The "Ungovernable" Ella Fitzgerald

The "Ungovernable" Ella Fitzgerald

On April 10, 1933, according to records at the New York State Archives, Westchester County judge George W. Smyth sentenced a fifteen-year-old “colored” girl named Ella Fitzgerald to the New York State Training School for Girls in Hudson, NY because she was “ungovernable and will not obey the just and lawful commands of her mother.”

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Who is Training Whom?

Who is Training Whom?

The Prison Public Memory Project recently received a note from Frances Drabick, a poet whose mother worked at the New York State Training School for Girls in Hudson, NY in the 1960’s. We liked the poem very much and so with her permission, we feature it here along with her introduction and some photos she sent to us.

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Where is Margo Bake?

Where is Margo Bake?

According to this undated article from Newsday, a newspaper based in Long Island, NY, 'Missing Person' Margo Bake, ran away from the NYS Training School for Girls in 1949.  She was 5 months pregnant when she was admitted to the reform school, having been declared "ungovernable" by a Nassau County court in 1948.

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Black Child Savers Along the Hudson

Black Child Savers Along the Hudson

When Dr. M. E. Ross’s yacht pulled into the Hudson, NY harbor in July of 1936, few likely realized that it carried something other than an affluent figure on a Summer cruise. In fact, a new and formidable fight for racial justice had arrived in the form of Dr. Ross, a black physician from Harlem, who helped put Hudson on the agenda for civil rights reform.

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People Get a Great Idea and It Doesn't Materialize

People Get a Great Idea and It Doesn't Materialize

David Kinlock, a resident of Albany and former inmate at Hudson Correctional Facility, was interviewed by oral historian Suzanne Snider on April 4th, 2012. David was born in Schenectady, NY in 1968 and graduated from high school in 1986.

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The Training School for Girls: Punishment or Protection?

The Training School for Girls: Punishment or Protection?

In November 1905, Minnie B. Wade, a parole agent for the newly established New York State Training School for Girls located in Hudson, NY, addressed participants at the Sixth Annual New York State Conference of Charities and Corrections, held in New York City. What follows are excerpts* from the fascinating discussion that followed Wade’s presentation…

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Delinquent Girls Need to Farm

Delinquent Girls Need to Farm

In 1924, Superintendent Fannie French Morse wrote a paper, which later appeared in that year’s annual report, expressing her belief that girls should be able to farm at the school. Training school boys do it, she said. Why not girls?

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Suffer Little Children

Suffer Little Children

Marion Palfi (1907 – 1978), an immigrant photographer and member of the New York Photo League, a pivotal organization in photography and U.S. history, took photographs of girls at the Training School in Hudson, NY.  

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Gloria's Memories

Gloria's Memories

Unable to attend our Story and Photo Share at the Hudson Area Library on November 18th in 2012, yet wanting to share her memories and photographs, Gloria Hollenbeck had an envelope delivered to the library addressed to the Prison Public Memory Project. Inside we found a two-page typed letter and a selection of photographs. Gloria worked as a stenographer at the New York State Training School for Girls for two years in the 1950s.

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No Place To Go But Up...

No Place To Go But Up...

Thomas Tunney was Superintendent of the New York State Training School for Girls in Hudson, NY from 1964 to 1972.  He was 90 years old at the time oral historian Suzanne Snider interviewed him for the Prison Public Memory Project on September 3, 2011.

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First Letter Home

First Letter Home

"Dear Mother," Gladys Case begins her 'first letter home" while a resident of the New York State Training School for Girls. The letter was postmarked three days after Christmas, December 28, 1930.  

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Bearing Witness

Bearing Witness

In July of 2012, a box of documents from the New York State Training School for Girls—intake forms, letters, photographs, and other administrative paperwork from the 1920s––was discovered by Lisa Durfee at a Hudson garage sale, on Clinton Street.

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"They Are All Ellas..."

"They Are All Ellas..."

Ella Fitzgerald sang jazz in a voice so pure and perfected that it admitted no pain — and America loved her for it….Yet…for over 60 years she kept the cruelest chapter of her own history a secret: her confinement for more than a year in a reformatory when she was an orphaned teen-ager.

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