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Institutions annual reports

Identifier: 8500.001

Scope and Contents

Includes copies of annual reports of the Board of Directors of Public Institutions, 1857-1886 and 1888; Commissioner of Public Institutions, 1890-1891, 1893-1894, 1897, and 1928; Institutions Registration Department, 1901, 1913-1915; and one bound volume of City Documents relating to the Lunatic Hospital, Inspectors of Prisons, Directors of Public Institutions and Rules and Regulations, 1863-1869. Annual reports can also be found in the City Documents series.


  • 1857-1928 with gaps


Historical note

With the establishment of the House of Industry in 1823, the responsibilities of the Overseers of the Poor were limited to “out-door relief” or relief provided outside of public institutions. The Directors of the House of Industry were responsible for “in-door relief” or support in the public institution. Prior to 1857, the House of Industry and House of Reformation were under the charge of the Directors of the House of Industry. The House of Correction was under the charge of the Overseers of the House of Correction.

From 1857 to 1885, the public institutions were in charge of a Board of Directors, twelve in number; from 1885 to 1889, in charge of a Board, consisting of nine members; from 1889 to 1895, in charge of the Board of Commissioners of Public Institutions, three in number. By Chapter 449 of the Acts of 1895, the institutions were placed under the charge of one commissioner, known as the Institutions Commissioner.

By Chapters 395 and 451 of the Acts of 1897, the control of the institutions was divided, and they were placed under the Children’s Institutions Department, the Pauper Institutions Department, the Insane Hospital Department and the Penal Institutions Department.

Chapter 7 of the Ordinances of 1920 abolished the Penal Institutions, Infirmary, Children’s Institutions and Institutions Registration Departments and consolidated them into one department called the Institutions Department under the charge of one commissioner. Chapter 9 of the Ordinances of 1924 re-established the Penal Institutions Department separate from the Institutions Department.

Section 35 of Chapter 2 of the Ordinances of 1954 abolished the Institutions Department, including the office of the Commissioner of Institutions. The powers, duties and appropriations of said department in relation to the commitment of the insane and to Long Island and the institution thereon belonging to the city were transferred to the Hospital Department. The powers, duties and appropriations of the Institutions Department in relation to all other matters were transferred to the renamed Welfare Department, formerly the Public Welfare Department.

Chapter 138 of the Acts of 1991 abolished the Penal Institutions Department and the post of Penal Institutions Commissioner. The House of Correction at Deer Island was decommissioned upon the opening of the new facility at South Bay. The House of Correction is now under the charge of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office.


38 Volumes

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Related Materials

Childrens' Institutions Department annual reports

Institutions annual reports
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Repository Details

Part of the City of Boston Archives Repository

201 Rivermoor St.
West Roxbury MA 02132 United States
617-635-1194 (Fax)