Asylum for Idiots

While bouncing around the Web this morning trying to see if I could stumble on any new inroads to my Syracuse genealogy, I found this wonderful example of the process of human evolution.  However, the cynic that occupies a good deal of my psyche is thinking you know damn well there would have been some dolt or two bristling at each name change declaring "What's wrong with calling them feeble minded when that's what they are?"  I guess some progress is faster than others but the most important thing is to keep moving forward and not backward.

New York State Asylum for Idiots, afterwards
Syracuse State Institution for Feeble-Minded Children, afterwards
Syracuse State School for Mental Defectives, afterwards
Syracuse State School, afterwards
Syracuse Developmental Center



  1. (-: Being the step mom of a 26 year old son with Down Syndrome, who lives with us, I am glad we've moved our words with the times. Funnily enough, the new and improved phrases, quickly become perjorative and the "system" invents new ones. Noah attends an ARC school and I'm amazed they've been able/desired to, keep their name because the name meant initially, Association of Retarded Citizens. Retarded used politely still felt "perjorative" to some, and so they moved to first one thing and then the other. When I started out as Noah's "mom" it was D.D Developemental Disability that he had, that the "program" would have as a title. Now it's moved on to other things depending on the region. I feel like a dolt in my own inability to keep up with the alphabet soup that refers to it all. I can't tell you what replaced D.D but something has. For myself, and my darkside, I'd be okay with being a dolt or "feeble minded" but only if it was said by someone who was helping me make a pie or sew a button on, not by someone pointing and jeering. Thanks for sharing. I'm sure like me, you check when searching out genealogy to see if the idiot deaf/mute/blind/insane columns are checked. I often will check to see if the "can read/can write" column is checked too. The only true dolts in my opinion btw, are those who don't make good use of the brains God gave them.


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