Manhattan State Hospital & Cemetery

At various times, New York City’s Insane Asylums included the asylums on Blackwell’s, Hart, Randall’s, and Ward’s Islands; and Central Islip. The Asylum for the Insane on Ward’s Island with branches on Ward’s and Randall’s Islands, were for Men. The Lunatic Asylum of Blackwell’s Island with branches on Blackwell’s and Hart Islands were for Women. On February 28, 1896, the New York City Asylum became Manhattan State Hospital. After 1896, it served the counties of New York and Richmond.

1916 Manhattan State Hospital.
1839 New York City Lunatic Asylum.
1887 Ten Days In A Madhouse by Nellie Bly.
1887 State of New York, State Board of Charities, In the Matter of the Investigation of the New York City Asylum for the Insane, Report, August 12, 1887.
Ward’s Island, now Wards Island.
Blackwell’s Island, Welfare Island, now Roosevelt Island.
Hart Island.
Randall’s Island.
Central Islip, New York.
New York City Map.

Kings county and New York county provide for their insane under special statutes. The former county provides for 800 or 1000 insane and the latter for over 1,700. On Ward’s island is situated the State Emigrant Insane Asylum which provides for the insane emigrants for the term of five years from the time of their landing in this country. This asylum furnishes accommodations for about 200 patients. The annual expense per patient in this institution is $150. The per capita cost of building $1,138 and the total annual cost, $22,500. There are upward of 500 patients in private asylums so that the insane population of New York state is probably not far from 7,000 or 8,000 at the present time. . .The annual expense per patient in the two New York county institutions is in the New York City Asylum for the insane $92.89, and for the New York Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s island $73.84. The annual expense per patient in the Kings County Lunatic Asylum, situated at Flatbush, L. I., is $120. The total annual cost for these three county institutions for the insane is as follows: New York City Asylum for the insane, Ward’s island, $53,504 ; New York Lunatic Asylum, Blackwell’s island, $89,420 ; Kings County Lunatic Asylum, Flatbush, $92,400. . .”
SOURCE: Proceedings of the Conference Of Charities, Held In Connection With The General Meeting of the American Social Science Association, Detroit, May 1875, Tolman & White Printers, Boston, Mass., October 1875, Page 56.

Hart’s Island – Superintendents. (First opened for 50 patients, January 23, 1877.) Dr. Armand Duploo 1877-1878; Dr. Andrew Egan 1883-1891; Dr. T. M. Franklin 1878-1879; Dr. George A. Smith 1892-1893; Dr. James R. Healy 1880-1882.

Ward’s Island – Department For Men. W. A Macy, M. D 1886-1897; Geo. F. M. Bond, M. D., acting med. supt 1890; Percy Bryant, M. D. 1897-1900.

Dr. Alexander Trautman, superintendent of the State Emigrant Hospital 1880-1881. Richard M. Lush, warden-in-charge 1872-1873. Dr. Alexander E. MacDonald 1874-1894 (Became general superintendent in 1894, so continuing until the departments for men and women were separated in 1900, when he became superintendent of the men’s division, so continuing until his resignation in 1903.) Dr. E. C. Dent 1904-1906; Dr. Wm. Mabon, supt. and med. director 1906.

Blackwell’s Island – Department For Women. Moses H. Ranney, M. D. 1857-1864; Ralph L. Parsons, M. D. 1865-1876; W. W. Strew, M. D 1876-1879; T. M. Franklin, M. D. 1880-1886; E. C. Dent, M. D. 1887-1895. (Institution abandoned in 1895.)

Ward’s Island—Women’s Department. Dr. E. C. Dent 1896-1906. (In 1906 the departments for men and women were consolidated and Dr. William Mabon became superintendent and medical director.)

Central Islip. Dr. H. C. Evarts, physician-in-charge 1889-1895; Dr. George A. Smith, superintendent 1895.

NEW YORK CITY ASYLUM FOR THE INSANE Medical Officers. Dr. J. N. DeHart 1875; Dr. Wickes Washburn 1875; Dr. W. V. Day 1875; Dr. John A. Arnold 1876; Dr. J. S. Christison 1876 …. ”
SOURCE: 1916 Manhattan State Hospital

“The most serious fire in the history of the State hospital system occurred at the Manhattan State Hospital on Sunday morning, February 18, 1923. The fire, which started in an attic above ward 43 on the third floor of the right wing of the main building of the men’s division of the hospital, was discovered by an attendant at 5.15 A. M. An alarm was immediately sounded and a stream of water from the standpipe in the ward was quickly applied to the flames. In spite of the most strenuous efforts of the attendants and the fire department of the hospital assisted by the New York City firemen, the fire spread rapidly and destroyed the entire roof and third story of the right wing of the building before it could be checked. Heroic efforts to save all patients in the burning section of the building were made, but owing to the dense volume of smoke and the falling of a water tank, the work of rescue was rendered extremely difficult. Twenty-two patients and three attendants lost their lives in the flames. Two patients later died from exposure. As we go to press the cause of the fire is being investigated.”
SOURCE: The State Hospital Quarterly, Volume VIII, November 1922, No. 1, New York State Hospital Commission, Albany, New York, Publication Office, Utica State Hospital, Utica, N.Y., State Hospital Press, Page 318.

“On February 28, 1896, by act of the Legislature, the New York City asylums for the insane were transferred to state care, under the name of the Manhattan State Hospitals, with three divisions, namely: Manhattan State Hospital East (male department)Manhattan State Hospital West (female department), on Ward’s Island; and Manhattan State Hospital at Central Islip for both sexes. At that date there were 30 buildings at Central Islip. In 1912, not including a group of four in process of construction, there are 118.”

New York City is composed of five boroughs: Manhattan (New York County), The Bronx (Bronx County), Brooklyn (Kings County), Queens (Queens County), Staten Island (Richmond County)LONG ISLAND contains four counties: Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk. Apparently in today’s vernacular, “Long Island” refers to the suburban counties of Nassau and Suffolk only, in order to differentiate them from New York City even though all four counties are located on Long IslandMANHATTAN is a separate island. I always wondered where the patients of the New York City Asylums were buried. They may be buried on Hart’s Island. Please click to view THE HART ISLAND PROJECT.

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THE BAD NEWS: Thousands Remain Nameless! 6.15.2015.

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Kings Park State Hospital & Cemetery

On January 1, 1891, the farm colony at St. Johnland was renamed, Kings Park. On July 1, 1895, the Kings County Lunatic Asylum at Flatbush and Kings Park became the Long Island State Hospital. After 1895, Kings Park State Hospital served the counties of Kings, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk.

1916 Kings Park State Hospital.
1851 Kings County Lunatic Asylum at Flatbush, New York.
The Lost Kirkbrides: Brooklyn State Hospital.
Erasing the Past at the Ghost Hospital – New York Times.
Kings Park Psychiatric Center – OPACITY
Kings Park Psychiatric Center’s Building 93 – AbandonedNYC – Will Ellis.

“Besides the regularly organized institutions, there are two asylums for the insane poor, which, as they are separate from the other almshouse departments, and receive a pretty large number of patients, claim attention in this place. During the last fifteen years, the insane in the Almshouse of King’s County, New York, the county which embraces the city of Brooklyn within its limits, have occupied a building erected especially for their accommodation, disconnected from the other edifices of the establishment, and at some distance from them. It is at Flatbush, and is called the King’s County Lunatic Asylum. The report for the fiscal year ending with the 31st of July, 1854, is signed by Dr. E. S. Blanchard, the resident physician.

Patients in the asylum at the beginning of the year: Men 74; Women 113; Total 187.
Admitted in the course of the year: Men 59; Women 78; Total 137.
Whole number in the course of the year: Men 133; Women 191; Total 324.
Discharged cured: Men 41; Women 81; Total 122.
Died: Men 14; Women 10; Total 24.
Remaining, July 31, 1854: Men 78; Women 100; Total 178.

Died of peritonitis, 4; phthisis, 3; cholera, 3; empyema, 3; diarrhoea, 3; exhaustion, 2; marasmus, 2: epilepsy,2; “typhoids,” 1; softening of the cerebellum, 1. But two patients in the course of the year were subjected to mechanical restraint. One of these had the suicidal propensity, the other was labouring under violent mania. Of the 178 patients remaining in the asylum at the close of the year, 134 were foreigners. It appears that some pay-patients are received, the expenses of 16 of those who were in the asylum during the year having been defrayed by their friends.

At the time this report was written, a new edifice, to be occupied by the insane, was in progress. It “is erected on the county farm, on a beautiful site, and commands many delightful views of the surrounding country. When finished, it will compare favourably with any other institution of a similar nature in the world. It is 250 feet in its extreme length, 84 feet in its extreme breadth, and the height to the top of the dome is 86 feet. The halls and dormitories present a light and airy appearance. The rooms are 7 by 11 feet. The height of the ceilings ranges from 14 to 10 feet. Each room is lighted by a large window, on the outside of which there is a light iron guard frame. The whole building will be heated by steam,” the radiating pipes being in an air-chamber in the cellar. “The entire structure is of brick, trimmed with stone. This establishment was opened on the 1st of November, 1855, under the medical care of Dr. Robert B. Baiseley. Although it was intended for but about 150 patients, yet, ever since it was opened, the actual number present has been as high as from 190 to 200.”
SOURCE: The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, Edited by Isaac Hays, M.D., Volume XXXIII, Philadelphia: Blanchard & Lea, 1857, Pages 164-165.

Kings county and New York county provide for their insane under special statutes. The former county provides for 800 or 1000 insane and the latter for over 1,700. On Ward’s island is situated the State Emigrant Insane Asylum which provides for the insane emigrants for the term of five years from the time of their landing in this country. This asylum furnishes accommodations for about 200 patients. The annual expense per patient in this institution is $150. The per capita cost of building $1,138 and the total annual cost, $22,500. There are upward of 500 patients in private asylums so that the insane population of New York state is probably not far from 7,000 or 8,000 at the present time. . .

The annual expense per patient in the two New York county institutions is in the New York City Asylum for the insane $92.89, and for the New York Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s island $73.84. The annual expense per patient in the Kings County Lunatic Asylum, situated at Flatbush, L. I., is $120. The total annual cost for these three county institutions for the insane is as follows: New York City Asylum for the insane, Ward’s island, $53,504 ; New York Lunatic Asylum, Blackwell’s island, $89,420 ; Kings County Lunatic Asylum, Flatbush, $92,400. . .”
SOURCE: Proceedings of the Conference Of Charities, Held In Connection With The General Meeting of the American Social Science Association, Detroit, May 1875, Tolman & White Printers, Boston, Mass., October 1875, Page 56.

“In 1885, the decision was made to purchase eight hundred seventy-three acres of farmland out on a rural stretch of north central Long Island in order to build a farming colony that would act as an annex for the hospital. Three temporary wooden structures were built on that land, until proper facilities could be later erected. These structures were located in the small village of St. Johnland, a part of Smithtown, which is located in Suffolk County, New York. The three temporary structures were used to house the first fifty-five patients of this new hospital annex.”

“In 1891, the town of St. Johnland changed its name to Kings Park. Many believe the name derived from the Kings County connection with the hospital, but that is not the case. The name actually came from the Long Island Railroad Station located on Indian Head Road, which had only changed its name when the St. Johnland Society complained about the railroad using its name without permission. The railroad station was renamed Kings Park Station and the town changed its name soon afterwards for the same reasons. By 1895, the asylum was taken over by the state, after complaints of corruption became rampant. It wasn’t until the year 1900 when it also took on a new name, as it became known as the Long Island State Hospital at Kings Park. Only five years later the name of the hospital was changed, again. This time it was named Kings Park State Hospital, which is the name it would maintain for many years to come, until the mid-1970s when it would eventually become the Kings Park Psychiatric Center.”
SOURCE: No Hope For The Hopeless At Kings Park by Jason Medina, Tribal Publications, Inc., Yonkers, New York, 2013, Pages 334-335.

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1880 The Treatment Of The Insane by William A. Hammond

“In all ages of the world, the most monstrous abuses have found their defenders among good and noble-minded people; and this is especially true of those acts which a subsequent period regards as outrages against the individual, but which at the time were defended by many on the ground of expediency, the advantage of the country, the glory of God, the progress of humanity, or the ultimate good of the person injured. Thus, the gladiatorial exhibitions of ancient Rome were looked upon as politic amusements, which tended to excite harmless emotions to the exclusion of more dangerous sentiments. The Duke of Alva, and others of his type, professed to be actuated by a laudable desire to put down rebellion; and it is entirely within the range of possibility that they were kind and loving fathers and friends. Witches and heretics were burned at the stake or drowned in the flood at the instigation of tender-hearted women, and by judges of gentle bearing, who honestly thought they were serving God and society; and the insane were loaded with chains, beaten and subjected to many other corporeal sufferings by the orders of learned and humane men, who sincerely believed that they were acting in accordance with the most benevolent instincts, – as in fact they probably were. But as time passes on the acts of those who have preceded us are seen in their true light, and judged by a higher standard. The human nature of to-day is more advanced than the human nature of yesterday, and what were deemed to be great truths then are seen to be vile errors now. It denounces the dungeon, the lash, and the fetters for lunatics, but it clings tenaciously to the strap, the camisole, and the Utica crib. It looks back with horror to the time when the insane were flogged as a therapeutical measure “to beat the devil out of them,” but regards with complacency and even favor the forcible feeding of the poor creatures by ignorant and brutal attendants, and the consequent life-long injury or death of the victims. That those who come after us will regard our conduct in these matters very much as we do that of the mad-house keepers of less than a century ago is not a matter for doubt. Already the revolution has begun.

Holding Chair

Holding Chair – Illustration by Etienne Equirol’s Des maladies mentales considérées sous les rapports médicale hygiénique et medico-legal (Paris 1838), at: Diseases Of The Mind: Highlights of American Psychiatry through 1900.

Few, even among those who have given some attention to the subject, know the depth of wretchedness to which within a comparatively short period the lunatic was consigned, and which, even at the present day, is in some places scarcely lessened. Dr. Conolly, (1) whose advanced ideas of science and humanity led to the uniform adoption in England of the “non-restraint” system of treatment, speaking only thirty years ago on this subject, says: “Very few physicians of education were to be found, until a recent period, devoting themselves to mental disorders. Those occupied in asylums were chiefly distinguished by an eccentricity and a roughness which, unfitting them for other professional vocations, made them willing to undertake to treat mad people. By such persons, ill-educated, prejudiced, and without any resources but methods of violence, and who had never studied the forms and treatment of mental disorders, all attempts to ameliorate the condition of the insane were bitterly and unscrupulously opposed with every effort and every contrivance of vulgar minds. Meantime, the outside walls of an asylum were regarded with awe; the shrieks issuing from it made night hideous; the frantic creatures enclosed in their dens furnished appalling subjects for the artist or the novelist; squalor and dirt, and famine and ferocity were everywhere to be met with.” And now in the latter half of the nineteenth century we find that the methods which Conolly so vigorously denounced, and to the abolition of which he gave his life, are in full use in almost every asylum in the United States; that the attempts to improve the condition of the insane are opposed, as in his day, by those who have the charge of them; that dens are still in existence, chains still employed, blows still inflicted, systematic flogging still practised, the strait-jacket still used as a means of restraint; and that these agencies of subjection are supplemented by The Utica Crib. , – an apparatus not only inhuman, but one which no person possessing a competent knowledge of the physiology of the brain and the pathology of insanity would venture to introduce into the wards of a lunatic asylum.

Dress Camisole - Esquirol Bench

Dress Camisole-Esquirol Bench – Illustration by Etienne Equirol’s Des maladies mentales considérées sous les rapports médicale hygiénique et medico-legal (Paris 1838), at: Diseases Of The Mind: Highlights of American Psychiatry through 1900.

I do not mean to be understood as saying that all these various measures for punishing and subduing a maniac are sanctioned by those in authority. No superintendent, so far as I know, approves of his patients being knocked down, beaten, or put in irons; but, nevertheless, these things and even worse are perpetrated in American institutions for the insane, either through the ignorance, the negligence, or the indifference of their superintendents; and others equally bad are done with their full knowledge and approval. Doubtless many of the outrages against humanity which are committed in our asylums are the direct result of the system by which their officers are appointed. But this only makes the matter worse. If it were individuals only with which those who have undertaken the task of ameliorating the condition of the insane had to contend, the contest would be neither long nor doubtful; but there are trustees and commissioners, and legislatures and political parties to meet, who have an interest – one which appeals with great force to the average American mind: the love of patronage – in keeping things as they are.

Now let us see what kind of atrocities are permitted by the system which prevails throughout this country. In this survey, it will not be necessary to go back farther than two or three years, or to refer to more than a few examples of the number which have been unearthed by legislative committees, casual visitors, and newspaper reporters, or which have been revealed by mere accident.

Within about a year four homicides occurred in the New York City lunatic asylum on Ward’s Island. In one of these a patient was beaten to death by an attendant; in another, an attendant was killed by a patient; in the third, a patient was thrown off the wharf and drowned by another patient; and in the fourth, one lunatic was ordered to give a hot bath to another, not only insane, but paralyzed. After getting him into the bath-tub he turned on the hot water and walked away leaving the poor wretch actually to be boiled to death. In the asylum at St. Peter, Minnesota, a patient who refused to eat had his mouth filled with food by a nurse, and the mess pushed down into his stomach with the handle of a knife, while another nurse held him down. On one occasion he ran away, yelling that they wanted to kill him. He was caught and laid on a bench; one attendant held his hands, and sat across his body; another attendant and a patient helped to hold him; his mouth was plugged to prevent his closing it. The food (soup) was poured in from a pitcher; his breath was heard to “gurgle” as the soup went into his windpipe, and in five minutes he was dead.

Force Feeding

Force Feeding

Owing to an erroneous idea that the food is poisoned, to some other delusion, or to a determined intention to commit suicide, it frequently happens that lunatics refuse to eat. The operation of forcible feeding is a delicate one, requiring anatomical skill; and yet it is one which in American asylums is often left to be performed by ignorant and brutal attendants, a physician not even being present. Thus, at the Bloomingdale Asylum in New York, a lady while being fed by a nurse had the soft parts of the roof of her mouth torn away by the spoon being rammed violently down her throat. From the testimony taken in this case, preliminary to a suit for damages, and which has not yet been published, I make the following citations:

Mrs. Cochran says she saw both Jane Eaton and Jane Gordon, nurses in Bloomingdale, forcibly feeding a patient. They had a wooden wedge which they put into her mouth, and then they fed her with a spoon (folio 93). Dr. Choate says it is done by attendants in asylums (folio 119). Jane Eaton, a nurse, puts on the camisole without instructions from the physician (folio 125). Was told to use force in feeding (folio 127). Used a spoon or a wedge to force open the mouth. “The most difficult person I ever had to feed” (folio 132), – and yet the duty was left to a nurse; the doctor was never present when she was fed (folio 133). The nurse does not always report to the physician when she uses the camisole. Has seen blood come from Mrs. N’s mouth when she was feeding her (folio 138). Was taken naked from her room to the bath-room (folio 146). The doctor says forcible feeding is delegated to an attendant (folio 150).

Last winter, rumors in regard to the bad management of the Longview Asylum, in Ohio, became so prevalent that the legislature appointed a committee to investigate them. From the report made on the subject I make the following extracts: –

According to the testimony of several eye-witnesses, a punishment frequently and sometimes gleefully resorted to by attendants in this asylum is one known as “taking down.” “Taking down,” in the words of the testimony, consists in tripping or throwing the patient to the floor, holding her down (for “taking down” is a female punishment; the men being usually knocked down) with the knee on the chest, while another employé gags the patient, and still another holds the patient’s hands. The patient is held down till she is quite weak and exhausted, becomes purple in the face, and the breath is almost gone.

Another punishment is to make a “spread eagle” of a patient. This consists in stripping a patient to nakedness, and making attendants whip him with wet towels. This is a punishment inflicted for a refusal to work. It is described as very painful, and is practised because it leaves no marks.

There is testimony as to ducking, kicking, beating, black eyes, and other marks of cruelty. It is in evidence that weak patients are overworked, and all inmates have not been properly fed and cared for. Hard work has been needlessly compelled in a room in which the mercury stood at one hundred and twenty degrees. The use of “cribs” and the “strong room” is shown. Loathsome vermin in loathsome numbers have been allowed to accumulate upon the bedding, the apparel, and the person of patients. All of these things and others told with a painful plainness is the testimony that is made part of this report.

The report then goes on to speak of the profanity of the attendants; that “the superintendent has been guilty of inattention to his duties and gross neglect;” and that the evidence “seems to the committee to destroy entirely the suggestion that the various hideous things were done without his knowledge and consent.” The Ohio legislative committee appears to have performed its work thoroughly; and it is the more to be commended for this, inasmuch as the superintendent was appointed on political grounds, and the majority of the committee was of the same political faith as this official.”

1907 The Deportation of Insane Aliens

By 1880, New York State was overwhelmed with the immigrant pauper insane population which by its own laws, was required to care for them. The state legislature enacted new laws allowing for the deportation of this “dependant, defective and delinquent class” of immigrants in order to relieve the state of its financial burden. One of the problems that resulted from the actions of the state legislature was that the sick, blind, deaf and dumb, crippled, feeble-minded, and insane class of immigrants, were sent back to their original port of departure in Europe by themselves with little or no money, and many were sick and improperly clothed. No one bothered to make sure that these helpless people actually made it back to their homes, which in many cases was quite a distance from the port. Many of their relatives and friends never saw or heard from them again. Without the efforts of Miss Louisa Lee Schuyler and The State Charities Aid Association in 1904, this problem may never have been brought to light. On February 20, 1907, the problem was resolved with a new immigration law.

Immigrants Aboard Ship 1902

Immigrants Aboard Ship 1902

State Charities Aid Association of New York 1904
“The United States immigration regulations exclude from admission into the United States insane persons, persons who have been insane within five years previous to landing, and persons who have had two or more attacks of insanity at any time previously. Any alien of these classes who succeeds in entering the United States, or any person who becomes a public charge from causes existing prior to landing, may be deported at any time within two years after arrival, at the expense of the person bringing such alien into the United States. Under certain conditions, the secretary of the treasury is authorized to deport such aliens within three years of landing. Under the provisions of this law 147 insane persons were deported to foreign countries from the State of New York during the fiscal year 1903.

From different sources it came to the attention of the Association that insane aliens deported by the government did not always reach their homes so promptly as they should, and sometimes not at all.  In this connection the following quotation from the annual report of the superintendent of the Manhattan State Hospital, West, for the year just closed is significant:

‘While perhaps, it is a matter that does not officially concern the hospital, I desire to state, that I have received several communications from the relatives of patients deported, who claim, up to four or six weeks after such deportation, they have been unable to find that they have arrived at their homes, and could obtain no trace of them. Any conditions which do not afford protection to the insane alien until she reaches her home, are indeed unfortunate, and it appears to me, that some steps should be taken by the proper authorities, toward remedying these matters. The steamship companies do not appear to hold themselves responsible beyond the port where the patient was originally received aboard their steamship.’

The Association, therefore, has made some inquiry into the methods pursued in the deportation of insane aliens, and although it has been possible as yet to make only a cursory examination of a few cases, the conviction is inevitable that the methods of deportation are not such as to afford the patients proper care and protection in all cases, nor to do justice to their friends and relatives. Only five cases have been studied. A brief account of three of the five cases which are at all complete will give some idea of present methods.

1. ‘Case of M.S., a young woman, aged 29 years, a native of Finland, arrived in this country November 1, 1902. About a year and a half later she became insane and was committed to the Manhattan State Hospital, West, April 14, 1904, where she was visited the following week by her friends, the matron and missionary of the Immigrant Girl’s Home. Hearing that the girl was to be deported, these friends offered to arrange for her deportation, hoping to find some woman returning to Finland who would take charge of her. Ten days after this, before the girl’s friends had had time to move in the matter, they received a notice from the hospital that she was to be deported in three days. The names and addresses of the girl’s relatives in Europe were not in the possession of the hospital nor of the steamship company which was to take charge of her, and how she was expected to reach her home, the Association has been unable to discover. The friends of the girl, at the suggestion of the Association, procured these names and addresses, and gave them to the purser of the steamer on which she was to sail, and the Association took the precaution of sending the information to the home office of the steamship company in Glasgow, and of asking the officials there for some particulars regarding the method of transporting the patient from Glasgow to Finland. The following extract from the steamship company’s reply shows the methods employed:

‘Immediately on landing at the dock she was taken to a boarding house where she was properly taken charge of, being attended to by the women of that house. We are forwarding her to-night in charge of our shore interpreter to Hull, and he has instructions to see her safely on board the steamer for Helsingfors, which leaves Hull to-morrow. We have also addressed letters to the owners of the steamer, both in Hull and in Helsingfors, with a request to take some interest in the case, and to give the necessary instructions regarding treatment on board.’

A letter received by the girl’s friends in New York from the girl’s sister in Finland says that no communication was ever received by the friends in Finland from the steamship company, or from any one except the New York friends. The sister writes that she spent three days going from place to place trying to get information regarding the whereabouts of the patient, and finally located her in the Helsingfors hospital for the insane, where she had presumably been sent by the steamship company. This was in July, – two months after the girl sailed from America. The latest letter received from the patient’s sister came in October, and mentioned that she had been unable to find the trunk which was sent with the patient by the New York friends, and which contained all her possessions. The steamship company seems to have done nothing to see that the patient’s property followed her to the hospital.

The features of this case to which we would call attention are these: The failure of the hospital to cooperate with the friends of the patient in providing for her deportation, though no great haste was necessary, as the time in which she could be deported would not expire for six months; the failure of the authorities of this State to take any responsibility for the patient after she had been handed over to the steamship company, including a failure both on their part and on the part of the steamship company to notify the relatives in Europe, or even to ask her friends in this country to notify her relatives; the failure of the steamship company to make any effort to secure the names and addresses of the girl’s family or to make any use of them when furnished by others; the lack of proper care and protection shown in sending an insane person to a boarding house instead of to a hospital, and in forwarding her by night, in the company of a male attendant, on a long railroad journey. It would be interesting to know how this girl fared from the time she left Glasgow in May until her friends found her in July and how she would have fared if her friends in this country and this Association had not actively interested themselves in her case.

2. Case of M.R., an Austrian girl, aged 20 years. The following account of this case was given by the girl’s cousin: ‘When she became insane her brother, who lives in New York city, thought he would send her home, and told the Manhattan State Hospital authorities that he would try to arrange to do this, planning to send her with some acquaintance who was going over. The hospital, however, said that this could not be done; that she was to be returned by the government. The brother was not informed regarding the time of her return until May 3rd, when he received a letter saying that she was to be deported on May 4th. By the time he received the letter she was already on board, and it was impossible for him to go to the steamer that night. He went, however, the next morning about 8 o’clock, and had great difficulty in getting permission to see her. Finally he was allowed to see her for a few minutes. He found her dressed in a cotton wrapper, such as is worn at the State hospital, and provided with no other clothing. He would have brought her clothing if he had known that she needed it, but as nothing had been said by the State hospital it had not occurred to him to do this. He wished to give her money so that she could buy clothing when she got to Hamburg and spoke to the captain about the matter. The captain thought it useless for the girl to have money, but finally consented to take a few dollars for her use.’

The girl was taken to a hospital in Hamburg on landing there, and the parents of the patient were notified by the hospital of her arrival. In this case the significant feature seems to be again the failure of the authorities in this State to co-operate with the friends of the patient for her deportation.

3. Case of F.H. This patient is the son of one of the two sisters whose pathetic story appeared in the newspapers in November, 1904, at the time they committed suicide because of inability to support themselves. The following extract from the newspaper account of the case, though not altogether accurate, gives an idea of the story of the boy: ‘Everything went well with the sisters until a little more than a year ago. Then the boy was taken sick. His illness left him with a deranged brain. He was kept for a time in Bellevue Hospital and then was sent to Ward’s Island. The sisters visited him regularly once a week there. One week, about a year ago, they learned on their regular visit, that he had been sent back to Austria. This, friends of the sisters say, had been done without notification being sent to the mother. Her grief and her fear that some harm would come to him on the voyage were intense. She immediately raised all the money she could get, and, taking also the little which her sister had, she boarded a fast ocean liner for Hamburg. She landed there on the same day that her son landed, and, taking him under her charge, continued the journey to Vienna, where she had him put in an asylum. Then she hurried back to her sister in this country. The strain on the income of the two, however, was too great, and when they got out of work a few weeks ago they became despondent.’

It appears from the records of the Manhattan State Hospital, East, that the boy was admitted there September 25, 1902, and was visited by his mother Sunday, October 5. As he was an alien, having been but nine months in the United States, arrangements were made immediately for his deportation. On October 16, the hospital was informed that the boy would be deported on a vessel sailing October 18, and that he was to be placed on board the 17th. A letter dated October 17 was sent by the hospital to the boy’s mother informing her of his deportation.

Again we note the failure of the State authorities to make any effort to co-operate with the friends of the patient. In this case the hospital did not know of the plans of the Immigration Department for the deportation of the patient until the day before his deportation, and cannot be blamed for not writing earlier to his mother, but under such circumstances it would seem that the friends of the patient should be notified by telegram or special messenger, instead of by a letter, which could hardly be expected to reach its destination before the patient sailed.

To subject insane persons, many of them young and in an acute stage of the disease, to the vicissitudes of a long ocean voyage, with a further journey on the other side of the ocean, is certainly a sufficient risk under the best conditions, and every possible protection should be provided against physical or moral injury. The inhumanity of subjecting relatives of patients to unnecessary anxiety and alarm by leaving them in ignorance of what is happening to those they hold dear, should also be prevented by the establishment of some system which will provide for more personal attention to each case. At present insane aliens are dispatched with little more ceremony than if they were able-minded and able-bodied immigrants, capable of attending to their own interests.”

SOURCE: Reprinted from Twelfth Annual Report of the State Charities Aid Association to the State Commission In Lunacy, No. 89, November 1, 1904, New York City, Untied Charities Building, 105 East 22d Street, Pages 29-34.

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1902 Insane Patient Escapes

Insane Patient Escapes – Jumps From Ward’s Island Into The East River – Picked Up by Steamboat and Returned to Institution – Claims to Have Recovered His Reason. 1902.

Augustus C. Ward, who for the past seventeen months has been an inmate of the State Insane Asylum on Ward’s Island, escaped from the institution yesterday by jumping into the East River. He took with him a ten-foot plank, and when he was tired swimming he rested himself on the plank. He found it very difficult to steer a true course and was being carried rapidly down stream by the strong tide when he was picked up by the steamboat Middleton of the Hartford Line, bound from Hartford to this city. Ward was detained by the harbor police at Pier A, and later was taken back to Ward’s Island. When seen in the station house, Ward said that he came from Rastus, Banks County, Georgia, about three years ago and secured a position with Broadway Rouss in the tinware department. His health failed him and he became very nervous. He was sent to Bellevue Hospital, and he believes that through his brother’s wife, who lives in Washington, he was sent to Ward’s Island March 2, 1901. He said that he had written many times to his mother since his imprisonment in the asylum, saying that he was well and wanted to come home, but he thinks that his letters were intercepted. Whenever he received a message from home the letter was always opened and it would be marked, ‘Opened by mistake.’ He declared further that whatever trouble he may have had, he had entirely recovered, and that the authorities were only keeping him at the institution because he could do work with which others could not be trusted.

Joseph Reid, who has charge of the tinware department at Charles Broadway Rouss’s store, where Ward worked, said yesterday that the young man was there for about three months in the early part of 1901. One day he became melancholy, burst into tears, and was then sent to Bellevue Hospital. He was there examined by physicians, who said that Ward would have to go to some asylum for treatment. About three months ago, Mr. Reid said, he received a letter from Ward asking him to take him back into the store. Reid wrote to the authorities on Ward’s Island and received word from them that Ward was not in a fit condition to leave that institution. Superintendent A.E. MacDonald of the East Hospital, where Ward now is, said yesterday afternoon that the young man was very penitent, and had promised not to try to escape again.
SOURCE: Reprinted from The New York Times. Published July 24, 1902, Copyright @ The New York Times.