The Belchertown State School was formally opened in 1922 as an institution to train children with developmental disabilities and prepare them for integration into society. By the 1960s, conditions at the school had deteriorated to a degree detrimental to the residents, precipitating a string of lawsuits, beginning with Ricci v. Greenblatt in 1972, eventually leading to closure of the facility in 1992. The School’s Friends Association was established in 1954 to promote improved conditions at Belchertown State School and better treatment of “retarded” or “mentally challenged” citizens in Massachusetts more generally.
The bulk of the Belchertown State School collection consists of records of court appearances, briefs, the consent decree, and related materials, along with reports and correspondence relating to Massachusetts v. Russell W. Daniels, Ricci v. Greenblatt (later Ricci v. Okin), and other cases. Accompanying the legal files are clippings and photocopied newspaper articles; speeches; newsletters; draft of agreements; and scrapbooks.
- Persons with mental disabilities--Institutional care--Massachusetts
- Ricci, Robert Simpson
- Belchertown State School
- Ricci, Benjamin