October 24th, 2008
While doing a little digging around on Archive.org this evening I found a few Kirkbride- and asylum-related documents. First are two books about the Kirkbride family: A Brief History of the Kirkbride Family and Domestic Portraiture of Our Ancestors: Kirkbride. While they don’t tell us much about the good Doctor, both contain some interesting information about the Kirkbride family’s history.
There’s also a copy of On the Construction, Organization, and General Arrangements of Hospitals for the Insane available at Archive.org. If you use the ‘Flip Book’ feature, it’s much easier to read than with the clunky interface at Google Books.
Also of interest is a descriptive reference of Illinois’ charitable institutions: A Brief History of the Charitable Institutions of the State of Illinois. It includes short histories of the Kirkbride asylums in Anna, Elgin, Jacksonville, and Kankakee.
And if you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, check out Hospitals and Asylums of the World by Henry Burdett which was published in 1891. There’s not much mention of Kirkbride buildings—although at one point Burdett mentions the new Worcester State Hospital and says it will be built following the “modified linear plan which has been so much in vogue in late years”—but it’s still an interesting read if you’re into asylum architecture.