Charles Hayden Goodwill Inn

Richard Johnson
The Hayden Inn
Established 1936
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Residents 120
Staff 22
Institution type Private residential
Website Goodwill Industries
The Charles Hayden Goodwill Inn was first located on 27 Wheeler Street in Boston’s South End. It was moved to Queen Street, Dorchester after the original building’s demolition in 1962.
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Founded by Reverend Henry E. Helms [4] and Rev. Emil R. Hartl, [3] in 1936, The Hayden Inn became the home for many disadvantaged boys. Rev. Helms was the son of the Rev. Edgar J. Helms, who founded Goodwill Industries in Boston in 1895. At the time, Edgar Helms was a student at Boston University School of Theology and oversaw a small Methodist chapel in the South End.

The home provided summer residency and recreation at the Morgan Memorial Fresh Air Camps [10] in South Athol, Massachusetts as well as a residence in Boston during the normal school year. Richard B. Johnson, [1] Abominable Firebug [2] author, was one of many residents who went on to successful lives. At the time of Johnson’s residency, Dr. Emil Hartl [3] was the resident director. He became known as “Pop Hartl” or simply “Pops” to many residents.

Hayden Inn School
At one time, the Hayden Inn maintained its own school and was known as the “Charles Hayden Inn School.” This school provided education to the 8th grade at a time when schooling beyond this level was not required in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Boys 18 years of age or older, who had not yet become self sufficient lived in the Fred H. Seavey Building on an adjacent street.

Safe environment
The underlying purpose of the Hayden Inn was to provide a safe environment for children who were orphans, abandoned, or otherwise disadvantaged, with emphasis upon developing the education and skills necessary to enter the workforce and become self-sufficient. To this end, this institution has been a resounding success. There were some boys, however, who never quite recovered from a horrific childhood and spent most of their lives on the streets. [9]

At the time of Johnson’s residency in the ‘50s the boys living at the Hayden Inn shared individual rooms usually occupied by only two. Each had his own bed and closet. Other items such as a desk and chairs would be shared. Boys were allowed to accumulate whatever personal effects would fit into their rooms as long as they did not adversely affect their roommates. Therefore, these accommodations were very much like the accommodations of a typical college dormitory. In addition to living quarters, the Hayden Inn provided a basketball court and a candlestick bowling alley.
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Fred H. Seavey building
Richard Johnson
Three meals a day were provided as well as a small weekly allowance. Hayden Inn management obtained reduced-rate ticketing to a local Movie Theater on Tremont Street for entertainment. The residents were expected to maintain their rooms in a clean, orderly and safe manner, keep clean, and wear clean clothing at all times. Laundry facilities were provided on site. At the time of Johnson’s residence all school-aged boys attended local schools in the Boston area. Some schools were a considerable distance from the residence so the boys who needed it were provided a car-fare allowance for MTA transportation. For instance, Johnson attended High School at Roslindale Square which required a commute on the Forest Hills elevated line and the Mattapan Bus.

Community Room
The Hayden Inn provided a central room for entertainment which contained a television set and several pool tables. School studies would be done within the residents’ rooms. The boys were assigned specific cleaning duties to keep the place clean. These chores would normally be accomplished on Saturday morning, leaving the rest of the weekend free for the boys’ enjoyment.

Discipline and education
The Hayden Inn was not a training school. It was an orphanage. Therefore, there were no specific regulations enforcing discipline. The boys were free to come and go as they wanted except that they needed to be “home” at 10:30 PM on weeknights and at 12:30 AM on the weekends. If some boy was not responsible enough to handle his own curfew, his freedom would be restricted until he was. Enforcement of order was maintained by resident counselors, usually college students. If a boy didn’t return home in time for supper, he didn’t get any supper. The same applied for other meals. It was a very liberal environment in which a boy could learn to become prepared for living alone and maintaining his own apartment. Female visitors were not allowed into the boys’ rooms and they needed to remain in the community room. However, boys could have their classmates and other male friends visit them in their rooms. At the time of Johnson’s residence, there were several boys who played chess in Boston Chess Clubs. There were many chess games played in the rooms in preparation for tournaments.

Since the closure of its internal grade school in the 1940s, most of the boys attended Boston area public schools. However, there were some boys who attended area Catholic schools as well, including the Don Bosco Technical High School on Tremont Street. [13] Emphasis was upon proper deportment rather than excelling in school subjects although the boys attending Don Bosco needed to maintain high grades to remain enrolled. Many of the boys who attended public schools excelled in their studies as well. It was thought by resident manager John B. Moreland that the lack of a specific emphasis upon school grades helped turn otherwise under-achievers into excellent students. Many boys competed in school projects such as the Boston Science Fair. Author Richard B. Johnson details his entry in the Science Fair in his book, Abominable Firebug. He won a spot to compete in the state-wide Science Fair being held in Westborough; at the same High School he attended while a resident of the Lyman School for Boys, [14] the state reform school at Westborough.

Body type subjects
William H. Sheldon, [5, 12] noted psychologist correlated physiques and traits of behavior. Many of his subjects were residents of the Hayden Inn. He had convinced Dr. Hartl of the validity of photographing naked boys from the Hayden Inn for his studies. Dr. Sheldon’s studies have for the most part been discredited. [12] The most obvious failure in his studies was his obtaining photographs of “delinquent” youth for his studies from the Hayden Inn, while few residents had any history of delinquency whatsoever. [8] It is likely that these photographs [6] were obtained for prurient reasons. With his photographer Carl C. Seltzer, Sheldon went to the Hayden Goodwill Inn and other such institutions to compile photos and accompanying psychological profiles for his work Varieties of Delinquent Youth Published in 1949, this work was based on “the premise that fruitful study of personality lies in a program of research implemented to return to the structural organism for its orientation and support.” In spite of the fact that his book was published in 1949, Sheldon was still photographing naked boys at the Hayden Inn well into the 1950s. Sheldon used a three-part number assignment for each body type to try to establish a correlation between certain elements of personality and certain aspects of body shape. [7]

Rewriting history
The Charles Hayden Goodwill Inn’s namesake is the same Charles Hayden for which Boston’s Hayden Planetarium is named. In his will, Charles Hayden said, “...The future of this nation and of the world...depends in no small part upon the young men. If...they be fostered and encouraged in the manner of right and proper living...we shall rear a nobler race of men, who will make better and more enlightened citizens, to the ultimate benefit of mankind.” History’s rewrites refer to the Hayden Inn boys as “flotsam and jetsam,” while in fact many residents continued to illustrious careers in science, education, and military service. Historically, children who lived in institutional homes have been regarded as second-class citizens or not even citizens at all. They existed in the shadows as America’s throwaway children. In James Q. Wilson and Richard J. Herrnstein’s book, Crime & Human Nature, [11] the boys at the Hayden Inn were called intolerable, unmanageable, recidivist delinquents, chronic runaways, antisocial, and maladaptive youths. As they grew into adulthood, many never disclosed their past so institutional foster home boys haven’t been getting good press because the media reports only upon the very few who have gone astray and came into conflict with the law and experts like Wilson and Herrnstein are disingenuous in their writings.

When this writer was living at the Hayden Inn on Wheeler Street, the only “intolerable, unmanageable, recidivist delinquents, chronic runaways, antisocial, and maladaptive” persons I encountered were the Boston Police who would occasionally beat up small children from the Hayden Inn. Apparently history’s rewriters didn’t expect that any of the Hayden Inn boys would reach adulthood and read their works. I can’t imagine the contemptuousness of such people who, putting on an “experts” hat, write such obvious concoctions, so utterly devoid of fact, and publish the result in professional reference books.

   1. Johnson’s book which recalls his time spent at the Hayden Inn
   2. Abominable Firebug book
   3. Dr. Emil Hartl
   4. Reverend Helms
   5. William Sheldon
   6. William Sheldon acquires more male nude photographs
   7. William Sheldon Varieties of Delinquent Youth
   8. Varieties of Delinquent Youth questioned
   9. Billy Cripps, former Hayden Inn resident
  10. Morgan Memorial Fresh Air Camps
  11. Crime & Human Nature
  12. About William Sheldon
  13. Don Bosco Technical High School
  14. The Lyman School, state Reform School in Westborough

External links
Author’s website
The Stetson Home for Boys
The Roslindale Detention Center
The Lyman School for Boys

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