Brattleboro Retreat (Asylum Journal)


The first patient newspaper regularly published in any American mental hospital was at the Vermont Asylum for the Insane, known today as the Brattleboro Retreat. In 1842, a young printer who was a patient at the hospital wrote and published the first issue of the ‘Asylum Journal’. The Asylum considered work an important component to treatment and recovery. Eventually, the hospital bought its own printing equipment. Many patients worked in writing, researching, printing and mailing the journal. The unedited articles were refreshingly candid and helped to portray insanity as a curable illness.

Play Audio & View Transcript

  • Retreat Asylum Journal


  • <p>Photo from the book <em>Brattleboro Retreat: 1834-1984, 150 years of caring </em>by Esther M. Swift and Mona Beach.</p>
  • <p>Photo from the book <em>Brattleboro Retreat: 1834-1984, 150 years of caring</em> by Esther M. Swift and Mona Beach.</p>

Tour Stop Location

Brattleboro Retreat, 75 Linden St, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301, United States

Research & Production

Audio Production: Lissa Weinmann
Narrator: Beth Kiendl
Quotes: William Stearns
Music: John Loggia

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