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School Lunch: 1908

School Lunch: 1908

New York City circa 1908. "Luncheon -- Cripple School, Henry Street." Dining room at the East Side Free School for Crippled Children, which we saw earlier today. 8x10 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection. View full size.


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OH~! Okay, so only SOME of them are alleged to be feeble-minded. Sorry, briefly confused.

They all look like they're supposed to be eating quietly for the picture -- but I like that there's someone laughing -- and blurred.

Not so bad, actually

Compared to my early-eighties experience with school lunches, theirs looks like the Ritz. China bowls, silverware, tablecloths: it's all very civilized.

Prunes in the bowl

Those are prunes in the bowls. Looks like some sort of beef stew as well. Rather sad picture to know that at one time in our history children didn't live good lives like they do today. Childhood was hard for all children.

[This is "sad"? - Dave]


Oh, wow -- the thing on the boy's head looks just like headgear... which is another contraption we could never figure out how to eat around.

I'm still intrigued that these kids are supposed to be feeble minded AND crippled. I wonder which one was the larger population. I see one other pair of crutches on the back of a chair, and that's it.

[Why do you think they'd be both? "Feeble-minded" (which was an earlier pic) seems to have been a smallish subset of the kids in this school. - Dave]

Do you notice that the little girl on the far right (where the blurred matron is watching her) is standing? She appears to be the only child in the room doing so.

I love how all the ...matrons look Respectable. That Gibson Girl look really made them appear graceful and competent

It's a hard knock life....

How's that poor kid supposed to eat with that contraption on his head? What's he being treated for? And would it kill them to turn the lights on? (Then again, judging by the meal being served, perhaps it's better if they can't see it!)


In at least one respect these kids are definitely regular. Yum.

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