The following is a transcription of the Annual Report of the Industrial School for Girls (ISFG) for the year 1860, the second full year the school existed in its Dorchester location. 1860 was also a census year. With the report and the census, it is known who lived at and worked on behalf of the school in 1860.
The Annual Report was written for the benefit of those who supported the school financially, its “subscribers”. As a result, the report sounds similar to fundraising pleas many people receive today. The author(s) of the report describe the school as settled in its new location and continuing successfully in its mission of “saving the children.” Though superficial at times, the report is nonetheless filled with details missing in mass mailings today, admitting of girls sick with scarlet fever as well as a blanket admission of the year’s “failures, its irrevocable deeds, its irretrievable losses.” It also outlines interesting details that flesh out our knowledge of the school’s operations—of the production of garments and stockings by the girls, of singing lessons, and even a special visit to an aquarium!
Although the language of the report is sometimes antiquated, the 21st-century reader of the report can deduce much by doing archaeological and historical research related to the report. The transcript below has many links which will bring you to biographies of the women therein. It also showcases many images from the archaeological dig undertaken on site at the former ISFG as well as a few images connected to people and places referenced in the report. The artifacts and the report ‘speak’ to each other as we gain information from both object and document.
Annual Report of the Board of Managers of the Industrial School for Girls In Dorchester for the Year 1860.
As year after year we meet our subscribers, to render an account of our stewardship, we cannot be feel great thankfulness to those who given us the means of action, and to the great “Giver of all good and perfect gifts,” who has so blessed our way. Again, we have a good account to give of the past year. Changes have been made in the School, but they have fulfilled our hope from them. Serious sickness has, for the first time, visited the School, but we have no death to record, and have only to be grateful for the alleviations that surrounded it. We have had a share of trials and disappointment; but we can gratefully say that the School was never in so good condition – never came so near to being what we wish. To some of those who have to do with the detail of its management, the condition of the School comes next in interest and responsibility to that of their own household; and subscribers will, we are sure, be thankful with us.
Last spring we secured the services of Mrs. Däuble, a lady of much experience as a teacher, and as a missionary at home and abroad. She entered on her duties, as Matron, on the first of May, and we have reason to be more than satisfied with our choice. The children – each of them – feel her influence, and are helped towards a truly child-like spirit, which is often to be developed in them for the first time. Boldness and self-sufficiency, with an entire absence of modesty and deference, too often mark the children when they enter, as they also mark many a child in more favored circumstance; and these must be cleared away before progress in character can begin. A gentle and loving atmosphere is far more effectual to this end than any amount of opposing self-assertion; and this we are thankful to have secured to our children.
In March, the scarlet fever appeared in the School, but we had only five cases; and of these, only one was severe. We had valuable attention from Dr. Stedman, who gives us his services gratis; and we appreciated the advantage of living in a house planned in view of such a contingency. The children recovered well, except in one case, where was great original delicacy.
Eight girls have entered the School during the last year, and eight have left us. The girls now at the School are unusually young, which reduces the number of those ready to leave. There have been made at the School since May 1st, 422 garments, and 49 pairs of stockings knitted. This includes the outfits of the girls who have gone out, and is a guaranty of the industry. If we could afford it, we should be glad to relieve the Matron of a part of the labor of cutting and sewing, which now press very closely upon her.
We had a much appreciated present of clothing from the sewing circle of the Rev. Mr. Tebbett’s society, and every garment helps, where there are so many children, and such violent changes of the thermometer. We received in the early part of last year, two liberal donations. Half the sum to which they amounted has been appropriated to building a shed, with outhouses, which were emphatically required for health and convenience. They have been put up by Mr. Rumrell, who built our house, and have cost within six hundred dollars.
One real pleasure, during the year, has been the kindness of our Dorchester neighbors. We have had various gifts of apples and vegetables; twice a dinner for the whole School has been set to us; a kind friend treated the children to a visit to the Aquarium; and we have had other kindnesses offered, which give us the pleasant sense of good neighborhood.
Our thanks are also due to the teacher – Mr. Ansorge – who, for nearly a year, gratuitously instructed our children in singing. We wish to acknowledge all the help and kindness which we have had from our followers, that our only cry may not be that of the daughters of the horse-leech; but we should deprecate being considered as over-supplied with the goods of this world. Our Treasurer’s Report will show the details of our expenditure. We are dependant [sic] on our subscriptions, which fluctuate from many causes, and an income from stock which must vary with the varying condition of business. Any falling off presses hard on what is a strictly economical expenditure. We, therefore, beg our friends not to forget us.
We have had many visitors during the past year, but we should be glad that every subscriber would visit the School. It is always open to inspection, and when one has given for years, it is no more than natural to wish to see some result.
The old year has gone from us, with its fulfilments and failures, its irrevocable deeds, its irretrievable losses; but for the new year there is always hope. Will our friends receive from us the hope that their charity may bless their own hearts, as well as save the children and quicken us to better fidelity and wisdom.
OFFICERS FOR 1861.
MRS. S. PARKMAN.
MISS E. T. PARKER.
MRS. F. W. G. MAY.
MISS E. A. EVERETT, Harrison Square.
MISS E. A. GUILD, Brookline.
MISS A. M. HOOPER, 56 Beacon Street.
MRS. F. W. G. MAY, Dorchester.
MISS E. P. NICHOLS, Jamaica Plain.
MISS E. T. PARKER, 89 Beacon Street.
MRS. H. J. PRENTISS, 15 Dover Street.
MISS E. S. PARKMAN, 8 Walnut Street.
MRS. M. S. PARKER, 29 Kneeland Street.
MRS. S. PARKMAN, 108 Boylston Street.
MRS. INCREASE SMITH, Harrison Square.
MRS. G. H. SHAW, 1 Joy Street.
MRS. C. H. WARREN, 50 Beacon Street.
LIFE MEMBERS SINCE 1859.
MRS. F. A. KEMBLE.
MR. ABEL ADAMS.
MRS. DANIEL DENNY.
MR. J. M. FORBES.
DEACON MOSES GRANT.
MR. R. C. HOOPER.
MRS. R. C. HOOPER.
MISS E. OLIVER.
MISS N. OLIVER.
LIST OF DONATIONS, FOR 1860.
A drum of figs.
A bag of cookies.
Books, tracts, almanacs, and newspapers.
Remnants of stuff.
Remnants of chintz.
Two hundred notifications.
Two hundred Reports.
Rhubarb and sugar.
A sewing machine.
Three dozen eggs.
Fifteen yards merino.
A number of books.
A bundle of underclothes.
Fifty dollars. ($50.)
Two baskets of apples.
Two baskets of vegetables.
One dollar. ($1.)
Seventy-five cents. (75c.)
A bundle of clothing.
Ten dollars. ($10.)
Jump-ropes and hoops.
A barrel of apples.
Nine dollars. ($9.)
A barrel of apples.
Cabbages, turnips and other vegetables.
Images courtesy of Boston City Archaeology Program.