Explanation needed #general

Trudy Barch

Hi, 1930 census states institute for feeble minded children. Does that mean mentally
ill as we think today? Or is it more like an orphanage home? or is it something

Thank you, Trudy Barch, Chicagoland

Ira Leviton

Dear Cousins,

Trudy Barch asked whether the Institute for Feeble Minded Children mentioned in the
1930 U.S. census was for the mentally ill, an orphanage, or something else. I
think that >from the information, it's impossible to answer without speculation.
More is needed, like getting the address >from the margin of the census page and
then looking on Google, or in old newspapers or a city directory. Terms like
feeble-minded were used very differently 75 years ago, similar to moron, imbecile,
idiot, and other medical or psychiatric terminology. Feeble-minded might have
referred to mentally retarded, mentally ill, physical or other medical conditions
that also affected brain development, or perhaps even simply incorrigible or badly
behaved children whose parents couldn't or didn't want to care for them.


Ira Leviton
New York, N.Y.

Alan Greenberg

There were many institutions with similar names. It would be helpful if you stated
exactly where this one was. If you do a Google search for "institute for feeble
minded children" (in quotations), you will find many articles and some genealogical
discussions which may lead you to a better answer.

Alan Greenberg
Montreal, Canada