Note on Sources
Although the original materials which served as the basic evidence for this study are fully described in the Notes to Chapters, it seemed advisable to inform the reader of what I consider to be the most useful sources of information and where these data are to be found.
Before noting the various collections, the reader is warned that early nineteenth-century data on delinquents was collected in a very random fashion. No guidelines seemed to exist relative to what information to collect and how to record it. The historian is left with the problem of making his own cautious assessment of the following materials.
The files of the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents, initially housed at Coxsackie, New York, but now located in the Manuscripts Room of the Syracuse University Library, provide the basic collection. The Library has made available a full inventory of these materials (“Available for Scholarly Research: The New York House of Refuge Documents, 1824–1935,” Syracuse: Syracuse University Youth Development Center and University Library, 1962). However, I would like to say here which records seemed to be most useful for specific purposes. In the matter of administrative day-by-day accounts of activities at the Refuge, the Superintendent’s Daily Journal and the Minutes of the Acting Committee were invaluable. The careers of the delinquents themselves are covered in the Histories of Subjects. These data are far more detailed in the earlier period, which I covered, than in subsequent periods when more uniform procedures of reporting were employed. The Minutes of the Indenturing Committee are useful in charting the later careers of the children, as well as in relating disposition problems of the institution. The Reports of the Ladies Visiting Committee were consulted for the feminine attitudes toward female deviants. Beyond these particular records, there are many other excellent possibilities for research. The total collection is very rich and only a small portion of it was used for the current study.
The major problem with this collection is that it can be regarded only as a set of official records. The Refuge files represent the institution as its officials wanted it represented. For more critical accounts, I had to search far beyond them. To some extent, this explains my heavy reliance on other manuscript data. The only other extant records on the Society appear to be a small set of Treasurer’s records held by the New-York Historical Society. In the same repository, the researcher can also find some closely related manuscript material of the Society for the Prevention of Pauperism. The most valuable item in this small collection is the “Rough Minutes” of the Society for the period of 1819–22. Also of considerable use to me were the Stephen Allen papers and a typescript biography of Allen by Travis. These materials, plus the correspondence of Cadwallader Colden, DeWitt Clinton, N. C. Hart, Thomas Eddy, and John Stanford, made the New-York Historical Society a treasure trove of contextual material.
An unexpected wealth of information was also uncovered in the Pennsylvania Historical Society in the Simon Gratz collection. The John Griscom collection, plus other important printed works, were found in the New York Public Library. These materials were very helpful in establishing a good deal of the story of the founding of the Refuge. Other collections, such as the Boston Public Library’s Chamberlain MSS, the microfilmed DeWitt Clinton MSS of Columbia University, the Clinton MSS in the New York State Library at Albany (which also yielded the Horatio Seymour MSS and valuable printed materials), the microfilmed Martin Van Buren MSS of the Library of Congress, the transcription of the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons (housed in the Pennsylvania Prison Society), and the Thurlow Weed and William Seward MSS at the University of Rochester Library all yielded vital ancillary information and I am deeply indebted to the various repository personnel who so graciously made these collections available. Also, I would like to thank the curators of rare book collections at Cornell University and Syracuse University for their assistance in the use of certain printed matter.