Massachusetts Archives


Almshouse Dept. registers [Massachusetts State Farm (Bridgewater, Mass.).]

Part of: Massachusetts State Farm (Bridgewater, Mass.).

Almshouse Dept. registers, 1885-1948 (Bulk: 1908-1946).

2 volumes
Call no.: HS9.10/2546X

Scope and Content: Bridgewater, Mass., was the site successively of a State Almshouse (1854-1872) for so-called willing and needlessly dependent paupers, and the State Workhouse (1866-1887), for paupers convicted of misdemeanors as well as paupers generally (from 1872), and incorrigible juveniles (1869-1948). The State Workhouse was renamed the State Farm (1887-1955), which also included a State Farm Hospital for the medical needs of all inmates, as well as locals and poor admitted solely for medical treatment. The change in name was in deference to the admission of insane male paupers (1886), although it was  followed by the admission of aged and physically or mentally infirm inmates of the State Prison (1890). Insane admissions were then limited for a time to criminals (1894), forming a division called the State Asylum for Insane Criminals (1895), which was renamed Bridgewater State Hospital (1909). Units at Bridgewater were later added for female prisoners (1909-1930), so-called defective delinquents (males from 1922, females 1926-1954)–mentally impaired inmates requiring segregation from standard inmate or institutionalized populations–and for drug and alcohol addicts (from 1922, females to 1930 only), eventually mostly voluntary admissions. All Bridgewater State Farm facilities and divisions (including prison, almshouse, insane, and medical hospital functions) were administered by a common superintendent. The running of the State Farm, including industries and extensive agricultural operations, relied on work performed by all capable inmates.
Arrangement: Arranged by inmate no
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