Join author J.P. Webster as he explores the fascinating and complex history of the Philadelphia State Hospital at Byberry.
The Quaker City and its hospitals were pioneers in the field of mental health. Yet by the end of the nineteenth century, its institutions were crowded and patients lived in shocking conditions. The mentally ill were quartered with the dangerously criminal. By 1906, the city had purchased a vast acreage of farmland incorporated into the city, and the Philadelphia Hospital dubbed its new venture Byberry City Farms. From the start, its history was riddled with corruption and committees, investigations and inquests, appropriations and abuse. Yet it is also a story of reform and redemption, of heroes and human dignity--many dedicated staff members did their best to help patients whose mental illnesses were little understood and were stigmatized by society.
About the Author
J.P. Webster is an avid Philadelphia historian, amateur photographer and urban explorer. His photos have been published in the Northeast Times, City Paper, Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Germantown Crier. John is a member of the Northeast Philadelphia and Frankford Historical Societies.
Table of Contents
1 Mental Healthcare in the Quaker City: The Origins of Byberry 15
2 The Blockley Colony at Byberry Farms: Philly's Funny Farm 23
3 Building Bedlam: The Crooked Construction Process 41
4 The Philadelphia Hospital for Mental Diseases: The City Years 51
5 The Philadelphia State Hospital: The State Years 87
6 The New Approach: Deinstitutionalization at Byberry 119
7 The End of an Era: The Closure of PSH 143
8 The Rediscovery of a Discarded Past: The Years of Abandon 157
About the Author 175