Phonograph Keepsake box by Rhian and Ray Ferrer. I did the collage covering and my husband, artist Ray Ferrer did the hand-cut stencil and spray paint phonograph. These vintage documents from the 50s came from an abandoned institution in Rockland County, NY called Letchworth Village. Letchworth Village opened in 1911 and closed in 1996.
On February 27, 1950, the first trial case of the polio vaccine in the United States was administered to an 8-year-old patient. After the patient suffered no side effects, the vaccine was administered to 19 more of the institution’s children.
Reports of inadequate funding and improper care of the residents, including children, were present dating back to the 1920’s. Accounts surfaced of residents being found unclothed, unbathed, and neglected. In addition to rampant abuse among the institution’s residents, staff also suffered abuse at the hands of fellow co-workers which included incidents of rape.
I went into one of the hundreds of buildings at Letchworth when I lived in New York and was able to save many of the patient files that were still on the shelves or scattered across the floor back in 2005. Years later I decided to give these people and their stories new life by making them into artwork.
-Rhian Ferrer, ARTGLAND
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