Seeking Voices in Dark Places: The History of the Tennessee Asylum for the Insane

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Holt, Anna Kate
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Middle Tennessee State University
The public memory of former insane asylums across the United States has been forgotten by society. These former institutions have complicated histories that overshadow our community's conversation about mental health. The argument for this thesis is that the history of these institutions matters, and historians need to find meaningful ways to create meaningful connections between the past asylums to modern ideas about mental health. This thesis highlights the institutional memory of the Tennessee Asylum for the Insane, which once stood in Nashville. This project unravels the institution's history that local historians have overlooked. By understanding the institutional history of the Tennessee Asylum and creating momentum for researchers to find more information about the site, the memory of all who had connections to the asylum will live on. This work will add to the history of mental institutions across the United States and finally allow the voices of mental health patients to be heard.
Deinstitutionalization, Insane Asylums, Insanity, Mental Health, Moral Treatment, Tennessee History, History