Changing Pictures of Childhood: The Lyman School – Institutional LIfe

In 1884, the Lyman School implemented an innovative approach to child reform called the “Cottage System.” Under this system, the boys lived in smaller group settings that attempted to replicate “home life” as much as possible, rather than being housed all together in one big building (which was the case when the school was first founded).  Nonetheless, overcrowding quickly became the school’s biggest problem and plagued it throughout most of its history.

  • What are the apparent dynamics between the master and the students in the “class picture” for the cottage? What are the apparent dynamics between the children themselves?
  • How are the students dressed in these pictures, and what does their clothing tell us about their lives at the school?
  • What is the atmosphere in each picture? How would the setting affect you?


Go to the next page in the exhibit: Image and Reality at the Lyman School.

* * *

Exhibit Navigation for “Changing Pictures of Childhood: A Comparative History of Child Welfare in Westborough”: