Future Directions

  • Architecture

    What more can be learned from the architecture of the Asylum? How else did the physical make-up of the building and grounds exemplify principles of the Asylum? How were the buildings and grounds designed? How did the early founders' ideas about mental health influence the environment they created? What was important to the early (or later) founders' sense of place? What was the relationship of the farm and outdoors to the hospital? How did the farm affect daily life?

  • Asylum Finances

    Where did the funding for the hospital come from? Who were the early donors? What else can we learn from the many different types of financial records we have for Friends' Asylum (such as the Petty Cash Book, an Investment Ledger, and a general revenue and expenses ledger for the early years of the Asylum)? How was money spent?

  • Connections to Quaker History

    Are there connections between the foundation and principles of Friends' Asylum and Eastern State Penintentiary? How are other Quaker projects that have been done over the years at Magill related to Friends' Asylum, for instance the Cope Evans Project, Quakers and the West, Quakers and Slavery, etc.? What more can be learned from examining the Orthodox-Hicksite schism in conjunction with Friends' Asylum around the same time? How did the split affect the Asylum, its governance, and principles? Is there more to be said about how the Asylum had such a large focus on recreation and play for its patients? How did this fit with the founders' Quakerism?

  • Interesting Patients and the Hinchman Lawsuit

    With the material we have on the case of Morgan Hinchman suing the Asylum, do an in-depth study of him, his case, and its significance. Take another patient you see to have an interesting and compelling story, and find out more about them, their past, and their stay at Friends' Asylum. For instance, while she was researching the founding of Friends of Asylum, Abigail Corcoran found patients Ruth S., Benjamin C., Nathan Y., Mary R., Samuel S., and Abraham S. to have interesting and notable histories (read more on the Patient Profiles Page )

  • The Asylum Throughout History

    Think about looking at Friends' Asylum's role during these periods of history: the Civil War, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, etc. How did the Asylum's mission change during these times? And, how did the way mental health was viewed change during these significant historical periods? How were those changes enacted (or not) at Friends Hospital?

  • Social Class

    Looking especially at the early years of the Asylum, but also later if applicable, how were patients of different social status treated? If money became an issue, how did the Asylum deal with patients and their hospitalization?

  • Treatment and Medical Care

    Looking at the Asylum during a certain historical period of time, or comparing the Asylum at different times, what type(s) of patients were found at the Asylum? What disorders were common? What disorders were cured? Track data of patients entering and exiting the hospital, their average stay, etc. Use annual reports and other primary sources to create tables and show trends. There are many examples of patients being admitted into the Asylum because of masturbation. How did Quakers v siew masturbation in relation to insanity and treat it? How do the superintendent's diaries from the early years talk about patient maladies? What vocabulary is used? When are patients referred to as family members and when are they not?

  • The Underground Railroad and the Asylum

    There's a rumor that the Asylum and its many underground tunnels may have played a part in the Underground Railroad. What more can we learn about this obscured past? How else may Friends Hopsital have served as an "Asylum" in the traditional and original sense of the word?

  • Visualizing Finances

    Make a visualization or graph using data that can be obtained from the many financial ledgers from Friends' Asylum we have in Quaker & Special Collections.

  • Your Idea!

    Come up with an idea we couldn't have even thought of! Think creatively, digitally.