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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

Carroll County Almshouse and Farm


When Carroll County was created by an act of the Maryland General Assembly in 1837, legislation was also passed to make Westminster the County Seat; to build a courthouse, a jail, a register's office, a clerk's office, and a poorhouse (almshouse).

It was the custom in 19th Century America to house the poor in a building called an almshouse since there was no welfare, housing subsidy, or food stamps as we have today. It was not until 1852 that the County Commissioners decided to borrow funds to build the Almshouse. A contract was made on July 6, 1852, for the purchase of 307 acres at a cost of $17,826 or $58.065 per acre. Records indicate that the Almshouse was built in 1852 and 1853. Public notice was given that paupers would be received on May 23, 1853.

In the early years of the Almshouse, also called the "County Home," the chief position was the "Steward of the Almshouse," who was paid $400 yearly. Other workers included a Teamster at $150, a Fireman at $150, a Matron at $75, a Maid at $84, and a Washwoman at $75 yearly.

At times as many as fifty people lived here. The Steward lived on the second floor and the women on the third floor. The men's dormitory sits at a right angle to the house. Residents who were able helped to work the farm to raise food for themselves.

People other than the poor from Carroll County lived here as well. It was a favorite stop for hobos and tramps. Sometimes the insane or criminals were placed here. Windows were barred in some rooms, and doors were lined with sheets of metal. Click here for more...

Featured Image Of The Week

The Freedmen’s Hospital was founded in 1862 in Washington, DC. It was the first hospital of its kind to aid in the medical treatment of former slaves. Later it became the major hospital for the African American community in Washington, D.C. The hospital was founded on the grounds of Camp Barker at 13th and R Streets in Northwest Washington.

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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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