Publication Date

April 2019

Advisor(s)

Demetrius Eudell

Major

History (HIST)

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Despite primary source evidence suggesting that the histories of the Connecticut Valley Hospital (est. 1868 as the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane) and Long Lane School (est. 1870 as the Connecticut Industrial School for Girls) were intertwined, historians have not studied the two institutions in conjunction. This thesis seeks to fill this gap in existing literature and argue that although existing historiography has taken a case-study approach to these institutions, it is crucial to place them in conversation as they developed spatially and temporally together in Middletown. Moreover, studied in conjunction, they provide new insights into how reformatories reified each other and subsequently became conventionalized in America. They also provide insight into nineteenth-century definitions of deviancy and presuppositions underlying institutionalization that were rooted in prejudice ideologies and continue to endure today. This thesis will use Middletown’s history of institutionalization — focusing specifically on the Hospital for the Insane and the Industrial School for Girls — as a jumping off point to explore the rise, decline, and paradoxical persistence of institutionalization throughout Connecticut and the rest of the Northeast.

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