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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
South Carolina State Hospital
From the establishment of the South Carolina State Hospital over 175 years ago, to the beginning of community mental health services in the 1920's, to the evolution of a complex mental health care delivery system, South Carolina has achieved an impressive record in its efforts to meet the needs of its mentally ill citizens.
As far back as 1694 the Lord Proprietors of the Carolinas decreed that the indigent mentally ill should be cared for locally at public expense. In 1751 the colonial government similarly recognized the mental health needs of slaves. In 1762 the Fellowship Society of Charleston established an infirmary for the mentally ill. But it was not until the 1800s that the mental health movement received legislative attention at the state level.
According to legend, when Colonel Samuel Farrow, a member of the House of Representatives from Spartanburg County, traveled to Columbia to attend sessions of the legislature, he noticed a woman who was mentally distressed and apparently without adequate care. Her poor condition made an impact on him and spurred him on to engage the support of Major William Crafts, a brilliant orator and a member of the Senate from Charleston County.
The two men worked zealously to sensitize their fellow lawmakers to the needs of the mentally ill, and on December 20, 1821, the South Carolina State Legislature passed a statute-at-large approving $30,000 to build the S.C. Lunatic Asylum and school for the deaf and dumb. This legislation made South Carolina the second state in the nation (after Virginia) to provide funds for the care and treatment of people with mental illnesses. Click here for more...
Featured Image Of The Week
The Utah State Hospital
began as the Territorial Insane Asylum in 1885 at Provo, Utah (which at the time was a days' travel from Salt Lake City). The particular site in Provo was some eight blocks from the nearest residence and was separated from the city by swampland and the city dump. The message this reveals about the prevailing attitudes regarding mental illness is unmistakable.
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
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.