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Eastern State Hospital Records

Identifier: SC 01415

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The collection is composed of material, chiefly 1862-1868, relating to Eastern Lunatic Asylum (now Eastern State Hospital), Williamsburg, Va. Includes correspondence, a list of female patients and "coloured" female patients, patient reports, and requisition orders of Dr. Peter Wager, director of the hospital during the Union occupation of Williamsburg. There are also replies, 1956-1957, to inquiries for information about Dr. John de Sequeyera [or Sequeyra], a physician at the hospital from 1773 to 1793, and the hospital during the Civil War.


  • Creation: 1862-1868, 1956-1957
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1862-1868


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Historical Note:

The Public Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds, as the facility was first known, was established by act of the Virginia colonial legislature on June 4, 1770. The act, which intended to “Make Provision for the Support and Maintenance of Ideots, Lunaticks, and other Persons of unsound Minds,” authorized the House of Burgesses to appoint a fifteen-man Court Of Directors to oversee the future hospital’s operations and admissions.

In 1841, the hospital was renamed the Eastern Lunatic Asylum and newly-appointed superintendent John Minson Galt II initiated a series of reforms which came to have great effect on the history of mental treatment.

The current name is Eastern State Hospital, part of the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse Services system.

More information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki: .


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Custodial History

This collection was previously identified as Mss. Sm Coll Eastern State.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of Mrs. Meta Newman in 1956 and purchase from Mr. Norwood Singleton in 1957.

Related Materials:

2009.244  Eastern Lunatic Asylum Ledgers, 1876-1916; Mss. Acc. 2006.13 H. Clinton Thompson, M.D.  Affidavit on the Eastern Lunatic Asylum.

Guide to the Eastern State Hospital Records
Finding Aid Authors: Special Collections Staff.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
The collection description/finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository