The Social Welfare History Project 12.10.2014

This was a previously posted page that I have decided to turn into a post. The only thing that makes me sad is that Dr. Hansan removed much of my commentary before he “reprinted” my research. Keep in mind that historical research takes hours and hours of reading and transcribing. It was not an easy task but well worth the effort. ALL of these blog posts can be found on this blog in their original form.

“I am very proud and honored that John E. Hansan, Ph.D., creator of THE SOCIAL WELFARE HISTORY PROJECT website, has chosen to share 24 articles from my blog, THE INMATES OF WILLARD. I don’t normally blow my own horn, but what the hell, I’m thrilled that my research has been shared on this educational website. Thank You, Dr. Hansan! (Page Created 12.10.2014)

The Social History Welfare History Project

The Social Welfare History Project

The Social Welfare History Project – Contributor Bio – Linda S. Stuhler 11.11.2013.
Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital: New York – 1891 1.20.2014.
Our New York State Charities: 1873 1.18.2013.
The Willard Asylum for the Insane: Steward’s Report 1900 1.18.2014.
New York State Charities Aid Association: 1873 1.6.2014.
Colony For Epileptics: 1914 12.3.2013.
New York State Care System For The Insane Completed: 1896 1.18.2014.
Deportation of the Insane Aliens: 1907 1.14.2014.
Schuyler, Louisa Lee 1.3.2014.
Syracuse State Institution For Feeble-Minded Children: 1916 12.3.2013.
Care of the Filthy Cases of Insane: 1885 11.23.2013.
State Care of the Insane: New York 1901 11.22.2013.
Hammond, Dr. William A. 11.21.2013.
New York State’s County Poor Houses: 1864 11.20.2013.
The Care Of The Insane In New York (1736 – 1912) 11.18.2013.
After Care for the Insane: New York State 1906 11.22.2013.
Chapin, John B., M.D., LL.D. 11.21.2013.
Hoyt, Dr. Charles S. 11.21.2013.
A Brief History of Government Charity in New York (1603 – 1900) 11.18.2013.
The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda 11.18.2013.
Willard, Sylvester D. 11.12.2013.
Kirkbride, Thomas Story 11.11.2013.
Scientific Charity Movement and Charity Organization Societies 11.10.2013.
Brigham, Amariah 11.12.2013.
Poor House Conditions: Albany County, New York – 1864 11.11.2013.”

A Brief History of Charity in New York 1603 to 1900

A Brief History of Charity in New York State as it relates to the creation of
Public Work Houses, County Poor Houses, Insane Asylums, Orphan Asylums,
Houses of Refuge for Juvenile Delinquents, Care of Aged, Decrepit and Mentally Enfeebled Persons who are Not Insane, Indigent Children, etc. Many appropriations for The Willard Insane Asylum are included as well.
Researched by Linda S. Stuhler – October 21, 2011

I have reprinted some outlines and a few passages from Documents of The Senate of the State of New York, One Hundred and Twenty Seventh Session, 1904, (compiled by Edward H. Leggett, Esq. of the Attorney General’s office and his assistant, Mr. Wellington D. Ives, Chief Clerk in the office of the Board of Charities), that shows the history of charity for the poor in New York State from 1603 to 1900.

Coldbath Fields Treadmill - Wikipedia

Coldbath Fields Treadmill – Wikipedia

The Dutch Colony of New Netherland from 1603 to 1664

“Comparatively little of importance has been found with relation to the administration of charity under the Dutch in the colony of New Netherland. Not, however, that ordinances and customs did not exist, following those of the mother country, but the records are fragmentary and give a partial view only of the charitable work of the colony. Possibly many of the missing records were part of the documents of the Dutch West India Company, which it is said, were sold at public auction in 1821, and could not be found when Mr. John Romeyn Brodhead, the agent of this State, made his investigation in 1841-43 of the archives of the Hague in search of material relating to the History of New Netherland. The following chronological references to Dutch ordinances and documents relating to the relief of the poor are taken from various works relating to the history of the early colonial settlements in this State, to which credit is given in each case:

1630–1635 – Poor people not permitted to participate in the exemptions, privileges and freedoms granted to the patroons.

1649 – Poor supported by collections in the churches, fines and voluntary offerings-No hospitals or asylums for children or for old men.

1650 – No asylums for children or the aged in New Netherland.

1651 – In order not to subject the poor to inconvenience, particular inhabitants requesting it may be privileged to lay in small beer free of excise with liberty to retail the same at a reasonable advance by small measure. (“Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland.” P. 122. O’Callaghan.)

1652 – The Director-General grants site for almshouse at Beaverwyck (Albany.) (“Annals of Albany,” Vol. VII, pp. 232, 233. Munsell)

1653 – Burgomasters were ex officio the chief rulers of the city; the principal church wardens, guardians of the poor and of widows and orphans. They held in trust all city property and managed the same. (“History of New Netherland.” Vol. 2, p. 211. O’Callaghan.)

Schepens (city magistrates) provided for the burial of friendless strangers. (“History of New Netherland.” Vol. 2, p. 212. O’Callaghan.)

1654 – Dependent children sent from the almshouse at Amsterdam to New Netherland.

The Director General and Council resolve to hire a house in New Amsterdam, and lodge there the children sent over by the poormasters from Holland. (“Documents Relating to the History of the Early Colonial Settlements.” Vol. XIV, p. 296. Fernow.)

1655 – More dependent children sent from the almshouse at Amsterdam, in Holland, to New Netherland.

Goats found south of the “fresh water” to be seized and sold for the benefit of the poor. (“Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland.” P. 201. O’ Callaghan.)

One-third of penalty for firing guns or planting May poles on New Years and May days to go to support of the poor. (“Laws and Ordinances of New Nether land.” P. 205. O’ Callaghan.)

1656 – One-third of certain penalties to be applied to support of the poor. (“Laws and Ordinances of New Netherland.” P. 263. O’Callaghan.)

1658 – Children from almshouse in Holland arrived and being in demand, were all bound and others requested to be sent over. In New Netherland, men of large families when they die ‘do not leave a stiver behind. The public must provide the coffin, pay all the debts and feed or maintain those who survive.” (“Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York.” Vol. II, p. 52. O’Callaghan.)

1661 – First law enacted in New Netherland providing for the support of the poor. (Passed 22 October 1661).” (Senate Pages 3-9).”

THE ENGLISH COLONY OF NEW YORK 1664 TO 1776

The earliest English laws governing the administration of affairs, charitable and otherwise, in the Colony of New York are known as the “Duke of York’s Laws.” These laws were “Establisht by the Authority of his Majesties Letters patents, granted to his Royall Highnes James Duke of Yorke and Albany: Bearing Date the 12th Day of March in the sixteenth year of ye Raigne of our Sovereign Lord King Charles the Second. Digested into one Volume for the publicke use of the Territoryes in America under the Government of his Royall Highnesse. Collected out of the Several Laws now in force in his Majesties American Colonyes and Plantations.

Published March the 1st Anno Domini 1664 at a General meeting at Hemsted upon Longe Island by virtue of a Commission from his Royall Highnesse James Duke of Yorke and Albany given to Colonell Richard Nicolls Deputy Governor, bearing date the Second day of Aprill 1664.

These and other Colonial laws of New York from the year 1664 to the Revolution were republished by the State of New York in 1894, and the volume and page references herein given relate to the volumes and pages of such republication.

1664 – Bond slavery of Christians forbidden, but not to prejudice indenture nor taking as apprentice. Eight overseers to provide for church and poor. Certain penalties to be applied to support of poor.

1665 – Disbursements for the poor and the support of the poorhouse at Albany. Distracted persons to be provided for by contributions from each town in the riding. Persons holding in trust property of orphans to render inventory annually Disbursements for the poor and the support of the poorhouse at Albany.

1671 – Deacons of the Reformed Christian church complain to the Mayor’s court of the administration of charity by the deacons of the Lutheran church.

1678 – “Noe beggars but all poore cared ffor.” (From Answers of inquiries of New York Rec’d from Sr Edm. Andros on the 16th of Apr 1678.” “Documentary History of New York.” Vol. I, page 62. O’Callaghan.)

1683 – Provides for care of poor, and prevention and discouragement of vagabondage.

1684 – Persons holding in trust property of orphans, to render inventory annually to court of sessions. Provides penalty for stealing by apprentices.

1687 – Towns and counties maintain their own poor and no vagabonds or beggars allowed in the Province of New York.

1691 – Public workhouses directed to be provided by Governor Fletcher.

“You are to endeavor with the assistance of our Councill to provide for the raising and building of Publique Work Houses in convenient Places for the employing of Poor and Indigent People.” (Instructions to Governor Benjamin Fletcher of the Province of New York from Lord Nottingham by Her Majesty’s command, March 17, 1691. “Documents Relative to the Colonial History of New York,” Vol. III, page 824.)

1695 – Annual appointment of five overseers of the poor and public works in New York city and defining their duties relative to the support of the poor.

1697 – Public workhouses directed to be provided by Governor Bellomont.

“You are to endeavor with the Assistance of the Councill to provide for the raising and building of public workhouses in convenient places for the employing of poor and indigent people.” (Instructions to Governor Richard Bellomont of the Province of New York from His Majesty by James Vernon, August 31, 1697. “Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York.” Vol. IV., page 290.)

1699 – No such thing as a beggar in New York.

“A Bill to enforce the building of publick workhouses (which is another instruction from his Majesty) to imploy the poor and also vagabonds I offered to the Assembly, but they smiled at it, because indeed there is no such as a beggar in this town or country: and I believe there is not a richer populace any where in the King’s dominions than is in this Town.” (From the Earl of Bellomont to the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, April the 27th 1699.

“Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New York.” Vol. IV, page 511. O’Callaghan.)

1701 – Repeals former statutes and provides that each town or parish shall care for its own poor. Justices of the peace to audit accounts.

1702 – Provides for the care of the poor in New York city, and limits annual amount to be raised for such purpose to 300 (pounds).

Act for the better maintenance of the poor in New York.

Making provision for the execution of poor felons and the burial of the poor.

1703 – Explaining previous laws relating to the poor and vagabonds. “An Act for the better Explaining and more Effectual putting in Execucon An Act of General Assembly made in the third yeare of the Reign of their late Majties King Wm. and Queen Mary Entituled An Act for defraying of the Publick and necessary Charge thro’out this Province and for mainteining the Poor and preventing Vagabonds.

1708 – Surplus of penalties collected in suppressing immorality given to the overseers of the poor for support of the poor.

1719 – Certain part of penalties collected by pound keepers to be applied to support of the poor.

1721 – Vagrant and idle persons to be apprehended, brought before a justice of the peace or mayor, and returned to their lawful settlements.

Providing for the equitable assessment of taxes for the support of the minister and the poor in New York, Queens, Richmond and Westchester counties.

1729 – Moiety of certain penalties to he paid to overseers to be applied to the support of the poor.

1732 – An act for the speedy punishing and releasing of vagrant and idle persons. Moiety of certain penalties to be applied to the support of the poor.

1737 – An act to restrain tavern keepers from selling liquors to servants and apprentices. Moiety of penalty for peddling without a license to go to support of the poor.

Moiety of sales and fines on impounded swine to be applied to support of the poor.

1740 – Moiety of fines collected under act to prevent abuses in the repacking of beef and pork to be applied to support of the minister and the poor in New York city.

Providing for support and burials of the poor in county at the expense of the county.” (Senate 11- 30)

Fast forward to 1771:

1771 – “The Society of the Hospital in the City of New York in America.”

“This Society was incorporated June 13, 1771 by a charter granted by King George the Third. This was the result of a subscription set on foot for the purpose of erecting a public hospital in the City of New York, and the King in view of the beneficial tendency of such an institution ‘calculated for relieving the diseases of the indigent.’ granted the charter.” (Senate 37)

1772 – The Society of the Hospital of the City of New York in America to receive an annual appropriation of 800 (pounds) to be paid from excise duties laid on strong liquors retailed in New York city. Hospital to receive and treat all sick poor persons who are residents of any county within the colony, without compensation. (Senate 37)

1773 – An Act for the Settlement and Relief of the Poor (Passed March 8, 1773). (Senate 39)”

THE STATE OF NEW YORK 1776 TO 1900

“The first Legislature of the State of New York met at Kingston on September 10, 1777, and the first statute was enacted February 6, 1778. Of the great majority of the laws which have been enacted in this State affecting the administration of charity and the care of the poor, it is possible to give a brief abstract only, referring the student of these questions to the laws themselves for fuller information should such be desired. To facilitate reference, however, especially of those to whom the laws of the State may not be accessible, a few of the more important statutes, such as the general poor laws, are printed in full.

1778 – Appointing Commissioners in Tryon, Saratoga, Albany and Charlotte counties to collect and distribute charitable donations among distressed inhabitants on frontiers of eastern and western districts of State who, during late campaign, were obliged to abandon their homes by devastation of the enemy.

Appointing a Commissioner to superintend the poor removed from New York into Dutchess county, and appropriating 600 (pounds) from State treasury to each of the Commissioners for superintending poor removed into Dutchess, Westchester and Ulster counties.

Providing for the election of overseers of the poor at the annual town meetings in August. Directing Justices of the Peace to furnish the necessaries of life to the families of soldiers in Continental service at moderate prices balance to be paid by State.

Appropriations to commissioners over poor removed from New York city-in Dutchess county 1200 (pounds), and in Ulster county 600 (pounds).” (Senate 49-50)”

Fast Forward to 1784:

1784 – An Act for the Settlement and Relief of the Poor. Chapter 35 Laws of 1784. (Senate 52)

1788 – Overseers of poor to bind out poor children as apprentices and servants; proceedings where persons refuse to be bound; emigration of poor regulated-contracts of service. (Senate 70 & 71)

An Act for the Better Settlement and Relief of the Poor. Chapter 62 of the Laws of 1788. (Senate 78)

An Act for Dividing the Counties of This State Into Towns. Chapter 64 of the Laws of 1788.

“All counties divided into towns. Poor in town of Goshen, Warwick and Minisink, Orange county, and in Cortlandt, Yorktown, Stephentown, Greenburgh and Mt. Pleasant, Westchester county. In every town in the State two overseers of the poor to be elected. Overseers of poor in Albany and Hudson. Oaths of office of overseers. One-half of penalty for refusal of certain town officers elected to qualify to go to poor fund. Powers of town meetings.” (Senate 95) (57)

1824 – An Act to Incorporate The Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents in the City of New York. Chapter 126 Laws of 1824. (Senate 236)

An Act To Provide For The Establishment Of County Poorhouses. Chapter 331, Laws of 1824, Passed 27th November 1824.”

The American Revolutionary War began in July 1776 and ended in October 1781. There was a flurry of activity of charity for the poor during and after the American Revolution. Once America became the United States, with its own sovereign government, New York became a state on July 26, 1788.

After the Civil War and by 1870, there were hundreds of charities partially funded with appropriations from the state. I have included a synopsis from Documents of The Senate of the State of New York, from 1865 to 1900, of anything having to do with Willard, state institutions, the pauper insane and the poor in general. There were hundreds of entries that I could not possibly include. (L.S.Stuhler)

New York State Timeline

1865 – Authorizing establishment of Willard State Asylum for the insane paupers. $75,000 appropriation therefor. (Senate 1865, Chapter 342, page 556)

1867 – Annual Supply Bill. $14,300 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate 1867, Chapter 481, page 582)

1870 – Appropriating $49,250 to pay present indebtedness of the Willard Asylum for the Insane. (Senate 1870, Chapter 380, page 636)

$118,000 for Willard Asylum, for extension or completion of wing, building for idiots, dock, fuel and salaries; $25,000 for furniture and maintenance of Willard Asylum. (Senate 1870, Chapter 492, page 641)

Making appropriations for certain public and charitable institutions: For orphan asylums, homes for the friendless and other charitable institutions of like character for their maintenance, $150,000 to be divided among the counties for the several state charities. (Senate 1870, Chapter 704, page 642).

1871 – In relation to the chronic pauper insane. Act authorizing Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities to hear and determine applications made to them by county superintendents of poor of the several counties of this State, and said board may file determination relieving counties from sending pauper insane to Willard Asylum. Said board may revoke such determination and must file same in office of county clerk making such application and notice thereof must be given to poor superintendents. Commissioners may direct removal of chronic pauper insane to Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate 1871, Chapter 713, page 658)

Supply Bill. $170,500 for Willard Asylum. (Senate 1871, Chapter 715, page 658) Appropriation Act. $28,000 for Willard Asylum. (Senate 1871, Chapter 715, page 659)

Amending section 11 of chapter 474, Laws of 1870, establishing a Homeopathic Asylum for the Insane at Middletown, NY. (Senate 1871, Chapter 237, page 652).

1872 – Appropriation Act. $9,000 for salaries for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate 1872, Chapter 541, page 681)

Section 9 of chapter 342 Laws of 1865 relating to price for board at Willard Asylum amended. (Senate 1872, Chapter 541, page 681)

Supply Bill. $131,000 for Willard Asylum for the Insane. (Senate 1872, Chapter 733, page 683)

Act to establish and maintain an institution for the relief of indigent and disabled soldiers and sailors of New York State. “The New York Soldiers’ Home” incorporated. (Senate 1872, Chapter 873, Laws of 1872, page 686)

1873 – Authorizing the trustees of Willard Asylum for the Insane to appoint a fourth assistant physician. (Senate, Chapter 443, page 694)

Act further defining the powers and duties of the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities and to change the name of the Board to “The State Board of Charities.” Chapter 571, Laws of 1873. (Senate 695)

Appropriation Act. $10,500 for Willard Asylum for the Insane (Senate, Chapter 643, page 701) Supply Bill. $60,000 for Willard Asylum for the Insane (Senate, Chapter 700, page 702) Legalizing the adoption of minor children by adult persons. (Senate, Chapter 830, page 703)

Concurrent resolution directing the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities to examine into the causes of the increase of crime, pauperism and insanity and report statistics to the next Legislature, passed May 29, 1873. (Senate 704)

1874 – Supply Bill. $140,000 for Willard Asylum for the Insane. (Senate, Chapter 323, page 706)

Appropriation Act. $250 for support of Susan Green, an insane Indian, at Willard Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 398, page 708)

Act to revise and consolidate the State Statutes, relating to the care and custody of the Insane, the management of the asylums for their treatment and keeping, and the duties of the State Commissioner in Lunacy. (Senate, Chapter 446, page 709)

Amending act providing for the support and care of State paupers, chapter 661, Laws of 1873. State Board of Charities authorized to contract with authorities of not more than 15 counties or cities in State for the reception of State paupers in poor houses of such counties or cities, and to make rules and regulations for their care and discipline. Said board may transfer paupers from one almshouse to another as it shall deem advisable. Passed June 7, 1873. (Senate 709)

1875 – Annual Appropriations Act. $11,000 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 373, page 721)

Annual Supply Bill. $56,000 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate 1875, Chapter 634, page 727)

Act providing for a better system of records of the inmates of poorhouses and almshouses. Copies to be sent to State Board of Charities. (Senate, Chapter 140, page 713)

An Act to Provide for the Better Care of Pauper and Destitute Children. Chapter 173, Laws of 1875. Section 1. On and after January first, eighteen hundred and seventy-six, it shall not be lawful for    any justice of the peace, police justice or other magistrate to commit any child, over three and    under sixteen years of age, as vagrant, truant or disorderly, to any county poor-house of this State, or for any county superintendent or overseer of the poor, or other officer, to send any such child as a pauper to any such poor-house for support and care, unless such child be an unteachable idiot, an epileptic or paralytic, or be otherwise defective, diseased or deformed, so as to render it unfit for family care; but such justice of the peace, police justice or other magistrate, and also such county superintendent or overseer of the poor, or other officer, shall commit or send such child or children not above exempted to some orphan asylum or other charitable or reformatory institution, as now provided for by law. (Senate 714)

An Act to Authorize the Establishment of a Female Department to the Western House of Refuge for Juvenile Delinquents. Seventy-five thousand dollars appropriated. Chapter 228, Laws of 1875. (Senate 716)

An Act to Authorize the Various Associations and Societies Incorporated Under the Laws of the State of New York, For the Purposes of Taking Care Of and Protecting Destitute Infant Minor Children, To Bind Out by Indenture Destitute Children Who Are In Their Care and Keeping, Chapter 522, Laws of 1875. (Senate 724)

1876 – Annual Appropriations Act. $10,500 for Willard Insane Asylum (Senate, Chapter 192, page 730)

Supply Bill. $100,500 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 193, page 730)

Act to prevent and punish wrongs to children. Occupation of children in theatrical and certain other employments made a misdemeanor. (Senate, Chapter 122, page 728)

An Act providing for the Removal from office by Governor of any County Superintendent of the Poor charged with misconduct. Offender to be given a copy of charge against him and opportunity to defend himself. The Governor to direct testimony or examination. Chapter 133, Laws of 1876. (Senate 729)

1877 – Annual Appropriations Act. $12,000 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 123, page 738)

Supply Bill. $100,378 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 276, page 740)

Act for the protection of children and to prevent and punish certain wrongs to children. Minors under 14 years not to be allowed in drinking or concert saloons, etc. Begging by children prohibited. (Senate, Chapter 428, page 742)

Concurrent Resolution. Relating to the Soldiers Home for the State of New York. Official returns of 35 of the 60 counties of State show that there are 641 veteran soldiers and sailors in the county poor-houses of the State. A farm of 240 acres in vicinity of Bath, Steuben county having been purchased for home for disabled soldiers and sailors and private subscription raised for erecting buildings thereon…$100,000. (Senate 744)

1878 – Appropriations Act. $12,350 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 29, page 744) Supply Bill. $53,000 for Willard Insane Asylum (all laws authorizing appointment of Building Superintendent and fixing salary of Building Superintendent of Willard Asylum, repealed) (Senate, Chapter 252, page 748)

Act providing for the support, treatment and care of pauper, destitute and delinquent children under sixteen years of age. Not to be committed to poor houses but to be placed in families or orphan asylums. Powers of State Board of Charities in connection therewith defined. Chapter 404 Laws of 1878. (Senate 1878, page 750)

1879 – Appropriations Act. $12,100 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 148, page 755) Supply Bill. $100,000 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 272, page 758)”

In 1880, New York State started cracking down on insane alien paupers. Expenses for Willard were growing along with the pauper insane population which, by law, required the state to provide additional institutions to be built in order to provide for their care and support. By 1883, there were at least 27 state institutions, including Willard, supported by tax payer funds. New charitable institutions sprang up all over New York State for the care of the insane, idiots and feeble-minded, deaf and dumb, blind, sick and crippled soldiers, orphans, indigent children, juvenile delinquents, abandoned women, etc. This number did not include the poor houses or the prisons in all the various counties that also required tax payer funds. (L.S.Stuhler)

1880 – Appropriations Act. $12,100 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 141, page 763)

CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, Chapter 178.

Section 1590. “Partition by guardian of infant, committee of lunatic, etc.” Section 1591. “Contents of petition.”

Section 1592. “Court may authorize partition of infants and lunatics’ interest in lands.” Section 1593. “Effect of releases by such guardian or committee.”

Section 1638. “An infant or incompetent person cannot bring an action to compel determination of a claim to real property.”

Section 1647. “An action against a widow to determine her dower interest cannot be brought against an infant or incompetent.”

Section 1743. “An action may be brought to have a marriage contract declared void when one of the parties was an idiot or lunatic, or when one or both had not attained the age of legal consent.” Section 1744. “An action to annul marriage contract may he maintained by infant or by its parent or guardian.”

Section 1746. “Such action may be commenced by any relative of an idiot.” Section 1747. “When such action to be commenced where party was a lunatic.”

Section 1749. “A child of a marriage annulled on ground of idiocy or lunacy of one of its parents is a legitimate child of the other parent of sound mind.”

Section 1755. “How next friend of infant or lunatic allowed to sue.”

Section 1926. “Actions by overseers and superintendents of the poor to recover penalties and damages and enforce liabilities or duties under contract made with them.”

Section 1927. “Actions against overseers and superintendents of the poor.”

Sections 2320 to 2344. “Proceedings for appointment of a committee of a lunatic, idiot or habitual drunkard.”

Section 2324. “Duties of overseers and superintendents of the poor to apply for appointment of such committee when incompetent has property which may be endangered and no relative has applied.”

Sections 2345 to 2364. “Proceedings for disposition of real estate of an infant, lunatic, idiot or habitual drunkard.”

Section 2382. “Effect of lunacy in arbitration proceedings.”

Sections 2530 and 2531. “Proceedings for appointment of special guardians of infants and incompetents in Surrogates Courts.”(Senate, Chapter 178, pps. 763-766)

Supply Bill. $3,000 for the removal of infirm alien paupers to the countries whence they came and authorizing State Board of Charities to remove alien paupers. “Chapter 272, Laws 1879, amended as follows: Hereafter no pauper who has not resided within the State for at least one year next prior to application for his or her admission into any State asylum for the idiotic, blind, insane or deaf and dumb, shall be admitted as an inmate therein.” (Senate 772)

1881 – Appropriations Act. $12,100 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 185, page 775)

“In relation to the officers and medical staff of Willard Insane Asylum, and to provide for the appointment of a committee for the discharge of patients in said asylum.” (Senate, Chapter 190, p 776)

An Act To Confer Upon The State Charities Aid Association the Power to Visit, Inspect and Examine any of the State Charitable Institutions, County Poor-Houses and Town Poor-Houses and City Alms-Houses Within the State. Chapter 323, Laws of 1881. (Senate, Chapter 323, page 778)

“Act for the inspection of alien emigrants and their effects by the commissioners of emigration to ascertain who among them are paupers or otherwise liable to become public charges, and to retransport such emigrants.” (Senate, Chapter 427, page 780)

CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, Chapter 442.

Section 239. “A grand juror may be challenged if a minor or insane.” Section 375. “A trial juror may be challenged if a minor or insane.”

Sections 658 to 662. “Inquiry into insanity of the defendant before trial or after conviction. If found insane, defendant to be sent to State lunatic asylum at expense of county from which he was sent, but the county may recover such expenses from his estate or from a relative, town, city or county, bound to provide for him.” (Senate, Chapter 442, page 781)

Supply Bill. $10,000 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 475, page 783)

“Amending chapter 460, Laws of 1879, to amend chapter 123, Laws 1854, promoting medical science. Governors and managers of hospitals may deliver bodies of deceased persons to professors of medical colleges for dissection in certain cases, if bodies are unclaimed, etc.” (Senate, Chapter 550, page 784)

“Amending chapter 482, Laws 1875, conferring on board of supervisors further powers of local legislation and administration. Supervisors authorized to purchase real estate for establishments for care of paupers, idiots, paupers incurably insane and other indigent persons, for whose support the county is responsible, and issue bonds for payment therefore.” (Senate, Chapter 573 page 784)

THE PENAL CODE, Chapter 676

Section 20. “An act done by an idiot, imbecile, lunatic or insane, is not a crime. A person cannot be tried or punished for a crime while in a state of idiocy, imbecility, insanity or lunacy, so as to be incapable of understanding the proceeding or making his defense.” (785)

Section 21. “But a person is not excused from criminal liability on such ground except upon proof that at time of committing the act, he did not know the nature and quality of the act or that he was doing wrong.” (785)

Section 377. “Unlawful confinement or unkind treatment or neglect of duty towards any idiot, lunatic or person under confinement a misdemeanor.” (788)

Section 445. “Maintaining private insane asylums without a license a misdemeanor.” (788)

1882 – Annual Appropriations Act. $11,850 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 270, page 792)

“Supply bill. The officers of each State hospital, asylum, charitable or reformatory institution and the State Commissioner in Lunacy, the State Board of Charities and the State Board of Health shall render to the Comptroller, annually, a detailed, itemized account of all their several receipts and expenditures.” (794)

Annual Appropriations Act. $13,800 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 362, page 794)

Section 2042. “Commissioners of emigration to inspect all foreign immigrants, to ascertain and arrest habitual criminals, paupers, incompetents or imbeciles or destitute deaf, dumb, blind or infirm or orphans or persons having infectious or contagious diseases.” (Senate, Chapter 410, page 807) Section 2064. “All lunatic, idiotic, deaf, dumb, blind, maimed, infirm or sick indigent persons over sixty years, who are passengers on vessels arriving at port of New York, shall be cared for at expense of captains, owners or agents of the vessels under penalty of $500 until delivered to commissioners of emigration.” (Senate, Chapter 410, page 807, 808)

1883 – “Amending chapter 446, Laws of 1874, revising and consolidating the statutes of the State relating to the care and custody of the insane, the management of the asylums for their treatment and safekeeping and the duties of the State Commissioner in Lunacy.” (Senate, Chapter 193, page 810)

Annual Appropriations Act. $11,850 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 243, page 810)

ARTICLE I. “Persons exempt from military duty. Section 6. Idiots, lunatics, paupers, vagabonds, habitual drunkards and persons convicted of infamous crimes.” (Senate, 813)

“Amending chapter 550, Laws of 1881, to amend chapter 460, Laws of 1879, which amends chapter 123, Laws of 1854, to promote medical science. It shall be lawful for officers of public hospitals and almshouses to deliver dead bodies to medical colleges for dissection under certain conditions herein named. Relatives however may claim bodies.” (Senate, Chapter 443, page 814)

Supply Bill. $6,000 for Willard Insane Asylum. $2,000 for the removal of infirm alien paupers. (Senate, Chapter 491, page 814)

1884 – Authorizing the trustees of Willard Insane Asylum to purchase a farm of 134 acres at a price not exceeding $75 per acre. (Senate 1884, Chapter 27, page 816)

Annual Appropriations Act. $13,500 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 550, page 827) Supply Bill. $3,000 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 550, page 827)

$2,000 for the removal of infirm alien paupers. (Senate, Chapter 551, page 827)

“Concurrent resolution passed May 14, 1884, relating to the business and financial management of all the State charitable institutions. Attorney-General, Comptroller and President of State Board of Charities to devise plan for reorganization of business and financial management of all State charitable institutions and for a central purchasing agency and to report to next legislature.” (Senate, Chapter 551, page 828)

1885 – “Act making an appropriation of $11,746 for certain extraordinary repairs and improvements at Willard Asylum for the Insane.” (Senate, Chapter 99, page 830)

“Act in relation to the discharge of patients from the Willard Insane Asylum on their recovery.” (Senate, Chapter 178, page 832)

Annual Appropriations Act. $13,500 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 240, page 833) Section 210. “The board of estimate and apportionment is authorized to appropriate from time to time all moneys derived from fines and penalties, and all license fees provided for in this act, to such benevolent, charitable or insane institutions as may seem deserving by said board.” (Senate, Chapter 249, page 833)

Supply Bill. “The proper officers of each State hospital, asylum, charitable or reformatory institution, the State Commissioner in Lunacy, the State Board of Charities and the State Board of Health must render to the comptroller quarterly a detailed and itemized account of all receipts of expenditures with sub vouchers.” (Senate, Chapter 525, page 838)

1886 – “Amending chapter 446, title 5, Laws 1874, to revise and consolidate the statutes of the State, relating to the care and custody of the insane, the management of the asylums and the duties of State Commissioner in Lunacy.” (Senate, Chapter 27, page 839)

Appropriation of $35,200 for completion of two buildings on grounds of Binghamton Asylum for Chronic Insane, provided to be erected by chapter 525, Laws 1885. (Senate 841)

Authorizing the trustees of Binghamton Asylum for the Chronic Insane to appoint additional assistant physician. (Senate, Chapter 215, page 841)

Authorizing the appointment of commissioners to locate an asylum for the insane in Northern New York. (Senate, Chapter 238, page 841)

Providing additional accommodations for the insane at the Hudson River State Hospital and to provide for the construction thereof. (Senate, Chapter 318, page 842)

Supply Bill. $77,000 for Willard Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 330, page 843)

Annual Appropriations Act. $13,500 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 413, page 845)

Name of the Western House of Refuge for Juvenile Delinquents or the House of Refuge for Juvenile Delinquents in Western New York changed to “The State Industrial School,” and relating to discipline and instruction therein and commitments thereto and making an appropriation therefor of $10,000. (Senate, Chapter 539, page 846)

Act for the better preservation of the health of children in institutions. (Senate, Chapter 633, page 848)

1887 – Annual Appropriations Act. $14,700 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 195, page 852)

1888 – Annual Appropriations Act. $14,700 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 269, page 863)

Annual Supply Bill. $43,375 for the Willard Insane Asylum. $5,000 for the removal of in firm alien paupers. (Senate, Chapter 270, page 863)

1889 – “An act to establish and organize the “State Commission in Lunacy,” and to define its duties.

$15,000 appropriated to carry out the provisions of this act.” (Senate, Chapter 283, page 873)

“Empowering the trustees of Willard Insane Asylum to grant a right of way to the Geneva and Van Ettenville Railroad Company through the lands of the State appurtenant to said asylum and under the charge and management of said trustees.” (Senate, Chapter 439, page 876,877)

Annual Appropriations Act. $14,700 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 569, page 877)

Annual Supply Bill. $30,000 for the Willard Insane Asylum. $5,000 for the removal of in firm alien paupers. (Senate, Chapter 570, page 877)

1890 – Annual Appropriations Act. $14,700 for Willard Insane Asylum. (Senate, Chapter 84, page 880)

Changing the name of several State asylums for the insane. “The State Lunatic Asylum” to “The Utica State Hospital;” “The Willard Asylum for the Insane” to “The Willard State Hospital;” “The Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane” to “The Hudson River State Hospital;” “The Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane” to “The Buffalo State Hospital;” “The State Homoeopathic Asylum for the Insane at Middletown” to “The Middletown State Homoeopathic Hospital;” “The

Binghamton Asylum for the Insane” to “The Binghamton State Hospital;” and “The St. Lawrence Asylum for the Insane” to “The St. Lawrence State Hospital”

(Senate 1890, Chapter 132, page 882)

An Act to Provide for the Employment of a Woman Physician in the State Asylums and Hospitals. Chapter 243, Laws of 1890. “The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:

Section 1. It shall be the duty of the superintendent or chief medical officer of each state asylum or hospital for the care and treatment of the insane, except the State Asylum for Insane Criminals, to appoint a competent resident woman physician, who is a graduate of some legally incorporated medical college to perform such medical duties in and about the care and treatment of the women insane, as such superintendent or chief medical officer shall direct.

Section 2. Each resident woman physician, so appointed, shall be in addition to the number of resident physicians and officers of the said state asylums or hospitals now employed, and shall receive as compensation an annual sum of twelve hundred dollars.

Section 3. This act shall take effect the first day of July, eighteen hundred and ninety.” (Senate, Chapter 243, page 884)

Amending, revising and consolidating certain acts relating to the State Commission in Lunacy and the care and custody of the insane and the management of asylums for their treatment and safe- keeping, as provided in chapter 446, Laws of 1874, and chapter 283, Laws of 1889, and repealing sections 9, 10 and 11 of chapter 342, Laws of 1865, and chapter 713, Laws of 1871. (Senate,

Chapter 273, page 884)

Annual Supply Bill. $25,000 for the Willard Insane Asylum. $5,000 for the removal of infirm alien paupers. (Senate, Chapter 295, page 885)

1891 – Act to change the name of The Asylum for Idiots to the “Syracuse State Institution for Feeble-Minded Children.” (Senate, Chapter 51, page 889)

Making an appropriation of $454,850 for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of chapter 126, Laws of 1890, relating to the State care of insane. Said sum to be apportioned by the board for the establishment of State insane asylum districts and for other purposes, in such a manner as to provide accommodations in the following hospitals for not less than the number of patients named: At the Utica State Hospital, 150 patients. At the Hudson River State Hospital, 200 patients. At the Middletown State Homoeopathic Hospital, 200 patients. At the Buffalo State Hospital, 150 patients. At the Binghamton State Hospital, 127 patients. (Senate, Chapter 91, page 890)

Annual Appropriations Act. $16,900 for the Willard State Hospital. (Senate 892)

An Act to Prohibit, Except on Conviction for Felony, the Commitment of Children Under Twelve Years of Age to the State Industrial School at Rochester or the House of Refuge on Randall’s Island. Chapter 216, Laws of 1891. (Senate 893)

Annual Supply Bill. $5,000 for the removal of infirm alien paupers. $37,700 for Willard State Hospital. (Senate 894)

1892 – Annual Appropriations Act. $16,900 for the Willard State Hospital. (Senate 902)

Providing for the appointment of a committee to locate an institution for epileptics in New York State. The commissioners of the State Board of Charities are directed to select a suitable site for said institution; $1.500 appropriated for the expenses of the commission. (Senate, Chapter 503, page 905)

1893 – Appropriating $104,621 for the purchase by the State of certain lands heretofore purchased by Oneida county, for the purpose of being used as a county asylum for the insane in city of Rome. (Senate, Chapter 43, page 914)

Amending chapter 278, Laws of 1881, authorizing such girls and women as are vagrants or convicted of misdemeanors as a first offense, to be sent to the Shelter for Homeless Women in the city of Syracuse, and to change the name of such corporation to The Shelter for Unprotected Girls. (Senate, Chapter 53, page 915)

Establishing the “Matteawan State Hospital.” (Senate, Chapter 81, page 915)

Appropriating $50,000 for the purchase by the State of certain lands heretofore purchased by Erie county in town of Collins, for the purpose of being used for a county asylum for the insane. (Senate, Chapter 91, page 915)

Appropriating money for the care, medical treatment, clothing, support and transportation to State hospitals of the insane poor, under provisions of chapter 126, Laws 1890. (Senate, Chapter 214, page 917)

Act relative to committees of the property of lunatics, idiots or habitual drunkards and to provide for the presentation, proof and payment of claims against the estates of such persons, and accountings of such committees. (Senate, Chapter 697, page 929)

Annual Supply Bill. $5,000 for the removal of infirm alien paupers. $31, 350 for Willard State Hospital. (Senate 930)

1894 – Amending section 3 of chapter 438, Laws of 1884, to revise and consolidate the statutes of the State relating to the custody and care of indigent pauper children by orphan asylums and other charitable institutions. Institutions to keep record of children. (Senate, Chapter 54, page 932) Annual Supply Bill. $5,000 for the removal of infirm alien paupers. $20,434 for Willard State Hospital. (Senate 937)

Establishing the “Craig Colony” for epileptics and making an appropriation of $140,000 therefor, to be placed under the supervision of the State Board of Charities. (Senate, Chapter 363, page 938)

Amending chapter 348 of Laws of 1893, establishing an institution for the care and custody of unteachable idiots known as the “Rome State Custodial Asylum.” (Senate, Chapter 382, page 938)

Appropriating money for the support of the insane under the provisions of chapters 126, Laws of 1890, and 214, Laws of 1893. A State tax of thirty-three one-hundredths of a mill to be imposed, beginning on October 1, 1894, on each dollar of real and personal property of the State, which is in aggregate a sum of 1,385,000, to pay the expenses of State hospitals, the Oneida State Custodial Asylum and the State Commission in Lunacy. (Senate, Chapter 383, page 938)

Providing for the compulsory education of children. (Senate, Chapter 671, page 944)

Establishing the “Collins Farm State Homeopathic Hospital for the Insane.” (Senate, Chapter 707, page 945)

1895 – To continue the “Thomas Asylum for Orphan and Destitute Indian Children” on the Cattaraugus reservation, and to provide for its management and maintenance. (Senate, Chapter 38, page 948)

Providing for the discharge of insane patients from State Hospitals, and to amend section 24, chapter 446, Laws 1874. (Senate, Chapter 172, page 948)

Act to protect human life by the erection of fire escapes on the outside of hospital buildings over two stories high and not fireproof. (Senate, Chapter 381, page 950)

Legitimatizing children whose parents marry after the birth of such children. (Senate, Chapter 531, page 953)

Act to protect public institutions of the State and the inmates of said buildings against destruction by fire. Stand pipes, hose, fire extinguishers and fire escapes to be provided. Use of lights and inflammable substances regulated. (Senate, Chapter 535, page 953)

A State tax of one mill on each dollar of real and personal property of the State shall be imposed for the fiscal year beginning on October 1, 1895, for the State Commission in Lunacy, for the maintenance of State hospitals, including salaries of those employed,… for the purchase of supplies and general maintenance of patients, etc. (Senate, Chapter 693, page 959)

1896 – Act to revise and consolidate the laws relating to the State Board of Charities; powers and duties defined. (Senate, Chapter 771, page 962)

Supply Bill. $1,000 for Willard State Hospital. (Senate 966)

Converting the New York City Insane Asylum into a State Hospital to be known as the “Manhattan State Hospital.” (Senate, Chapter 2, page 968)

An Act in Relation to the Poor, Constituting Chapter 27 of the General Laws (The Poor Law), Chapter 225, Laws of 1896. (Senate, page 973)

Authorizing the sale of ale and beer upon the premises of the New York State Soldiers and Sailors’ Home of Bath, N.Y., and providing for the expenditure of the net proceeds therefrom. (Senate, Chapter 960, page 1063)

An Act to Provide for the Care of Aged, Decrepit and Mentally Enfeebled Persons who are Not Insane, Chapter 914, Laws of 1896. (Senate, page 1065)

Supplemental Supply Bill for Willard State Hospital, $1,000 for the clergymen. (Senate, page 1067)

1897 – Appropriating $4,500,000, a sum raised by State tax, for the support of the insane under the provisions of chapter 545, of Laws of 1896. (Senate, Chapter 460, page 1092)

1898 – The Military Code, constituting chapter 16 of the general laws: Section 1. Officers and assistants of hospitals, idiots, lunatics, paupers, vagabonds, habitual drunkards and persons convicted of infamous crimes to be exempt from military duty. (Senate, Chapter 212, page 1101)

Supplemental Supply Bill for Willard State Hospital, $1,000 for the clergymen. (Senate, page 1107)

1899 – Amending the State charities law relating to licensing and regulation of dispensaries by the Board of Charities, Chapter 368, Laws of 1899. (Senate, page 1116)

Incorporating the “Salvation Army in the United States,” to establish and maintain, subject to the written approval of the State Board of Charities, when established in New York State, hospitals for the sick and convalescent, and homes for children, the aged and fallen women. (Senate, Chapter 468, page 1120)

Supply Bill. $1,000 to Willard State Hospital. (Senate, Page 1121)

Amending chapter 182, Laws 1898, relative to government of cities of the second class. Section 227. Health physician to attend indigent sick who are certified as such and a proper charge upon the city by the poor officers. (Senate, Chapter 581, page 1123)

1900 – Making an appropriation of $1,000,000 for buildings, repairs and improvements at the state hospitals for the insane. (Senate, Chapter 364, Page 1130)

An Act to Establish the New York State Hospital for the Care of Crippled and Deformed Children, Chapter 369, Laws of 1900. (Senate, page 1130)

Supply Bill. $1,000 for the Willard State Hospital. (Senate, page 1143)” (57)

As late as 1912, poor children in orphan asylums were still being bound out as apprentices, clerks and servants, as long as the child had been “absolutely surrendered.” Boys were bound until age twenty-one and girls were bound until age eighteen. (L.S.Stuhler)

“Every such child shall, when practicable, be bound out or apprenticed to persons of the same religious faith as the parents of such child. The indenture shall in such case be signed:
1. In the corporate name of such institution by the officer or officers thereof authorized by the directors to sign the corporate name to such instrument, and shall be sealed with the corporate seal;
2. By the master or employer.
Such indenture may also be signed by the child if over twelve years of age.” (58)

SOURCE: 57. Reprinted from Documents of The Senate of the State of New York, One Hundred and Twenty Seventh Session, 1904, Vol. XIV. No. 22, Part 4, Annual Report of the State Board of Charities for the Year 1903, In Three Volumes with Statistical Appendix to Volume One bound separately. Volume Three Charity Legislation in New York 1609 to 1900. Transmitted to the Legislature February 1, 1904. <http://books.google.com/>

SOURCE: 58. Reprinted from Documents of The Assembly of the State of New York, One Hundred and Thirty Sixth Session, 1913, Volume XXVII., No. 48, Part 1, Commissioner of Labor 1912, page 309. <http://books.google.com/

THE TRUTH ABOUT MARGARET SANGER, ABORTION & EUGENICS

“While there are cases where even the law recognizes an abortion as justifiable if recommended by a physician, I assert that the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed in America each year are a disgrace to civilization.”
Margaret Sanger – 1920.

Margaret Sanger and Her Sons.

Margaret Sanger and Her Sons.

In 1916, Margaret Sanger, a nurse and Progressive Activist, opened a clinic in Brooklyn, New York, to provide women with health education on Birth Control, prevention of venereal diseases, and the use of prophylactics. It is hard for us in the 21st Century to understand why information about contraception was illegal, but it was. The Comstock Law of 1873 “was a federal law that made it a crime to sell or distribute materials that could be used for contraception or abortion, to send such materials or information about such materials through the federal mail system, or to import such materials from abroad.” My particular beef with all the fanfare about what a great woman Margaret Sanger was is the fact that virtually all bloggers intentionally leave out the fact that she was a fervent supporter of the Eugenics Movement in the United States who advocated for the FORCED STERILIZATION of the mentally ill and developmentally disabled.

Was it a good thing to educate women and men about contraception? Yes. Was Margaret Sanger‘s intent to educate women based on the belief that she cared so deeply for them? No. Margaret Sanger was appalled and disgusted by the lower classes, the newly arrived immigrants, prostitutes, mentally ill, blind, crippled, developmentally disabled, and criminal types. Her intent was to rid these defective, delinquent, and dependent people from the American Melting Pot once and for all in order to produce a hearty, healthy, literate breed of educated Americans who would only bring children into this world that they could support and who didn’t drain the economy. She saw the devastation and mutilation to women’s bodies by self-inflicted and botched abortions and thought that abortion itself was barbaric; “that an educated society would never need to resort to such drastic measures.”

Was Margaret Sanger a great woman? You decide. As always, I present the facts and the historical documents FOR YOU TO READ FOR YOURSELF! To learn more about this issue and the history of Eugenics, click on the RED links below.

“The American Birth Control League, Margaret Sanger, President, The Birth Control Review, Volume VI, No. 8, Page 162, August 1922.

PRINCIPLES:
The complex problems now confronting America as the result of the practice of reckless procreation are fast threatening to grow beyond human control. Everywhere we see poverty and large families going hand in hand. Those least fit to carry on the race are increasing most rapidly. People who cannot support their own offspring are encouraged by Church and State to produce large families. Many of the children thus begotten are diseased or feeble-minded; many become criminals. The burden of supporting these unwanted types has to be borne by the healthy elements of the nation. Funds that should be used to raise the standard of our civilization are diverted to the maintenance of those who should never have been born. In addition to this grave evil we witness the appalling waste of women’s health and women’s lives by too frequent pregnancies. These unwanted pregnancies often provoke the crime of abortion, or alternatively multiply the number of child workers and lower the standard of living. To create a race of well-born children it is essential that the function of motherhood should be elevated to a position of dignity, and this is impossible as long as conception remains a matter of chance.

We hold that children should be:
1. Conceived in love;
2. Born of the mother’s conscious desire;
3. And only begotten under conditions which render possible the heritage of health.

Therefore we hold that every woman must possess the power and freedom to prevent conception except when these conditions can be satisfied. Every mother must realize her basic position in human society. She must be conscious of her responsibility to the race in bringing children into the world. Instead of being a blind and haphazard consequence of uncontrolled instinct, motherhood must be made the responsible and self-directed means of human expression and regeneration. These purposes, which are of fundamental importance to the whole of our nation and to the future of mankind, can only be attained if women first receive practical scientific education in the means of Birth Control. That, therefore, is the first object to which the efforts of this League will be directed.

AIMS: THE AMERICAN BIRTH CONTROL LEAGUE aims to enlighten and educate all sections of the American public in the various aspects of the dangers of uncontrolled procreation and the imperative necessity of a world program of Birth Control. The League aims to correlate the findings of scientists, statisticians, investigators and social agencies in all fields. To make this possible, it is necessary to organize various departments:

RESEARCH: To collect the findings of scientists, concerning the relation of reckless breeding to delinquency, defect and dependence.

INVESTIGATION: To derive from these scientifically ascertained facts and figures, conclusions which may aid all public health and social agencies in the study of problems of maternal and infant mortality, child-labor, mental and physical defects and delinquence in relation to the practice of reckless parentage.

HYGIENIC AND PHYSIOLOGICAL instruction by the Medical profession to mothers and potential mothers in harmless and reliable methods of Birth Control in answer to their requests for such knowledge.

STERILIZATION of the insane and feeble-minded and the encouragement of this operation upon those afflicted with inherited or transmissible diseases, with the understanding that sterilization does not deprive the individual of his or her sex expression, but merely renders him or her incapable of producing children.

EDUCATIONAL: The program of education includes: The enlightenment of the public at large, mainly through the education of leaders of thought and opinion—teachers, ministers, editors and writers—to the moral and scientific soundness of the principles of Birth Control and the imperative necessity of its adoption as the basis of national and racial progress.

POLITICAL AND LEGISLATIVE: To enlist the support and co-operation of legal advisors, statesmen and legislators in effecting the removal of state and federal statutes which encourage dysgenic breeding, increase the sum total of disease, misery and poverty and prevent the establishment of a policy of national health nd strength.

ORGANIZATION: To send into the various States of the Union field workers to enlist the support and arouse the interest of the masses to the importance of Birth Control so that laws may be changed and the establishment of clinics made possible in every State.

INTERNATIONAL: This department aims to co-operate with similar organizations in other countries to study Birth Control in its relations to the world population problem, food supplies, national and racial conflicts, and to urge upon all international bodies organized to promote world peace, the consideration of these aspects of international amity.” SOURCE: Birth Control Review, Volumes 5-6, 1920, Page 162.

Captive Mother by Stephen Sinding.

Captive Mother by Stephen Sinding.

The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda by Margaret Sanger

“[The following brief statement of the dependence of any sound and effective program of Eugenics upon BIRTH CONTROL, in view of the Second International Congress of Eugenics, recently held in New York at the Museum of Natural History, assumes a peculiar timeliness.]

Seemingly every new approach to the great problem of the human race must manifest its vitality by running the gauntlet of prejudice, ridicule and misinterpretation. Eugenists may remember that not many years ago this program for race regeneration was subjected to the cruel ridicule of stupidity and ignorance. Today Eugenics is suggested by the most diverse minds as the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems. The most intransigeant and daring teachers and scientists have lent their support to this great biological interpretation of the human race. The war has emphasized its necessity.

The doctrine of BIRTH CONTROL is now passing through the stage of ridicule, prejudice and misunderstanding. A few years ago this new weapon of civilization and freedom was condemned as immoral, destructive, obscene. Gradually the criticisms are lessening-understanding is taking the place of misunderstanding. The eugenic and civilizational value of BIRTH CONTROL is becoming apparent to the enlightened and the intelligent.

In the limited space of the present paper, I have time only to touch upon some of the fundamental convictions that form the basis of our BIRTH CONTROL propaganda, and which, as I think you must agree, indicate that the campaign for BIRTH CONTROL is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical in ideal with the final aims of Eugenics.

First: We are convinced that racial regeneration, like individual regeneration, must come “from within.” That is, it must autonomous, self-directive, and not imposed from without. In other words, every potential parent, and especially every potential mother, must be brought to an acute realization of the primary and central responsibility of bringing children into this world.

Secondly: Not until the parents of the world are thus given control over their reproductive faculties will it ever be possible not alone to improve the quality of the generations of the future, but even to maintain civilization even at its present level. Only by self-control of this type, only by intelligent mastery of the procreative powers can the great mass of humanity be awakened to the great responsibility of parenthood.

Thirdly: We have come to the conclusion, based on widespread investigation and experience, that this education for parenthood must be based upon the needs and demands of the people themselves. An idealistic code of sexual ethics, imposed from above, a set of rules devised by high-minded theorists who fail to take into account the living conditions and desires of the submerged masses, can never be of the slightest value in effecting any changes in the mores of the people. Such systems have in the past revealed their woeful inability to prevent the sexual and racial chaos into which the world has today drifted.

The almost universal demand for practical education in BIRTH CONTROL is one of the most hopeful signs that the masses themselves today possess the diving spark of regeneration. It remain for the courageous and the enlightened to answer this demand, to kindle the spark, to direct a thorough education in Eugenics based upon this intense interest.

BIRTH CONTROL propaganda is thus the entering wedge for the Eugenic educator. In answering the needs of these thousands upon thousands of submerged mothers, it is possible to use this interest as the foundation for education in prophylaxis, sexual hygiene, and infant welfare. The potential mother is to be shown that maternity need not be slavery but the most effective avenue toward self-development and self-realization. Upon this basis only may we improve the quality of the race.

As an advocate of BIRTH CONTROL, I wish to take advantage of the present opportunity to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the “unfit” and the “fit,” admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation to the mentally and physically fit though less fertile parents of the educated and well-to-do classes. On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the overfertility of the mentally and physically defective.

BIRTH CONTROL is not advanced as a panacea by which past and present evils of dysgenic breeding can be magically eliminated. Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupidly cruel sentimentalism.

But to prevent the repetition, to effect the salvation of the generations of the future-nay of the generations of today-our greatest need is first of all the ability to face the situation without flinching, and to cooperate in the formation of a code of sexual ethics based upon a thorough biological and psychological understanding of human nature; and then to answer the questions and the needs of the people with all the intelligence and honestly at our command. If we can summon the bravery to do this, we shall best be serving the true interests of Eugenics, because our work will then have a practical and pragmatic value.”
SOURCE: The Birth Control Review, Dedicated To Voluntary Motherhood, Margaret Sanger, Editor, Volume V., No.10, October 1921, Page 5 (43).

Definitions:
Propaganda – 1. Information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.
2. The deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.
3. The particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement. (1)

Race Suicide – The extinction of a race or people that tends to result when, through the unwillingness or forbearance of its members to have children, the birthrate falls below the death rate. (1)

Infanticide – The practice of killing newborn infants. (1)

Abortion – Also called voluntary abortion. the removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus in order to end a pregnancy. (1)

Feticide – The act of destroying a fetus or causing an abortion. (1)

Eugenics – Selective breeding. The study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, especially by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics). (1)

Birth Control – Voluntary limitation or control of the number of children conceived, especially by planned use of contraceptive techniques. (1)

Privation – 1. Loss or lack of the necessities of life, such as food and shelter.
2. Hardship resulting from this. 3.The state of being deprived. (1)

Progressive Movement – A movement for reform that occurred roughly between 1900 and 1920. Progressives typically held that irresponsible actions by the rich were corrupting both public and private life. They called for measures such as trust busting, the regulation of railroads, provisions for the people to vote on laws themselves through referendum, the election of the Senate by the people rather than by state legislatures, and a graduated income tax (one in which higher tax rates are applied to higher incomes). The Progressives were able to get much of their program passed into law. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were associated with the movement. (1)

Prophylactic – A protective measure against disease. A device, usually a rubber sheath, used to prevent conception or venereal infection; condom. (1)

Venereal Disease – Any of various diseases, such as syphilis or gonorrhoea, transmitted by sexual intercourse. (1)

Neo-Malthusian – Designating, or pertaining to, a group of modern economists who hold to the Malthusianism doctrine that permanent betterment of the general standard of living is impossible without decrease of competition by limitation of the number of births. (2)

SOURCES: 1. Dictionary.com, 2. Fine Dictionary.com.

Additional Reading:

Woman And The New Race by Margaret Sanger, 1920.

The Birth Control Review, Volumes 1-3.

Birth Control Review, Volumes 5-6.

The Trend Of The Race by Samuel J. Holmes, 1921.

Definitions In Political Economy by Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus, 1827.

An Essay On The Principle Of Population by Rev. T.R. Malthus, 1888.

Studies In The Psychology Of Sex by Havelock Ellis, Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company, Publishers, 1922.

Planned Parenthood 2013.

1907 Eugenics.

1912-1920 Eugenics in New York State.

1922 Eugenics New York State.

THE BAD NEWS: Thousands Remain Nameless!

The New York State Office of Mental Health put on a fabulous “show” at the Willard State Hospital Cemetery on Saturday, May 16, 2015, by allowing ONE man, Lawrence Mocha, an inmate and hospital grave digger, who died 47 years ago, to be remembered with a beautiful ceremony that included a plaque displaying HIS NAME, DATE OF BIRTH, DATE OF DEATH, AND LOCATION OF GRAVE! OH MY GOD! IS HELL FREEZING OVER?

Plaque Honoring Lawrence Mocha

Plaque Honoring Lawrence Mocha

Mr. Mocha was ONE OUT OF 5,776 buried at this cemetery. This ceremony was hosted by the Willard Cemetery Memorial Project. The only reason that the OMH let this ceremony take place was because they were humiliated by an article published in The New York Times by journalist, Dan Barry. Why wasn’t Mr. Barry fined $10,000 by the OMH as they so often threaten? Might they be afraid of The Times and its readership of 1 million people a day?

It has been my belief that the New York State Legislature should pass into law two bills:

  1. New York State needs a law that would release the names, dates of birth and death, and location of graves of ALL deceased patients of ALL 21 former New York State Hospitals and 5 Custodial Institutions which SHOULD BE AVAILABLE AND ACCESSABLE ON THE OMH Website as a searchable data base. All these cemeteries are INACTIVE! There is no reason why anyone has to wait 50 years to be remembered!

AND

  1. An additional law that would release to descendants the medical records and photographs of loved ones who were incarcerated at these institutions 50 years after the patients’ death with the same wording as provided by the new Federal HIPAA legislation of March 2013.

The New York State Office of Mental Health WILL NOT ALLOW the burial ledger of the Willard State Hospital or any New York State Hospital or Custodial Institution to be released to the public. The names of the deceased and the location of their graves must be made available to the public in order that people may find their ancestor, visit the grave, and purchase a headstone if they wish to do so. Withholding their names is unacceptable, dehumanizing, and insulting; it only serves to feed the stigma associated with mental illness. Many of these former patients died over one hundred years ago; they are not under the care of the Office of Mental Health or any government agency. It is important and necessary for a new law in order to restore the dignity and personhood of the THOUSANDS of people who were incarcerated and died at former New York State Hospitals (formerly Insane Asylums), and Custodial Institutions. When the bodies of the inmates/patients were not claimed by family members, they were buried in anonymous, unmarked graves on state owned and county cemeteries. They deserve to have their names remembered and available to the public in a searchable database located at The New York State Office of Mental Health Website.

The NYS Office of Mental Health always sites “Protected Health Information” for their reason as to why they cannot release patient names. Let’s start at the beginning by defining the following: What Is Personal Identifiable Information? AND, What Is Protected Health Information? If you take the time to read these two definitions, you will CLEARLY SEE THAT THESE LAWS AND PROVISIONS WERE WRITTEN FOR THE LIVING, NOT FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN DEAD LONGER THAN 50 YEARS!!!! A BURIAL PERMIT, which can be obtained in every County Clerk’s Office in the State of New York, is not covered under any state or federal privacy law. Old Books, Burial Ledgers, and The United States Federal and State Censuses which are released after 70 years, are not covered under any law that I know of. Birth, Death, and Marriage Certificates can be obtained from the NYS Vital Records page. 145 years have passed since the first person was buried at the Willard Asylum in 1870. It is time to let those nameless souls rest in peace and be remembered!

Anyone can sit at the County Clerk’s Office and sort through all the records pertaining to any state hospital or custodial institution but the information contained in the burial ledgers would be much more accurate and less time consuming. An inscribed headstone or a name on a searchable database would not positively identify a specific individual UNLESS it stated the city, county, state, country of origin, parents, spouses, sibling names, etc. And even then, you would have to claim that person as your ancestor and notify the media that he or she was diagnosed with a mental illness in order for you and your family to be “stigmatized.” Come On! This Is The Twenty-First Century! Privacy ends at death and according to the new HIPAA Law, Confidentiality Of Medical Records only lasts for 50 years after death of an individual.

The real reason why the OMH does not want to publish this information is simple. They don’t want you to know how badly they’ve screwed up!

EXAMPLES:
I have been told over and over again that one of the cemeteries on the former KINGS PARK STATE HOSPITAL property is being used as a youth baseball field. This had to have been approved by the NYSOMH. As far as I know, the bodies were never moved. I wonder how the families of patients buried at this site would feel if they knew that their loved one’s grave was being disrespected in this way? If this information is incorrect, I apologize.

What about all the VETERANS from the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam that are buried in these former NYS Hospital Cemeteries. Don’t they have a right to be remembered with a marker?

The NAMES of deceased patients buried at the former BINGHAMTON STATE HOSPITAL Cemetery are already online in a searchable database. The burial ledger was found in the trash. AND, in 2014, Glass Photo Negatives of Patients were discovered in a pile of pigeon poop at Binghamton’s Historic Asylum. If these old photographs and burial ledgers are so important, then why were they found in the trash?

At the former MIDDLETOWN HOMEOPATHIC STATE HOSPITAL patient records were left in boxes which were photographed and put on the internet. Looks like the staff left in a hurry! These facilities closed in 1995.

Someone from the former GOWANDA STATE HOSPITAL gave the burial ledger to The Museum of disABILITY History for safe keeping. Thank God! The names are on display at the museum.

Why is the largest mental health facility in New York State the Prison at Riker’s Island?

If medical records for the recently departed are protected, then why was Sally Green’s Anonymous Burial and a detailed story printed all over the news in February 2012?

Lastly, and most importantly, The OMH would have to release 21 State Hospital and 5 Custodial Institution Burial Ledgers. Do they even have them?

The list of these former New York State Hospitals includes but is not limited to: Binghamton, Buffalo, Central Islip, CreedmoorDannemora, EdgewoodGowanda, Hudson River, Kings Park, Long Island, Manhattan, Marcy, Matteawan, Middletown, Mohansic, Pilgrim, Rochester, St. Lawrence, SyracuseUtica, and Willard

The Feeble-Minded (Intellectual Disabilities) and Epileptic Custodial Institutions of New York includes but is not limited to: Craig Colony for Epileptics, Letchworth Village for Epileptics & Intellectually Disabled, Newark State School for Intellectually Disabled Women, Rome State School for Intellectually Disabled Adults & Children, and Syracuse State School for Intellectually Disabled Children.

Please check out and share the NAMES page.

More Reading:

Mental Illness & Ignorance

They’re Buried Where? May 24, 2013

Mental Illness & Prisons

My Story

THE GOOD NEWS: One Man Is Remembered!

On Saturday, May 16, 2015, LAWRENCE MOCHA was honored and remembered as a living, breathing, contributing member of society, 47 years after his death, with a lovely service and memorial. LAWRENCE was a patient at The WILLARD STATE HOSPITAL and served, unpaid, until the age of 90, as the gravedigger for the institution for thirty years. He dug 1,500 graves for his fellow patients, all of whom, with the exception of one other man, remain in anonymity. As you will see in the video below, it was a beautiful celebration of life that not only remembered with dignity and grace MR. MOCHA but all of the nearly 6,000 patients buried in anonymous graves at the 30 acre, WILLARD STATE HOSPITAL CEMETERY.

Lawrence Mocha

Lawrence Mocha

I was honored to be invited to this special event but I was unable to attend. I did however view the entire 55 minute video. I was so happy to see that so many people attended the celebration! I understand that there was quite a traffic jam and the State Police had to be called to divert people away from the WILLARD CAMPUS that held their annual tour and fundraising event for the Day Care Center. I hope in some small way I was able to help get the word out with my book and this blog about the dehumanizing, anonymous graves in former NEW YORK STATE HOSPITAL and CUSTODIAL INSTITUTION CEMETERIES.

Lawrence Mocha's Marker

Lawrence Mocha’s Marker

After viewing the video, there are a few thoughts I would like to share:

  1. The anonymous graves at WILLARD would never have been brought to light, and the suitcases found in the attic would never have been saved and preserved without the tireless work of CRAIG WILLIAMS, Curator of History at The New York State Museum at Albany.
  2. The Lives They Left Behind, Suitcases From A State Hospital Attic” written by DARBY PENNEY and PETER STASTNY, opened the eyes of the public and made us aware of what it was like to be institutionalized. This book inspired so many people, including me, to try to correct the disgrace of anonymous burials in former New York State Hospitals and Custodial Institutions. It led me to ask my State Senator, Joe Robach, to draft a bill concerning the release of patient names, dates of birth and death, and location of grave. Written in 2011 and first introduced to the New York State Senate on March 23, 2012 as S6805-2011, on January 13, 2013 as S2514-2013, and on January 7, 2015 as S840A-2015. As of today, it has not passed into law.
  3. In 2011, The Willard Cemetery Memorial Project was formed. God Bless all the volunteers who made this celebration possible!
  4. JOHN ALLEN, Special Assistant to the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health (518-473-6579), verified in his statements on the video exactly what I have been stating for years! Thank you, Mr. Allen! He told the story about how difficult it was to match A NAME, ANY NAME, with the correct family especially after multiple generations have passed since the ancestor’s death. He spoke about how problematic it was to find a living relative of the deceased buried in a numbered grave (which is exactly why the Federal HIPPA Law changed in March 2013). I know I’m going to hell for saying this, but it gave me great pleasure watching MR. ALLEN getting choked up as he told his story. Hopefully, he now knows what it feels like to search, and search, and search for a “long, lost relative” and finally finding them. MR. ALLEN also had a photograph of MR. MOCHA which he could show to a long, lost family member. Most of us don’t have that luxury even though photographs were taken of each patient. I would love to have a photograph of my great-mother. It’s simply outrageous that one government agency has the right to withhold the names, dates of birth and death, and location of graves of THOUSANDS!!! We’re not talking about medical records here, only the most basic of information concerning the death and final resting place of our loved ones who happened to live and die in a NEW YORK STATE HOSPITAL or CUSTODIAL INSTITUTION.
Plaque Honoring Lawrence Mocha

Plaque Honoring Lawrence Mocha

A NAME IS JUST A NAME AND MEANS NOTHING TO ANYONE UNLESS YOU’RE THE ONE SEARCHING FOR THAT LOVED ONE! It’s just a name that many other people share, it’s just a birth date, it’s just a death date. NO FAMILY WILL BE STIGMATIZED unless they are like me and tell the world that their great-grandmother lived and died at a state hospital. Remember that when WILLARD opened in 1869, that people were really poor, something that we have a hard time understanding today. Some families did not have the money to ship their relatives’ remains home. To believe that none of these people were loved and or missed is incorrect. To think that no one ever attended their burial or said a prayer for them is simply not true.

VIDEO: A MEMORIAL CELEBRATION FOR ALL THOSE INTERED AT WILLARD CEMETERY.

In case you didn’t catch the fifty-one names, beginning at minute 45, here they are.
I apologize in advance if I misspelled your loved ones’ name.
Do these names mean anything to you?

Names Of The Dearly Departed That Were Read In Public And Recorded On Video At: The Willard Memorial Celebration Saturday, May 16, 2015

1889
June 3 – Hannah Thompson
August 14 – Eliza Delaney
October 16 – Ida Bartholomew

1890
September 9 – James Foster
September 15 – Patrick McNamara
October 31 – Mary Champlain

1891
April 26 – Sophia Anderson
May 26 – Mary Brown
June 23 – Katherine Davis
November 16 – Lavinia Hayes

1892
January 4 – Electa George
June 7 – John Van Horne
September 24 – Mary Church
October 20 – Sarah Scott

1893 January 20 – Susan Dugham
September 26 – John B. Kellogg
December 12 – Effie Risley

1894
January 1 – Syble Pollay
February 19 – Suzanne Klinkers Waldron
March 26 – Carolyn Gregory
June 23 – Elizabeth Weber
August 21 – Sarah Ann Baker
November 8 – Sarah Jane Hemstreet
December 30 – Willis Mathews

1895
February 2 – Sophia Podgka
July 21 – Elizabeth Dawson
November 26 – Parmelia Baldwin

1896
March 3 – Ann Dady

1897
April 27 – Miriam D. Bellamy

1898
August 10 – Julia Holden

1899
November 15 – Delia Richards
December 4 – Genevieve Murray

1900
February 3 – Ellen Jane Roe
May 14 – Honora Nugent
July 1 – Harriet Gray
October 12 – Lottie Sullivan

1901
September 19 – Rachel Tice

1902
August 24 – Emma P. Sandborn

1903
April 18 – Elizabeth Snell
December 3 – Nora Murphy

1904
February 20 – Catherine Walwrath
March 18 – Margaret McKay
April 27 – Ellen Horan
June 21 – Isabella Pemberton
October 29 – Mary J. Chapman
December 20 – Mita Mulholland

1905
August 4 – Susan Stortz
September 7 – Mary Gilmore
October 25 – Adele Monnier

1906
April 11 – Sarah Rooney

1968
October 26 – Lawrence Mocha

1864 Dr. Willard’s Poor House Report By County

New York State County Poor Houses – Dr. Sylvester D. Willard’s Report 1864.

1864 The Willard Asylum and Provisions For The Insane – County Poor House Investigation – 8.29.2013.

1864 Albany County Poor House – 9.18.2013.
1864 Allegany County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Broome County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Cattaraugus County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Cayuga County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Chautauqua County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Chemung County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Chenango County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Clinton County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Columbia County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Cortland County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Delaware County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Dutchess County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Erie County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Essex County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Franklin County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Fulton County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Genesee County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Greene County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Hamilton County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Herkimer County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Jefferson County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Lewis County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Livingston County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Madison County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Monroe County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Montgomery County Poor House – 9.19.2013.
1864 Niagara County Poor House – 9.20.2013.
1864 Oneida County Poor House – 9.20.2013.
1864 Onondaga County Poor House – 9.20.2013.
1864 Ontario County Poor House – 9.20.2013.
1864 Orange County Poor House – 9.20.2013.
1864 Orleans County Poor House – 9.20.2013.
1864 Oswego County Poor House – 9.20.2013.
1864 Otsego County Poor House – 9.20.2013.
1864 Putnam County Poor House – 9.20.2013.
1864 Queens County Poor House – 9.20.2013.
1864 Rensselaer County Poor House – 9.20.2013.
1864 Richmond County Poor House – 9.20.2013.
1864 Rockland County Poor House – 9.20.2013.
1864 Saratoga County Poor House – 9.21.2013.
1864 Schenectady County Poor House – 9.21.2013.
1864 Schoharie County Poor House – 9.21.2013.
1864 Schuyler County Poor House – 9.21.2013.
1864 Seneca County Poor House – 9.21.2013.
1864 St. Lawrence County Poor House – 9.20.2013.
1864 Steuben County Poor House – 9.21.2013.
1864 Suffolk County Poor House – 9.21.2013.
1864 Sullivan County Poor House – 9.21.2013.
1864 Tioga County Poor House – 9.21.2013.
1864 Tompkins County Poor House – 9.21.2013.
1864 Ulster County Poor House – 9.22.2013.
1864 Warren County Poor House – 9.22.2013.
1864 Washington County Poor House – 9.22.2013.
1864 Wayne County Poor House – 9.22.2013.
1864 Westchester County Poor House – 9.22.2013.
1864 Wyoming County Poor House – 9.22.2013.
1864 Yates County Poor House – 9.22.2013.

The following excerpt from NEW YORK The Empire State is a wonderful outline for those who want to understand why County Poor Houses were created in the State of New York. Here are a few additional resources:

1. David Wagner, “Poor Relief and the Almshouse,” Disability History Museum.
2. 1603 – 1900 Brief History of Charity in New York State transcribed and annotated by L.S. Stuhler.
3.
List of Counties in New York State.

Public Welfare – Though privation and hardship were fairly general throughout the Dutch Colonial period, the number of actual dependents was small, and relief, when needed, was administered by the officers of the Dutch Reformed Church. Churches of other denominations were expected to care for their own poor, an in localities lacking a religious organization relief was a function of the civil authorities. Funds for the poor were raised through church collections, individual donations, and court fines for misdemeanors and violations of the excise laws.

Soon after the organization of the Colonial Government, several sieck-entroosters, minor ecclesiastical functionaries, were sent to the Colony charged with the duty of visiting sick persons in their homes. These were the first social workers in what is now the Empire State.

For the dependent aged, almshouses were established by Dutch Reformed congregations at New Amsterdam, Rensselaerswyck, and other settlements, and a company hospital was erected in New Amsterdam in 1657 to care for sick soldiers and Negroes. Orphanmasters were appointed at New Amsterdam, Beverwyck (Albany), and Wildwyck (Kingston) to protect the interests of propertied widows and orphans, but when the latter became desititute they were turned over to the care of the deacons.

After the Colony came under English rule, poor relief in the southern counties was regulated by the Duke’s Laws (1665), which made each parish responsible for its own poor and for raising funds by taxation. The few general poor laws enacted were directed against vagabonds, beggars, and others moving from their places of legal settlement. Until formally accepted as an inhabitant of a town, a newcomer might at any time be “warned’ to depart by the authorities. An undesirable was ‘passed on’ from constable to constable until her reached his place of legal settlement or the border of a neighboring colony.

The prevailing attitude toward dependency was stern, cold, and strait-laced; in many places the pauper was made to wear a brightly colored badge on his sleeve inscribed with a large letter ‘P.’ No attempt was made to segregate the types of dependents; the insane and the physically handicapped, the aged and the young, the inebriates and the sober were housed together. The first public institution for ‘the employing of Poor and Indigent People’ was established in New York City in 1734 and opened two years later under the name ‘House of Correction, Workhouse and Poor House.’ The only method of caring for destitute children was through apprenticeship and indenture, by which children were bound out singly or in groups with the specification that their masters have them taught to read, write, and cipher.

During the Revolutionary War the local poor relief system broke down in many communities. Refugees from areas controlled by the British or ravaged by raids, not being chargeable to either county or town units, became the first ‘State poor,’ cared for by State commissioners. In the wake of the Revolution a great wave of humanitarian reform surged over the new Nation. Private philanthropic organizations were set up, the most important being the Society for the Prevention of Pauperism established in New York City. A sweeping revision of the penal code in 1796 reduced the number of crimes punishable by death from thirteen to two and established the first State prison. Corporal punishment, such as confinement in the stocks, whipping, and branding, was gradually abolished. Reforms were made in the laws against debtors. Public poor relief was completely secularized; the office of overseer of the poor was made elective instead of appointive; and towns too small to maintain individual almshouses were permitted to join others in town unions for the purpose of providing institutional care. Poor funds continued to be raised by local taxation supplemented by income from fines.

Several severe yellow fever epidemics at the turn of the century resulted in such public health measures as systematized quarantine, general sanitation, isolation of patients, and appointment of public health officers. The Ladies’ Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children was established in New York City in 1797 to help surviving dependents of fever victims. An offshoot of this Society founded the first orphan asylum in 1806. But child aid grew slowly, and for many years dependent children were herded indiscriminately with all other classes of dependents.

In the same period the insane were recognized as a separate social problem. In September 1792 the first mental patient was admitted into the newly opened New York Hospital, but treatment remained custodial rather than curative. The Bloomingdale Asylum, opened in 1821 as a separate unit of the New York Hospital, was the first institution for the insane in the State operated primarily on therapeutic principles. It received annual State grants for many years. The New York Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb-second of its kind in the Untied States-was incorporated in 1817 and later received State grants.

In 1824 the secretary of state, J.V.N. Yates, published under legislative authority the first State-wide poor law survey, which revealed that besides almshouse and home relief, the indigent were being cared for under the ‘contract system,’ whereby the dependent poor were let out to householders at a fixed rate, and under the ‘auction system,’ whereby the poor were bid off to persons offering to maintain them for the lowest cost. After summing up the chaos, cruelty, and waste arising from prevailing poor law practices, Yates recommended a State-wide system of county poorhouses, where all paupers were to be maintained at county expense, the able-bodied to be set to suitable work and the children to be given adequate education.

As a result of the Yates report the legislature in 1824 passed ‘An act to provide for the establishment of county almshouses’; but so many exceptions were allowed that, although poorhouses were established in all but four counties during the ensuing decade, the attempt to put the county system into effect eventually collapsed and relief was returned to local responsibility. However, the indiscriminate herding of dependents resulted in abuses so shocking as to lead to constant pressure for proper classification and segregation of different groups. The earliest effective changes took place in the field of child welfare. In 1824 the House of Refuge for Juvenile Delinquents, the first juvenile reformatory in the country, was established in New York City by the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents. It was supported mainly by State funds. In 1849 the Western House of Refuge (now the State Agricultural and Industrial School at Industry) was opened in Rochester as the first American juvenile reformatory under complete State financial and administrative control. The Asylum for Idiots (now the Syracuse State School) was established in 1851, the first of its kind to be opened under State ownership and control.

Several other important child welfare organizations were founded in the middle years of the nineteenth century, including the New York Juvenile Asylum (now the Children’s Village at Dobbs Ferry) and the Children’s Aid Society, which inaugurated the placing-out movement. The Thomas Asylum for Orphan and Destitute Indian Children was organized in 1855 under private auspices and taken over by the State in 1875. By 1866 the total number of privately managed orphanages exceeded 60.

A distinctive feature of this period was the development of State institutional facilities for the mentally and physically handicapped. The State Lunatic Asylum at Utica was established in 1836 and opened in 1843. The New York City Lunatic Asylum (now Manhattan State Hospital), founded in 1834, was the first municipal mental hospital in this country. The blind had received separate care as early as 1831, with the founding of the New York Institution for the Blind. In 1865 the State Institution for the Blind (now the New York State School for the Blind) was established at Batavia to serve the western counties.

Mass immigration in the nineteenth century brought in its wake grave problems of public health and poor relief. Large numbers of immigrants needed medical care upon landing; many were poverty-stricken; others were mulcted of their meager savings by thieves and swindlers. Without friends of funds, they soon found themselves drawn into the slums or the poorhouse, or were obliged to engage in the meanest forms of work for low wages and under conditions that exposed them to vice, disease, and death. Alarmed by the growing hordes of indigent aliens, poor-law officials demanded State and Federal legislation to protect local communities. In 1847 a State board was created to help and advise newcomers and to reimburse local communities for immigrant relief. Funds for this purpose came out of head taxes and indemnity bonds imposed on immigrants. The agitation against ‘alien pauperism’ culminated in 1882 in an act of Congress regulating immigration and containing a provision intended to exclude persons likely to become public charges.”

SOURCE: NEW YORK A Guide to the Empire State, Copyright 1940 by New York State Historical Association, First Published in November 1940, Bureau of State Publicity, New York State Conservation Department, State-wide Sponsor of the New York State Writer’s Project, Pages 118-121

The Ramblings of a Mad Woman

When I first started this blog, I did it in order to help other people find their forgotten ancestors. I persuaded my State Senator, Joe Robach, to draft legislation in 2011 that would allow for the release of patient names, dates of death, and location of graves to the public, which he introduced to the New York State Legislature. It first appeared on March 23, 2012 as S6805-2011. On January 8, 2014, it was reintroduced as S2514-2013.

There are at least 17 former New York State Hospitals / Insane Asylums that have been renamed, closed, demolished, or turned into New York State Prisons. The cemeteries located on former NYS Hospitals are filled with anonymous, unmarked graves. Willard alone has close to 6,000. Some of these former State Hospitals, such as Buffalo and Rochester, used city or county cemeteries and they are filled with the nameless as well. How many? I do not know. How long will it take to give these people the dignity in death that they deserve? When will they be allowed to rest in peace? When will they be remembered as fellow human beings who were on the same earthly path as everyone else before their lives and their freedom were taken from them? What else do I have to do to get the attention of the Governor and Assembly members to release the names of former patients who lived and died in these warehouses? The Department of Health and Human Services declared last March that patient medical records may be released to the public after 50 years of a patient’s death. Now we have to ask for another bill to be drafted and introduced to the Senate again in order to allow New York State to release medical records. After seven years on this journey, I am tired and just don’t have the desire to fight anymore.

Before I began my research on Willard and the other New York State Hospitals and Custodial Institutions, I considered myself to be normal, whatever that means. All kinds of interesting things happened to me and I wondered, why? I lost my job, went through menopause, osteoarthritis, and a neurological problem that I have always had, had become progressively worse. Depression is one of those “Mental Illnesses” that I never thought of as a “Mental Illness.” I thought that depression was a normal human emotion that one experiences when subjected to trauma or pain in any of its various forms. I would not have believed that I was “Mentally Ill,” until my neurologist, who I no longer go to, informed me that I have delusional thinking and I’m paranoid because I believe that I can no longer protect myself if I needed too like being able to run from a dangerous situation. This came from a 30 something year old man in perfect health who stands over 6 feet tall. I’m 57 years old, stand 5 feet 2 inches tall, and have Familial or Essential Tremors in my head and my right hand. My thinking is based on facts, not delusions. I thought that doctors were above this archaic type of thinking but I was wrong. Many men, even doctors, still don’t get it.

The reason why I am relating my story is that I am sure that had I lived one hundred years ago with these same progressive diseases, I would have been locked up! I would not have believed that a doctor would ever say such things to me and I can only imagine what must have happened to my great-grandmother, Maggie, who died at Willard State Hospital 86 years ago. If you wonder why people do not seek help, my little story is why they don’t. Am I labeled? I don’t know. It is frightening when you realize that you’re not feeling like your normal self, and seek help, and this is what a doctor says to you. Maybe we all need to be a little more aware of who is crazy and who is normal and realize that the people buried in those anonymous, unmarked graves were human beings like me, and you, just trying to make their way in life. Please write or call your New York State Senator so that this bill will become a law. Thank you!

THEY’RE BURIED WHERE? by Seth Voorhees

1896 New York State Commission in Lunacy

Before you read The New York Times Article, I have given a brief explanation of what the New York State Commission in Lunacy was and who it was responsible for. It eventually morphed into the present day New York State Office of Mental Health. Instead of a president, the head of the OMH is the commissioner.

“The commission is composed of a physician, who is its president, a lawyer and a layman, aiming thereby to secure due attention to the medical, the legal and the material or business matters which concern the insane and the institutions for their custody and care. The commission collectively and individually is invested with a wide range of powers and is charged with a corresponding extent and variety of duties.”

“The commissioners are paid for their services as follows: To the medical member, $5,000 per annum; to the legal member, $3,000 per annum; to the lay member, $10 per day for each day of actual service; and to each member an allowance of $100 per month in lieu of all expenses for travel or other purposes.”

“Under the amended constitution of the State which took effect on January 1, 1895, the commission is raised from a legislative to a constitutional body, and made a permanent branch of the State government. It is endowed with sole and exclusive jurisdiction over the insane and over all institutions, public or private, for their custody; but it has been relieved from all connection with or charge of the idiotic, the epileptic and feeble-minded, or other defective and dependent classes. Its present composition, on the threefold basis above referred to, is calculated to insure efficiency in performance and success in administrative results in a larger measure than could be attained by perhaps any different arrangement.”

SOURCE: Report of the Investigation of the State Commission in Lunacy, and the State Hospitals for the Insane, by the Subcommittee of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees. Transmitted to the Legislature May 10, 1895, Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1895, Pages 4,6,7.

O.M.H. Police Patch-Wikipedia

O.M.H. Police Patch-Wikipedia

LUNACY BOARD’S POWERS.
MANAGER’S CAN MAKE NO EXPENDITURES WITHOUT ITS CONSENT.
President MacDonald of the State Commission Ridicules the Idea that the Patronage of the Hospitals for the Insane Will Go to Politicians –
He Expects Gov. Morton to Make Good Appointments Under the Horton Act.

Dr. Carlos F. MacDonald, President of the State Commission in Lunacy, yesterday ridiculed the notion that the patronage of the State hospitals for the insane would be transferred to politicians through the operation of the Horton act, which was signed by Gov. Morton on Wednesday.

The Governor is empowered by the act to appoint new Boards of Managers for all the State hospitals for the insane except the Homeopathic Hospital at Middletown. The number of managers in each case is to be seven, to be appointed at first for terms of one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven years, and afterward for the full term of seven years.

“I am quite sure” said Dr. MacDonald to a reporter for THE NEW-YORK TIMES, “that Gov. Morton will appoint men and women as managers whose character and standing in the community will be a guarantee of their efficiency and uprightness.

The State Commission in Lunacy is an absolutely non-political body in the performance of its duties, and if it were otherwise I should not be connected with it. While the clause in the Horton act removing the present Board of Managers was not suggested or approved by the Lunacy Commission, I do not believe that the appointment of new boards will make any serious changes in the system at present in vogue.

“Under the act passed in 1893, the Lunacy Commission has large powers of audit and supervision over the various State hospitals for the insane. No expenditure can be incurred by any Board of Managers without its sanction. This rule applies to small things as well as to great ones. No repairs to buildings can be made until the Lunacy Commission has given its consent to the work and to the price which is to be paid for it.

“Most of the staple articles – such as meat, clothing, milk, and so forth – are obtained through contracts, tenders being invited for three, six, or twelve months at a given price, the articles to be supplies as required. These contracts must be submitted to the Lunacy Commission, which sees that there is no serious inequality in price between the tenders from different districts. In some cases the commission uses its powers so as to make several districts combine to purchase their supplies of certain staples from one particular contractor, selected by open competition, to insure the reduction in price which comes from buying goods by the wholesale.

“Supplies for each hospital are now ordered by its steward with the approval of the Medical Superintendent, and therefore the Board of Managers has no power to increase such orders. The appointment of all subordinates in each hospital rests with the Medical Superintendent, under carefully regulated and rigorously observed civil service rules, so that this important branch of the service is not open to the attack of politicians.

“The Medical Superintendent of each State hospital for the insane is, indeed, only after competitive examination, open only to those who have served five years as medical assistants in one the State hospitals for the insane. This is an excellent provision, as it insures promotion for those who devote their abilities to the study of insanity. The Medical Superintendents cannot be removed except for cause.

“The list of managers appointed by Gov. Morton for the Manhattan State Hospital on Ward’s Island is an indication of the class of men and women he will appoint for all the hospitals. These are now Henry E. Howland, George E. Dodge, Mrs. Eleanor Kinnicut, John McAnerney, Isaac N. Seligman, Miss Alice Pine, and George S. Bowdoin.”

The State hospitals for the insane whose managers will go out of office by the terms of the Horton act are the Manhattan State Hospital, the Long Island State Hospital, in Brooklyn; the Hudson River State Hospital, at Poughkeepsie; the Buffalo State Hospital, the Rochester State Hospital, the Binghamton State Hospital, the Utica State Hospital, the St. Lawrence State Hospital, at Ogdensburg; the Willard State Hospital, at Ovid, Seneca County, and the Collins Farm, in Erie County.

The total annual expenditure for these hospitals is upward of $4,000,000. There were 18,269 insane persons confined in the public hospitals of this State on Oct. 1, 1894. These required 3,304 medical and ordinary attendants.

The improvement which has taken place in the State management of the insane in recent years is due in large measure to the increased powers of audit and supervision given to the State Lunacy Commission as a result of disclosures of mismanagement in the Hudson River Hospital and elsewhere in 1892.

Francis R. Gilbert, Deputy Attorney General, was directed by Gov. Flower to make an investigation of the affairs of the Hudson River State Hospital in February, 1893. It was proved that one dealer had had a monopoly of supplying this hospital with meat for the preceding twenty-one years, getting from 2 to 2 ½ cents a pound more than the market price.

It was also shown that the price paid for coal was excessive, and the quantity used extravagant. The attention of the public was directed to this mismanagement chiefly through the columns of THE NEW-YORK TIMES, and the consequence was the introduction of reformed civil service methods in the administration of all the State hospitals for the insane.

SOURCE: The New York Times. Published May 15, 1896. Copyright@The New York Times.

1891 Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital

This is a very lengthy Letter to the Editor of The New York Times written by MEDICUSThe Medicus – A Journal for the Busy Practitioner, of the nineteenth century. What MEDICUS was basically stating among other things was: After 1890 with the passage of THE STATE CARE ACT, all New York State Hospitals accepted both CHRONIC and ACUTE patients from their corresponding districts so that the patients would be able to remain in their hometown area. There were no longer asylums specifically for the CHRONIC INSANE as in WILLARD and BINGHAMTON State Hospitals. However, if an asylum became overcrowded, the state would transfer patients to another state hospital out of the patients’ district. The main point that MEDICUS made was: If New York State was transferring patients out of their district to another state hospital, why couldn’t the State pay for the transportation of patients whose family and friends wanted them to receive HOMEOPATHIC medical care as opposed to ALLOPATHIC medical care? They eventually won their case. There were two STATE HOMEOPATHIC HOSPITALS for the Insane: MIDDLETOWN located in Middletown (1874), Orange County, New York; and GOWANDA (1898), located in Collins, Erie County, New York.

DEFINITIONS:
“HOMEOPATHY: a system of medical practice that treats a disease especially by the administration of minute doses of a remedy that would in healthy persons produce symptoms similar to those of the disease.

System of therapeutics founded in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann on the principle that ‘like cures like.’ That is, substances that in healthy persons would produce the symptoms from which the patient suffers are used to treat the patient. Hahnemann further stated that the potency of a curative agent increases as the substance is diluted. When it was introduced, homeopathy was a mild, welcome alternative to heavy-handed therapies such as bleeding, but it has since been criticized for focusing on symptoms rather than causes. With the rise of alternative medicine, it has seen resurgence.”

“ALLOPATHY: a system of medical practice that aims to combat disease by use of remedies (as drugs or surgery) producing effects different from or incompatible with those produced by the disease being treated. 2. a system of medical practice making use of all measures that have proved of value in treatment of disease.”
SOURCE: Merriam Webster.com

Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital 1896

Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital 1896

THE MIDDLETOWN HOSPITAL. It’s History And The Laws Which Govern It.
How It Is Affected By The State Care Of The Insane Act –
How Proposed Legislation Would Affect The Insane Poor.

 To the Editor of the New-York Times:

The State Homeopathic Hospital, or, as it was formerly called, the State Homeopathic Asylum, was established by act of the Legislature of 1870 and was opened in 1874. The friends of homeopathy, in order to secure an asylum for the insane in which the treatment should be exclusively of the homeopathic order, entered into an agreement with the State substantially to contribute $100,000 for each $100,000 which the State should furnish. This agreement was carried out to only a very limited extent.

The utmost claim put forth by the friends of homeopathy as to the extent of the carrying out of the agreement on their part is this – that they contributed a few hundred acres of land and the sum of $50,000 in cash. The State was induced to waive the carrying out of the remainder of the agreement, and the institution was fully organized and equipped as a State institution in all respects whatsoever, differing in no regard from the other hospitals of the State, with the exception of the insertion of a special clause in the statute which provided that the treatment should be wholly of the homeopathic order. Subsequent legislation was obtained providing that the acceptance of the office of Trustee should amount to a pledge on the part of such officer that the principles of homeopathy should be maintained. A reference to the organic act will show that, with the above exception, it was placed precisely upon the same footing as the other, at that time, so-called “acute” asylums for the insane, said act of 1870 providing for the doing of that which had been and might be done without its passage, namely, that to the extent of its capacity courts and Judges should have the power to commit such pauper and insane poor from any part of the State as might desire to secure homeopathic treatment. The right to receive private or pay patients was also conferred upon the MiddletownStateHomeopathicHospital in the same manner and to the same extent only as was conferred upon the UticaStateHospital, which is the governing act of all the State hospitals in the State.

This act provided that such private or pay patients might be received whenever there were vacancies. From the foregoing it will readily be seen that the Legislature unquestionably intended that, while the treatment given should be purely of the homeopathic order, in all other respects the hospital should be conducted under the same laws and in the same manner as all the other State insane asylums.

By the passage of this act and the erection of this asylum the Legislature of 1870 did what had never before been done in the history of its dealings with the dependent insane, to wit, recognize a particular school of medicine-a distinction which to this day no other school has sought or had-yet, so far as a study of the statutes reveals, it was indisputably intended that the corporation of this asylum should be held to as strict a measure of legal accountability as any one of the other State asylums, an that it should enjoy no other or greater privilege than was possessed by all of them.

This institution, from the time of its erection down to the time of the passage of the State Care act, had always been regarded in the same light as the other State asylums of the State. It received appropriations from the Legislature and its capacity was enlarged from time to time, the laws under which it was governed remaining the same as when established, except as modified by the State Care act, which was prepared, it is understood, by Theodore W. Dwight, the distinguished Warden of the Columbia College Law School-than whom a more just or equitable man never lived-provided, as is well known, for the division of the State into as many districts as there were State asylums for the insane, and provided that the insane poor of any particular district should be sent to the hospital situated within said district. But the author of the statute, no doubt having in view the Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital and the special treatment given there, provided that, if a patient or his friends elected so to do, he might be received into an asylum beyond the limits of the district in which he lived upon the following conditions:

First – That there shall be a vacancy in the hospital in which the patient desired treatment.

Second – That the consent of the Superintendent of the hospital and the consent of the Chairman of the State Commission in Lunacy shall be obtained.

Third – That the patient’s friends or relatives should pay the expense of transportation beyond the limits of the district in which the patient resides.

It would not have been necessary to impose any condition upon the free choice by a patient of a hospital in which he might desire treatment, had it not been for the fact that, except for some such condition, Superintendents of the Poor, for the sake of the increased mileage and emoluments which could be derived from traveling long distances, might frequently take patients to asylums situated a long distance from the place in which the patient lived. In fact, but for this reason it perhaps might not have been necessary to have established any districts whatever, as, if the element of greed could have been eliminated, convenience, accessibility, and the desires of the patients and their friends might safely have been trusted to regulate the whole matter. It was necessary, however, that some check should be imposed, in order that patients may not be obliged to travel greater distances than are absolutely necessary; and, therefore, on of the conditions named was that of requiring the consent of the President of the State Commission in Lunacy. But inquiry at the office of the commission shows that since the State Care act went into effect on the lst of October, 1890, less than thirty applications to go beyond the limits of the district have been received, thus clearly showing that a comparatively small number of people have any choice or care anything whatever as to what particular institution their insane relatives of friends shall be cared for in.

The legal rights heretofore enjoyed by the Middletown Hospital have not been interfered with in any way by the passage of this law except in the manner herein indicated. The right to receive private or pay patients under the law is precisely the same to-day as it was at the time the hospital was first opened, namely, the right to receive that class of patients when vacancies exist. The passage of the State Care act did not in any other manner whatever change existing laws upon the subject. But upon the taking effect of the State Care act on the 1st of October, 1890, it was found that there were about two thousand more insane poor to be provided for than could be accommodated in all the State hospitals in the State, and, of course, there ceased to be any vacancies for the admission of private or pay patients in the State hospitals. The State Commission in Lunacy, to which is confided the execution of the laws of the State so far as they affect the insane, were compelled to enforce the law in regard to the admission of private patients. It did not, however, enforce the law as rigorously as it might have done. It held that, at least within the spirit and intent of the law, private patients whose means are limited to the extent of being able to pay but a small sum per week might be admitted, and such patients have been admitted without objection from that time to this: That it declined to permit the admission of wealthy or high-priced private patients on the ground that the admission of such patients was not provided for by the statute, and that they could be provided for in the private asylums of the State, of which there are a large number representing the two principal schools of medicine, or equally open to both.

The bill which has passed the State Senate, if it becomes a law, will for the first time in the history of the State establish a principle which has been justly regarded as foreign to the spirit of our institutions, namely, the principle of paternalism in government – the duty of the State to provide for a class of its citizens able to provide for themselves. Moreover, it places at the disposal of one of the schools of medicine in the State a great hospital for the insane, which has cost in round numbers a million of dollars, and practically discriminates against all the other schools of medicine. This bill, which many have believed to simply restore the law as it existed prior to the passage of the State Care act, not only does this, but goes very much beyond it, as it provides for the admission of the indigent and insane poor from any part of the State, and also for the admission of “private patients” of whatever grade and upon such terms and conditions as may be fixed by the Trustees of the institution. In fact, the words “private patients” are for the first time recognized in the statutes of the State. The words “when vacancies exist” are wholly eliminated, so that it becomes a pure matter of discretion in the Trustees of a State institution, which is owned and controlled by the State and supposedly erected for the benefit of the insane poor now in the poorhouses or the wealthy private or pay patients. This is the really objectionable and dangerous feature of the bill. No matter how pressing may be the necessities of the insane poor, the rich who are able to provide for themselves may have the preference if the Trustees choose to give it. Singularly, too, no restrictions have surrounded the question of the determination of who desire homeopathic treatment. Upon the mere say-so of the patient or his friends, which would be sufficient to a Superintendent of the Poor, a patient may be transported hundreds of miles across the State to this institution simply for the purpose of adding to the fees and emoluments of a Superintendent of the Poor.

The right of the indigent insane for whom homeopathic treatment is desired to free admission to the Homeopathic Hospital from any part of the State might, perhaps, be conceded without any intervention or concurrence on the part of the Lunacy Commission, although in practice, as already stated, the occasion for such concurrence seldom arises. And incidentally, it may be added at the Lunacy Commission office the fact is freely admitted that they would, personally, be glad to be relieved of all connection with the matter, provided that some other efficient safeguard against imposition and abuse in the matter of transportation charges were suggested.

It is claimed by the friends of the Middletown State Hospital that medical liberty has been encroached upon by the passage of the State Care act. It is difficult, however, to see wherein this effect has been produced. The free and unrestricted right of the Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital to give homeopathic treatment has not been abridged in any manner, nor, so far as it is known, is it claimed to have been abridged. But while by the passage of the bill under discussion this liberty demanded in the name of homeopathic profession will have been extended even further than as it was held before the State Care act became law, an equal measure of the same liberty is practically denied to all other schools of medicine.

The laws of the State of New-York, with the exception above indicated, have never recognized any particular school of medicine whatsoever, and do not do so now. The rules and regulations of the Civil Service Commission, so far as they relate to schools of medicine, place them upon an equality, and always have done so. The right of any particular school of medicine, so far as the method of treatment in the other State hospitals is concerned, is not abridged in any way. A homeopathic physician may secure appointment in any of the other hospitals in the State, and enforce such medical treatment as he believes in, without let or hindrance. But, if medical liberty is to be enjoyed by one school of medicine, it is difficult to see why it should be denied to the others; in other words, why a wealthy private patient who desires homeopathic treatment should be afforded by the State magnificent opportunities for its enjoyment at Middletown, while another patient who, for example, desires allopathic treatment in the Buffalo State Hospital or the Utica State Hospital, should be denied an equal privilege. It is hard to conceive how the State can thus discriminate against its citizens, can thus patronize one school of medicine at the expense of another, can place a great hospital, with all the prestige which such an institution commands, at the exclusive disposal of one school of medicine, without conferring a like privilege upon other schools; how, for instance, the eclectic school of medicine be denied the same privilege of the use of a State Hospital wherein only the eclectic method of treatment shall prevail.

The effect of the passage of such an act could not fail to be most pronounced upon State care of the insane, for it can hardly be denied that if this privilege is extended without restriction to the Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital it will ultimately, if not immediately, be claimed for and must be given to all other State hospitals of the State. This would, in practical effect, destroy the distraction system, would greatly embarrass the operation of the law, and would necessitate making large additional provisions for the insane poor, since the amount of space for the insane poor, since the amount of space occupied by the wealthy private or pay patients is out of proportion to that occupied by the insane poor. Frequently it is as high as six to one, sometimes as high as twelve to one. Over and beyond the question of the recognition of one particular school of medicine by the State to the exclusion of the others, the broad question remains of how far the State is to make provision for of its citizens as are able to make provision for themselves, how far it is willing to compete with the efforts of private individuals, who are permitted and in fact encouraged by law to operate and maintain private insane asylums.

Let it be repeated that the passage of this bill will confer privileges which the institution never before enjoyed, and which an examination of the statutes heretofore enacted will clearly show were never intended to be given. It hardly seems credible that the great body of the homeopathic medical profession desire to be relieved from their share of the responsibility of caring for the insane, or to be given privileges which cannot be exercised in an equal degree by the other medical schools of the State.  MEDICUS.
BUFFALO, Sunday, April 12, 1891.

SOURCE: Reprinted from The New York Times. Published April 19, 1891. Copyright @ The New York Times.