Voices of Pineland: Eugenics, Social Reform, and the Legacy of "Feeblemindedness" in Maine byStephen Murphy tells the story of the Maine School for the Feebleminded, later known asPineland Hospital and Training Center. Based on an in depth analysis of annual institutionalreports, newspaper clippings, legal documents, and other archival sources as well as interviewswith former residents, their family members, and staff, Murphy traces the history of the Maineinstitution from its founding in 1908 to its eventual closure in 1996. Prior to 1908, Maine sentmany of its citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities to Massachusetts. When thestate established the Maine School for the Feebleminded, it modeled it after an institution inMassachusetts that had been the first asylum for socalled "idiots" in the United States. Murphyshows the influences of both social forces and the personalities of superintendents, electedofficials, and eventually lawyers, advocates, and court officials on Pineland's historyVoices of Pineland is more than the story of Maine's institution for the feebleminded, though. It provides a lens through which to viewthe history of people with intellectual disabilities in twentieth century America. The founding of the Maine School for theFeebleminded was a product of the eugenics fervor that swept the country around the turn of the century and continued for severaldecades. The feebleminded were seen as a cause of a broad range of social problems and a threat to the social order. Like other states, Maine turned to the institution and later involuntary sterilization to prevent the feebleminded from spreading their alleged defectivegenes. The population of the Maine school steadily grew, and the institution soon becameovercrowded and understaffed. As early as 1938, charges of abuse and neglect at theinstitution were reported in the press. This predated the flurry of exposes on state schools andmental hospitals in the national media, including Life magazine and Reader's Digest, in thepost-World War II era.
Publisher: Information Age Publishing
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
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