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A Psychiatric Milestone Bloomingdale Hospital Centenary, 1821-1921

[Illustration: THE NEW YORK HOSPITAL, DUANE STREET AND BROADWAY

The building to the left was erected in 1808 for the exclusive use of patients suffering from mental disorders.]

A PSYCHIATRIC MILESTONE

BLOOMINGDALE HOSPITAL CENTENARY

1821-1921

"Cum corpore ut una Crescere sentimus, pariterque senescere mentem." --LUCRETIUS

PRIVATELY PRINTED

BY THE SOCIETY OF THE NEW YORK HOSPITAL

1921

ANNIVERSARY COMMITTEE

HOWARD TOWNSEND BRONSON WINTHROP R. HORACE GALLATIN

PREFACE

The opening of Bloomingdale Asylum on June 1, 1821, was an important event in the treatment of mental disorders and in the progress of humanitarian and scientific work in America. Hospital treatment for persons suffering from mental disorders had been furnished by the New York Hospital since its opening in 1792, and the Governors had given much thought and effort to securing the facilities needed. The treatment consisted, however, principally in the administration of drugs and the employment of such other physical measures as were in vogue at that time. Little attempt was made to study the minds of the patients or to treat them by measures directed specifically to influencing their thoughts, feelings, and behavior, and what treatment of this character there was had for its object little more than the repression of excitement and disordered activity. The value and importance of treatment directed to the mind had, indeed, been long recognized, but in practice it had been subordinated to treatment of the actual and assumed physical disorders to which the mental state of the patient was attributed, and, in the few hospitals where persons suffering from mental disorders were received, means for its application were almost or quite entirely lacking. The establishment of Bloomingdale Asylum for the purpose of ascertaining to what extent the recovery of the patients might be accomplished by moral as well as by purely medical treatment marked, therefore, the very earliest stages of the development in America of the system of study and treatment of mental disorders which with increasing amplification and precision is now universally employed.

A hundred years of growth and activity in the work thus established have now been accomplished, and it seemed fitting to the Governors of the Hospital that the event should be commemorated in a way that would be appropriate to its significance and importance. It was decided that the principal place in the celebration should be given to the purely medical and scientific aspects of the work, with special reference to the progress which had been made in the direction of the practical usefulness of psychiatry in the treatment of illness generally, and in the management of problems of human behavior and welfare. Arrangements were made for four addresses by physicians of conspicuous eminence in their particular fields, and invitations to attend the exercises were sent to the leading psychiatrists, psychologists, and neurologists of America, and


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