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Both the Greystone and Athens Kirkbride buildings are in danger of being partially or completely demolished.
Please click on the link above for more information and to see how you can help.

Mission Statement

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The Mission

The mission of this site is to archive both historical and current information on asylums across the United States and around the world.

The Statement

This site is dedicated to the history of asylums in all forms. The term of asylum is applied to not only what is commonly thought of: mental hospitals, but can also be applied to sanatoriums, state training schools, reform schools, almshouses, and orphanages. These institutions have and continue to play a major part in today's society.

Everyone throughout the United States and in many other countries has in one way or another felt the touch of these institutions. These places have both directly and indirectly affected people and their families. They have shaped lives and created many popular myths about them.

With all that in mind, this site was created to help in the historical research of any institutions that can be classified as an asylum. It was created for both serious researchers, those who are doing genealogical research, and people with an interest in asylums.

Featured Article Of The Week

East Mississippi State Hospital

Eastern Mississippi State Hospital.jpg

On March 8, 1882, the Mississippi State Legislature approved enabling legislation to establish the East Mississippi State Insane Asylum. This came about largely due to the efforts of Miss Dorothea Dix, a champion for mentally ill in the United States. The city of Meridian purchased and donated 560 acres of land for the construction of the facility. The asylum opened its doors for service in January of 1885, with a 19 year old man from Meridian as the first patient.

In the years 1893 and 1894, three native magnolia trees and three Japanese magnolia trees were planted in front of the Administration Building. These trees make a beautiful entrance to the hospital even today.

The original structure was three stories and built on the Kirkbride plan. The administration was in the center with two wings consisting of three wards each. The capacity of this building was 250 patients. Since then, the campus had been develpoped on the Cottage plan and by 1916 in addition to the original building there were six cottages, and Tuberculosis building, and a building for treating the acute sick.

The name of the institution was changed from East Mississippi State Insane Asylum to East Mississippi Insane Hospital in 1898, and finally to East Mississippi State Hospital in the early 1930's, perhaps reflecting changes in attitudes toward the mentally ill nationwide. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

The "Old Main" was the original building at the Spring Grove site of the Maryland Hospital for the Insane. Although construction was started in 1853, the Main Building was not substantially completed and ready for full occupancy until 1872. Work on the building stopped in 1862 and was not resumed until 1868. However, enough of the north wing was completed by the start of the Civil War (1861) to allow for that part of the building to serve as a military hospital during the War. The first psychiatric patients were transferred from the Baltimore City location of the Maryland Hospital to the newly completed facility at Spring Grove on October 7, 1872.

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Featured Video

This film documents the case of a mental patient in the 1950's and was filmed at Norman State Hospital.

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Asylum News   (news you can edit!)


BERLIN, VERMONT – The nearly complete $38 million Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital is a state-of-the-art mental health facility that feels all but institutional.

January 27, 2014 A kinder approach: Former Allentown State Hospital CEO is recognized for reducing restraint tactics

The former CEO walks on the roof of the Allentown State Hospital. He is armed with his high-definition camera and decades of memories to provide context to what he sees. Each step on the roof frames a new perspective of the hospital he helped to transform. The rooms in the former psychiatric center are empty. It has been three years since the hospital closed. For Greg Smith, it is easy to reminisce. He can fill in the blanks, but there aren't many signs of what used to happen at the 100-year-old campus.

January 27, 2014 Taunton State Hospital again faces closure

The state's plan to close the inpatient unit at Taunton State Hospital reflects a philosophical shift that emphasizes community-based services over institutional care, a mental health official said Friday. For the third straight year, the state is proposing to move all inpatient beds from Taunton State Hospital to the new Worcester Recovery Center. In each of the past two years, the state faced staunch local opposition. As a compromise struck in the Legislature, 45 beds currently remain at Taunton State, which used to have about 170.

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