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Welcome to Asylum Projects,
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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

Norfolk State Hospital


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The institution went through several name changes. In 1895, the legislature voted to call it the Asylum for the Chronic Insane. In 1905, the name was changed to Nebraska State Hospital, and then again in 1915 it was renamed the Ingelside Hospital for the Insane. The facility had four types of patients: Geriactrics, Alcoholics and drug addicts, and the criminally insane. The Norfolk Regional Center is currently a mental health and substance abuse treatment facility for adolescent and young adult males who have been paroled from the Youth Rehabilitation Treatment Center in Kearney, Nebraska (Nebraska Dept of Health). In total 902 individuals were sterilized in Nebraska. 53% of whom were women. 80% of those sterilized were deemed “mentally deficient.” The lobotomies began in 1917 and ended in 1963.

The first law regarding sterilization was passed in 1915, after a failed initial attempt by state legislators in 1913 was vetoed by Governor John H. Morehead. This law was revised in both 1929 and 1957. The 1915, law provided for the sterilizations of the insane and feeble-minded inmates of state institutions before they were paroled. The state institutions specifically mentioned in the statute included “institutions for the feeble-minded, hospitals for the insane, the penitentiary, reformatory, industrial schools, the industrial home, and other such State institutions” In 1929, the original law was repealed and a new law was enacted, which included “habitual criminals, moral degenerates, and sexual perverts“—those individuals convicted of rape or incest—as well as the original groups. The 1929 revision of the law made it so that any inmate convicted of rape or other crimes of sexual perversion were to be compulsorily sterilized. Although the sterilization was mandatory for these individuals, the law mandated both notice and hearing and the potential for appeal to the Supreme Court. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

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This institution is located at Lincoln. As early as 1865, it was found necessary to make provision for the insane in the Territory of Nebraska. Four cases were already being cared for in an Iowa hospital. The legislature authorized the governor to make some arrangement with the State of Iowa, by which they received and cared for the insane at the expense of Nebraska. Under this arrangement fifty patients were sent at various times to the hospital at Mount Pleasant.

Featured Video

The following short video, created by the New York Times and Kassie Bracken, documents the cemetery and history of Willard State Hospital.

Recent Message Board Posts

Hello,

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.

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If you have genealogical question here is an information page to help you.