W.W. Godding, Superintendent of St. Elizabeth's Hospital

Title

W.W. Godding, Superintendent of St. Elizabeth's Hospital

Description

Today, research on alcohol/drug abuse and mental health is conducted under the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). However, government involvement with mental health issues dates back to the mid 19th century.

St. Elizabeths Hospital, which opened in 1855, was the first national mental hospital in the United States. At the time, not much was known about what caused mental illness. In 1884, Isaac W. Blackburn, a pathologist, was appointed the task of researching the pathology of mental illness.

The early mission of the hospital was to "provide the most humane care and enlightened curative treatment of the insane of the Army, Navy, and District of Columbia." By the 1940s, it covered over 300 acres and provided treatment to 7,000 patients, the "first and only federal mental hospital with a national scope."

Treatments at the hospital included art therapy and hydrotherapy, one of the innovations of St. Elizabeths. Therapies such as "moral treatment" (the use of homelike surroundings to illustrate healthy behavior) were also used.

Today, the original building is a designated National Historic Landmark.

Creator

Part of the Brady-Handy Collection

Date

1865-1880

Source

https://cdn.loc.gov/service/pnp/cwpbh/05100/05190r.jpg

Relation

Rights

Source: Saint Elizabeths Hospital. (2011, Aug 3). U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved Oct 24, 2012, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/medtour/elizabeths.html

Publisher

Library of Congress

Contributor

Library of Congress

Format

Medium: Photograph,

Language

English

Type

Figures

Identifier

Substance Abuse, Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, NIK, SAMHSA, St. Elizabeth's Hospital, W.W. Godding

Coverage

Historic

Files

wwgodding.jpg

Reference

Part of the Brady-Handy Collection, W.W. Godding, Superintendent of St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Library of Congress, 1865-1880

Cite As

Part of the Brady-Handy Collection, “W.W. Godding, Superintendent of St. Elizabeth's Hospital,” Virtual Museum of Public Service, accessed August 20, 2022, https://vmps.omeka.net/items/show/224.