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A profile view of a person incarcerated at the Vermont State Hospital in the early 1900s.

Unclaimed bodies of deceased persons at the Brandon Training School were buried in a special section of the Pine Hill Cemetery across the road from the institution. After the institution was closed, a memorial was erected in memory of those…

Opened in 1915 and expanded to include “adult feeble-minded women of child-bearing age” in 1918, the Vermont State School for Feeble-Minded Children was perennially overcrowded. In the heyday of eugenic ideology, this led to newspaper reports such…

In support of the sterilization bill, one Vermont State Senator asserted that “the children of the feeble-minded ‘breed like rats’ … and become public charges.” He predicted, “we shall reach the point where we cannot afford to give our bright…

BTS_The_Burlington_Free_Press_Mon_Jan_27__1941_p. 2_small.jpg
Even as eugenic ideology began to wane nationally in the 1930s, Vermont eugenicists such as Lillian Ainsworth continued to insist “that the problem of feeble-mindedness in this state is far more serious than the average person realizes.” She…

The 1940s were a tumultuous time for public psychiatric hospitals and training schools both in Vermont and throughout the nation. In this article, psychiatrist Frederick C. Thorne raises the alarm about Vermont's particularly dire mental health…

Exterior view of the Vermont Industrial School.jpg
A photograph of the Administration building at the Vermont Industrial School. While undated, the photograph likely dates to the 1890s.

This site plan shows how large the Brandon State School had become by 1980. A point of interest is the arrangement of dormitories according to inmates' ages and degree of impairment. For example, women deemed to have the most significant…

Boy inmates perform field work at the Vermont Industrial School, 1919
The Vermont Industrial School, like other state institutions, relied on inmate labor to maintain itself. In this photograph, fairly young boys perform unpaid field work on the institution's behalf.

A few female inmates sit in front of a dormitory at the Vermont Industrial School.
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