lunatic-asylum

Lunatic Asylum, Bull Street & Elmwood Avenue, Columbia, SC
Photo: Library of Congress
Digital ID hhh.sc0065

Insanity

 

Articles concerning issues surrounding insanity.


  • After Care for the Insane: New York State 1906After Care for the Insane was another much needed service that was introduced, organized and came to fruition in 1906 by Miss Louisa Lee Schuyler. When inmates were discharged from the state hospitals, many had no where to go. They had no home, no job, no friends or relatives willing to help them and many had children that had been separated from them during their incarceration. Miss Schuyler and her league of volunteers of The State Charities Aid Association helped these people to re-enter society with a helping hand by working in co-operation with the superintendents of the state hospitals.
  • Care of the Filthy Cases of Insane: 1885Written by Stephen Smith, M.D., State Commissioner of Lunacy, New York City. "The care of these patients is all that can be desired. Each of these hospitals has a regular day and night service, so organized that the filthy are trained, if possible, to habits of personal care and cleanliness. They are not only promptly changed when found to be soiled; but, as far as practicable, their necessities are anticipated, and they are required to protect and care for themselves."
  • Colony For Epileptics (1914)"From the inception of public care of the insane in New York State epileptics were undoubtedly provided for from time to time, but no special provision was existent beyond a separate ward in the various hospitals. In 1873 Dr. Ordroneaux mentioned special provision for the epileptic on Blackwell’s Island." This entry was copied with permission and derived from the blog researched and developed by Linda S. Stuhler.
  • Defective Classes (1891)I propose the following classification of the defective classes, depending upon the three divisions of the mental faculties which are generally accepted by psychologists. Insanity and idiocy are different forms of defective intellect. Crime and vice are caused by defect of the emotions or passions. And pauperism is caused by defect of the will. Blindness and deaf-mutism are defects of the senses, requiring special forms of education, but are not defects of the mind any more than the loss of an arm or a leg. Blind or deaf people properly educated are not a burden or a danger to society, as are criminals, insane persons, or paupers. Their defects are physical, not mental, and they should not be classed with persons who have these mental defects.
  • Deportation of the Insane Aliens: 1907The present course taken by the United States Government in deporting insane aliens who have been in this country for some time is characterized by unnecessary harshness and even injustice. The purpose of deportation is to save this country the expense of maintaining a dependent person. The great majority of the aliens who are deported are persons who entered the country in perfectly good faith, with the intention and desire of earning a living, and in the vigor of youth, the average age of those deported being thirty years. It is not altogether their own fault that such aliens find themselves surrounded by economic and social conditions so unfavorable to their mental and physical health that they break down under the strain of competing with those who are better adapted to the conditions of life in this country.
  • First Annual Report Of The Trustees Of (Mass.) State Lunatic Hospital: 1833Other institutions, both in Europe and America, which have exhibited the most remarkable proportion of cures, have discriminated in their admissions, receiving the more hopeful cases only. The inmates at Worcester have been a more select class than were ever before assembled together; but unfortunately for success in regard to cures, it has been a selection of the most deplorable cases in the whole community. Of the one hundred and sixty-four individuals received, considerably more than one half came from jails, almshouses and houses of correction, and about one third of the whole number had suffered confinement for periods varying from ten to thirty-two years.
  • Franklin Pierce's 1854 VetoThe legislation advocated by Dorothea Dix -- and passed by the House and Senate -- was not unprecedented. At a time when there was no federal income tax, public land represented the largest potential financial resource available to the federal government. Federal lands had already been used to promote the construction of railroads, and there were discussions in 1854 of a homestead act that would provide free land to settlers who were willing to move to the West.
  • Franklin Pierce's Veto Is ChallengedWilliam Seward was one of the most powerful statesmen of the 1850s. Under Abraham Lincoln, with whom he vied for the 1860 Republican Presidential nomination, he was Secretary of State. In 1854, as a Senator from New York, he was a supporter of the Dorthea Dix bill that passed both the House and Senate. Here he provided his rationale for opposing the veto message given by President Pierce. The effort to override the veto failed.
  • Insanity in the Middle States: 1876This entry is from the Proceedings of the third Conference of Charities held at Saratoga, New York, September 6, 1876. by Mr. Sanborn. "Insanity is, in the middle states, as in the other states, increasing disproportionately to the increase of population..."
  • Life In The Asylum (1855)The Opal was published by the patients at the New York State Insane Asylum in Utica during the 1850s. It contained comments on current events, literary essays and book reviews, poetry, and descriptions of events at the asylum, including the dramatic and musical productions of the patients themselves.
  • Listening to Patients: The Opal as a Source The Opal, which was “dedicated to usefulness,” is a ten volume Journal that was written and edited by the patients of the Utica State Lunatic Asylum, (1851 – 1860). The more than 3,000 pages of material in The Opal includes political commentary, humor, advice, and theory on insanity in the form of articles, poetry, prose, cartoons, plays, and literature.
  • Massachusetts Report On Public Charities: 1876 As Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Health, Lunacy, and Charity, Franklin Benjamin Sanborn held the most powerful position on the board. This report to the National Conference of Charities illustrates Sanborn’s deep faith in the power of statistical research to illuminate the nature of social problems.
  • Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital: New York - 1891This is a lengthy "Letter to the Editor" of The New York Times written by "Index Medicus," a medical society and journal. If New York State was transferring patients out of their district to another state hospital, why couldn’t the State pay for the transportation of patients whose family and friends wanted them to receive homeopathic medical care as opposed to allopathic medical care?
  • Moral TreatmentWritten by Dr. James W. Trent, Jr., Gordon College. "Moral treatment was a product of the Enlightenment of the late eighteenth century. Before then people with psychiatric conditions, referred to as the insane, were usually treated in inhumane and brutal ways."
  • New York State Care System For The Insane Completed: 1896"The Governor has approved the bill creating the Manhattan State Hospital and providing for the transfer of the lunatic asylums of this city and the care of their inmates to the State"
  • New York State's County Poor Houses: 1864In 1864, an investigation was made concerning the treatment of the “insane” confined in the county poor houses of New York State. Dr. Sylvester D. Willard’s Report was the instrument that persuaded the New York State Legislature to pass, on April 8, 1865, The Willard Act, “An Act to authorize the establishment of a State asylum for the chronic insane, and for the better care of the insane poor, to be known as The Willard Asylum for the Insane.” What follows is the original report to the New York State Legislature by Dr. Sylvester D. Willard, Secretary of the Medical Society.
  • Our New York State Charities: 1873"At present these petty criminals spend their time in complete idleness in the county jails, and go out worse than they entered. To improve this class there should be a separate department in the State work-houses proposed, and the criminal statutes should be changed, so that the magistrates could commit them to these, and for longer terms than is at present the custom."
  • State Board of Charities of New York: Reports 1878-1884n the early years of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections, representatives of the states in attendance were invited to share reports on their experiences, problem areas and achievement in connection with the charities and institutions in their respective states. Below are reports from the New York representative at the conferences held from 1978 to 1884.
  • State Care of the Insane: New York 1901"Rise and Progress of New York State Care of the Insane: 1901" by Goodwin Brown, Ex-State Commissioner in Lunacy. "It is consonant with its destiny and greatness that the Empire State should have, of all States and countries in the world, the most complete, humane, and comprehensive system of caring for this most unfortunate class."
  • The Duty Of The States Toward Their Insane Poor: 1874Presentation by Dr. J. B. Chapin of the Willard Asylum for the insane on "The Duty of the States toward their Insane Poor."
  • The Increase of Insanity (1895)It is within the observation of most physicians who have the care of the insane that the insanity of physical degeneration, resulting from syphilis, paralysis, intemperance, under-feeding, epilepsy, etc., is growing more and more common. These are the least hopeful forms of insanity; and it is their prevalence which seems to have caused a diminution in the rate of recoveries, almost everywhere noticed within the last twenty years. Cases really acute, and not complicated with these forms of disease and degeneracy, recover as easily and as fast as ever; and there is even a tendency to virtual recoveries of the chronic insane, which was not so much noted until recent years.
  • The Management Of Almshouses In New EnglandPresentation by Frank B. Sanborn at the Eleventh Annual Session, National Conference Of Charities And Correction, 1884. In this paper for the NCCC, Sanborn reviews the basic structure of poorhouse care in Massachusetts and demonstrates reformers’ intense interest in controlling costs and removing able-bodied children from poorhouses.
  • The Moral Treatment of the Insane: 1847That some cases of insanity require medical treatment we believe, but we also believe that a large majority of the patients in Lunatic Asylums do not. There is much analogy between many of the patients found in all such institutions, and the passionate, mischievous, and what are called bad boys in a school, and there is about as much propriety in following the example of Mrs. Squeers, and physicing and medicating the latter as the former, in order to cure them or to change their propensities. Rational hopes for the improvement of either, should we believe, be founded on moral management alone.
  • The Treatment of the Insane: 1876In the treatment of the insane formerly very little account was made of work or exercise, and even at the present day, it is considered by many persons of small consequence. Once it was thought that diseases could be cured by medicine alone, but, the better we understand the laws of the human system and the causes of disease, the less dependence we find upon medicine, but the greater upon the necessity of a strict observance of the laws of nature. Most emphatically is this true, in diseases of long standing, involving the nervous system and mental soundness. Accordingly we find in all asylums for the insane, that where wholesome exercise of body and mind has been most systematically and extensively introduced in these institutions, there has been found the most successful treatment of the insane, the best health, the least mortality, and the most recoveries. Of course, the measure of success varies, and is exhibited in different ways.
  • The Willard Asylum for the Insane: Steward's Report 1900The first report of the Trustees dated February 18, 1868, states that the sum of $1,000 had been received from the State Controller. Of this, $916.66 had been expended in preparing the ground, procuring the seed and sewing sixty acres of wheat. They hoped for a good crop. By the time the Asylum opened, there were 475 acres under cultivation. A Steward had been appointed and a Matron. The former was an ancient title for one who managed a feudal estate. His duties at Willard were many and important
  • Three Years In A Mad House (1851)"...I refused peremtorily to suffer this treatment; I refused to take the medicine. The attendant insisted that I should, and harsh words followed. I told him the medicine was destroying me and I would not take it. He then commanded me in a tone of authority, to take the medicine. I did take it. I took it from his hand and dashed it out of the window! In a moment this stalwart, muscular man struck me a violent blow upon my head which either knocked me down, or he instantly seized me and crushed me to the floor. I struggled, when he siezed me by the throat and choked me. I began to have fear that he had my death in view, and would murder me upon the spot. I begged for my life, when he harshly exclaimed. "I will learn you not to throw away your medicine when I give it to you!" I begged for mercy, and promised if my life was spared to take anything he might give me...."