Corporation meeting minutes, 1851-1968

Walter E. Fernald State School


2 v. and 4 file folders (partial doc. box).
2 microfilm reels (1 partial) ; 35 mm.
Arranged chronologically.
Per St 1850, c 150 Samuel Gridley Howe, Samuel May, and Stephen Fairbanks incorporated the Massachusetts School for Idiotic and Feeble-Minded Youth. Resolves 1851, c 44 provided for state inspection, partial annual funding, state appointment of four of the twelve trustees, and selection by the governor of a specific number of pupils. Corporation responsibilities included election of officers and trustees, approving the trustees' annual report, and managing school finances and property. St 1986, St 599 placed the school under the Dept. of Mental Retardation, with an advisory trustee board appointed by the governor.
The corporation held one meeting annually, proceedings of which are recorded here. For trustee meeting minutes, see: Trustee meeting minutes, 1851-1977 ((M-Ar)802X).
Massachusetts Resolves 1846, c 117 appointed Commissioners on Idiocy to inquire on: the condition of idiots in the commonwealth and if anything can be done for them. The commission's report, written by Samuel Gridley Howe of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind, led to the establishment by Resolves 1848, c 65 of the Experimental School for Teaching and Training Idiotic Children, located at the Perkins Institution. The school was incorporated as the Massachusetts School for Idiotic and Feeble-Minded Youth (St 1850, c 150), located near Perkins in South Boston, with Howe serving as president until his death in 1876. It was renamed the Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded by St 1883, c 239, reflecting the establishment of a separate asylum department for those beyond school age or not capable of being helped by the school's instruction. Funds for the construction of a new facility in Waltham were provided by Resolves 1888, c 82, and occupation of the new site began in 1890, with the South Boston facility closing in 1892. St 1925, c 293 renamed the institution the Walter E. Fernald State School, in honor of the superintendent of the school, 1887-1924. A 2003 gubernatorial initiative to close the Fernald School (known as the Walter E. Fernald Developmental Center since 1993) by 2007 was contested during the subsequent decade, until the institution was shut down permanently in Nov. 2014.
Contents: 1851-1891 1 v. 1891-1914 1 v. 1892-1944, 1944-1951, 1952-1960, 1961-1962 (typescript in file folders).
Microfilm (1851-1944) available in Archives reading room. Master negative microfilm also available.
Agency history record (CStRLIN)MASVAH0049-A/(OCoLC)122297682 describes the history and functions of the Walter E. Fernald State School.

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