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Featured Article Of The Week

Vermont State Hospital

VermontSH 01.jpg

The Vermont State Hospital for the Insane was built in 1890 in Waterbury, Vermont, in response to overcrowded conditions at the Vermont Asylum for the Insane in Brattleboro (Brattleboro Retreat after 1898), Vermont's first and only facility for the care of the mentally ill. Originally built for "the care, custody, and treatment of insane criminals of the state," the Waterbury State Hospital eventually became the temporary or permanent shelter for Vermonters with mild to severe mental disabilities and others who had been committed for epilepsy, depression, alcoholism, or senility. Throughout its history, methods of patient diagnosis and treatment varied according to the philosophy of the superintendent.

Image of Eugene A. Stanley Early twentieth century efforts among reformers to reduce the stigma of mental illness and confinement in state hospitals yielded to the pessimism of the eugenics era, which brought back the stigma with a vengeance. It was during these years that Dr. Eugene A. Stanley directed affairs at Waterbury. An advocate of eugenics, Dr. Stanley testified in favor of the sterilization bills in 1927 and 1931, provided the Eugenics Survey access to patient records, and played an influential role as an advisor to the Eugenics Survey. He was a member of the sub-committee on "Care of the the Handicapped" for the Vermont Commission on Country Life. Click here for more...