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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

Seaview Hospital


The Richmond County Poor Farm was established in the 1830's after the city acquired a 91 acre area called Stephen Marine farm. Over the next few years a cholera hospital and insane asylum were built along with housing for the poor. The residents worked on the farm in exchange for food and housing.

In 1902 the name of the farm was changed to the New York City Farm Colony. At this time the farm contained sixteen buildings, including dormitories, a dining and kitchen building, laundry and industrial building, shops, nurses residence and a morgue among others. The area also contained the Staten Island Potters Field and it was used as a cemetery until 1905.

Across the street from the Farm a 25 acre estate of Charles Schmidt known as Ocean View became the proposed location of a tuberculosis hospital in 1905. Seaview Hospital was opened on November 12, 1913 at this location.

The Farm merged with Seaview Hospital in 1915 and the entire area was renamed Seaview Farm, till 1921 when the merger ended. The Farm expanded throughout the 1930's and slowly became mostly an old age home. Seaview Hospital became the first tuberculosis hospital to have a maternity ward and led the country in the treatment and caring of TB patients. Research at the hospital would help end the tuberculosis epidemic. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

Eight years after Arizona became a separate territory from New Mexico, the concept that mental illness is a state responsibility was first recognized by the Territorial Legislature. On February 17, 1871, legislation was enacted which stated that the various Boards of Supervisors of the counties must provide for the confinement of all insane persons, "either in the County jail or in such other manner and place as shall be in their judgment be best for the safety of said insane person and of the community."

Recent Message Board Posts

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Featured Video

The following video was created by the Florida Department of Health and documents the history of A.G. Holley Hospital.

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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.

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