Portsmouth Asylum
Report on the Poor and Insane (downloads)

  Report on the Poor and Insane in Rhode Island (1851)1
Big discoveries are usually unexpected. Browsing through Amazon.com's Z-Shops, I was looking for background historical documents on the Portsmouth Asylum. After a half hour search of "Rhode Island" documents, I found an original copy of the Report on the Poor and Insane in Rhode Island. An original copy of the 150 year old document in good condition, it held some promise to at least provide some context for our research.

Thomas R. Hazard, State Commissioner of the Poor
Report on the Poor and Insane in Rhode Island, Read to the Rhode Island Assembly in 1851

On receipt of the book, it became readily apparent that the Portsmouth Asylum was no sleepy old-folks home. As a catalyst for ninetenth century social welfare reform in Rhode Island, it was not just a local interest story. Its compelling story elevated it as a statewide interest.

PDF E-Book Graphical HTML Excerpts
Full (19.7MB)
Part 1/4 (4.6MB)
Part 2/4 (4.6MB)
Part 3/4 (5.2MB)
Part 4/4 (5.3MB)
Full Exe (16.4MB)

Portsmouth Focus
Keepers of Asylums
Methods of Keeping
The Insane
Deaf and Dumb
Proposed Laws

Further investigation into the report revealed that it was considered a seminal document of the poor house era. Widely sought after by academicians and geneologists alike, we decided to scan and transcribe the report for the public. The pages were painstakingly removed from the binder and scanned. Graphical images were uploaded to the site, a graphical e-book was produced, and PDF versions of the document were prepared. To meet the need for a searchable version, excerpts were transcribed.

[1] Thomas R. Hazard, Report on The Poor and Insane in Rhode Island; Made to the General Assembly at its January Session, 1851, Providence: Joseph Knowles, State Printer, 1851

Portsmouth Asylum Links
  Historical Context
  Act Establishing (1832)
  Inventory Report (1833)
  Rules & Regulations (1838)
  Committee Report (1840)
  Committee Report (1857)
  The Portsmouth Cripple (1848)
  Produce Sold (1849)
  Meat Sold (1849)
  Town Council Excerpts
  1865 Census Excerpts
  1875 Census Excerpts
  1892 Account Book
  Committal Letters (1867)
  Oakum and Idle Hands
  Newport Daily News Clips (1851)
  Site Mapping (10/5/01)
  NPR Interview

Historical Texts:
  Report on Poor & Insane (1851)
  Fales Memoir (1851)
  Peterson's History (1853)

Selected Biographies
  Thomas R. Hazard -1
  Thomas R. Hazard -2
  Seth R. Anthony
  William R. Fales

Fun and Games
A Day at the Portsmouth Asylum

Other Poorhouse Links
The Poorhouse Story

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