Louisville Metro Archives & Records Center

Louisville and Jefferson County Children's Home / Ormsby Village

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The Louisville and Jefferson County Children's Home housed children who were public wards for reasons of either delinquency or dependency from 1920 to 1967. Its residential campus for white children was called Ormsby Village, and a segregated campus for blacks was called Ridgewood. The home put into practice some of the most advanced ideas in juvenile care to be found anywhere in the United States. It advocated the separation of juvenile facilities and treatment from those of adults, a rural location for facilities instead of an urban one, and a rejection of work exploitation in favor of education and recreation.

The purpose of this project was to gather and preserve information about the home during the period 1920--1940. Residents, teachers, social workers, and an administrator of the facility discuss daily life at the Ormsby Village school, the teachers, classes, social life, religious instruction, work duties, discipline, medical care, and race relations. They talk about the effects of the Great Depression on the school, the quality of education there, the differences in the ways delinquents and dependents were treated, contact between Ormsby Village and Ridgewood, and whether or not there was a stigma attached to being a resident of Ormsby Village.

This collection is also at the Kentucky Oral History Commission (see Collection Number 1985OH06).