Thursday, June 27, 2019

Cultural Exchange: Sheppard Pratt

I recently found out that Sheppard Pratt has a museum, a library and archives. So I contacted the curator/librarian/archivist and made an appointment to visit. 

Many years ago, I had volunteered at SP. Nothing psychiatric, but playing tennis with the teenagers who were in residence. While there, I got a great appreciation of the Victorian-style architecture, designed by Calvert Vaux, who was an associate of Frederick Law Olmsted, who is responsible for the look of some of Baltimore's notable inner suburbs.
While the hospital has greatly changed since I was last there, the bones are still familiar. New buildings have been added, some of the land is now home to "University Village," the dorm community of Towson University. 

While the Museum was small, it was quite charming, with a number of artifacts from Moses Sheppard's life there. His old book cases were still filled with his books, 

his old statistics book was on display, 

and the silver service from the former Nursing school was shining and polished. 

Although the buildings have been extensively renovated over the decades, there are still glimpses of the original details, including this beautiful Victorian tile work.

For many years, Sheppard Pratt advertised in the Maryland Medical Journals (the pre-1900 ones are on-line here), and I remembered that I had scanned one. This is probably from the late 1800's or very early 1900's, and describes the hospital in detailed terms.

My most sincere thanks to Lisa Illum, the curator/librarian/ archivist for spending the morning with me and showing me her treasures!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Meg, They seem to have kept up the Sheppard-Pratt building pretty well. When my sister was at Ohio University, she volunteered at the Athens Lunatic Asylum, a crumbling Victorian extravaganza. The Asylum was closed, and the buildings taken over and restored by the University. I need to get down there and take a look, but I understand the restoration was a sensitive one.