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Welcome to Asylum Projects,
A historic asylum wiki anyone can edit.
2,117 articles and counting
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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

Harlem Valley State Hospital


One day after the incorporation of the Board of Managers, Harlem Valley State Hospital came into being. It opened on April 24th, 1924 "for the care and treatment of the insane" as part of an act to discontinue the farm and industrial prison at Wingdale. Buildings A, B and C had already been constructed at the State Road (Route 22) site and money was soon requested to buy adjoining farmland and buildings to build a root cellar, dairy barn, piggery and poultry house for 3000 chickens. With 24 patients admitted on August 11 from New York City and Long Island, the hospital was ready to become part of the history of Harlem Valley.

Between 1925 and 1929, the certified capacity of the new hospital rose from 250 to 1294. During that time, the Board of Managers, which, in later years, became the Board of Visitors, approved changing the course of the State Route 22 so that it would skirt most of the grounds instead of running directly through. By 1928 Buildings F and H were competed and Kitchen G was readied. In addition, tennis courts were built, physical culture classes were started and a baseball team for employees was organized. Then, by 1929 new staff quarters were completed and a switchboard was installed that served for 60 years. In the fall of the year, the School of Nursing, constructed in 1926, opened on September 23 with 14 enrolled. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

By 1900, overcrowding in city asylums was becoming a major problem that many tried to resolve. One answer was to put the mentally ill to work farming in a relaxing setting on what was then rural Long Island. The new state hospitals were dubbed "Farm Colonies" because of their live-and-work treatment programs, agricultural focus and patient facilities.

Featured Video

This video on Buffalo State Hospital was created by the Richardson Center Corporation and Odessa Pictures. It gives a brief history and overview of the Kirkbride.

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.

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