Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Industrial School for Crippled and Deformed Children

This is a late addition to this entry (1/30/12). From the Boston Globe, August 16, 1941.

Industrial School for Crippled and Deformed Children, 1928.

Founded in 1893, the Industrial School for Crippled and Deformed Children was located on St Botolph street opposite the Boston Arena (the Arena was built just after the school). The school was founded by two orthopedic surgeons from Boston's Children's Hospital who were concerned about the educational opportunities available at the time for the children they served. If you click on the map for a larger image, you will see that the building is in two parts. The original school is the smaller of the two sections to the upper right. In 1923, the institution added the larger building on the left, which included a high school and other facilities. The school was still at the site in the 1980s, when they finally moved to Lexington under the name the Cotting School.

It was the name of the school that caught my eye while I was scanning through maps to locate another institution for an earlier post. It brought to mind the fact that during the first great surge of Boston's philanthropic efforts, the language used to name the resulting institutions was often quite direct. These people, who did so much for those they served, saw no need for euphemism, presumably because they saw no fault with the words they used. They followed the practice of the past - the insane of the city were sent to the Insane Hospital. I point this out not to deny the value of the name changes we've seen in recent decades for various handicaps and conditions, but to suggest that those who created the original names were no less virtuous than ourselves. We get the most out of history when we seek to understand, not judge.

1 comment:

  1. AndrĂ© M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)April 24, 2015 at 10:20 PM

    It’s unfortunate that you believe you must soften a nonexistent blow of reality when you seek to explain away the forthright language we, as Americans, have so vigorously sought to dilute into ambiguity. But, I must write that you yourself have not wholly escaped the crippling distractions of political correctness. You have written, I’m quite sure in oversight, the word “handicaps,” when you most likely meant “compromised enablements.”

    You have written that “the language used to name the resulting institutions was often quite direct.” That was because the name was chosen to reflect accurately the origin and purpose of the institution so-named. For examples, Women’s Hospital (New York, maternity), Presbyterian Hospital (New York, religious; no Jews), Matteawan Hospital for the Criminally Insane (New York, psychiatry), Children’s National Medical Center (D.C., children). You have written about “those who created the original names.” Those “original names” and their historical antecedents can be traced back into the antiquity of the classical languages. They were not neologized with the laying of any institutional cornerstone during the nineteenth century.

    I think the following text is a reasonable working definition of euphemism
    euphemism (n.)
    1650s, from Greek euphemismos "use of a favorable word in place of an inauspicious one," from euphemizein "speak with fair words, use words of good omen," from eu- "good, well" (see eu-) + pheme "speech, voice, utterance, a speaking," from phanai "speak" (see fame (n.)).

    But it was not until the 1960s in America that the presumed need to euphemize ourselves out of reality became an ideal standard. This is addressed well in

    André M. Smith, Bach Mus, Mas Sci (Juilliard)
    Diploma (Lenox Hill Hospital School of Respiratory Therapy)
    Postgraduate studies in Human and Comparative Anatomy (Columbia University)
    Formerly Bass Trombonist
    The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra of New York,
    Leopold Stokowski’s American Symphony Orchestra (Carnegie Hall),
    The Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Festival Orchestra, etc.