Changing Pictures of Childhood: The Lyman School – Play

From “Investigation of the Suicide of John Newman,” Massachusetts State House Report, 1910, p. 29: 

“All boys who are not under discipline have periods of play each day and a half-holiday on Saturday. There are baseball and basket-ball teams at the school.”

“Special mention should be made of the gymnasium of the Lyman School. It is splendidly equipped and appointed, including an excellent swimming pool, and is superior to any seen by the committee in other institutions which it visited.”

“[A] band approximating 50 boys is well conducted under the supervision of the physical instructor. Many of the boys in the band never had previous musical training before they entered the Lyman School, and exhibit remarkable ability.”

* * *

  • Are the activities depicted in this group of pictures considered important? How do we know?
  • The indentured servant contracts make no mention of playtime, recreation, or physical activity. Does this difference tell us anything about how childhood was thought about during these two periods of time?


Go to the next page in the exhibit: School Portraits.

* * *

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