Friends' Asylum

The Friends' Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of their Reason was founded in 1813 by a group of Philadelphia Quakers who were concerned about the state of mentally ill Quakers. The Asylum was established upon the Quaker idea that there is that of God in every person, and that mental illness does not change that fact. Under the leadership of Isaac Bonsall as the first superintendent, and a group of other influential, soon-to-be Orthodox Quakers, the Asylum started accepting patients in 1817. The touchstones of life at the Asylum were community and religious life, and these were to become part of its unique take on moral treatment.


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