Lincoln Developmental Center: Correspondence, 1867-1873; 1879-1890; 1892-1898; 1918-1923; 1933-1939
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Brief Description: Record consists primarily of the correspondence of the institution’s superintendent and mainlyincludes letterpress copies of letters to inmates' families concerning inmate support and means of obtaining county assistance, progress of inmates, and receipt of clothing for inmates. Also included are letters written for inmates and semiannual statements of payments due for clothing. Other correspondence subjects include the Illinois State Teachers’ Pension Fund (1918-1923, 1933-1939), the institutional nursing program (1933-1934), and county payments for inmate support (1936-1937).
Held at:
Illinois State Archives
M. C. Norton Building
Springfield, IL 62756
Phone: 217-782-3492
Fax: 217-524-3930
Email: isareference [at]
Record Series Number: 254/002
Created by: Lincoln Developmental Center - RG 254
Volume: 34.0 Volumes
Arrangement: Random; some chronological by date; some alphabetical by company or surname of person writing.
Biographical Note for Lincoln Developmental Center - RG 254 :

In 1865 the General Assembly instructed the directors of the Illinois Institution for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb to establish an Experimental School for the Instruction and Training of Idiots and Feeble-Minded Children in the State of Illinois (L. 1865, p. 78). The school was temporarily located in Jacksonville and after a five-year trial period the General Assembly incorporated it as the Illinois Institution for the Education of Feeble-Minded Children (L. 1871, p. 417).

As one of the state's permanent charitable institutions, it was to provide care, support, training, and education for mentally deficient children. A three-member board of trustees, appointed by the Governor, exercised general supervision and selected a superintendent to operate the institution. They also were subject to the investigative authority of the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities. Appropriations for the acquisition of land and the construction of buildings were made in 1875 but the institution's permanent quarters in Lincoln were not occupied until 1878. In 1877 the institution's name became the Illinois Asylum for Feeble-Minded Children (L. 1877, p. 13).

The institution had its own hospital and shops in which inmates manufactured brushes, mattresses, and shoes. Inmates also worked on a nearby farm owned and operated by the institution.

In 1909 the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities and the boards of trustees of all state charitable institutions were abolished and executive and administrative control was transferred to the newly created Board of Administration (L. 1909, p. 102). Under the new board the institution became Lincoln State School and Colony.

With the passage of the Civil Administrative Code in 1917 the Department of Public Welfare assumed all responsibility for the school and retained control until the creation of the Department of Mental Health in 1961 (L. 1961, p. 2666). The school's name which had been shortened to Lincoln State School in 1953 was again altered to Lincoln Developmental Center in 1975 (P.A. 79-581, p. 1895).

Access to some of these records is restricted according to the provisions of the Mental Health Code and the State Records Act of 1957 as amended.

Access Restrictions: Access to some of these records is restricted according to the provisions of the Mental Health Code and the State Records Act of 1957 as amended.
Subject Index
Handicapped Children
Lincoln Developmental Center
Mental Health Institutions
Mentally Handicapped
Nursing Schools
Pension Funds
Public Health
State Employees
Student Nurses
Teachers' Retirement Fund
Other Formats: Microfilmed (Negative Copy Only).
PreferredCitation: Lincoln Developmental Center, "Correspondence," Record Series 254.002, Illinois State Archives