Project Topic and Initial Bibliography

The topic that I am interested in pursuing for this project is what happened to the physical buildings of asylums during and following the period of deinstitutionalization. Were they abandoned, repurposed, torn down, etc? I am also curious as to how they were perceived within the community/wider public following that period and how understanding of these institutions may have impacted their fate and what sort of image they have currently by examining more contemporary discussions of former asylums in newspapers, etc. 

The digital project that I am considering is a more traditional blog post/essay format that would incorporate images showing what these buildings looked like at their “prime” prior to deinstitutionalization and what they look like now. I also think this would be a good opportunity to implement video clips; there were a number of longer videos that I encountered both from official sources connected to the institutions and groups responsible for them and from unconnected lay people exploring former asylums that could be interesting to include parts of to see the various reactions to these spaces. 


Beitiks, Emily Smith. “The Ghosts of Institutionalization at Pennhurst’s Haunted Asylum.” Hastings Center Report, 42, no. 1 (January/February 2012): 22-24. Accessed September 11, 2023. 

Bresswein, Kurt. “Here’s a look at the Allentown State Hospital demolition, and what’s next (PHOTOS).” Lehigh Valley Live, December 24, 2020. Accessed September 11, 2023. 

Cauvin, Henri E. “D.C. celebrates building opening at St. Elizabeths.” The Washington Post, April 23, 2010. Accessed September 11, 2023. 

Cole, Jessica. “Forgotten Asylums; A Solemn History of Mental Health.” Abandoned Country, March 13, 2022. Accessed September 11, 2023. 

Exploring With Josh. “Exploring World’s Most Haunted Asylum | Terrifying Experience.” Youtube Video, 1:00:48. October 31, 2020. 

Exploring With Josh. “Our Return To World’s Most Haunted Asylum (Gone Wrong).” Youtube Video, 1:09:37. September 11, 2022. 

“Historic Site: The Public Hospital of 1773.”, accessed September 11, 2023. 

Holley, Joe. “Tussle Over St. Elizabeths.” The Washington Post, June 17, 2007. Accessed September 11, 2023. 

Howard, Chris. “The Abandoned Eastern State Hospital – Williamsburg, Va.” Youtube Video, 2:30. January 31, 2022. 

Lael, Richard L., Barbara Brazos, and Margot Ford McMillen. Evolution of a Missouri Asylum : Fulton State Hospital, 1851-2006. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2007. Accessed September 11, 2023. 

Lam, May-Ying. “New Life For Our Oldest Federal Psychiatric Facility.” NPR, May 3, 2010. Accessed September 11, 2023. 

McNair, Dave. “ONARCHITECTURE- Erasing history: Wrecking ball aiming for DeJarnette?” The Hook 528. (July 2006). Accessed September 11, 2023. 

Moe, Richard. “A Disaster for St. Elizabeths.” The Washington Post, January 8, 2009. Accessed September 11, 2023. 

Muschick, Paul. “Paul Muschick: Allentown State Hospital is gone, but its place in history will be preserved.” The Morning Call, December 23, 2020. Accessed September 11, 2023.

Otto, Thomas. “St. Elizabeths Hospital: A History.” Washington, DC: United States General Services Administration, 2013. Accessed September 11, 2023. 

Nelson, Alisa. “‘Finest Mental Hospital in U.S.’ Unveiled in Missouri.” Missourinet, May 23, 2019. Accessed September 11, 2023. 

Paulson, George W. “Closing the Asylums : Causes and Consequences of the Deinstitutionalization Movement.” Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co, 2012. 

The Proper People. “Exploring the Abandoned Allentown State Hospital – Amazing Asylum Architecture!” Youtube Video, 37:23. October 16, 2020. 

Reischman, Collin. “In-depth: Inside of the deteriorating Fulton State Hospital.” The Missouri Times, August 26, 2013. Accessed September 11, 2023. 

Tomes, Nancy. “The Art of Asylum – Keeping: Thomas Story Kirkbride and the Origins of American Psychiatry (Studies in Health, Illness, and Caregiving).” Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994.

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