Suggested  Reading 

Women of the Asylum: Voices From Behind the Walls 1840-1945

Author: Jeffrey L. Geller & Maxine Harris

Foreword by Phyllis Chesler

Publisher: Anchor Books

Copyright 1994

26 women recount their harrowing experiences in asylums and provide an insightful and dramatic account of their struggles to survive life in state institutions.


Angels in the Architecture: A Photographic Elegy to an American Asylum

Author: Heidi Johnson

Publisher: Wayne State University Press

Copyright 2001

Heidi Johnson supplies an outstanding collection of photographs and historical information about Traverse City State Hospital. The narratives of former employees combined with the artistic photography provide a fantastic inside look at Michigan’s last remaining albeit renovated Kirkbride asylum.


Beauty is Therapy: Memories of the Traverse City State Hospital

By Earle E. Steele as told to Kristen Hains

Publisher: Denali and Co.

Copyright 2001

Earle Steele recants his experiences growing up on the grounds of Traverse City State Hospital as the son of Edgar H. Steele, TCSH’s gardener and florist.  Mr. Steele also shares his experience as an employee of TCSH, which spanned over 49 years.


Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America’s Premier Mental Hospital

Author: Alex Beam

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Copyright 2001

A detailed and wonderful history of McLean Hospital, America’s most elite and luxurious asylum. This Massachusetts mental institution was the asylum of choice for America’s rich and famous including Sylvia Plath, James Taylor, Ray Charles, and Susanna Kaysen (author of “Girl, Interrupted”).


Asylum: Pontiac’s Grand Monument from the Gilded Age

Author: Bruce J. Annett, Jr.

Publisher: Oakland County Pioneer & Historical Society

Copyright 2002

A superb and detailed account of the creation of the now demolished Eastern Michigan Asylum a.k.a. Clinton Valley Center. Outstanding photographs and historical information abound in this fantastic tribute to Michigan’s lost architectural wonder.



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