To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Katz (1995) suggests that the purpose of poor relief historically was to prevent death from starvation, disease, homelessness, and lack of clothing. Thus the growing number of destitute people in the United States at the beginning of the nineteenth century prompted the establishment of almshouses to provide relief. These institutions were intended to isolate individuals from the corrupting influences of the outside world that were alleged to lead to a life of laziness, alcohol abuse and, ultimately, pauperism (Katz 1983, 1986, 1995). The failure of the almshouse system to provide for its inmates is well documented (Katz 1983, 1986, 1995; Lawrence 1976; Leiby 1978; Rothman 1971). Almshouses were overcrowded with immigrants who spent their last pennies on passage to America, arriving destitute and often sick. Inmates frequently endured appalling living conditions, inadequate food and exposure to infectious diseases. The almshouses in New York State exemplify these deficiencies. Inspections in 1856 indicated that living conditions in many of the State's institutions were ‘ … badly constructed, ill-arranged, ill-warmed and ill-ventilated’ (New York State Senate Report of 1857, in Katz 1986). Mortality records from the Monroe County Almshouse in Rochester, New York, also suggest that these institutions were pesthouses, where many people who were suffering from infectious diseases came to die (Higgins et al. 2002; Higgins and Sirianni 1995; Lanphear 1986; Sirianni and Higgins 1995).
Data were collected from254 skeletons at the Monroe County Almshouse in Rochester, NewYork, dating from1826–1863.Additional evidence was used to calculate mortality rates for paupers (Brighton Town Clerk's Records) and the general population of the City of Rochester (Mount Hope records and census data). Because death rates were so high at the almshouse, the signs of biological stress observed in the skeletons, with the possible exception of infants, were probably not the result of institutionalization but, rather, the result of nutritional inadequacies or diseases experienced outside the almshouse. Documentary evidence indicates that mortality in the City of Rochester around the middle of the nineteenth century was highly variable and characterized by considerable infectious and parasitic diseases. Infant and early childhood mortality was severe. At the Monroe County Almshouse almost one-half of the subadults (as evidenced in both the skeletal collection and the BTC Record) died within the first year of life.
The health index for the sample is 72.3% of the possible maximum score, which is higher than that for the St. Thomas' Anglican Church sample. Documentary evidence, when available, should be included in the overall assessment of health among skeletal samples. It is evident from the Brighton Town Clerk's record that acute infectious disease played a major role in the mortality experience of almshouse residents, a situation that was not incorporated into the Mark I version of the index. In some respects, inmates of the almshouse do not appear much different from the population in general, for example, with respect to the stature of adult males.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.