Transcribed from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar.

Industrial Schools.—John Howard, who died in 1790, was the first man to advocate a system of prison reform that would separate young persons, convicted for the first time, from hardened criminals—a system that has since found expression in the establishment of reform schools. As early as 1803, Edward Livingston, while mayor of New York city, suggested legislation in favor of such separation, and in 1821 he incorporated his ideas in the Louisiana code. The first organized effort for the reformation of juvenile offenders was in England in 1817. Seven years later the city of New York established a "House of Refuge" in what is now known as Madison square; Boston followed with a similar institution in 1826, and Philadelphia opened a reform school in 1828. In 1900 there were 56 such schools in the United States.

Main Building, Boys' Industrial School.


Kansas has two schools of this character, viz.: the "State Industrial School for Boys," at Topeka, and the "State Industrial School for Girls," at Beloit. The former was established under the provisions of an act passed by the legislature of 1879, which appropriated $35,000 for the erection of buildings, etc. The control and supervision of the school was placed in the hands of the board of trustees of the state charitable institutions, which was directed to select a site within 5 miles of the state house, provided the city of Topeka would donate a tract of not less than 160 acres of land for the purpose. Shortly after the passage of the act, the board appointed Dr. J. L. Wever, A. T. Sharpe and C. E. Faulkner as a committee to visit other states and examine into the workings of their reform schools. The committee reported in favor of founding an institution that should be educational rather than penal; that cells, bolts and bars should be omitted; that none over sixteen years of age should be admitted; that forms of trial in making commitments should be omitted as far as possible, and that there should be a complete separation of the sexes. The report was adopted and the school was founded upon that basis. It is located 3 miles north of the capitol building, on a tract of 170 acres which was given by the city of Topeka, and to this has been added 70 acres by purchase. The west wing of the main building was completed in time to open the school on June 1, 1881, with J. G. Eckles as superintendent. Mr. Eckles was succeeded on March I, 1882, by J. F. Buck, who served to the close of the fiscal year on June 30, 1891. Since then the superintendents have been as follows: W. E. Fagan, 1891-92; E. C. Hichcock, 1893-94; W. H. Howell, 1895-96; J. M. Hart, 1897 to May 1, 1899; W. S. Hancock, May 1, 1899, to Jan. 1, 1902; H. W. Charles, Jan. 1, 1902—

In his report for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 1900, Supt. Hancock stated that upon assuming the management of the institution he found a number of boys whose conduct merited a discharge, but could not be discharged because they had no suitable homes to which they could go. He consulted with Gov. Stanley and the board of trustees, with the result that the parole system was adopted. That year 31 boys were sent out on parole and only two came back. They were again sent out—to different places—and that time remained. Since then the parole system has been made a permanent feature of the institution.

Girls' Industrial School, Beloit.


On Feb. 1, 1888, the Women's Christian Temperance Union of Beloit opened a school of a reformatory character for girls. This school was kept up by private contributions until the meeting of the legislature in 1889, when a law was passed appropriating $25,000 for the establishment of a reform school for girls at Beloit, provided that city would "secure a suitable tract of land, without cost to the state, not less than 40 acres, within 3 miles of said city, as a site for said school," the site to be approved by the state board of charitable institutions. The people of Beloit donated a tract of 80 acres within half a mile of the city, and on March 18, 1889, the state took over the school that had been started the year previous by the Women's Christian Temperance Union. A building capable of accommodating 100 inmates was erected, and the first commitment was from Butler county on May 10, 1889.

The act creating the school gave courts of record and probate courts the power to commit: 1. Any girl under the age of sixteen years who might be liable to punishment by imprisonment under any existing law of the state. 2. Any girl under sixteen, with the consent of her parent or guardian, against whom any charge of violation of law might have been made, the penalty for which would be imprisonment. 3. Any girl under sixteen who is incorrigible and habitually disregards the commands of her father, mother or guardian, and who leads a vagrant life, or resorts to immoral places or practices, and neglects or refuses to perform labor suitable to her years, and to attend school. Every girl so committed to the institution was required to remain until she reached the age of twenty-one, unless sooner discharged upon the superintendent's recommendation, though girls might be apprenticed or dismissed upon probation, to be returned to the school if they proved untrustworthy. Biennial reports have been made by the superintendents as follows: Mary Marshall, 1890; Martha P. Spencer, 1892; Tamsel F. Hahn, 1894; Mrs. S. V. Leeper, 1896; Phoebe J. Bare, 1898; Hester A. Hanback, 1900; and since that time to 1910 by Mrs. Julia B. Perry.

The aims and objects of the industrial schools are to surround wayward boys and girls with an atmosphere of refinement and morality which will aid in their reformation, and to teach them the rudiments of some useful employment that will place in their hands the means of supporting themselves after being discharged from the institution. The boys are taught tailoring, shoe and harness making, woodworking of various kinds, baking, printing, etc., and the girls are taught sewing, weaving, cooking, gardening and horticulture, wood carving, clay modeling, and the general duties of the household. Music is taught in both schools, which are provided with libraries. A printing press has been installed in the boys' school, and a monthly paper called the "Boys' Chronicle" is issued and circulated throughout the state and mailed to similar schools elsewhere.

Pages 933-936 from volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed May 2002 by Carolyn Ward.