methodologically flawed, referencing no primary sources, it is a history gathered from oral testimonies and serves the purpose of preserving the reputation of Providence and its key figures, rather than providing an accurate account of the school. Modes of physical punishment and the enforcement of social and cultural discourses affirm that the school was ultimately repressive. Even though the inmates actively challenged their conditions and did not at all times internalise forms of degradation, the authority of the Board of Trustees prevailed.
Regardless of its intentionality, the Board of Trustees enforced a system of reform that aligned inmate’s rehabilitation with their own social and cultural discourses. In Platt’s words, the Board of Trustees was not seeking “the spirit of social justice”, but rather the self-preservation of their own values.(124) They attempted to reintegrate traditional gender binaries, generate a protestant religious revival and regulate the sexuality of inmates in order to preserve society and restore Victorian morality. However, by doing so they instigated a regime of repression, threatening the beliefs and discourses upheld by inmates.
Providence Reform School sheds light on the wider reform school movement and the new era of juvenile justice reforms. Nineteenth century social critics praised the reform school movement for rescuing children from the corruption and brutality of adult prisons. The very use of the term “home” or “school” aimed to denote the character of the institution as one of care, re-education and reform. However, as Providence Reform School illustrates, reform homes were incapable of achieving a record of reform, as children commonly left the reform homes “more corrupt than when they entered it”.(125) The new era of reform was ultimately one of failure; reform homes became strict regimentations of repression rather than reformation.
Even though, nineteenth century accounts of the school, (such as the Investigation carried out by the Board of Aldermen, the reports of the Ladies Visiting Committee and Lillie Buffum Wyman’s The Child of the State) emphasised the brutal treatment of females, both male and female inmates experienced repression. Nineteenth century accounts inaccurately emphasised female suffering due to the popular endorsement of Victorian gendered ideas which upheld that males were capable of protecting themselves and females vulnerable to abuse. The release of reports, journals and letters from Providence Reform School has brought a more in-depth account of the school, shedding light on the treatment of delinquents and highlighting that both girls and boys were victims of repression.
Therefore, it is necessary to relocate and return boys to histories of juvenile justice. The advent of social and feminist history, which sought to rightfully insert women into history, problematized and distorted histories on juvenile justice. Male delinquency became overlooked and overshadowed, a mere footnote to female delinquency. Thus juvenile judicial history must be integrated with gender history to provide a new account which realigns male and female experiences and treats masculinity and femininity as interrelated binaries, rather than distinct and detached subjects.


(1) James Nutting, ‘The Poor, The Defective and the Criminal’ (in) State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations at the End of the Century: A History (ed.) Edward Field (Boston: The Mason Publishing and Printing Co, 1902), p.475
(2) Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (London: Richard Bentley, 1839), p.309 
(3) Jane Addams, The Spirit of Youth and the City Street (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1909), p.34
(4) Barry Krisberg and James Austin, Reinventing Juvenile Justice (San Francisco: Sage publications, 1993), p.24
(5) George Branigan, ‘The Providence Reform School: A Missing Part of Rhode Island History’, Rhode Island History, Vol. 69, 2011, p.6
(6) Reform School Act (RIHS, MSS 214, SG.2, Annual Report)
(7) George Branigan, ‘The Providence Reform School: A Missing Part of Rhode Island History’, p.2
(8) James Nutting, ‘The Poor, The Defective and the Criminal’, pp.481-483
(9) Enoch C. Wines, The State of Prisons and of Child-Saving Institutions in the Civilised World (Cambridge: John Wilson & Son, 1880), p.137
(10) George Branigan, ‘The Providence Reform School: A Missing Part of Rhode Island History’, p.6
(11) Daily Journal (27 May 1889- 19 Jan 1873) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.2), p.12
(12) Daily Journal (20 Jan 1873- 16 Dec 1875) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.3), p.171
(13) Investigation Into the Management of the Providence Reform School, Made by the Board of Aldermen, under the Direction of The City Council of the City of Providence (RIHS, Vol.2 L41651, 1869)
(14) Robert Mennel, Thorns and Thistles: Juvenile Delinquents in the United States 1825-1940 (Hanover: The University of Press of New England, 1973), p.198
(15) Steven Schlossman and Stephanie Wallach, ‘Response to Critics: Rethinking “The Crime of Precocious Sexuality”’, The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, Vol.2, 2009, p.110
(16) Steven Schlossman and Stephanie Wallach, ‘The Crime of Precocious Sexuality: Female Juvenile Delinquency In the Progressive Era’ (in) Delinquency: Historical, Theoretical and Societal Reactions to Youth (ed.)Paul M. Sharpe & Barry Hancock (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998) p.4 1
(17) Ibid. p.43
(18) Elizabeth Brown, ‘The ‘Unlike Child’: Making and marking the child/adult divide in the Juvenile Court’, Children’s Geographies, Vol. 9, 2011, p.365; Sophonisba P. Breckinridge and Edith Abbott, The Delinquent Child and the Home (New York: Charities publication Committee, 1912), p.41
(19) Investigation Into the Management of the Providence Reform School, Made by the Board of Aldermen, under the Direction of The City Council of the City of Providence (RIHS, Vol.2 L41651, 1869)
(20) Peter N. Stearns, Anxious Parents: A History of Modern Childrearing in America (New York: New York University Press, 2004), p.23
(21) Ibid. p.23
(22) Ibid. p.23
(23) Tamara Myers, ‘Embodying Delinquency: Boys’ Bodies, Sexuality, and Juvenile Justice History in Early-Twentieth-Century Quebec’, Journal of the History of Sexuality, Vol. 14, 2005, p.386
(24) David Gilmore, Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity (New York: Yale University Press, 1990), pp.1-2
(25) Joan Scott, ‘Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis’, The American Historical Review, Vol. 91, 1986, p.1054
(26) Repression is a method of social control that keeps oppression in place, it can be considered both a conscious and unconscious act and have both physical and psychological effects on its recipient.
(27) Anthony Platt, ‘The Child-Saving Movement and the Origins of the Juvenile Justice System’ (in) Juvenile Delinquency: Historical, Theoretical and Societal Reactions to Youth (ed.) Paul M. Sharp & Barry Hancock (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998), p.5
(28) Ibid. p.8
(29) Elizabeth Stevens, Elizabeth Buffum Chace and Lillie Chace Wyman: A Century of Abolitionist, Suffragist and Workers’ Rights Activism (North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2003), p.9
(30) Elizabeth Brown, ‘The ‘Unlike Child’: Making and marking the child/adult divide in the Juvenile Court’, p.363
(31) ‘Interview with James M. Talcot and other Superintendents’ (in) Report on the Prisons and Reformatories of the United States and Canada (ed.) E.C. Wines & T.W. Dwight (Albany, Van Benthuysen & Sons’ Steam Printing House, 1867) p.44
(32) Daily Journal (August 29th 1858- May 19th 1864) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.1) p.244
(33) Providence Reform School, Minutes of the Visiting Committee 1876-1880, (RIHS, RG 145, AN 20326)
(34) Annual Reports of the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, 1843 (in) Children in Urban Society: Juvenile Delinquency in Nineteenth Century America (ed.) Joseph M. Hawes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), p.145
(35) Daily Journal (29 August 1858- 19 Ma 1864) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.1), p.97
(36) Ibid. p.97
(37) Ibid. p.97
(38) Anthony Platt, The Child Savers: The Invention of Delinquency (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977), p.3
(39) Steven Schlossman and Stephanie Wallach, ‘The Crime of Precocious Sexuality: Female Juvenile Delinquency In the Progressive Era’, p.45
(40) Daily Journal (29 August 1858- 19 May 1864) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.1), p.134
(41) Schlossman and Wallach,’ The Crime of Precocious Sexuality: Female Juvenile Delinquency in the Progressive Era’, p.45
(42) Daily Journal (29 August 1858- 19 May 1864) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.1), p.134
(43) Ibid. p.141 & p.263
(44) Investigation Into the Management of the Providence Reform School, Made by the Board of Aldermen, under the Direction of The City Council of the City of Providence (RIHS, Vol.2 L41651, 1869)
(45) New-York Tribune, Rhode Island Reform (31 July 1869) (, Accessed: 07 March 2014
(46) Daily Journal (20 Jan 1873- 16 Dec 1875) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.3), p.316
(47) George Branigan, ‘The Providence Reform School: A Missing Part of Rhode Island History’, p.13
(48) Lillie Buffum Chace Wyman, ‘The Child of the State’, Legacy, Vol.7, 1990, p.54-55
(49) Daily Journal (27 May 1889- 19 Jan 1873) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.2), p.109
(50) George Branigan, ‘The Providence Reform School: A Missing Part of Rhode Island History’, p.6
(51) Daily Journal (27 May 1889- 19 Jan 1873) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.2), p.25
(52) Daily Journal (20 Jan 1873- 16 Dec 1875) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.3), p.280
(53) Ibid. p.171
(54) Ibid. p.279
(55) Daily Journal (27 May 1889- 19 Jan 1873) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.2), p.51
(56) Ibid. p.4
(57) Bi-Weekly Reports (1 July 1861- 19 June 1866) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.4)
(58) Daily Journal (20 Jan 1873- 16 Dec 1875) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.3), p.9
(59) Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972- 1977 (New York: Pantheon books, 1980), p.131
(60) Michel Foucault, ‘Governmentality’ (in) The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality (ed.) Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon and Peter Miller (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), p.95
(61) Reform School Act, (RIHS, Manuscript collection, MSS 214, SG.2, Annual Report)
(62) Bi-Weekly Reports (1 July 1861- 19 June 1866) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.4)
(63) Elizabeth C. Stevens, Elizabeth Buffum Chace and Lillie Chace Wyman: A Century of Abolitionist, Suffragist and Workers’ Rights Activism (North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2003), p.115
(64) Lillie Buffum Chace Wyman, ‘The Child of the State’, pp.48-9
(65) Daily Journal (29 August 1858- 19 May 1864) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.1), p.207
(66) Daily Journal (20 Jan 1873- 16 Dec 1875) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.3), p.72
(67) Bi-Weekly Reports (1 July 1861- 19 June 1866) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.4)
(68) Interview with James M Talcott and other Superintendents (in) E.C. Wines & T.W. Dwight, Report on the Prisons and Reformatories of the United States and Canada (Albany: Van Benthuysen & Sons’ Steam Printing House, 1867), p.437
(69) James Nutting, ‘The Poor, The Defective and the Criminal’, p.480
(70) Grey C., Petition for Appeal (PCA, 00-00-1855)
(71) Daily Journal (29 August 1858-19 May 1864) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.1), p.219
(72) Daily Journal (20 Jan 1873- 16 Dec 1875) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.3), p.157
(73) James Nutting, The Poor, The Defective and the Criminal, p.481; George Branigan, The Providence Reform School: A Missing Part of Rhode Island History, p.7
(74) George Branigan, ‘The Providence Reform School: A Missing Part of Rhode Island History’, p.7
(75) The National Republican, ‘The Flag of Liberty’ (17 May 1861) (, Accessed: 07 March 2014
(76) George Branigan, ‘The Providence Reform School: A Missing Part of Rhode Island History’, p.7
(77) Daily Journal (29 August 1858- 19 May 1864) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.1), p.387
(78) Short W. (8 August 1861) (PCA, Providence Reform School Letters, 08-08- 1861)
(79) Sawyer, Dr. A., re: Patrick Foley (PCA, Providence Reform School Letters, 08-00-1865)
(80) George Branigan, ‘The Providence Reform School: A Missing Part of Rhode Island History’, p.7
(81) Ibid. p.7
(82) Robert L. Moore, ‘Religion, Secularization, and the Shaping of the Culture Industry in Antebellum America’, American Quarterly, Vol. 41, 1989, p.217
(83) Ibid. p.217
(84) Ibid. p.271
(85) Patrick T. Conley & Paul R. Campbell, ‘History of the City “375 Years at a Glance”: Providence in Rebellion: 1832-1845’ (, Accessed: 27 February 2014
(86) Investigation Into the Management of the Providence Reform School, Made by the Board of Aldermen, under the Direction of The City Council of the City of Providence (Rhode Island Historical Society, Vol.2 L41651, 1869)
(87) Ibid.
(88) Daily Journal (29 August 1858- 19 Ma 1864) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.1) p.25, 30, 58
(89) George Branigan, ‘The Providence Reform School: A Missing Part of Rhode Island History’, p.9
(90) Conklin L.E, re: Mary Gray (4 September 1866) (PCA, Providence Reform School Letters, 09-04-1866)
(91) Ibid.
(92) Daily Journal (29 August 1858- 19 Ma 1864) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.1), p.115
(93) Clark Kidder, ‘West by Orphan Train’, The Wisconsin Magazine of History, Vol. 87, 2003, p.31
(94) George Branigan, ‘The Providence Reform School: A Missing Part of Rhode Island History’, p.11
(95) Catholic Citizen’s Resolution (September 1868) (in) George Branigan, ‘The Providence Reform School: A Missing Part of Rhode Island History’, p.9
(96) Ibid. p.9
(97) Providence Journal, Meeting of Catholics in Providence, Rhode Island (1 March 1869, Vol.2), p.1
(98) Tamara Myers, ‘Sex, Gender, and the History of the Adolescent Body: 30 Years after “The Crime of Precocious Sexuality”’, The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, Vol.2 , 2009, p.98
(99) Sara Mills, Michel Foucault (London: Routledge, 2003), p.68
(100) Lillie Buffum Chase Wyman, The Child of the State, p.55
(101) Galia Ofek, Representations of Hair in Victorian Literature and Culture (Surrey: Ashgate publishing Ltd, 2009), p.15
(102) Ibid. p.8
(103) Ibid. pp.5-6
(104) Doyle to McFarland (22 September 1868) (PCA, Mayor’s Letters, January 30, 1867- June 11, 1870), pp. 253-254
(105) McFarland to Doyle (24 September 1868) (PCA, Mayor Doyle’s Incoming Correspondence, RG 101, Box 1, Series 1, Folder 9, AN 20144)
(106) Ibid.
(107) Sara Mills, Michel Foucault, p.87
(108) Mary Odem, Delinquent Daughters: Protecting and Policing Adolescent Female Sexuality in the United States, 1885-1920 (Durham: University of North Carolina Press, 1995), p.158
(109) Steven Schlossman and Stephanie Wallach, ‘Response to Critics: Rethinking “the Crime of Precocious Sexuality”, p.115
(110) Bi-Weekly Reports (3 July 1866- 7 May 1872) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 2, Vol.5)
(111) Daily Journal (27 May 1889- 19 Jan 1873) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.2), p.36
(112) Daily Journal (20 Jan 1873- 16 Dec 1875) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.3), p.27
(113) Grey C., Petition for Release (PCA, 00-00-1855)
(114) Daily Journal (27 May 1889- 19 Jan 1873) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.2), p.229
(115) Providence Reform School, Minutes of the Visiting Committee 1876-1880 (RIHS, RG 145, AN 20326)
(116) Ibid.
(117) Ibid.
(118) Daily Journal (29 August 1858- 19 May 1864) (RIHS, MSS 214, SG3, Series 1, Vol.1), p.136
(119) Reform School Act (RIHS, MSS 214, SG.2, Annual Report)
(120) Investigation into the Management of the Providence Reform School, made by the Board of Aldermen, under the Direction of The City Council of the City of Providence (RIHS, Vol.2, L41651, 1869)
(121) George Branigan, ‘The Providence Reform School: A Missing Part of Rhode Island History’, p.10
(122) Investigation into the Management of the Providence Reform School, made by the Board of Aldermen, under the Direction of The City Council of the City of Providence (RIHS, Vol.2, L41651, 1869)
(123) James Nutting, ‘The Poor, The Defective and the Criminal’, pp.481-483
(124) Anthony Platt, The Child Savers: The Invention of Delinquency (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1977), pp.3-5
(125) Investigation Into the Management of the Providence Reform School, Made by the Board of Aldermen, under the Direction of The City Council of the City of Providence (RIHS, Vol.2, L41651, 1869)