Scope and Contents
This collection represents the history of the Friends Hospital (originally the Asylum for Person Deprived of the Use of their Reason), spanning the years 1812-2000. The collection contains five series: Administrative Records, Financial Records, Hospital Records, Published Materials, and Visual Materials.
Administrative Records contains annual reports spanning from 1816 to 1997; orientation manuals; correspondence; foundational records such as deeds and charters; governance records such as rules for the Asylum; and records and minutes of several committees, including Board of Managers, Contributors, Executive, and Planning.
The Financial Records series includes receipts for the building of the Hospital, cash books, appraisals, account ledgers, daybooks, investment books, and contributors’ records.
The Hospital Records series contains case histories; admission records; patient and staff records; records of programs like the School of Nursing and Horticulture; information on the building and grounds; and memorabilia.
Published Materials contains materials written by and/or about the Hospital, newsletters, and pamphlets pertaining to various subjects.
The Visual Materials series contains photographs, land surveys and maps, slides, and audiovisual materials.
Friends Hospital was founded by Philadelphia-area Quakers in 1813 under the name ‘The Asylum for Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason.’ Their mission statement was: “To provide for the suitable accommodation of persons who are or may be deprived of the use of their reason and the maintenance of an asylum for their reception, which is intended to furnish, besides requisite medical aid, such tender, sympathetic attention as may soothe their agitated minds, and under the Divine Blessing, facilitate their recovery.” In 1817, the hospital accepted its first patients. Friends Asylum was the first private psychiatric hospital in the United States, and one of the first mental hospitals to use moral treatment, which eschewed corporal punishment for the patients and advocated treating them with respect and compassion. Moral treatment at the Asylum included occupational and recreational therapy, and was deeply influenced by the founders' Quaker principles. Moral treatment was thought to be more effective in curing insanity than medical treatment, although the Asylum did also provide medical treatment on occasion. Early medical treatments at the Asylum included blisters and cold baths. In 1827, the hospital expanded, adding two new patient wings. In 1834, the hospital opened its doors to patients who were not Quakers, expanding the hospital's reach. In 1879, Friends Hospital built a greenhouse to facilitate horticultural therapy for the patients. By this point, medical treatment had increased in the hospital. In 1880, the hospital's capacity increased once again to allow 90 more patients. In 1885, the hospital opened a short-lived convalescent home, Gurney Cottage, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Friends Hospital was one of the first psychiatric hospitals to employ female doctors; in 1889, Anna Broomall, M.D., was appointed as a consulting doctor. A two year training school for nurses opened at Friends Hospital in 1894, providing certifications in general and psychiatric nursing. In 1911, Friends Hospital expanded its property once again, covering approximately 100 acres, and in 1916, a 326 acre farm in Trevose was added to the property holdings. On this farm, the Bensalem Mansion was opened to Friends Hospital patients as a convalescent home. In 1922, the Hospital built the Hygeia Building, which was used for hydrotherapy, a treatment which had been used in various ways since the Hospital's earliest years.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the Bonsall and Tuke Buildings were added to the hospital grounds, which increased the patient capacity to 192, which remains the current capacity. Friends Hospital was accredited as a training site by the American Psychological Association in 1979. In 1980, the Greystone Program opened, composed of the Greystone house and, in 1989, the additional Hillside house, which provide long-term and sometimes permanent community residence to house and treat those living with severe and persistent mental illnesses. The hospital’s Eating Disorders program opened in 1996, and was one of the only programs of its kind in the area that treated both children and males. In 1998, Friends Hospital opened the Larkspur Crisis Response Center, which provides treatment for upwards of 6,000 patients per year. Friends Hospital was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1999, and in 2000 U.S. News and World Report ranked Friends Hospital as one of the top psychiatric hospitals in the country. This success continued in 2002, when six of the hospital’s psychiatrists were ranked among the region’s top doctors by Philadelphia Magazine. In 2010, Friends Hospital opened the first inpatient Recovery Oriented Unit in Philadelphia. Friends Hospital still operates under its original mission statement. (Information from Friends Hospital website, Carol Perloff's
The Asylum, and Friends' Asylum for the Insane, 1813-1913).