Living at the Leake and Watts Orphan Asylum
Although many retrospective accounts of Leake and Watts' years in Morningside Heights created the impression that the institution provided a peaceful and nurturing environment for the ophaned children for whom it was responsible, contemporary reports indicate that conditions at the home were not always optimal.
Regular inspections from city authorities as well as annual visits from the asylum's Board of Trustees were a few of the ways that the general public learned about conditions in the home. Sanitary and physical conditions at the asylum were found wanting at times. But by the time it was getting ready to leave Morningside Heights, it appears that Leake and Watts had improved its facilities and the reports of the annual visits of the Trustees were generally positive. By then, annual reunions were being held at the asylum (see below).
This 1847 article in the New York Daily Tribune touted the fact that only one child had died at the Leake and Watts Asylum in the previous year. It also called on the public to contribute to the running of the Asylum, and announced a lecture series to help raise funds for it.
This classified advertisement in the New York Sun invited all former residents of the Leake and Watts Orphan Asylum to attend the third annual reunion that was to take place at the orphan house on July 5, 1886.