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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
Hawaii State Hospital
On January 6, 1930 the Oahu Asylum closed and the U.S. Army moved the 549 patients to the new Territorial Hospital in Kaneohe. Even at its opening in 1930, the newly named Territorial Hospital was over-crowded, Overburdened facilities have been the situation ever since. It was not yet been possible for the Legislature to provide sufficient appropriations so that adequate buildings and staff could be maintained by the hospital, in spite of great advances in the hospital program itself. In 1939, the control of the Territorial Hospital was changed from the Board of Health, where it had been since its opening, to the newly formed Department of Institutions.
World War II prevented further growth in the psychiatric field for a few years, but almost immediately after the war, starting in about 1946, a rapid surge of growth of our psychiatric facilities was noted. The private practice of psychiatry as a specialty received more interest, and additional offices opened one by one. The Territorial Hospital in Kaneohe was able to further modernize and develop its treatment program. The year 1948 marked the organization of the Neuro-Psychiatric Society of Hawaii.
In 1972 there were only 200 patients actually in residence at the State Hospital (even though the rate of first admissions has continued to climb as the population of the State soars over 750,000). Some of the older original buildings are now used by the Windward Community School. Click here for more...
Featured Image Of The Week
The Oahu Insane Asylum
, which opened in Kapālama in 1866, served long-term psychiatric patients. The legislature of the Hawaiian kingdom voted to establish the hospital in 1862. Four years later, six mentally afflicted patients were removed from the prison to the asylum. The hospital closed sometime in the 1930's when most of the patients were transferred to the new Oahu hospital in 1930. No record of the facility after the transfers was readily available.
The following fifteen minute video documentary, created by SBS Dateline, is about New York City's Hart island, the history of the structures on it, and its massive potters field where over 700,000 people have been buried since 1868. It also features a few women who have worked to visit their still born children buried on the island. How these women and others have been working to get the island more accessible to those who want to visit the grave site.
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.