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The mission of this site is to archive both historical and current information on asylums across the United States and around the world.
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
Eastern State Hospital Lexington
On February 15, 1816, the Kentucky General Assembly passed an act establishing a public hospital in Fayette County. The act incorporated a group of citizens, the “Contributors of the Fayette Hospital,” who wished to erect a building at their own expense to serve as a hospital for the accommodation of “lunatics” as well as other “sick poor.” The act gave the Contributors the right to establish a committee, elect officers, raise money to purchase a piece of land in or near Lexington, and to contract for the construction of a building to serve as the hospital (An act for founding, 1816). The Contributors meet on March 1, 1816 and elected a building committee consisting of Andrew McCalla, Sterling Allen, Stephen Chipley, Thomas January,and Richard Higgins. McCalla was appointed chairman (Fayette Hospital, 1816). In an open letter in the Kentucky Reporter on April 17, 1816, the Committee presented their mission and asked for assistance. They noted that there were many “poor, disabled, and infirm members of society” without the aid of medicine who with the assistance that could be provided by a “Public Hospital,” might become useful to themselves, their families, and society. They also noted that “lunatics,” who have no “rich relatives” to care for them, “roam at large through the country...” and in many instances “endanger the lives of other members of society.” The best remedy, they suggested, was the erection of a public hospital. They argued that the hospital was not only their best chance at a cure but also a means by which physicians could acquire “superior skill” by treating them. Finally, they declared that “society itself would be made more secure against the wild and desperate actions of lunatics, if provision was made to contain them within its walls.” The Committee concluded the letter by requesting that “ALL” people of Kentucky contribute to the support of the hospital (To the people of Kentucky, 1816). Click here for more...
Featured Image Of The Week
In 1873, due to overcrowding at both of Kentucky's mental hospitals, the House of Reform
was converted into the Fourth Kentucky Lunatic Asylum, with Dr. C.C. Forbes as its first Superintendent. The following year an act of the legislature renamed it the Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum.
Recent Message Board Posts
In this space you normally would see our forum. This had been a hold over from earlier days before we had a Facebook page. Just prior to our server issues regular users had been barely using the forum with the majority of new posts from anonymous users asking genealogy questions or spammers. The old forum software does not work with our new version while the new forum software does not carry over old comments to the new forum. As a result, the forum will be discontinued in favor of our Facebook page. If you have questions or comments you can ask them there.
Asylum Projects Facebook Page
If you have genealogical question here is an information page to help you.