Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Charity Hospital (New Orleans, La.) Lunatic Asylum Admission Book, 1841-1848

Finding aid created by
Richard C. Bates, Clements Staff, and Meg Hixon, July 2013

Summary Information
Title: Charity Hospital (New Orleans, La.) Lunatic Asylum admission book
Creator: Charity Hospital (New Orleans, La.)
Inclusive dates: 1841-1848
Extent: 1 volume
The Charity Hospital (New Orleans, La.) Lunatic Asylum admission book contains admittance records compiled from July 1841-December 1848. The patients, who included men, women, and children from multiple states and countries, were admitted for mental health issues and contagious diseases.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1991. M-2712.5.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Charity Hospital (New Orleans, La.) Lunatic Asylum Admission Book, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The Charity Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana, was founded as L'Hôpital des Pauvres de la Charité in 1736, the bequest of shipbuilder Jean Louis. Subsequent buildings were erected in 1743, 1785, 1815, 1832, and 1939. The hospital, which was the city's only facility for the mentally ill until a state asylum opened in 1848, admitted men, women, and children throughout the 1840s. The institution later came under the jurisdiction of Louisiana State University. The Charity Hospital building sat unoccupied after flooding associated with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and in 2013 New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and other city officials proposed a plan to move City Hall and other civic offices into the building.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Charity Hospital (New Orleans, La.) "Admission Book" contains around 208 pages of admittance records for the New Orleans Charity Hospital's lunatic asylum, compiled from July 31, 1841-December 16, 1848. Each entry spans 2 pages and contains the patient's name, place of nativity and most recent residence, length of residence in New Orleans, age, and marital status, as well as information about their illness and the date of their death, discharge, or abscondence; some patients were transferred from the Lunatic Asylum to the Charity Hospital. Many patients originated from other countries, often in Europe, and some are identified as slaves. Frequent ailments included delirium tremens, general insanity, and epilepsy. Some records contain a proposed cause of the patient's disease, such as "liquor." In 1847, the hospital admitted a large number of children with infectious diseases; some of the children's mothers occupied the hospital's numbered wards. Clerks recorded monthly and yearly reports regarding the numbers of patients the hospital had admitted, the number who had been discharged, and the number who had died.

Subject Terms

    • Asylums.
    • Charity Hospital (New Orleans, La.)
    • Mental illness--United States.
    • New Orleans (La.)
    Genre Terms:
    • Hospital records.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Charity Hospital (New Orleans, La.) Lunatic Asylum admission book,  July 31, 1841-December 16, 1848 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The New Orleans Public Library's Louisiana Division and City Archives holds admission books and death records from the New Orleans Charity Hospital.


    Rainey, Richard. "Mayor Mitch Landrieu Planning to Move New Orleans City Hall, Civil Court to Charity Hospital." 3 July 2013. Web. 25 July 2013.

    Salvaggio, John. New Orleans' Charity Hospital: A Story of Physicians, Politics, and Poverty. Louisiana State University Press: 1992.