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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Asylum at Utica

The Asylum at Utica

Jessie McNamee Utica April 1890 - (reverse) Taken at the Lunatic Asylum in Utica April 1890.

What was the occasion I wonder? There was an asylum in Utica, NY. Visiting someone? Posing? A recreational visit? I love this image, especially the good humor and the stylish hats - they add whimsy to a very strange and mysterious photo.

Jessie Vanderbilt McNamee

Yes, I think she's the third one down. I had found out it was her, and one of the other young women is her sister Faith. The pencil inscription on the back is in the same hand and says "Taken at the Lunatic Asylum in Utica April 1890" with Jessie and Faith's names and ages.

They were not patients; I saw this image of mine reblogged on a Wiki page about the Asylum and they were described as patients, which they are clearly not. The reference to the asylum could be an inside joke, or just regarding the silly pose.

Utica State Hospital

Great photo! I live across the street from the Utica State Hospital and it's my favorite building in Utica. My 2nd fav. is the building I live in, the Old St. Luke's Hospital. I do research on both buildings. Great pic!

Utica State Hospital

Both my parents worked here until they retired.

My Mother was a RN and Father worked as a grounds keeper

Utica State Hospital

Does anyone know who owns the old asylum? I would love to go inside of it.

[It's part of the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center. - Dave]

Utica Asylum article

I can't speak for the original poster, but I believe this is the document as a PDF with a link that should be more permanent. It's "An inner view of the State Lunatic Asylum at Utica : or, how patients are treated in the model (?) mad house of New York" by William L. Trull.

I found it by going to the New York State archives, selecting the button at the bottom marked "Search Digital Collections", and entering "Utica Asylum".

article about Utica asylum

Can't access your link - would be interested to read - can you cite the origin, or title, whatever so it can be looked up?


I see a strong resemblance between at least the middle two, and somewhat with the bottom lady. Perhaps a family visiting a relative? Perhaps the whole family incarcerated? It is a great shot!

Utica Asylum

This is an excellent article on the Utica Asylum written by a former patient.

Jessie McNamee

Jessie Vanderbilt McNamee, active in philanthropy and social causes, was cousin to George Vanderbilt (who built the Biltmore estate in North Carolina). In 1901 she married Charles Dewar Simons Jr.

Utica Asylum

This IS a great pic! Can you rescan it so that it's at least 1200 pixels wide? - Dave

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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