I spent an afternoon browsing images in the Municipal Archives collections, and hitting +++ on all the pictures of Blackwell’s Island which had people in them. This is a picture of a man in one of the hospitals.
It makes me think of Father Herman Blumensaat’s comments about Almshouse inmates from the Woodstock Letters (the Almshouse was the last resort for homeless paupers.)
“Poor creatures, as a rule, they are lost for this world … They walk listless to their grave, for it is their only hope and even the desire of many. Often do I hear, ‘Father, I want to die.’”