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A HISTORY OF THE ASYLUMS FOR THE INSANE IN MICHIGAN

BY HENRY M. HURD, M. D.

Upon the llth of February, 1858, a serious loss was incurred by the burning of the center building, which was approaching completion. The fire is supposed to have been of incendiary origin, and the pecuniary loss was about twenty thousand dollars. In October, of the same year, the medical superintendent reached Kalamazoo, and was the responsible head of the institution from that time until his resignation in March, 1878.
The legislature of 1859, passed an act of organization, which involved a rearrangement of the trustees. The government of the institution was placed in the hands of six trustees, whose terms of office were so arranged that two retired at the close of each biennial period. This prevented a wholesale change in the board, and enabled the asylum to profit by the experience of the older trustees. The act of organization was modeled very closely upon that of the asylums of New York. The whole government of the institution was vested in trustees, who were appointed by the governor, and confirmed by the senate. The trustees appointed a medical superintendent, who was to be the head of the institution and its chief executive officer. They also appointed a treasurer, not of their own number, who was to have the custody of the funds belonging to the asylum. All other officers were nominated by the medical superintendent, and their appointment confirmed by the board of trustees.
Statutory provision was also made for the support of patients where the estate of a patient or of his friends justified the expense; the maintenance •of such patient in the asylum at private expense was provided for by law.

MICHIGAN ASYLUMS


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