Am J Psychiatry 154:1, January 1997Images in PsychiatryMcLean HospitalNo hospitals—only almshouses and prisons—existed in NewEngland prior to the Legislature’s granting of a charter to theMassachusetts General Hospital in Boston in 1811. From the outsetthis hospital would provide care not only for the physically ill but alsofor the mentally ill. The Asylum, as it was then called, was initiallylocated in Charlestown but was moved to Belmont, eventually occu-pying 42 buildings on 240 beautiful acres of land and renamedMcLean Hospital.The first two superintendents, Rufus Wyman (1818–1837) andLuther Bell (1837–1855), were pioneers in the “moral treatment” ofthe “insane.” They eschewed the “purging, bleeding and low diet”popular at the time and emphasized “riding, walking, sewing, em-broidery, bowling, gardening, arts, reading, writing, conversation thewhole to be performed with order and regularity” (address by Wy-man in 1830 to the Massachusetts Medical Society).
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