Massachusetts. Board of State Charities

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The Board of State Charities and its successors from 1863 onward oversaw the Massachusetts state immigration and pauper relief functions, as well as the state's charitable and correctional institutions. The Massachusetts Infant Asylum, founded by F.B. Sanborn among others, was a private institution incorporated in 1867 to house abandoned and destitute infants. Infants were admitted aged nine months and under, and were discharged at two years, unless health conditions warranted a longer stay. Per St 1870, c 136, the Board of State Charities was to be immediately notified when a child with no settlement in any municipality was taken in, and the board was authorized to remove the child, or to reimburse the asylum for its care at an established rate. To ease overcapacity at the asylum and increase life expectancy, St 1880, c 142 directed the Board of Health, Lunacy, and Charity in such cases to place state pauper infants out to board with families. The agent for the sick state poor within the Board of State Charities tracked and compiled information on infants, foundlings, and deserted children received at or being boarded out by the Massachusetts Infant Asylum, in order to properly identify those infants eligible for state reimbursement for their care. Attempts were made to identify and/or locate parents to determine if they could reclaim their children or be made responsible for their support, or to identify municipalities where the parents had settlement that should have responsibility for the support of the infants.

From the description of Massachusetts Infant Asylum case histories, 1871-1879 (bulk 1875-1879) (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 319632752

St 1851, c 342 provided for a board of commissioners in relation to alien passengers and state paupers (as potentially related classes of persons), commonly called the Board of Alien Commissioners and consisting of a Council member appointed by the governor, the state auditor, and the superintendent of alien passengers for Boston. The first duty the act assigned was for the Board to appoint persons to annually visit almshouses and other institutions holding those alleged to be state paupers to determine whether laws pertaining to the status, support, local settlement, and work requirements of such paupers were being upheld. The commissioners also worked towards the establishment of state almshouses (St 1852, c 275, ss 1-10). St 1863, c 240 transferred these functions to the succeeding Board of State Charities.

From the description of Histories of alien residents of almshouses and other institutions, 1852-1870. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 298343910

St 1863, c 240 abolished Massachusetts's Board of Alien Commissioners, replacing it with a Board of State Charities. This body had supervision not only of the previous board's immigration and state pauper functions, but of Massachusetts charitable and correctional institutions generally, including the state almshouses, state lunatic hospitals, state prison (until establishment of the Commissioners of Prisons per St 1870, c 370), and state schools. St 1879, c 291 abolished the Board of State Charities and placed its functions with a Board of Health, Lunacy, and Charity.

NAME AUTHORITY NOTE. Series relating to the agency described above can be found by searching the following access point for the time period stated: 1863-1879--Massachusetts. Board of State Charities.

From the description of Agency history record. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 123526600

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Massachusetts. State Board of Health, Lunacy, and Charity. F.B. Sanborn confidential letterbooks, 1868-1883. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Rainsford Island Hospital (Mass.). Board of State Charities minutes and correspondence relating to Rainsford Island Hospital, 1863-1865. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Massachusetts. Board of State Charities. Massachusetts Infant Asylum case histories, 1871-1879 (bulk 1875-1879) Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Massachusetts. Board of State Charities. Agency history record. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Massachusetts. Dept. of Mental Health. Institutional registers, 1863-1947 (bulk 1863-1907). Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
referencedIn Howe, S. G. (Samuel Gridley), 1801-1876. Letter, New Port, to Franklin Benjamin Sanborn [manuscript] 1871 Oct. 10. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Massachusetts. Board of State Charities. Histories of alien residents of almshouses and other institutions, 1852-1870. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Massachusetts. Board of State Charities. Records, minutes, and correspondence, 1863-1865. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Ru 26: Office Of The Secretary, Incoming Corres..
referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. Ru 33: Office Of The Secretary, Outgoing Corres..
creatorOf Massachusetts. State Board of Lunacy and Charity. Weekly reports of admissions and discharges at the State Primary School, 1866-1892. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Massachusetts. Board of State Charities. [Massachusetts. Board of state charities. Minor publications. : Pamphlet box.] HCL Technical Services, Harvard College Library
referencedIn Massachusetts. State Almshouse (Monson, Mass.). Weekly reports of admissions and discharges, 1854-1872. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
referencedIn Tufts, Gardiner, d. 1892. Letterbooks, 1864-1892, bulk: 1867-1891. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded. Quarterly census reports, 1869-1899. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Massachusetts. Board of State Charities. Annual reports, 1865-1879. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Massachusetts. Dept. of Indoor Poor. Register of indentures, 1854-1884 (bulk 1869-1884). Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Massachusetts. Board of State Charities. Reports on the status of paupers in Massachusetts, 1858-1863. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
referencedIn Massachusetts. State Primary School (Monson, Mass.). Transfer lists of inmates, 1854-1883. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Andrews, Sidney person
correspondedWith Henry, Joseph, 1797-1878 person
associatedWith Howe, S. G. (Samuel Gridley), 1801-1876. person
associatedWith Massachusetts. Board of Alien Commissioners. corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts. Commissioners on the Hours of Labor. corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts. Dept. of Indoor Poor. corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts. Dept. of Mental Health. corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts Infant Asylum. corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded. corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts. State Almshouse (Bridgewater, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts. State Almshouse (Monson, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts. State Almshouse (Monson, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts. State Almshouse (Tewksbury, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts. State Board of Health, Lunacy, and Charity. corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts. State Board of Lunacy and Charity. corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts. State Primary School (Monson, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Rainsford Island Hospital (Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Rainsford Island Hospital (Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Sanborn, F. B. 1831-1917. person
correspondedWith Smithsonian Institution corporateBody
associatedWith Taunton Lunatic Hospital (Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Tufts, Gardiner, d. 1892. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Massachusetts--Taunton
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Subject
Alms houses
Public health
Mental health services
Child welfare
Public welfare
Abandoned children
Corrections
Exchanges Of Publications
Scientific publications
Charities
State hospitals--Registers
Almshouses--Registers
Smithsonian Exchange
Psychiatric hospitals--Registers
Asylums
Poor
Homeless children
Institutional care
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1852

Active 1870

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