Biennial Reports of the Trustees of the Michigan State Asylums for the Insane, and for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, for the years 1855-6.

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Biennial Reports of the Trustees of the Michigan State Asylums for the Insane, and for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind, for the years 1855-6.


Psychiatric hospitals.


Report created by the State Trustees of the Michigan Asylums, reporting to the State legislature for the 1855 and 1856 fiscal years. Traverse City State Hospital was not in operation until 1886.


Trustees of the Michigan State Asylums.


Original document held by Traverse Area District Library.


Lansing: Hosmer & Fitch, Printers to the State.




State of Michigan.


This document is in the public domain.


See other reports from the Trustees in the "Traverse City State Hospital" Digital Collection.










Michigan, United States.

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For the Insane, and for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind,




ZESTA PITCHER, of Detroit.
ISEAEL KELLOGG-, of Kalamazoo.
LUTHEE H. TKASK, of Kalamazoo.
JAMES B. WALKER, of Flint.
BELA HUBBAED, of Detroit.

Resident Officers of the Asylum for the Education of the
Deaf and Dumb and of the Blind, at Flint.






\L H? i














N<? 3


Seals 100 feet to 111 moh


A. Public Parlor.
B. General Office.
C. Matron's Room.
D. Steward's Office.
E. E. Reception Rooms.
F. Officers' Dining Eoom.
G. Apothecary Shop.
H. Ante-Room.
I. Steward's Store Room.
n. Matron's Store Room.
K. Associated Dormitories.
L. Attendants' Room.
M. Day Rooms.
N. Parlors.

O. Dining Room.
P. Clothes Room.
Q. Lavatories.
R. Bath Rooms.
S. Water Closets.
T. Infirmaries.
U. Chapel.
1. Boiler House.
2. Engine and Fan Room.
3. Laundry.
4. Drying Room.
5. Ironing Room.
8.6 . 6. Work Shops.
7. 7. 7. Covered Corridors.



To the Legislature of the State of Michigan :
This Board had the satisfaction in their former report, December, 1854, of announcing the favorable opening of the
School, and of exhibiting the progress made by the pupils by
an exhibition before the Honorable Legislature during its
then session.
In view of the time required to erect the contemplated
buildings and of the urgent wants of a large portion of our
population, so long excluded from those means of education
which the State had liberally extended to all who are capable
of enjoying them, the Board had decided to open the School
in a house hired for the purpose in the city of Flint.
Into this School had been admitted, up to the first of Jannary, 1855, 19 deaf mutes and 4 blind persons.
Efforts were also made by publishing circular notices, and
by personal visits of Mr. Fay, the principal, in various parts
of the State, to awaken an interest, and make known the nature of the benefits which the State sought to confer upon
this hitherto-neglected portion of our population.
The progress which has been made, under the unfavorable



circumstances of limited accommodation and an unfinished
building, and the present condition of the School, and its
prospects for the future, are fully detailed in the accompanying Eeport of the Principal, and we refer to that document
for particular and ample information.
The pupils now number 51 Deaf Mutes, and 15 Blind.
The rapid progress of the pupils, the almost entire exemption from disease, and the general good order and system
which prevail in the Institution, are due mainly to the talents
and indefatigable exertions of our excellent Principal and his
worthy matron and assistants.
In addition to the means heretofore adopted for circulating
and obtaining information, the Board during the past season
resorted to the expedient of mailing circulars to every County
and Town Clerk, Supervisor and Superintendent of the Poor,
in every organized township of the State. A copy of this
circular is given in the Appendix.
It is believed that the existence, location and character of
the Institution are now so widely known and appreciated
that no future special effort will be required (except by those
immediately interested) to bring within its benefits nearly all
the admissible candidates within the State.
One further purpose of this circular has not been so fully
attained, namely, of more full and particular returns of the
number, ages and conditions of the Deaf Mutes, and the
Returns from only twenty-four counties have been received,
and these too imperfect to be relied upon as an exhibit of the
number of those classes of our population. Taken in connection, however, with the census returns of 1854, they exhibit a
generally increased number in the towns which are reported,
and give additional means of estimating the number that are
proper candidates for admission into the Asylum. They also
exhibit the names and residence of many deaf mutes and



blind, with other information which it is desirable to possess
for future reference.
The State census compiled in May, 1854, returns the number of Deaf and Dumb as 206, and Blind 176, in a population of 509,374. The ascertained' proportion of Deaf Mutes
to the population in other States, is 1 in 2,000. There is a
frequent unwillingness, on the part of parents and others, to
make known the existence of these iinfortunates, so that,
allowing for the necessary imperfections of the census returns,
and for the increase of our population, (now numbering probably not less than 700,000,) it may be presumed that we have
of Deaf and Dumb 350, and of Blind 300.
Of these it is safe to suppose that at least one-half are, by
age and character, entitled to admission into the Asylum; so
that it appears that the State already contains from 300 to
350 of these unfortunate beings, between the ages of 10 and
30, qualified by age and mental capacity to become educated
and useful members of society, but who are now not only
shut out from the sweet sights and sounds of nature, but excluded also from those intellectual advantages which it is the
glory and boast of our State to have furnished to all her hearing and seeing children.
How will it add to our boast, to have so opened the aven_
ues to intellectual light and knowledge, that our Blind and
Deaf may have equal cause to rejoice in their privileges !

At the date of our last report, little more than a commencement had been made, in the erection of the edifice designed
for the reception of the Deaf, Dumb and Blind pupils. That
portion of the Asylum building denominated the " School
Wing," has been completed, and was opened to the pupils on
the first day of May last.
Owing to the excessive wet weather in the summer of
1855, and the consequent failure of contractors to furnish



brick, it was impossible to have the building in a state for
occupation before last spring, and then for two months or
more it was occupied conjointly by teachers and pupils, masons and joiners.
The building now finished is occupied as the residence of
the Principal and his family, as the boarding-house, dormi- •
tory, school and exercise rooms of the pupils, as well as for
all other domestic purposes. The whole is so constructed as
to be readily adapted to its ultimate purpose—that of the
school apartments only—when the remaining portion of the
edifice shall be completed.
It is thought that this building will compare favorably, in
style and strength of construction, with any public building
in the State, if not, considering its cost, anywhere in thecountry.
The necessity of doing all the plastering and much of thejoiner work during a winter of excessive cold, greatly increased the expense; but this it was thought advisable ta
incur, rather than be unable to occupy the building during
the following summer.
The portion of the Asylum building now completed is intended to occupy one side (the rear) of a quadrangle, the
Chapel and domestic offices constituting a centre building,
connected by passages with the front and rear. Its size is 60
by 100 feet, and three stories in height, besides the basement,
which on this side of the quadrangle, owing to the descent of
the ground, is a full story.
In the plan it is entirely detached from the rest of the
structure, except by the covered passage connecting it with,
the Chapel. The whole structure is designed to cover a
breadth of 200 feet by 240 feet in depth, enclosing the Chapel'
building in the middle of a central open area, the whole to
be three stories, which with basement will be 56 feet in/,




The estimated cost of the Asylum edifice, as reported by
the Board to the last Legislature, was $100,000. The experience acquired in the construction of so considerable a portion of the work, enables the Board to give such confirmation
or correction of our former estimate as the case requires.
In referring to those estimates, it must not be overlooked,
that the prices of materials and labor have very materially
advanced within the past two years, being at this time, higher
by one-fourth, if not one-third, than at that date. These prices
have, in fact, been constantly on the increase.
The estimate of $18,000 required to complete the school
wing, has been exceeded by about the proportion stated,
though much of this excess is attributable to the increased
expense arising from other causes and disadvantages, above
The whole expense chargeable to building account, as appears by the statement of Mr. Walker, Trustee Superintendent of the building, appended to this report, is about $24,000.
The amount expended up to the date of our last report
was f 6,540, making a total of about $30,500, the cost of the
present building.
Assuming the present erection to be one-fourth of the
whole structure, and adding one-fourth to the amonnt for increased prices of material and labor, the entire cost of the
Asylum Building, when erected according to the plan, may
be set down at $150,000. This estimate includes cost of gaspiping and plumbing, and flues with registers for ventilating, but not the cost of the boilers and other apparatus for
warming. It is proposed to effect this object concurrently
with a system of thorough ventilation, by a similar apparatus
to that recommended in the last report of the Board, for
adoption at the Asylum for Insane, viz.: a forced ventilation
and heating by means of a steam engine and blower and
steam coils, placed in a separate building.



Should this plan be adopted it would add a cost of about
The basement of the wing now erected, and which is at
present used with much inconvenience for a dining room,
and for the various domestic purposes connected with the establishment, may be fitted up as work-shops; thus saving the
cost of a separate building for that purpose.
The portion of the building already completed is so nearly
filled to its utmost capacity that in all probability many pupils must be refused admittance for want of room, long before the remaining portions are completed, even if their erection should be pushed forward with all possible dispatch.
The completed building is expected to accommodate not
more than 350 pupils; a number which is but little, if at all,
over our estimate of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind now
within our State, who are qualified for admission into the
Asylum. The necessity for an immediate construction of the
entire plan is therefore so apparent as to need no farther
comment from us.

The location of the Asylum building is near the westerly
side of the ground procured by exchange and purchase from
the Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank. The laud adjoining this
side comprises very desirable locations for residences and
other buildings. The Board deem it desirable that this land
should be controlled by them, so far as to prevent the erection of buildings which, by their proximity to the Asylum,
might prove annoying. On the east, also, of the Asylum,
and between it and the city of Flint, is a small parcel of land
extending from the Asylum grounds to the low lands upon the
Thread Biver, which, if covered with buildings, would very
much obstruct the view from the Asylum. They have accordingly procured propositions from the Bank for the sale of the



parcel of land first named, amounting to about fifty-three
acres, for the sum of $100 per acre, and from Riissel Bishop
for the other parcel, amounting to about five acres, for the
sum of $200 per acre.
The whole of the additional tract proposed to be purchased
from the Bank, as well as the immediate site of the buildings,
is covered with the native forest, and extends to and includes
a portion of Schwartz Creek, a fine rapid stream of pure water, from which it is intended to supply the Asylum. The
whole extent of land belonging to the State, for the purposes
of this institution, should the above mentioned purchases be
confirmed, will be about ninety-one acres. It occupies an
elevation which commands pleasing views, and those natural
beauties and advantages which are so desirable.
The Trustees cannot but refer with satisfaction to the act
of the Legislature of 1855, by which tuition and board in the
Asylum are made free to all candidates from this State, believing that public sentiment and the increased benefits will
fully justify this example of a wise liberality first proclaimed;
by our State.
The law, though making admission free, requires that
clothing and traveling expenses shall be borne by parents or
guardians. Many cases have become known to us where
even these' expenses have been attended with great hardship
and difficulty, for such is the poverty of very many parents
of these unfortunate beings, such their ignorance of or indifference to the benefits proposed to be conferred upon their
children, as to call forth little exertion on their part to realize them. Even after this exertion has been made, pupils are
sometimes thrown upon the care of the State, without provision or thought for their future expenses of. any kind. The
location of the Asylum is at present much removed from the
great thoroughfares of travel, and unfortunately the Directors of the Detroit and Milwaukee Railway, which is the



only ready line of communication for three-fourths of the distance from Detroit to Flint, have not yet learned that hu^
mane policy which has induced most other roads to carry
such persons free or at half price.
The Board therefore recommend that they be authorized
by law to draw upon the State Treasury for clothing and
traveling expenses of pupils, in such cases as their judgment
may approve, and that these payments be made a charge
upon the county or town to which such pupils respectively

In the last report of the Board of Trustees it was announced
that the post of Medical Superintendent of the Hospital for
the Insane had been tendered to and accepted by Dr. John
P. Gray. Although the services peculiar to this post are not
required until the building is prepared for the reception of
patients, the services of Dr. Gray were of very great importance in the determination of the plans, and to some extent)
in the oversight of the construction. In a work of this magnitude, importance and intricacy, no set of men unaccustomed to the detail and management of such an institution,
can possibly be competent to superintend its construction
without such aid, and it was deemed a wise and economical
policy to secure the supervision and approbation of the future medical head of the Institution, during its erection.
These services Dr. Gray performed at the small salary of
$800, out of which were paid his traveling expenses in the
several visits which were made by him to this State and
elsewhere, in furtherance of the object.
The subsequent election of Dr. Gray to the Superintendency of the New York State Lunatic Asylum, made this post
in Michigan vacant, and upon the unanimous recommendation of the managers of the New York Asylum, as well as'of
Dr. Gray and other influential medical men, the post was



filled by the appointment of Dr. Edwin H. Van Deusen,
then acting first assistant in the 'New York State Asylum.
Dr. Yan Deusen has accepted the appointment, with the understanding that no salary attaches until his services shall
be required as Medical Superintendent proper, of the Institution. He has, nevertheless, twice visited our State, and bestowed much time upon the subject, in his anxious desire to
further the interests in view to the utmost.

With a view of presenting more fully to the Legislature,
the wants of the State in regard to her Insane, and to arrive
at the facts with greater minuteness and particularity than
are exhibited by the bald returns of the census, the Board
directed the President and Clerk to institute inquiries in
every township of the State, by correspondence with the
physicians, and with the county and town officers.
A circular was accordingly addressed to the persons alluded to, a copy of which is appended to this report, together
with a list of inquiries, embraced in a tabular schedule, to be
filled up by the persons addressed. About 1,300 of these circulars were sent out early in August, post office stamps being
enclosed, to insure a more certain reply.
Keturns have been received from about 160 towns, giving
the names, residence, condition and circumstances of about
200 lunatics and idiots. The towns from which returns have
been made, embrace about one-third only of the organized
towns of the State, the Upper Peninsula not being included;
so that from two-thirds of the State no returns were made.
The census statistics of May, 1854, enumerate 428 lunatics
and idiots in the State, the population being then 509,374.
Assuming the population to have increased to 700,000, with
a proportionate increase of insane, and comparing the results
with those deducible from the statistics obtained by the
Board, we arrive at the conclusion that the number of insane



in this State amount to 600. Of this number lunatics are in
somewhat larger proportion than idiots, so that the number
of lunatics who are fairly subjects for immediate medical
treatment with a view to cure, may be estimated at not less
than 350.
About one-half of the number reported to the Board, are
maintained by friends at home, the remainder being county
and town paupers. A few only are maintained in institutions for the insane abroad. The comparatively small number of these, results less from reluctance of friends to send
them abroad, or to pay the necessary expenses, than from the
crowded condition of the Asylums, most State Asylums
being filled with patients from the State where they are situated, and refusing admittance to applicants from other States.
The expense of maintaining a patient from this State in a
foreign institution, varies from $100 to $600 per annum.
The high prices charged at these asylums, and the great
difficulty of obtaining admission at any price, are a source of
extreme suffering, and constitute an appeal for home aid
which is irresistible.
. Of the number maintained in county and town poor
houses, very few receive any medical treatment whatever,
and are subject to influences which tend rather to confirm
than to remove their disease, while the worst possible moral
effect is produced upon all who are thus associated.

At the assembling of the Legislature of 1855, the trustees
were enabled to report full plans and drawings of the Asylum Buildings, and a commencement made in their erection.
The foundations of the center building had been laid, and
the walls carried up two stories.
For the manner in which the appropriation (|67,000) made
by that Legislature has been expended, reference is made to>



the statement of Mr. Kellogg, Superintendent of the building,
appended to this report. The amount there specified has
been used in completing the mason work, roof and dome,
stuccoing the front, priming and glazing the center building,
and in the construction of nearly the whole mason work of
the south wing. The extreme transverse portion of this wing
was built up and roofed in 1855, with a view of finishing
this part and the center building for occupation. But upon
consultation with several Superintendents of Eastern Asylums, the Board were confirmed in their objections to such a
plan, as fully expressed in their report of December, 1854.
It was the unanimous opinion established by the experience
of other institutions, that it was the worst economy to attempt to carry on such an institution with a small portion
only finished. The expenses would be greatly disproportionate to the results obtained, as compared with those attending
the management of affairs in a fully completed building.
The classification of the Insane would be prevented, a very
important element in the successful treatment of the Insane,
and the confusion and disturbance attending the operation
of the builders upon the unfinished portions would go far to
counteract the good effects that the Institution is intended to
It was therefore resolved that the Superintendent should
expend the balance of the appropriation in advancing the
remaining portions of the south wing, so far as the means at
command would permit.
The work has been pushed with vigor, and, it is believed,
with all possible economy. The walls of the two-story portions of the wing are completed, and one-half of the threestory transverse portions. None but the best mechanics
have been employed, and the work has been performed in
the most substantial manner, with the view that when completed no repairs will be required for a great length of time.
The statement of Mr. Kellogg, hereto appended, exhibits



an expenditure of $63,539 22. The estimated value of materials on hand is $3,800, and there is due to contractors
about the same amount. Lumber sufficient for the whole of
the center building and south wing is contracted for, and is
now " stuck up " at the mill and seasoning, but on which
nothing has been paid, and which is not included in the
above estimate of materials on hand.

It was stated in our report of 1854, that the Asylum for the
Insane, the plans and general description of which were then
submitted, was intended when finished to accommodate about
350 patients. Some improvements have been added which
will enlarge the capacity to the accommodation of 288 patients. A greater number than this could not be advantageously cared for in one Institution, the experience of others
being our best guide, in respect to the proper character and
extent of the accommodation.
It will be also apparent, from the statistics above submitted,
that nothing short of the speedy and entire completion of the
"buildings will satisfy even the present pressing need of the
"While, therefore, the funds at our disposal have been expended in such a manner as to permit the completion and
occupation of the center building and the south wing, (containing the wards for male patients,) before any outlay is
made upon other portions, the Board strongly advise the immediate appropriation of a sura sufficient to complete the
entire structure. The pressing exigencies of so large a number of insane in our population, would alone induce to this
conclusion, apart from the many strong considerations of humanity and science which might be urged.
We are now enabled to submit somewhat close and detailed estimates of the cost of the several portions of the Asylum buildings, fixtures and furniture, based partly upon con-



tracts already made and ascertained prices, as well as upon
experience of other similar Institutions.
Estimate of whole amount of materials, labor, dec., required
for the entire completion and furnishing of the Michigan
Asylum for the Insane, arranged,from estimates in detail.

Carpenters' work and materials,
" upon basements and
Painting and glazing,
Plumbing, tin and copper work,
Tanks and drainage,
Mason work, including stone steps and
verandah in front,
$15,100 00



Carpenters' work and materials,
Painting, glazing, window-weights, cords,
pulleys, &c.,
Plumbing, tin and copper work,
Tanks and drainage,
Stone steps and verandahs,
Slating roof,
Cementing walls,
Mason work,
$53,800 00


Whole expense of erection,


$102,000 00



Engine house,
Chapel and kitchen,
Gas works,
Heating and ventilating apparatus,
Two infirmaries,
Barns, &c.,
Grading grounds,
Fencing and materials,

> $ 6,000

$60,100 00
Furniture of entire establishment, inclusive of
farm stock, furniture of laundries, kitchen,
shops, &c.,
22,000 00
Moneys already expended,
87,000 00
$340,000 00
Making the entire cost of the Institution, with all necessary out-buildings, farming implements, farm stock, fences,
gas apparatus, a complete system of drainage and sewerage,
warming and ventilating, and furnished throughout, ready
for occupation, three hundred and forty thousand dollars.
Of the sum thus stated as the entire cost of the establishment, the amount properly belonging to the cost of erection
would be $275,000 only.
For the purpose of comparing this with the cost of similar
Institutions in other States, we subjoin the following table:
Name of Asylum.



State Lunatic Asylum, Utica, N. Y., 130 acres. 440 patients. $517,400
Maryland Hospital, Baltimore,
McLean Asylum, Somerville, Mass., 32 •
Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, 113
Friends' Asylum, Frankfort, Pa.,
State Lunatic Asylum, Trenton, N.J., 100
Maine Hospital for the Insane,
Mt. Hope Institution, Baltimore, Md. 18
Butler Hospital, Providence, R. I., . .115
State Lunatic Asylum,Taunton,Mass, 120

Experience in the erection of Asylums for the Insane, both
in this country and elsewhere, has shown that the average



cost of such institutions is about one thousand dollars for
each patient accommodated ; though in several of the larger
Asylums in the United States, it has been much greater. In
the Michigan Asylum, it will be observed that the cost has
« not exceeded this average.
Reviewing the architectural details of the building, and its
general arrangement, and recollecting that the amount of
cubic space allotted to each patient, is about one-third more
than usual; that the number accommodated in single, instead
of associated dormitories, is proportionably greater, (being
214 of the whole number;) also, that the estimate includes
the erection of a well arranged infirmary for each sex, external to the walls, (a very important feature, peculiar to this
institution, though common to all recently erected Asylums
!in England,) it will be observed that the plan is most complete, and embraces all the modern improvements.
The plans have been submitted to and have secured the
approval of the Association of Medical Superintendents, at
their last session, and all possible care has been exercised to
secure in the construction the most durable materials within
our means.
The Board believe that the moneys thus far appropriated
have been judiciously and economically expended, and that
the estimates presented are as low as the actual cost of labor
and materials will allow. Nor do they hesitate in declaring
that our State will possess, in the finished buildings, a model
institution, the best for its size and cost in the United States,
if not in any other country.
With this report is presented a steel engraving of the Asylum, in perspective, as it will appear when finished; also a
ground plan of the first story, showing the general design
and arrangement, with reference to an explanation on another
page, and general description of the details of the plan.
The number of insane in the State requiring medical treat-



ment, and the numerous rejected applications for admission
into Eastern Asylums, which have come to the knowledge of
the Board, many qf them attended with circumstances of
affliction, sad in the extreme, would seem to make the immediate completion of a portion of the Asylum, very desirable.
The objections to the opening of partially finished institutions
for the admission of patients, have been before alluded to;
but if, in view of the urgency of the case, such a course should
be determined upon, the Board consider that it would be rendered practicable only by the finishing and furnishing of the
entire south wing and center building, and the erection of
the chapel, beneath which are placed the kitchen, bakery
and other indispensable offices. It would also require the
construction of the engine house, with the laundry, drying
and ironing room, together with the heating and ventilating
apparatus, an infirmary and gas house and fixtures. This
will involve an outlay, as will be seen from the annexed statement, prepared from the preceding estimate, of one hundred
and thirty-four thousand dollars:
Finishing centre building,
$ 15,100 00
" south wing,
53,800 00
Building engine house,
6,000 00
Heating and ventilating apparatus,
17,000 00
Chapel, with kitchen, &c.,
10,000 00
Gas house and
6,000 00
5,000 00
Grading grounds,
600 00
2,500 00
Barns, carriage house, &c.,
2,000 00
Furnishing center building,
3,000 00
south wing,
6,000 00
Stocking farm, furnishing laundries, kitchen,
shops, &c.,
7,000 00

$134,000 00



If it be decided to open the south wing for patients as soon
as it can be finished, without waiting the completion of the
rest of the building, it will become incumbent upon the
present Legislature, in additition to the appropriation for
building purposes, to make the necessary statutory provisions
for the administration of the affairs of the institution, during
at least one year of the ensuing biennial term.
It is now almost universally admitted that insanity is a
disease, in a large proportion of cases very curable in its early
stages, but requiring for its successful treatment certain means
and appliances, both medical and moral, which can be rendered available only in special institutions; and also, thalfthe
insane, as a class, should in no case be the inmates of county
poor-Louses, jails, and other receptacles.
In view of this fact, and believing that their claims and
necessities are so universally acknowledged that no appeal is
required to urge their recognition, your Board have deemed
it necessary to present only a report of progress in the construction of the building, and such suggestions as may seem
of service in the early and entire completion of the work.

DETROIT, December, 1856.


To the, Board of Trustees of tlie Michigan Asylums:
GENTLEMEN :—In presenting my second Biennial Report,
I would first of all recognize the hand of a kind Providence
•extended to us thus far, crowning our efforts with success, especially in preserving the lives and healths of our pupils.
Of the seventy-five pupils who have been connected with the
Asylum, all are now living, and all but one in the enjoyment
•of their accustomed health. "We take little credit to ourselves
for this, but so far as human instrumentality is concerned, it
must be ascribed to the systematic course of life in the institution; the regular hours allotted to school, study, out-door
exercise and sleep; to the means of ventilation in our building, affording us a plentiful supply of pure air; to the cleanliness attempted to be enforced throughout the establishment;
to the weekly bath, and to the attention and skill of our Physician.
The date of my first report was November first, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four. With the same pupils
then reported we continued the school to the last of the succeeding July, with our usual success, and with nothing worthy
of special notice, unless it be our pleasant visit to Lansing,
where the exhibition of our pupils was attended by both



branches of the Legislature, the Governor and other State
officers, all of whom manifested a hearty interest in our cause,
and expressed high approbation of our pupils' attainments.
The appropriation of funds made to us during their session,
though not so large as we asked, and as the result has proved,
not sufficient to complete our present building and defray the
current expenses of the institution, was notwithstanding a
handsome and liberal appropriation.
A highly important change in the terms of admission of
pupils to the Asylum was also obtained at that session of the
Legislature. By a previous legislative enactment, parents
who were unable to pay the expense of board and tuition,
were required to produce a certificate of their inability before their children could enjoy the benefits of the Asylum.
N~ovi its doors are open alike to all the Deaf and Dumb and
the Blind, of suitable age and character, in the State of Michigan. It is believed that this change in the original organization of the institution is one that meets the approbation of
the citizens of this State, and one that has already and will
in future years contribute more to its prosperity and usefulness than any other act of State patronage it has ever received.
For the courtesy and favor with which we were received
by the gentlemen who composed the last Legislature, and for
the more substantial benefits they conferred upon the institution, we desire here to record our most grateful acknowledgments.
"We would respectfully siiggest that another rule, adopted
at the organization of the Asylum, should receive the attention of the next Legislature. I refer to that by which the
Board of Trustees all go out of office at the same time. This,
in its practical operation, will be highly detrimental to the
welfare of the Asylum. The office of a part only should expire at the same time, a part still remaining who are already
familiar with the complicated affairs of the institution, who



know all that has been done, and consequently know better
than others can what should be done in future ; have themselves had just that experience which is the highest qualification for the future. A Board composed of entirely new.
members will find great difficulty in ascertaining precisely
what has been done and how done ; and even then they cannot act as efficiently as those who have once performed the
same work which in a measure is to be done over again.
Yourselves, gentlemen, when you first entered upon your duties, must have found some difficulty in ascertaining what
your predecessors had done, though they had not attempted
great things, having scarcely made a beginning.
This is a matter of special importance in the present condition of the Asylums, both at Kalamazoo and Flint, where,
buildings are in process of erection. It is almost a necessity
that some of those who have had experience in the construction of these buildings thus far should be retained for the
farther prosecution of them.
"When our yearly term of school closed in July, eighteen
hundred and fifty-five, it was expected that we would be able
to occupy the new building in the succeeding autumn ; but
in this we were disappointed, owing to the fact that the individual who had contracted to furnish the brick for the building failed to meet his contract.
The number of pupils had increased to such an extent that
all could not possibly be received in our rented apartments,
and it was judged best to continue the school during the
winter with the blind pupils only. It was a real disappointment as well as real detriment to the deaf mute piipils to wait
seven months beyond the time they had expected to return
to the Asylum. During this time they lost much of their
interest in study, and forgot no small portion of what they
had previously acquired.
We took possession of the new building on the first of May



This building is one hundred feet long by sixty in width,
,and four stories in height, including the basement story. It
is surmounted by a circular dome, rising about fourteen feet
above the roof, by eleven feet in diameter, and extending
downward through the attic, opens into and affords additional light to a large hall, about fifty feet square, designed
for the chapel and lecture room.
The height of the first principal story is fourteen feet in
the clear ; the second, thirteen; the third, fourteen and a
half feet. The highest point of the cupola is eighty-five feet
above the ground at the base of the building.
Lengthwise through the basement, and through the first and
-second principal stories, extend halls about fifteen feet in
In the basement are seven rooms, which are used for the
following purposes, viz.: the kitchen, the dining room, store
room, girls' washing and bathing room, boys' wishing and
bathing room, sleeping room for domestics, and trunk room.
There not being rooms enough for all the household purposes,
"the girls' washing and bathing room is (with much inconvenience) the laundry ; the boys' washing and bathing room is
also used (by necessity) for household purposes.
In the first principal story are eight rooms, four of which
are school rooms; one the boys' sitting and study room, where
•they spend their evenings; one the music room, which is also
used for the blind girls' sitting room; one the reception room
for visitors, and one the Principal's office.
In the second story the rooms are also eight in number.
'Three are boys' sleeping rooms; one the hospital in case of
sickness; one a room for teachers; one the guest chamber,
and two are family rooms.
The third story contains five rooms; one is the chapel and
lecture room; one the girls' sitting or study room; two are
.girls' sleeping rooms, and one a room for teachers.
Thus it will be seen that all .the rooms in the building are



now occupied for necessary purposes. The sleeping and
study rooms are crowded to excess. Two rooms in the basement, and one in the first principal story, are each, at great
inconvenience, occupied for double purposes.
The building is well ventilated throughout, by means of
flues constructed for the purpose. Flues are also constructed,
opening into each room and hall, for the introduction of
heated air, by which it is intended to warm all the buildings
when the whole shall have been completed.
Pipes are laid through all the apartments for the introduction of gas, when the remaining structures contemplated in
your plan, shall have been erected.
The present building has been constructed of the best materials, and in the most substantial and durable manner.
Though little has been added for mere ornament, yet the
symmetry of its proportions, and the propriety manifest in
its style of architecture and finish, are such as to impress all
beholders that it is a beautiful and imposing structure.
In the process of its construction the most rigid economy
lias been consulted, consistent with the enlarged scale on
which the State should erect all her public buildings. We
think all will regard it as highly creditable to the Board of
Trustees under whose auspices the work has been accomplished, and an honor to the State of Michigan.
For this noble edifice, as you are aware, we are especially
indebted to the member of your Board who resides in Flint.
From the first spade of earth excavated for the foundation
wall, to the finishing stroke on the summit of the dome, he
has superintended it; has been present in person nearly every
day, and witnessed every inch of its progress; has persevered
steadily through all the perplexities and embarrassments incident to such an undertaking. His maxim seems to have
been that there is only one right way of doing a thing, and
he has the reputation of being very tenacious of having
things done in that way.



The Architectural Draughts of the building were executed
"by A. Jordan, Esq., of Detroit, who deservedly merits the
high reputation which he sustains as an artist. The masonry
has been performed by Messrs. Tobias and John T. Johnson,
who always do their work thoroughly, whether it take a
longer or shorter time, and whether they gain or lose by the
contract. The head carpenter was Eeuben Van Tifflin, Esq.,
who manifested a laudable pride in having his labor planned
and executed in the most workmanlike manner, and finished
"in an appropriate and tasteful style. The painting, undertaken by Joseph "Woolhouse, Esq., and the glazier work, by
Francis Gurnea, Esq., were each promptly and faithfully
This part of the plan of our Asylum buildings, now completed, was designed for school rooms and nothing else. It
is well adapted to its design, but is not adapted to the purposes for which we are now temporarily occupying it, for a
boarding establishment and all the other uses required in a
public institution of this kind. It is not adapted to the domestic work of cooking, baking, washing and ironing, nor for
foath rooms, study rooms, and dormitories for the pupils. It
"is not suited to the important object of having all the apartments of the males and females respectively, in separate
wings of the building.
We every day feel the want of apartments suited to our
condition, and shall until the future contemplated structures
are completed.
But though this building were ever so well adapted to the
•objects for which it is used, still there is not enough of it.
As already stated, the rooms are now all occupied, and some
of them excessively crowded. "We see not how more pupils
can be admitted to this building, unless we convert our lecture room into dormitories. But more pupils will ask for
admittance next year and years following, just as they have
done years past. The first year we had eleven; the second



year twenty-three; and now we have seventy. This increase
will continue in future years. It may justly be estimated
that three years from this time there will be one hundred and
fifty pupils desiring an education in this institution. Hence
the necessity of commencing the erection of the remaining
portion of the buildings early the next spring, as it will probably require nearly three years to complete them.
"We also need workshops, in which the deaf and dumb and
the .blind boys may spend some time each day, when not in
school, in acquiring some useful trade or handicraft by which
they will be able in part, and many of them altogether, to
support themselves, when they shall have left the Asylum.
This is not only an important part of their education, but by
employing all their idle hours, serves to keep them out of
mischief, and prevents their being discontented. I would
suggest that as soon as we are able to occupy the other buildings, the rooms in the basement of the present buildings may
be used for workshops. If this be practicable, hence the
further necessity of erecting the other buildings as soon as
Since my last report, some of our teachers have resigned
their offices, and others have been appointed in their stead.
At the close of the term, one year ago last July, Mr. Nordyke, who had taught for one year, resigned for the sake of
further prosecution of his studies in the Indiana institution.
He is now a teacher in that institution. Mr. "William L. M.
Breg, a deaf mute, who was educated at the New York institution, and was under instruction ten years, was appointed
to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Mr. Nbrdyke, and entered upon his duties the first of May last. His
literary attainments and general character were commended
to us in unqualified terms by the President of the New York
institution, and by his son, (the latter had been his instructor
for the last three years,) but the result of our acquaintance
with him thus far has more than equaled our expectations.



In his superior education he is a rare specimen of what can
be accomplished for the unfortunate deaf mute. Added tothis, his amiable disposition and correct deportment, his
energy, industry and perseverance, his love of order and
discipline, eminently qualify him for the station he occupies.
The addition of a new class of pupils last May, rendered
it necessary to employ another teacher, and Miss Caroline
A. Sharpe was appointed. Owing to feeble health, she resigned at the close of the first term. Her class made satisfactory improvement under her instruction, and we were
sorry to lose her services. I shall nominate her successor as
soon as a competent person can be obtained.
Measures have recently been taken to secure a music
teacher for the blind, but we are not now able to announce
any definite results.
Our present number of pupils is fifty-three deaf and dumb,
and seventeen blind. More than this will appear in the catalogue at the end of this report, as we insert the names of all
who have been pupils since our last report. Five of those
who were with us last term are not expected to return. One
has gone with his parents to reside in another State; one was
a graduate of another institution, and came for only a limited
time; two others had recently become deaf, but were not
dumb, had a previous knowledge of language, and one of
them more than an ordinary education, and it was thought
they could pursue their studies to better advantage elsewhere
than in an institution for the deaf and dumb; one other, who
had been under instruction for twenty months, thinks he has
attended school long enough, and can do better to stay at
home and work at his trade. Such instances of mistaken
views as to the time required for an education, often occur
among the deaf and dumb, and more often still among their
relatives. In some cases their services are valuable at home,



and their parents think that two or three years, at the longest, is sufficient to complete their education. They consequently take them away, and they pass in the community as
specimens of what an education does for the deaf and dumb,
whereas they had only commenced their education. Hearing
and speaking children generally attend school from the time
they are five or six years of age, till they are eighteen or
twenty, and some for a still longer period. How then can
one who neither hears nor speaks, whose mind in most cases
is entirely uncultivated up to the time he enters the institution; who commences with the alphabet, and learns the
names of objects and meaning of words only one at a time,
and then does not remember it till it has been explained and
written many times; and when, by this slow method, he has
acquired a small vocabulary of words, he has before him the
still more difficult task of trying to learn the grammatical
structure of sentences; all of which the hearing child acquires
without going to school at all, by hearing the language spoken, and speaking it himself with his brothers and sisters or
other associates at home. The wonder is that any deaf mute
acquires a tolerable use of written language in seven years,
less than half the period allotted to the education of those
who can hear and speak.
In some institutions for the deaf and dumb in other States,
it is required as a condition of admittance that the pupil is
not to leave the institution till he has pursued the full course
of six or seven years. Such a regulation secures a benefit
to the pupil, and saves the institution from being judged by
a false standard, viz.: the acquirements, or rather no acquirements, of those who have pursued only a partial course.
One blind pupil of last term had his sight perfectly restored, and of course will not return. There are, at present,
other absentees, who are expected soon to return to the



Our deaf and dumb pupils are divided into three classes;
one is taught temporarily by my son until we can secure a
permanent teacher, one by Mr. Breg, and the other by myself. The blind are taught by Mrs. Fay.
The causes assigned for the deafness and blindness of our
pupils, so far as ascertained, are as follows: The deafness of
twenty-two was congenital; by sickness, without specifying
the disease, seven; sores in the head, four; brain fever, two;
spotted fever, two; scarlet fever, two; measles, two; whooping cough, three; colds in the head, two; scrofula, one; erysipelas, one; swallowing a German silver button, one; unknown, six.
The blindness of seven was congenital; by inflammation,
seven; brain fever, one; cataract, one; others unknown.
The father and mother of nine deaf mutes, and of one
blind pupil, were cousins. The parents of one deaf mute
are uncle and neice.
i From one family we have two deaf mutes, brothers; from
another, two, twin sisters; from another, brother and sister;
from another, brother and two sisters.
"We have one deaf and dumb girl who can call no living
creature kindred. She was found in Lenawee county, on the
line of the Southern railroad. It is supposed that she was
put out of the cars and left there. She was named Lenawee,
and is still called by that name.
Blind persons are sometimes sent to the Asylum for the
purpose of having their sight restored, under the mistaken
notion that ours is a curative establishment; whereas, education is the sole object. "We do not take, and think that none
but parents or near relatives should take, the responsibility
of having surgical operations performed on the eye. Our
physician applies mild remedies, where there is a prospect
of affording relief. About a year ago, a boy was sent to us



from the Upper Peninsula, for the purpose of having his
sight restored. We informed those who sent him that such
was not the object of our institution, and put him into the
regular course of school exercises. Our physician prescribed
applications for his eyes, which, together with attention to
diet, regular exercise, and systematic life, resulted in perfectly restoring his sight, and he returned to his home. But
such cases are exceedingly rare.
We are often asked what we accomplish for our deaf mute
and blind pupils, or in what consists their education. Though
the answer to this question was implied in our last report,
yet for the benefit of those wishing the information, we will
answer it again.
For the deaf and dumb, what we attempt first of all, and
above all, is to impart a knowledge of the English language;
such that they can read, and understand it, when written or
published by others, and write it correctly themselves. This
is that of which the uneducated deaf mute is entirely destitute, and that which he most urgently needs. Some, before
they come -to the institution, have had such advantages by
traveling, visiting different places, witnessing the various
pursuits and busy scenes of life, that they are not entirely
destitute of ideas, but have no language by which they can
communicate their ideas, or none in common with speaking
persons. They have a language of signs, or pantomime, by
which they can converse with each other; and in the school
room they are taught to tpanslate this pantomime into written
language. They are thus restored to society, can converse
with their relatives and acquaintances by pen and paper, or
by slate and pencil, can read and write letters, and transact
business. Having acquired a knowledge of written language,
they are prepared to pursue other branches of learning, such
as history, the general sciences, and mathematics. We teach
them, however, arithmetic, geography, and the elenaents of



other sciences, before they have acquired a correct use of
language, while the latter is regarded as the grand object to
be attained," through the whole course of their education.
Much important information is conveyed by means of the
sign language, while they are unable to understand any
other. Those who have more recently entered the institution,.
are constantly receiving information in this way, from those
who entered at an earlier period; and all are receiving it,
every day, in the school rooms, from their teachers.
In this way they are each day deriving moral and religious
information. Our school is opened each morning by assembling the pupils in the chapel, and explaining a verse of
Scripture, accompanied with prayer, all in the language of
signs. At the close of school, in the afternoon, they are
again assembled and questioned on the Scripture explained
in the morning; are required to remember the book, chapter,
and verse, the definition of words in the verse, and some of
them spell the whole on their fingers.
On each Sabbath morning and afternoon, we have stated
services, in which moral and religious truths are explained
and enforced by means of the sign language.
Some pupils are so far advanced in age when they enter
the institution, and others naturally so deficient in intellect
that they will never be able to use written language correctly,
and some few not intelligibly; still it is well for them to be
in the institution, for the sake of the information they gain
through the language of signs.
In consequence of the influences above alluded to, our
pupils, during the term of their education, are greatly improved in moral character. Previous to instruction, none of
ttem (unless they have associated with educated deaf mutes)
have any correct views of the being of God, or of the existence and immortality of the soul. These and other kindred
truths they first learn in the institution where they are educated. Some bring with them vicious habits and propensi-



ties. One deaf mute boy who came at the age of nine years,
and whose home had been in a large city, his mother informed us had often been away from home all night long for four
nights in succession, and she knew not where he was, only
that he was with vagrant boys in the street, and trained in
the worst forms of vice. "We expect, by the blessing of
Heaven, so to transform him that when he leaves us he will
lead a life of correct moral deportment. Some uneducated
deaf mutes are addicted to lying, thieving, and fighting, but
it is owing quite as much to their ignorance as to their depravity, for the removal of both of which, influences are
constantly at work while they are in the institution, and
results are in some cases speedily seen.
Our pupils are not only improved in their intellects and
morals, but also in their manners. Their parents and friends
notice this, and sometimes express their surprise at the
change. One writes of a boy who had returned home for
vacation, after having been in the school one term, thus:
"After his return he appeared like a changed child, so orderly, quiet, and peaceable." Another says of his daughter in
vacation: " When she goes into company now, her behavior
is entirely different from what it formerly was."
It is interesting to the teachers, both of the deaf mutes .and
the blind, to witness the gradual development of mind and
improvement in manners. Some, having before scarcely
been out of sight of their homes, come with a vacant and
stupid expression of countenance, and the most uncouth,
awkward manners. But gradually, as the mind expands,
there is a lighting up of intelligence in their faces, they become neat in person and dress, gentle and refined in behavior,
and we are ready to exclaim, can this be the same individual
whom we first saw with so forlorn and forbidding demeanor ?
The blind pupils have been taught Orthography, and the
definition of words, History, Grammar, Arithmetic, Algebra,
Natural History, Philosophy, Astronomy, and reading by



the sense of touch, such books as are printed in raised letters
for their especial benefit. Of these we have now Howe's
Elind Child's First Book, six copies; Howe's Blind Child's
Manual, four copies; Howe's Geography; English Reader,
second part; English Grammar; Principles of Arithmetic;
Natural Philosophy; Astronomical Dictionary; the Constitution of the United States; Political Class Book; The Harvey Boys; Life of Melancthon, two copies; Psalms and
Hymns, two copies; Pilgrim's Progress; Baxter's Call; Book
of Psalms, two copies, and the entire Bible, in eight volumes.
Nearly all the blind pupils can read raised letters, and
some of them promptly, with interest and profit. One has
committed to memory the Book of Psalms, as far as the
eighty-fifth, and can repeat verbatim, a considerable portion
of the United States Constitution. This memorizing he does
voluntarily, in his leisure hours, by use of the embossed
The uneducated blind, mentally, are not in so hopeless and
dependent condition as the uneducated deaf and dumb. The
former, in most instances, acquiring information at home, as
other children do, by conversation, public lectures, preaching, and hearing others read. But physically, they are in a
much more dependent condition. The task of instructing
them is not so slow and difficult, but the care of them in
supplying their physical wants is much greater.
In some instances, the change of character produced by
education, is as strikingly apparent as in the deaf and dumb.
Sometimes there is a young man from twenty to thirty
years of age, who has passed two-thirds of his previous life
in sleep, and the other third in sullen despondency in the
chimney corner; and the entire range of his ideas has been
limited to the distance between the chimney corner and the
bed. He enters an institution designed for his education;
his mind acquires the power and the habit of concentration
by thorough application to mathematics; it ranges over the



world's history; it stores away, in its memory, the deductions
of chemistry and geometry; it holds communion with constellations and planets. A new world has been opened to
him. He is not only a wiser and better, but an inexpressibly
happier man. He no longer murmurs and repines at his
infirmity, but rather congratulates himself on his superior
attainments; and he is really superior to other students, at
least in the faculty of concentrating his mind on what he
studies. It is by this faculty that educated blind persons so
notoriously excel others in demonstrating the most difficult
mathematical problems.
Another may sometimes be found, the most of whose previous life had been spent in the grog shop, or with boon companions of such places. Having a retentive memory, as is
common with the blind, he has made great proficiency in the
literature of such localities. He can repeat, statim et verbatim, every vulgar jest, story and song laid down in the programme. But he goes to an institution more benevolently
adapted to his unfortunate condition, and there learns what
he never knew before, that besides the sensual there is such
a thing as mental and spiritual enjoyment. If he can bear
for a while the rein which seems to him so very taut, he at
length learns to despise his former mode of life, and begins
to aspire after something higher, nobler, more worthy his
immortal nature. He comes out in the end a reformed and
educated man; has learned self-reliance and self-respect, and
under the guidance of Divine Providence is indebted to his
education for being a more happy, useful citizen.
Thus have we attempted briefly to answer the question,
"What do siich institutions accomplish for the deaf mute and
the blind ?
As I look back to the date of my last report, the time
seems short; it has passed rapidly and pleasantly away.
Though necessarily filled with unremitting care and toil, yet



the consciousness of success has been an ample compensation. In addition to the greater accommodations furnished
by the new building, the large accession of pupils and the
progress they have made, it is believed that our institution
has also grown in the confidence of the citizens of the State;
that the parents and friends of the deaf mute and the blind
are ardently attached to it; that none have aught to say
why it should not go on and prosper; and that future Legislatures will grant the funds to carry out the cherished plans
of our Board.
"We render our grateful acknowledgments to the Board of
Trustees, for their encouragement and aid in our arduous and
responsible duties.
Respectfully submitted,
B. M. FAT,
Flint, November 12,1856.




Deaf and Dumb.—Males.

Armstrong, Joseph A.,
Armstrong, Laughlin M.,
Blair, Joseph,
Bigelow, Samuel,
Bingham, Robert,
Blue, Malcolm,
Bowen, Ezra,
Bradley, James,
Chubb, Samuel J.,
Drummond, Timothy,
Eancher, Eli,
Hewitt, James H.,
Holland, George "W.,
JIurd, Samuel,
Innis, Thomas,
Kellogg, Marvin,
Xrouse, "Wallace H.,
Lowry, John M".,
McCartney, Samuel,
Philips, Oscar F.,
Pierce, Stephen,
Pomaville, Maximo,
Rose, George L.,
Shirkey, Orson L.,
'Thorn, James "W.,
Tracy, John,
White, John C.,


Van Buren.
St. Joseph.
St. Clair.
St. Clair.


Deaf and Dumb.—Females.

Alderman, Mary,
Armstrong, Mary,
Armstrong, Sarah,
Berthelote, Sarah J.,
Brumfield, Emma A.,
Chubb, Henrietta,
Chubb, Sarah,
DeArmond, Eachael,
Doty, Pluma J.,
Eastman, Lois,
Elliott, Mary E.,
Fairbane, Elspeth,
George, Adelia M.,
Grob, Caroline F.,
Harwood, Lenawee,
Hildreth, Mary E.,
Hollon, Sarah,
Kellogg, -Harriet,
Knight, Almena R,
Lepper, Cordelia,
MclSTames, Mary,
Merril, Elizabeth,
Morgan, Ann E.,
Norton, Jane,
Prouty, Sarepta,
Eansom, Isabella,
Savage, Clarissa J.,
Vought, Lucy Ann,
"Wood, Almira D.,



St. Joseph.





Benedict, James G.,
Blunt, Charles,
Bullock, George,
Kershaw, James,
Lamb, Henry,
Mendham, James,
!Newday, Henry,
Philips, Chester B.,
Priest, James,
Reed, George W.,
Robinson, Eli,
Torrey, Clark W.,
Wesley, John,




Fenn, Huldah J.,
Hoff, Mary,
Nichols, Matilda,
Eeed, Mary Ann,
Stearns, Amelia A.,
Sullivan, Margaret,
Wood, Lucy Jane,





Deaf and Dumb,







Whole number,
from Allegan county,
" —
" .Kalamazoo "
(Livingston "
Mackinac "
Newaygo "
Ontonagon "
;St, Glair
St^Joseph "
"Van Buren "
•Washtenaw "







Our thanks are due to the Editors and Proprietors of the
following newspapers, which have been sent to the Asylum
Wolverine Citizen, published at Flint.
Genesee Democrat,
Detroit Tribune,
Michigan State Journal, published at Lansing.
Our thanks are also due to the Superintendent of the
Michigan Central Eailroad, for having invariably granted
free tickets to our pupils when going to or returning from
the Asylum, and for the prompt and gentlemanly manner in*
which the favor has been bestowed.


The Asylum, is free to all the deaf and dumb and the
blind in Michigan, between the ages of ten and thirty years,
who possess a good natural intellect, a good moral character,
and have no contagious disease. All such are entitled to an
education, without charge for board or tuition.
Parents or guardians provide clothing for pupils, and pay
their traveling expenses.
The regular time for admission is at the close of the vacation, which extends from the last Wednesday of July to the
first Wednesday of October. Pupils will not be received at
other times, except in extraordinary cases.
Persons wishing to place pupils in the Asylum, should
address the Principal, stating the name, age, and residence
of such pupil. No certificate of any kind is required.
Pupils' clothing must T>e marked with durable ink.
Those persons bringing pupils to, or taking them away,
cannot be furnished board, lodging, or horse-keeping at the



STATEMENT of Receipts and Disbursements on account of the
Asylum for the Deaf Mutes and the Blind, at Flint,

There have been received from the State since the first of January,
1855, for the benefit of the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb and the
-$37,468 26


There has been paid B. M. Fay, balance of salary
as Principal for 1854,
$200 00
Salary for 1855,...
800 00
Three quarters salary for 1856,
750 00
$1,750 00
Mrs. B. M. Fay, as Matron, balance of salary for
$ 60 00
Salaryfor 1855,
Three quarters salary for 1856,
225 00
475 0©
B. Nordyke, balance of salary for 1854,
$ 50 00
For salary in 1855,
100 00
150 00
W. L. M. Breg, traveling expenses, by resolution of
$20 00
Salary as teacher in 1856,
82 33
103 33
Mias Caroline Sharpe, salary as teacher in 1856,
67 50



Salary of J. B. Walker, as acting Trustee for 1854, $800 00
1855, 800 00
1856, 800 00
$2,400 00
Paid for carpenter and joiner work,
$6,894 51
" masonvrork,
6,218 79
" lumber and shingles,
3,167 93
" brick
" iron, nails, stoves, copper, gas pipe
trimmings, &e.,
2,962 27
" furniture, carpets, beds, bedding, &c.,. 1,708 07
" paints, oil and glass,
1,040 87
" painting and glazing,
752 05
" team work,
1,024 25
« labor,
" stone,
* blacksmithing,
" freight, storage, &c.,
380 02
" waterlime,
" insurance,
" R. D. Lamond, for medical services, by
resolution of Board,
29 92
By resolution of Board, refunded money paid
for benefit of J. G. Benedict,
30 00
By resolution of Board, paid traveling expenses
of B. M. Fay,
75 00
Paid traveling expenses of J. B. Walker, as
193 35
Paid incidental expenses of Asylum,
4,199 67
32,522 43
$37,468 86
There have also been collected on notes donated by citizens of Flint
and vicinity, $1,453 00, principally in labor and building materials,
making the total expense of building and carrying on the institution
two years, $38,921 26.
Superintendent of Building.
Fmrr, NOVEMBER 28, 1856.



STATEMENT of Receipts and Disbursements on account of the
Asylum for the Insane, since January 1st, 1855.

Rec'din warrants drawn on the Treasurer at sundry times,.$62,905 24
Unexpended balance of 1854,
Balance of collections of citizens' notes,
159 38

.$63,539 28

$11,106 90
Eouble stone,
Dimension stone,
704 51
5,343 64
Freight on M. C. R. R,
1,131 03
Mason work, including lime, sand, stone cutting, removing brick, &c.,
22,940 28
Carpenter and joiner work,
5,743 97
2,020 22
Common labor,
161 85
612 99
Slating roof
1,634 56
Nails, iron, tin and copper work, (fee.,
2,990 4§
Iron pipe,
378 89
Water works, for raising water to building,
1,462 50
Water and right of way for race,
225 00
102 68
Lightning rod,
29 75
Bricking up well,
40 00
65 35
Grubbing and clearing up land,
60 00
Making fence,
31 83



Salary of Superintendent, 2£ years,
Surveying, leveling, &c.,
Balance over receipts,


$1,800 00
24 00
1S6 45

.$63,539 22
Superintendent of Bwlding,
NOVEMBER 28,1856.



SIE—At a recent meeting of the Trustees of this Institution, a resolution was passed directing the President and
Clerk " to correspond with the Clerks, Supervisors, and Superintendents of the Poor of the several counties and towns,
and physicians throughout the State, with a view of obtaining statistics of Insanity in this State." The object is, that
the Board may be enabled more fully and intelligently to
present to the next Legislature the wants of the State in regard to the proper care of its Insane; and as the information
required is such as can be obtained only very imperfectly
from the census returns, the undersigned respectfully and
urgently request that you will favor them with replies to the
inquiries in the accompanying Schedule, in as full and complete a manner as you are enabled to do from all the sources
of information within your reach. It is important that these
be forwarded to us as early as possible—by the first of November, if practicable.
Respectfully yours,

President of the Board.
Clerk of the Board.
DETROIT, August 1, 1856.



Answers are solicited to the inquiries contained in the following Schedule, relative to the persons and condition of all
the Insane within your knowledge:
1. Name or initials.
2. ^Residence.
3. Sex.
4. Color.
5. Age.
6. Country of birth.
7. Single, married, widowed.
8. Lunatic or idiot.
9. Present and usual condition; whether mild, manageable, troublesome, excitable, furioiis or dangerous.
10. Length of time insane.
11. Whether State or town pauper; where and by whom
12. Number in Institutions in other States.
13. Amount paid for their support in those Institutions.


SIB—This Asylum is located in the City of Flint, Genesee
County. It is a State Institution, and is now free to all the
Deaf and Dumb and Blind in Michigan, between the ages
of ten and thirty years, who possess a good natural intellect,
a good moral character, and have no contagious disease. All
such are entitled to an education, without charge for board
or tuition.
Parents or guardians provide clothing for pupils, and pay
their traveling expenses. Pupils in going to and returning
from the Asylum, generally obtain a free pass on railroads.
The next session will commence on the first Wednesday
of October, 1856, and continue to the last Wednesday of
July, 1857, when there will be a vacation of two months.



Persons wishing to place pupils in the Asylum at the commencement of the next session, should write the Principal—
stating the name, age, and residence of such pupil. No certificate of any kind is required.
It is important that pupils should be brought to the Asylum punctually at the commencement of the term, and their
clothing should all be marked.
If there are in your vicinity Deaf and Dumb and Blind
persons, of suitable age and character, according to the conditions above stated, will you please make known to their
parents or friends the contents of this circular, that they may
avail themselves of the means of an education so liberally
provided for them by the State of Michigan ?
You are also respectfully requested to forward to B. Hubbard, at Detroit, Clerk of the Board, a list embracing the
names, residence and age, of all the Deaf and Dumb and
Blind within your vicinity and knowledge.
Tours, respectfully,
B. M. FAT,
Principal of the Asylum.
Treasurer of the Board of TrusteesFLINT, August 1, 1856.



SITUATION.—The Michigan Asylum for the Insane is situaied at Kalamazoo, upon the Michigan Central Eailroad, one
hundred and forty-three miles west of Detroit, and fifty-one
miles south-west of the Capitol at Lansing. The location is
probably as central and convenient as any that could have
been chosen, having reference both to the present means of
•-communication with the various parts of the State, and to
•any other routes of travel likely to be projected hereafter.
The site selected for the building is upon an irregular eminence, about one mile from the village, and sufficiently elevated above the valley of the Kalamazoo river to secure an
extended prospect, and yet well-sheltered and easy of access
from the plain below. The location is in every respect
healthful and desirable, and well adapted to the purposes
•and objects of an institution for the treatment of mental
FABM.—The amount of laud originally purchased for the
use of the Asylum was one hundred and sixty acres, but 'to
secure a more desirable site for the buildings, an adjacent
'tract was subsequently added, making the whole amount of
land in the possession of the institution one hundred and



sixty-eight acies (167 76-100ths). Most of this land is finely
timbered with the original growth of oak, hickory, and other
trees, affording every facility which could be desired for
beautifying the grounds. That in the rear of the building is
broken, and falls, by a series of ravines covered with trees,
about eighty feet to the valley below, through which flows a
small but rapid stream of pure water. The buildings themselves will cover an area of one and one-third acres. It is
designed to preserve about fifty acres in groves and woodland, with walks and drives, and the remainder will be devoted to ordinary agricultural purposes.
ARCHITECTURE.—The plans selected by the Board of Trustees were placed in the hands of A. H. Jordan, Architect, of
Detroit, for the necessary elevations, details, &c. The style
adopted is the Italien, it being the lightest, most cheerful,
and least expensive for the effect required in such an extensive range of building.
MATERIALS.—The material used in construction has been
brick, covered with Eoman cement and sand, and finished
to represent freestone. The window caps, sills and brackets,
belt-courses and capitals in front, are of white limestone,
from the Athens quarries, near Chicago. The division walls
throughout are of brick. The Asylum is built upon a system
of fire-proof construction, nearly all the floors being laid
upon brick arches sprung from iron girders, which besides
providing against fire, give additional security to the building, and ensure its durability.
GENERAL PLAN.—The ground plans were furnished by Dr.
John P. Gray, the accomplished Superintendent of the New
York State Lunatic Asylum, at Utica, under whose direction
the work was commenced. It might here be remarked, that
the principles laid down in a series of propositions relative
to the construction and arrangement of Hospitals for the
Insane, unanimously adopted by the "Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane,"



have been fully carried out in the plans adopted by the
Board. The form and internal arrangement of the Institution will be readily understood by reference to the accompanying ground-plan. The Asylum building proper, the main
front of which has an easterly aspect, consists of a center
and six wings. The center portion of the main building is
divided by the entrance hall into two nearly equal parts.
That to the right contains in front the principal office of the
Institution, the apothecary shop, and an ante-room communicating by a private stairway with the Superintendent's
apartments above; and in the rear, the matron's room and
ladies' receptiort room; while that to the left contains in front
the public parlor and officers' dining room, and immediately
behind these, the steward's office and men's reception room.
The second floor is appropriated exclusively to the use of the
Medical Superintendent. Upon the third floor are the apartments of the assistant physicians, steward and matron. The
basement contains the laboratory connected with- the apothecary shop, and the officers' kitchen and store rooms. Immediately behind the center building is the chapel, and still
further in the rear the engine and boiler house. Extending
from the center building, towards the south for males and
towards the north for females, are the several wards of the
Institution, nine on each side, including the infirmaries.
APPROPRIATION OF WARDS.—The various wards in the Institution are appropriated as follows:


1 and 2 Convalescent and quiet,

3 and 4 Less disturbed,
5 and 6 More
and Infirm,
Acute cases. &c., (Infirmaries.}

No. of Beds.
TotsI of
each sex
Wards Single r'ms.| Ans'd Dorm & clatl.









The division of the sexes is equal. Eight of these wards,



inclusive of the infirmaries, are upon the first floor, six uport
the second, and four upon the third floor of the transversewings. It is considered that by means of these, any desirable classification of patients may be readily carried out.
ARRANGEMENT OF WARDS.—Each ward has the usual arrangement of corridors, sleeping-rooms, day-rooms and dining-rooms; with two stairways, a clothes-room, lavatory, bathroom, water-closet, soiled clothes shaft, drying shaft and dust
flue, to each. The corridors in the first, second, and third
wings, are respectively, one hundred and fifty-five, one hundred and sixty, and seventy feet long; and in the third stories of the first and second transverse wings, one hundred
and nineteen and thirty-four feet long. They are uniformly
twelve feet wide, and in common with all other rooms, sixteen
feet in height upon the first and third floors, and fifteen upon
the second. The dimensions of the single sleeping rooms
are eight and ten by eleven feet, with an average cubic capacity of fourteen hundred feet. The associate dormitoriesare fourteen by twenty-one feet, and the parlors or recreation
rooms, eighteen by twenty. Lateral recesses, extending into
the projecting towers in front, form additional day rooms in
the first and second wings, on either side. The dining-rooms
are sufficiently capacious to accommodate the number for
whom they are intended, and are supplied with detached
sinks, cupboards, and dumb waiters. The closets, bath-rooms,
lavatories and clothes-rooms open upon an adjacent and not
upon the main hall, giving a very desirable privacy. The
bath and closet fixtures are of approved construction, and to
prevent all possible danger from leakage, the service pipesare conveyed in a separate pipe-shaft, an arrangement which
also facilitates and cheapens any repairs that may become
necessary. Drying-shafts having lattice-work floors, and
communicating directly with the renti'lating cupolas, furnish
a ready means of drying mops, wet cloths, damp brooms^
&c., and thus materially assist in promoting the cleanliness



and healthfulness of the corridors. To prevent exposure, the
bath-rooms and lavatories have communicating doors, in
order that the latter may serve in " bathing days " as dressing rooms to the former.
INFIRMARIES.—In a detached building in the rear of the
first transverse wings, but connected with the wards by means
of a covered corridor, an infirmary is provided for each sex.
Fitted up with every convenience, they provide a very desirable plan for the treatment of acute cases, of those who are
seriously ill, or of any requiring special care and frequentmedical attention. They can be reached at all hours of the
night without disturbing any other portion of the house;
they provide the means of isolation in case of the occurrence
of any infectious or contagious diseases in the institution,
and give to the friends of dying patients an opportunity of
administering to them in their last moments.
WINDOWS.—The windows are fitted throughout with a castiron sash, the upper half of which, alone, is glazed. Posterior to the lower half, and immediately against it, is a wooden
sash of corresponding size and shape, moving free, and suspended by a cord and weight, the former being attached to
the bottom of the sash, and passing over a pulley near its
top, is always entirely concealed. The panes of glass are
six by nine inches in size. The windows, where deemed desirable, are protected by a shutter of framed wicker-work,
sliding into the wall, and retained there, as also in its position, by one and the same lock.
FLOORING.—The floors in all uncarpeted rooms are formed
of one and one-half inch oak planks, grooved and tongued,
and none of them being more than three and one-half inches
in width. The sleepers and the iron girders supporting the
arches, rest upon an offset in the wall, which, when finished,
also form the cornice in the room below.
PROVISION AGAINST FIRE.—The horrible sacrifice of human
life on the occasion of the burning of an institution for the



Insane in one of the Eastern States, and the peculiar liability
of these buildings to take fire, as shown by the frequent occurrence of such accidents, determined the Board of Trustees, although it would somewhat increase the price of construction, to make the Asylum fire-proof. The more recent
partial destruction by fire of another institution, has confirmed the wisdom of this decision. The use of iron girders
and brick arches as support for the floors, was consequently
determined upon, and to secure additional safety, all connection between the wing and the center building is entirely cut
oft' by the interposition of a verandah of iron and glass, with
communications from one to the other only through iron
doors. The location of the heating apparatus and the kitchen
in detached buildings under the institution, quite exempt
them from danger of destruction by fire.
CHAPEL.-—A separate building immediately in the rear of
the center building, seventy by forty feet in size, contains
upon its first floor a room for Chapel purposes, capable of
seating three hundred and eighty persons. It communicates
with the different wards by means of covered corridors, is
appropriately fitted up, properly warmed, and lighted with
KITCHEN.—One central kitchen is intended to supply the
whole institution. It is placed immediately beneath the
Chapel room, with store-rooms near at hand, and communicates with the dumb-waiters of the different dining-rooms, by
means of a small car moving upon a covered railway. The
building containing the Chapel room and kitchen is surmounted by a bell and clock tower.
WABMING AND VENTILATION.—It is now admitted as a principle that the warming and ventilation of buildings corresponding in size and purpose with institutions for the insane,
should be effected by one and-the same process; and also,
that means should be adopted for expelling the foul air to
the same extent and simultaneously with the. admission of



fresh. The fact is also established, and in many Asylums
has been confirmed by a costly experience, that the ordinary
system of making the ventilation depend upon the spontaneous action of warm air currents, has failed to give satisfactory results. A perfect and equable distribution of fresh
air, either warm or cold, or the necessary rapidity in the
discharge of foul air, under all circumstances and in all seasons, can be secured only by a system of forced ventilation.
This is found to be most efficiently and economically effected
by means of a fan driven by a steam engine; effectual, because at all times under perfect control, and economical, because the warm air is more thoroughly and rapidly distributed. The primary cost is not great; it is not liable to get out
of order, and the motive power is that required for other
The system decided upon is a modification of that in use
at the New York State Lunatic Asylum, the efficiency of
which is shown by the fact that in five similar institutions in
other States, it has since been adopted, in place of furnaces
and other means of heating and ventilation already in operation. It consists of boilers, an engine, a fan, heating surface and distributing ducts and inlet flues, with exit flues,
foul-air ducts and ventilating cupolas. The boilers are four
in number; these with the engine and fan, (the latter peculiar, from the circumstance of its delivering the air in the
direction of its axis,) and the heating surface, consisting of a
series of wrought iron pipe, are all in a separate and detached
building. The air, after its delivery from the fan, passes
directly forward beneath the Chapel. The main duct conveying it gives off a small branch to the Chapel, and another
to the center building. It then branches towards either wing,
and another sub-division is made, one portion passing beneath the first longitudinal wing, and the other entering the
proximal end of the second wing, passes on to the end of the
extreme wing. The air passage beneath the building occu-



pies the middle portion of the basement, or rather the space
immediately beneath the floors of the corridors, and the distributing flues pass up in the walls upon either side of them.
Exit flues are carried up in the same walls, taking their departure from two points, one near the ceiling, and the other
near the floor of the rooms on either side. These again conjoin in the attics to form the foul air ducts, and empty out
into the open air through the ventilating cupolas. Downward currents of air, for the ventilation of the water closets,
will be secured through an arrangement of pipes terminating
in the fire-boxes of the boilers. This very important department has been entrusted to Joseph Nason, Esq., of New
York City.
LAUNDRY AND WORK SHOPS.—The right wing of the engine
and boiler house contains the wash room, drying and ironing
rooms, and a similar wing upon the other side furnishes convenient rooms for the usual work shops. A close partition
, running from the rear of the Chapel to the engine house,
with a covered passage-way on either side, provides ready
and protected access to the shops and ironing room from the
various wards in the house, and at the same time prevents all
communication between the sexes.
WATER.—Water for drinking piirposes is drawn up from
a well, while that for bathing and laundry purposes is forced
up from a stream flowing in the valley immediately in the
rear of the institution.
DRAINAGE AND SEWEBAGE.—Cast iron pipes will be used
for connecting drainage in the rear of the wings, and will
pass forward beneath the building at a single point only on
either side. The drains and branch sewers will unite in front
and pour into the common sewer, which is of brick, egg
shaped, three feet high and two feet wide; this runs down
the ravine in front of the Institution, and empties into a depot
for the collection of solid material.
ILLUMINATION.—It is now universally conceded that gas is



the only proper material to be iised in lighting Asylums for
the Insane. To obviate the only objection to its manufacture
upon the premises, the gas-house will be placed just below
the depot referred to. The gas-main will be carried up to
the Institution in the sewer attached to its upper arch,
The general plan and arrangement of the building, as given in the preceding sketch, has been submitted to and received the unqualified approval of many of the more experienced physicians in charge of similar institutions. From
those most capable of judging, the Board has received the
gratifying assurance that their effort to combine in one the
acknowledged excellencies of several recently-erected Institutions, with such improvements as careful study and experienced assistance suggested, has not been unsuccessful.
Until actually engaged in their labors, those to whom a
State has delegated the duty of providing an Institution for
its Insane can form but little idea of the extent of this field,
and the magnitude of the work before them. Insanity, unlike almost every other form of affliction, does not raise itself
into prominence before the public; the community almost
involuntarily turns from its contemplation, and its attendant
sorrows are far too distressing to be obtrusive. The extent
of the disease is truly startling, and even public officers, the
nature of whose duties we would expect to familiarize them
with the subject, are scarcely prepared for the developments
of carefully compiled statistics.
Its relation to the public in another connection, has also
been very generally misapprehended. Concealed from observation in almost all but the humblest walks of life, we
, have learned almost habitually to regard it as one of the circumstances, to say the least, of penury and want; but an
intelligent investigation of the whole subject in a neighboring
State, has shown that it stands third on the list of CAUSES of



pauperism! How important, then, for a State, with a view
to economy only, to say nothing of higher motives, to make
liberal provision for its early treatment and cure!
The most striking feature in the history of insanity is the
great success which has attended the modern treatment of
the disease, and later efforts to meliorate the condition of the
Insane, as a class. Very little progress seems to have been
made in this respect until the commencement of the present
century; previous to which time the condition of the Insane,
and the neglect and cruelty to which they were subjected,
fills one of the darkest pages in the history of human sorrow.
Soon after this period, with reference rather to the comfort
and safety of the community, than to the wants and necessities of the lunatic, " mad houses" and receptacles were
erected—prisons in every respect save the name—with
stone floors, dark cells, narrow grated doors and windows,
into which they were thrust indiscriminately and abandoned
to utter helplessness and hopelessness. "With these buildings and their brutal "keepers," with whips, chains and
manacles, was associated every thing that was terrible. Says
one, in describing them, " there were no amusements, no
cheerful occupation, no books, no animating change or variety of any kind, no scientific medical treatment, no religious
consolation. No chapel bell assembled th e patients for prayer,
or suspended the fierce and dreadful thoughts and curses
of the dungeon; no friendly face did good like a medicine."
For reasons now very apparent, efforts to cure and relieve
under circumstances such as these, were altogether ineffectual; no connected and philanthropic system of medical and
moral treatment could be carried out with any prospect of
A more enlightened public opinion, urged on and supported by science and humanity, has since wrought a thorough revolution. Liberally constructed and well appointed



Asylums are, one after another, springing into existence, and
the results of treatment are becoming more and more successful. True, the same prosperity has not attended all. In
a few, weighty obstacles, not, however, obscure in their nature, nor difficult of removal, seem to clog their operations;
still, the Annual Reports of the Asylums for the Insane
throughout the land, constituting as they do, year by year,
the history of insanity, bear evidence of steady advancement.
To inform themselves, therefore, of those principles upon
the recognition of which this progress was founded, became
one of the earliest duties of the Board. The inconvenience,
and almost impossibility, of wading through page after page
of hundreds of annual reports and printed matter relating to
the subjects, was very apparent. The uselessness of traveling from institution to institution, finding something here
worthy of imitation, and something there, when in fact the
excellencies might necessarily be peculiar to that locality,
and of gathering these together to form a plan, was soon
demonstrated. It was the wish of the Board to avoid multiplying mistakes, and repeating inconveniences, which some,
from deep attachment to their institutions, and long association with them, had half learned to admire, and inclined to
recommend. Another, and what has proven the wiser
course, was adopted—the early appointment of a physician
experienced in the speciality, to whose supervision the building, with all its details, might be intrusted. The frequent
and expensive repairs of institutions erected without such
supervision, led them to look upon this as a matter of economy. Many of the Asylums of the • United States were
erected according to plans furnished ,by architects only, or
by Trustees, without practical medical experience, and when
supposed to be finished, have been found so ill arranged and
defective as to call for large additional expenditures before
they could be used.



It is, therefore, with what the Board venture to consider a
feeling of justifiable pride, that they present it for the consideration of the Legislature and the State. And they would
repeat their confident belief that no institution of the kind
In any country, more perfectly embraces with economy of
construction, all the necessary accommodations and conveniences, which the experience of modern times has suggested.
It is a matter of regret, even simply as far as the increase in
cost of erection is concerned, that it could not have been
completed at once. As before expressed in this report, the
Board feel that no appeal is required in its behalf. The
wants and necessities of the insane are generally recognized,
and we feel assured of prompt and liberal action on the part
of the Legislature. The need of an Asylum in Michigan is
urgently felt. Among other instances somewhat similar, we
have recently been made acquainted with the following: One
of our citizens upon whose wife this heavy affliction had
fallen, was obliged to go elsewhere for that relief not provided
here. He went eastward. The crowded condition of the
first institution at which he applied prevented her admission,
and he journeyed on—but before he could reach another, she
sank from exhaustion and died in his arms. As might be
expected, more or less afflicting instances, from time to time,
Iiave come to the knowledge of the Board, which they do
not deem it desirable or necessary to record here.
In conclusion, the Board of Trustees would express their
earnest hope that the institution will at once be completed
and opened, and that those enlightened principles of organization and administration which have formed the basis of the
prosperity of many others, will be recognized and acted upon,
In order to secure to it a future of the highest measure of
success and usefulness.

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