"Dexter Asylum for Paupers"
was built in 1828 and was originally used to
house paupers, the aged, the insane, homeless women in labor, and
malnourished immigrants. The institution was overcrowded and
understaffed, however during the early to mid 19th century it was the
only inpatient hospital in Providence.
Dexter Asylum was located in the
College Hill section of Providence near the Athenaeum and the Friends
School and was named after it's founder Ebenezer R. Dexter who had
bequeathed forty acres and $60,000.00 dollars for the benefit of the
poor of the city of Providence.
Usually, when one uses the term
asylum it is generally associated with a structure used to house the
mentally ill. This was obviously not the case for Dexter Asylum, as
it was primarily used as a poor house for much of it's lifetime.
I was also intrigued by the
prose on the back of this postcard. I don't know if it was written by
a resident/inmate of Dexter Asylum, however it does seem likely that
it might have been penned by someone associated with the institution.
Forgive the faults of others;
Forgive the wrong they do.
That you may get forgiveness
For faults accusing you.