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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
Longue Pointe Asylum
Founded in 1873, Saint-Jean de Dieu Hospital was born from an agreement between the Government of Quebec and the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence, who were entrusted the task of clothing, lodging and caring of the mentally handicapped. Sister Thérèse de Jésus was the soul and director of this important healthcare facility in Quebec.
The Sisters of Providence already had a great deal of experience in working with mental patients. Mother Émilie-Gamelin took in a number of them at the Asile de la Providence, as early as 1845. In 1852, their Saint-Isidore farm was renovated to accommodate 17 patients. In 1863, an annex named Saint-Jean de Dieu was built and added to the Sister’s convent in the east end of Montreal.
The construction of the Saint-Jean de Dieu Hospital, then known as the Longue Pointe Lunatic Asylum, would be done on this very site. In April 1874, the Sisters commissioned architect Benjamin Lamontagne to design and build the asylum, north of Notre-Dame St. It is interesting to know that Louis Riel was committed to the Asylum at Longue Pointe for a few months in 1876. Click here for more...
Featured Image Of The Week
Although the government
played a larger role in the care of the insane, often considered a threat to social order, than it did in relation to poverty, philanthropy was still important. The move to create specialized insane asylums spread across the western world in the mid-19th century. The model used in Quebec differed from that in many places, since the government paid per-patient fees to private institutions rather than open state-run asylums. As was the norm, the Montreal Catholic asylum was run by nuns.
The following sixth-eight minute documentary entitled "If these walls could talk stories behind Toronto's psychiatric patient built wall" is about the Queen Street Mental Health Centre. It was created by Toronto filmmakers Naomi Berlyne and Sibyl Likely.
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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.
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If you have genealogical question here is an information page to help you.