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Thompson’s Island: Home Page

Student Project

Rosemary Finley

Learning By Doing

Daily Life

The section on Student Life of the Thompson Island collection is filled with visual media of what life was like on the island for the boys enrolled in the Farm and Trades School.

Photograph courtesy of University Archives and Special Collections, Joseph P. Healey Library, UMass Boston: Thompson Island collection.

Records

The records are arranged in 17 series:

1. Annual Reports and Minutes of Annual Meetings of Subscribers, 1814-1942

2. Board of Managers: Minutes and reports, 1825-1956

3. Board of Managers: Correspondence, etc., 1815-1936

4. Secretary: Registers of students, 1819-1953

5. Boston Farm School Society: records, 1832-1834

6. Treasurer: Earliest accounts and register of subscribers, 1814-1879

7. Superintendent: records, 1830-1955

8. Treasurer, 1834-1953

9. Student records, 1873-1974

10. Student life, 1839-1949

11. Curriculum: Academic, Mechanical arts, Farm, etc., 1839-1954

12. Publications, 1858-1977

13. Photographs, visual materials, ca.1832-1990

14. Three dimensional objects

15. Thompson's Academy, 1953-1978

16. Liversidge Institution of Industry, 1880-1921

17. Historical miscellany, 1814-1974

From The Archives

Student Life at the Farm & Trades School
Thompson Island, Boston Harbor

The Thompson Island collection holds records that chronicle the history of the Thompson Island schools, including the Boston Asylum for Indigent Boys, the Boston Farm School Society, the Boston Asylum and Farm School, the Farm and Trades School, and finally Thompson's Academy. The records date from 1814 to 1975. The school began as a merger of the Boston Asylum for Indigent Boys (BAIB) and the Boston Farm School Society (BFSS). All of the record series are not complete; however, they do contain corporate, administrative and student records of each school. 

These items were donated to the University Archives and Special Collections department in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston in October of 1990 by the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center. Additional records were donated by Frank White in March, 1992. The records are arranged in 17 series, one of which contains three-dimensional objects made by the schoolboys during their education. 

Location: The collection can be found in the Healey Library, University Archives and Special Collections. 

Potential Research Topics

  • Thompson Island Outward Bound
  • Thompson Island's Educational Firsts: 1st Printing Program at Gardner Hall, 1st School Marching Band in America, 1st School Metrology Program in America
  • The Thompson Island Beacon: a student-written, student-printed newspaper

Potential Connections

  • 1869 Boston Peace Jubilee
  • Buildings of Mr. Charles Bulfinch, Architect
  • Sloyd Curriculum of handcraft-based education
  • Maps of Dorchester
 

 

Group portrait: Circa 1940s. Pictured above are fifteen schoolboys photographed during a moment of casual recreation at the Farm and Trades School. Farm School Marching Band, 1839 -1949. Photograph courtesy of University Archives and Special Collections, Joseph P. Healey Library, UMass Boston: Thompson Island collection.

 

 


First School Marching Band In America

Farm School Marching Band, 1839 -1949. Photograph courtesy of University Archives and Special Collections, Joseph P. Healey Library, UMass Boston: Thompson Island collection.

At the Farm & Trades School music was an important part of student life. Nearly every student learned to pay a musical instrument and 76% of students joined the school band. In 1857, according to BFS's literature, it established the first school band in the country.

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