Forgotten Photography

A Unique Perspective into the Realm of Historical Asylums & State Hospitals


     We are independent photographers specializing in historic asylums and state hospitals. Our mission includes bringing awareness to the public concerning the dire need to preserve the buildings that represent over a century of progress in the mental health field and make them once again a useful part of today’s society. We also aim to educate the public in regards to the history behind these architectural wonders including the reform initiated by Dorothea L. Dix and how her lifelong efforts to improve the treatment of the mentally ill paved the way for the higher quality of care often seen today.

      We are currently producing a photographic record of America’s historical asylums/state hospitals, many of which are based on Dr. Thomas Kirkbride’s plan. A unique aspect that sets us apart from other photographers is that our services are free of charge to the facility owners Also, to ensure preservation on a photographic level we donate portions of our work to the National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine. To date we have donated over 900 photographs from the locations listed below to their archives. 

      We have had the pleasure of working with several organizations with regards to photo-documenting their facilities. Some of these organizations include: 

  • Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management

  • Danvers State Hospital, MA

  • St. Elizabeths Hospital, Washington, DC

  • Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

  • Crownsville State Hospital, MD

  • Henryton Center, MD

  • Rosewood Center, MD

  • Weston Hospital Revitalization Committee

  • Weston State Hospital, WV

  • New Jersey Division of Mental Health Services

  • Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, NJ

  • Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, NJ

     If we can be of any assistance to your organization please let us know. We may be able to assist in providing photographs for publication, photographing historical asylums/state hospitals in your area, or assisting in various awareness campaigns.

     For additional information please contact us via e-mail at Thank you for your time and consideration. 






David & Karie Esmann

Forgotten Photography