The Resource Records of Eastern State Hospital, 1770-2009
- Records of Eastern State Hospital, 1770-2009
- Inclusive dates
- Mental health services -- Virginia
- People with mental disabilities -- Institutional care -- Virginia
- Eastern State Hospital (Va.)
- Psychiatric hospitals -- Virginia
- Files by subject
- Financial records
- State government records -- Virginia
- Mentally ill -- Care -- Virginia
- Registers (lists)
- Letters (correspondence)
- Galt, John M., (John Minson), 1819-1862
- Medical records
- Mental health facilities -- Virginia
- Annual reports
- Ledgers (account books)
- Contains volumes and paper records dating from 1770 to 2009. The earliest material in the collection is a Court of Directors minute book, 1770-1801, though the bulk of the collection dates from the mid-nineteenth century through the twentieth century. A few sporadic records from 2000-2009 exist as well. Included in the Eastern State records are admission registers, correspondence and subject files, architectural drawings and construction files, photographs, personnel records, newsletters, news clippings, scrapbooks, publications and reports, meeting minutes, patient treatment, and financial records. Also found in this collection are many files created and maintained by Dr. John Minson Galt, II that include his essays on mental health and other topics. The records as a whole document the complex administrative and operational aspects of the hospital, and to a lesser extent, patient life at Eastern State
- Agency history record describes the history and functions of Eastern State Hospital. (Search author as Eastern State Hospital).
- Additional physical form
- Most of the records comprising Series IV., Subseries D. Correspondence, Subject Files and Ledgers (Superintendent) can also be found on microfilm (Miscellaneous reels 4083-4085). Please note that the original records have been reboxed since microfilming and the folder numbers no longer correspond to those on the film.
- Biographical or historical data
- "The Publick Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds" at Williamsburg was first proposed by Royal Governor Francis Fauquier in 1766. A committee was authorized to prepare a bill to provide for the founding of the hospital, which it did in 1769. In April 1770, architect Robert Smith was chosen to design the new hospital and an act formally establishing the hospital was passed by the General Assembly in June 1770. Construction of the hospital building in the center of Williamsburg took several years. The first patients were admitted in October 1773. The first hospital employee appointed was the keeper, who was directed to call the visiting physician as needed because there was no resident doctor on staff. The first visiting physician at the hospital was Dr. John De Sequeyra.
- The Galt family of Williamsburg worked closely with the hospital for much of the first 100 years of its existence. The first keeper of the hospital was James Galt who was succeeded by William T. Galt in 1800. Dickie Galt also served as keeper during the 1830s. In 1841 Dr. John Minson Galt, II, was appointed the first hospital superintendent by an act of the General Assembly. Additionally, Dr. Galt's grandfather, Dr. John Minson Galt, and also his father, Dr. Alexander D. Galt both served as visiting physicians prior to the establishment of the superintendent position. Dr. Galt served as superintendent from 1841 until 1862 when the hospital was overtaken by Union forces during the Civil War. Dr. Galt died shortly after being forced to leave the hospital grounds.
- Dr. John M. Galt, II introduced the concept of "moral management" to the Eastern Lunatic Asylum. Moral management (or "moral therapy") suggested that the roots of insanity might be emotional. Providing kindness, an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable atmosphere, exercise, and organized social activity was believed to work better for treating mental diseases than other methods such as restraints and bleedings. Dr. Galt also went against conventional beliefs when he applied for and received legislative consent to accept mentally ill slaves as patients to the hospital in 1846. However, by 1869, racial segregation was reestablished with the creation of Central Lunatic Asylum (later Central State Hospital) now located near Petersburg, Virginia.
- By the 1930s the population of the hospital had outgrown its cramped quarters in downtown Williamsburg. With no room to expand, the hospital began construction on what would be called the Dunbar Extension. The land was formally known as the Dunbar Plantation and was located about three miles west of the city. Four buildings were erected in 1936, but construction plans were halted when the United States became involved in World War Two. Construction resumed in 1947 and continued for the better part of the next two decades. For many years patients were split between the two sites, but by the late 1970s all patients were housed at Dunbar. Many of the original downtown hospital buildings were demolished in the 1960s, though a recreation of the first Public Hospital building, completed in 1985, can be found on the grounds of Colonial Williamsburg.
- Eastern State Hospital experienced various name changes over the years. Originally known as the Public Hospital, it also became known as Eastern Lunatic State Hospital and Eastern Lunatic Asylum. Through an act of the General Asssemby in 1894, the current name of Eastern State Hospital was established.
- Cataloging source
- Citation source
- Salmon, John S., comp. A GUIDE TO STATE RECORDS IN THE ARCHIVES BRANCH OF THE VIRGINIA BRANCH OF THE VIRGINIA STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES. Richmond: Virginia State Library, 1985
ContextContext of Records of Eastern State Hospital, 1770-2009
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