Rome State School & Cemetery

New York State Custodial Institution at Rome for Intellectually Disabled Children and Adults.

1916 Rome State Custodial Institution For Feeble-Minded Children.
Rome Developmental Center Cemetery Names.
Rome State Custodial Asylum Map.

Rome State School

Rome State School

Photograph courtesy of The Museum of disABILITY History

“Although the initial purpose was essentially eugenic in nature, the scope of the institution expanded over the years. Educational training and independent living became central aspects, and several colony homes were established. The New York State Custodial Asylum for Un-Teachable Idiots was established in 1893 to address the growing public need for increased custodial provisions for ‘idiots’ deemed beyond the reach of education.  However, the staff soon realized that these individuals were capable of far more than the name of their institution implied. Led by Superintendent Charles Bernstein, the Board of Managers assumed a philosophy that focused on the recognition that people with disabilities “have a right to experiences and opportunities equivalent to those available to all other citizens.” Over fifty colony homes were established during Dr. Bernstein’s forty year superintendence, providing the people in attendance with many opportunities to live and work in the community.”

Rome Developmental Cemetery – This cemetery appears to be well maintained.
Annual Report of the Board of Managers of the Rome State …, Volumes 1-12.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO They’re Buried Where? by Seth Voorhees

THE BAD NEWS: Thousands Remain Nameless! 6.15.2015.

THE GOOD NEWS: One Man Is Remembered! 6.14.2015.



1912-1920 Eugenics in New York State

This is the story of Frank Osborn, a twenty-two year old man who was chosen to be sterilized by the Board of Examiners of Feeble-Minded (including idiots, imbeciles and morons), Epileptics and Other Defectives in the State of New York in 1915. Frank had committed no crime. He was feeble-minded, which in today’s terms would mean he was developmentally disabled. Frank had the intelligence of an eight year old and had been an inmate at the Rome State Custodial Asylum, Rome, New York, since 1907. Previous to that time, he had been an inmate at the Rochester Industrial School at Rochester, New York. Frank must have born about 1893. I do not know when or where he died, or where he was buried.

The whole point of Eugenics was to stop the defective population (insane, feeble-minded, criminal), from procreating. Frank Osborn was not sterilized because the New York State statute was ruled unconstitutional. What I find disgustingly amazing is the attitude of doctors, lawmakers, and men in general toward women. On page 19 of the testimony given by Dr. Charles Bernstein (The Trial of FRANK OSBORN 9.17.1915), clearly states that a seventeen year old woman had been gang raped but because she was feeble-minded and had been sterilized, the incident was not handled by authorities. “The fact that she was sterile made the authorities feel that it was not a matter for them.” 

To read more about Eugenics in New York State, please click on:
EUGENICS – New York State Timeline 1912-1920

1.Salpingectomy – surgical excision of a fallopian tube.

2. Ovariotomies – surgical incision of an ovary. (Not sure if this procedure is the same as Oophorectomy – the surgical removal of an ovary, called also ovariectomy.)

3. Vasectomy – surgical division or resection of all or part of the vas deferens usually to induce sterility.
(SOURCE: Definitions by Dictionary and Thesaurus – Merriam-Webster Online:

4. Eugenics – is the applied science of the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population, usually a human population. It is a social philosophy which advocates for the improvement of human hereditary traits through the promotion of higher reproduction of more desired people and traits, and the reduction of reproduction of less desired people and traits.

5. Dysgenics (also known as Cacogenics) – is the study of factors producing the accumulation and perpetuation of defective or disadvantageous genes and traits in offspring of a particular population or species. Dysgenic mutations have been studied in animals such as the mouse and the fruit fly. The term dysgenics was first used as an antonym of eugenics – the social philosophy of improving human hereditary qualities by social programs and government intervention.

6. Defendant -is any party required to answer a plaintiff’s complaint in a civil lawsuit, or any party that has been formally charged or accused of violating a criminal statute. (Respondent is the parallel term used in a proceeding which is commenced by petition).

7. Respondent -is a person who is called upon to issue a response to a communication made by another. In legal usage, this specifically refers to the defendant in a legal proceeding commenced by a petition, or to an appellee, or the opposing party, in an appeal of a decision by an initial fact-finder.

8. Plaintiff – also known as a claimant or complainant, is the term used in some jurisdictions for the party who initiates a lawsuit (also known as an action) before a court. In other words, someone who tries to sue. By doing so, the plaintiff seeks a legal remedy, and if successful, the court will issue judgment in favor of the plaintiff and make the appropriate court order (e.g., an order for damages).

9. Appeal – is a process for requesting a formal change to an official decision. The decision maker to whom the appeal is made may be a court, a board, a tribunal or even a single official. Generally, only the party aggrieved below has standing to appeal.
(SOURCE: Definitions by Wikipedia: