This post was written by Luis Rodriguez, Collections Management Specialist.
If young students are feeling frustrated by the demands of the new school year, perhaps they can be grateful that they weren’t around a century ago when they might have been sent off to the New York Parental School in Flushing, Queens. The boys pictured here were deemed to be habitual truants and troublemakers and were therefore placed in this year-round boarding school, founded in 1909. The focus was on discipline and industrial training, and to this end the school operated a tailor shop, a farm, a bakery, and a laundry. The school closed in 1934, however, after an investigation into the apparently severe methods employed for the sake of “reform.”
The images themselves come from the William D. Hassler photograph collection. Hassler was a commercial photographer based in New York City from 1909 to 1921 and a collection of his work, which covers a wide range of subject matter is part of our digital collection Photographs of New York City and Beyond.