Jan Shapin


The Newport Historical Society recently acquired the archives of the early years (1986-2000) of Fifty Washington Square, Newport’s low-income Single Room Occupancy (SRO) housing and homeless shelter. One of the founding organizations of the building, Community Development Training Institute (CDTI), assembled this material. Included are news clippings, case studies, photographs, newsletters, copies of In the Heart of the City (a literary magazine of residents’ writings), and a humanities essay entitled The Ethical Sources that Informed the Creation of Fifty Washington Square. The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities (RICH) provided support for the archival work, the writing of the humanities essay, and the present journal article. The accompanying images illustrate the arts program that flourished between 1990 and 1995 at Fifty Washington Square. Unless otherwise noted, all items and photographs illustrated in this article are from the Collections of the Newport Historical Society.