North Brother Island - Unused until 1885, Riverside Hospital was moved to North Brother Island from Blackwell’s Island (now Roosevelt Island which you can read about here). Riverside Hospital was founded in the 1850’s and used to treat and isolate victims of Smallpox and eventually other quarantinable diseases. North Brother Island was chosen as it was a place able to be segregated from society. This is the island that Typhoid Mary was confined to for over 20 years until she died in 1938. Riverside Hospital closed shortly after this. After World War II the island was used as housing for war veterans and their families who were students at local colleges, but only for a short time as the island was then abandoned shortly after. After this, in the 1950’s a facility opened on the island to treat adolescent drug addicts. The center for treatment offered rehabilitation and education to young drug offenders. Heroin addicts were confined to the island and locked in their room until they were clean. Many of the offenders believed they were being held against their will. By the 1960’s staff corruption and patient recidivism forced the center to shut down. Again it was abandoned and left in solitude.
Postmortem photography or memento mori, the photographing of a deceased person, was a common practice in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The photographs were considered a keepsake to remember the dead. Child mortality was high during the Victorian era. For many children even a common sickness could be fatal. When a child or other family member died, families would often have a photograph taken before burial. Many times it was the first and last photograph they would ever possess of their loved one. Many postmortem photographs were close-ups of the face or shots of the full body. The deceased were usually depicted to appear as if they were in a deep sleep, or else arranged to appear more life-like. Children were often shown on a couch or in a crib, often posed with a favorite toy. It was not uncommon to photograph very young children with a family member, most frequently the mother. Adults were more commonly posed in chairs or even propped up on something.