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Rules for the Attendants and Assistants of the Vermont Asylum.

Rules for the Attendants and Assistants of the Vermont Asylum.

Availability: In stock

Published: Vermont J.H. Capen {printer], c.1850

Stock Code: 111218

OR On display in 100 Fulham Road


Founded in 1834 as the Vermont Asylum for the Insane, later renamed the Brattleboro Retreat, and still in operation today as Retreat Healthcare, the asylum was one of the first such institutions established in the United States. The initial funds for its foundation came from a bequest left by Anna Hunt Marsh, the wife of a wealthy local doctor, who had become troubled by what she had seen of the cruel and dangerous treatment of the mentally ill, particularly the death in 1815 of Richard Whitney "a prominent citizen of Vermont who became mentally deranged" (Deutsch, The Mentally Ill in America, p.140), and was drowned undergoing the "water-cure". The state supplied the rest of the "additional funds necessary for the completion of the institution. In pursuance of the terms of the Marsh bequest it was at first operated as a corporate institution, but was reorganised in 1845 as a state hospital" (pp.140-1), and a Commissioner of the Insane appointed, the first such in America (p.255). The regime at the Vermont Asylum was modelled on the rational "humane treatment" pioneered at the famous Retreat at York as suggested by the second of the rules set out on this advisory notice; "Every person employed in the Asylum must treat the Patients with respect, kindness and attention; and never use any profane, obscene or vulgar language". An attractive, evocative and extremely uncommon survival from the early days of the asylum movement in America.

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Singlesheet (255 x 190 mm), letterpress, the title in attractive display types, with decorative border on thin pale blue paperstock.


Very slight discolouration to the left-hand margin, tiny chip from the left-hand top corner, else very good indeed.


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