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Welcome to Asylum Projects,
A historic asylum wiki anyone can edit.
2,119 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

Menniger Clinic


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The Menninger Foundation of Topeka, Kansas, began as an outpatient clinic in the 1920s serving the local Shawnee County populace for a variety of ills. Karl Menninger began persuading his father Charles Frederick, or C.F., to focus the clinic's area of expertise on psychiatric and mental health cases. The Menningers opened the first clinic in 1919. In 1925 they purchased a farmhouse on the outskirts of town to for a sanitarium to provide long-term in-patient care. William Claire Menninger, Karl's youngest brother, joined Karl and their father in this practice that same year, fulfilling C.F.’s dream of a group practice with his sons.

The sanitarium began expanding almost immediately. The Menninger family opened other operations, including Southard School for children, one of the first such institutions for children with mental health disabilities. The family also began training psychiatric professionals and performing research, as well as publishing in the Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic. During the 1930s Will and other Menninger staff formulated and refined their milieu therapy, a treatment program focusing on the whole individual and every staff member’s interaction with a patient.

Karl became a popularly respected and well-known figure in psychiatry after the publication of his first book in 1930 and writing a regular advice column in the Ladies’ Home Journal. Will, like many other Menninger staff, joined the armed forces during World War II; by the end of the war he was a brigadier general and extremely influential in the treatment and care of soldiers with psychiatric problems. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

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The first two ward buildings, accommodating 135 patients, opened in 1879. Dr. Barnard Douglass Eastman resigned as superintendent of the asylum at Worcester MA to become the first superintendent at TSH. The institution was called the Topeka Insane Asylum until 1901 when the Legislature officially changed the name to Topeka State Hospital. Eastman told legislators that patients who were being released to make room for more patients were "well enough to be in a measure useful. All were of a quiet and harmless character."

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.

Asylum Projects Facebook Page
If you have genealogical question here is an information page to help you.

Upcoming Events Calendar

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Featured Video

This is a fifty-two minute documentary entitled "My Uncle Joe" which is about the narrator's uncle Joe who had spent most of his life in Fernald State School and his stories from that institution.

Asylum News   (news you can edit!)

February 7, 2016 Clarinda struggles to fill former hospital

The 128-year-old former mental health institute in the small southwest Iowa city of Clarinda isn’t your typical real estate opportunity, and so far no one is rushing to move in. More than seven months after the state closed the Clarinda Mental Health Institute, much of the sprawling building remains empty, including entire floors that haven’t been used in decades.

February 1, 2016 Efforts continue to preserve other parts of former Peoria State Hospital grounds

Christina Morris happily remembers Sunday morning breakfasts with her grandparents, followed by visits to the peaceful cemeteries on the grounds of the Peoria State Hospital, where some family members are buried. “My interest with the state hospital started when I was about 7 years old,” Morris said in a recent interview. “When I would come onto the grounds (my grandfather) would say that this was a place of special people. (By special) I thought he meant giants, because these buildings were so big and beautiful and immaculate to me. I just was enamored by how beautiful it was.”

January 7, 2016 That Time The United States Sterilized 60,000 Of Its Citizens

Not too long ago, more than 60,000 people were sterilized in the United States based on eugenic laws. Most of these operations were performed before the 1960s in institutions for the so-called “mentally ill” or “mentally deficient.” In the early 20th century across the country, medical superintendents, legislators, and social reformers affiliated with an emerging eugenics movement joined forces to put sterilization laws on the books.

January, 6, 2016 Pa. hires firm to develop plan for Harrisburg State Hospital site

Harrisburg, PA-The state has hired a Lancaster planning company to help it figure out what to do with the former Harrisburg State Hospital, which closed 10 years ago. Since closing in 2006, the hospital complex has housed state workers from the state police, Department of General Services and the Department of Human Services. It is now part of the larger DGS Annex property, which encompasses 303 acres across Harrisburg and Susquehanna Township.