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/ ( ˈspɛktə ) /

a ghost; phantom; apparition

a mental image of something unpleasant or menacing : the spectre of redundancy

Origin of spectre

Words nearby spectre.

  • spectral line
  • spectral luminous efficiency
  • spectral series
  • spectral type
  • spectra yellow
  • spectrobolometer
  • spectrochemical
  • spectrochemistry

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

How to use spectre in a sentence

Craig is signed on for just one more Bond flick after spectre .

A spectre is haunting the internet—the spectre of Open Sarcasm.

Nonetheless, it would have been better if the Supreme Court had not raised this spectre by halting the process.

A specter is haunting the world,” they chant, echoing the first sentence of the Communist Manifesto: “The spectre of capitalism.

Alone Orlean lay trying vainly to forget something—something that stood like a spectre before her eyes.

And when he did leave the dismal scene of this last act of his miseries, it was like the spectre of the man who had entered it.

Besides, there was the ever unceasing grizzly spectre of poverty dangling before Jessie's eyes.

A thing purple and dripping with blood—ghastly—unthinkable—monstrous—a spectre of nightmare dreams!

As a public force he was no longer a human being at all—he was a deformity, a spectre conjured up to bring fright to the beholder.

spectre deffray

Meaning of spectre in English

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  • premonitory
  • presciently
  • second-guess
  • the writing is on the wall idiom
  • unforeseeable
  • unintuitively
  • unreasoning

You can also find related words, phrases, and synonyms in the topics:

Translations of spectre

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Word of the Day

existing as an idea, feeling, or quality, not as a material object

Do you know many people here? Chatting to someone you don’t know (1)

Do you know many people here? Chatting to someone you don’t know (1)

spectre deffray

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Maryland Department of Health Spring Grove Hospital Center Photos

  • Spring Grove Currently selected

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Spring Grove History

Spring grove is the nation's second oldest psychiatric hospital.

Spring Grove Hospital Center was founded in 1797 and is the second oldest psychiatric hospital in the United States. The oldest psychiatric hospital in the country is the Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg, Virginia, which was founded in 1773 and remains in operation today as a psychiatric hospital. Other than Eastern State Hospital of Virginia, no psychiatric hospital is older than Spring Grove.

The oldest general hospital in America is the Pennsylv ania Hospital, which was founded in Philadelphia in 1751. However, while the Pennsylvania Hospital does provide psychiatric services, it was never a psychiatric hospital -- and for that reason is usually not included in lists of the oldest psychiatric institutions. (The Pennsylvania Hospital did operate a free-standing affiliated psychiatric institute, the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, which was opened in 1841 and which closed in 1997.)

The Beginnings -- The Retreat

The earliest known depiction of Spring Grove, c. 1801

Although the general location of the Retreat is known, the exact location of the structure that housed the facility has not been established. We do know that the land upon which the Retreat was built was owned by Captain Yellott, himself. Some sources indicate that a dedicated building was erected specifically for the purpose by Captain Yellott in 1794. There is also an implication that the original, i.e.1794, structure may have been incorporated into a larger hospital building later on (see below). However, while the Retreat evidently did stand on the same parcel of land as the hospital that replaced it a few years later -- and although it must have been in close proximity to the 1798 hospital building (given the fact that the parcel of land in question wasn't particularly large) -- most historic evidence suggests that the building occupied by the Retreat was probably not the same building that housed the 'new' hospital that was founded by the Maryland Legislature in 1797. Instead, it appears that that structure was built specifically for the purpose in 1798 (see 'Founding of the Hospital,' below). Nevertheless, there is implied evidence that the Retreat's building temporarily became the new hospital immediately after the property was purchased for that purpose from Captain Yellott by the City of Baltimore in May of 1798 (see below). It is also reasonable to assume that the Retreat building remained in use by the hospital after 1798, at least temporarily, until the new building could be built and fully readied later in 1798 (see below). It is not clear if the above picture of the hospital, as shown on a map of Baltimore in 1801, is the same building that housed Captain Yellott's Retreat (c. 1794) or if it is the c.1798 structure that followed the founding of the hospital in 1797. However, it is most probably a newly-built building that was constructed in 1798 and opened that same year to house what would eventually become 'Spring Grove Hospital Center.'.

According to a 'History of Baltimore, Maryland', published in 1898, the 1794 Retreat was considered to have been 'the first hospital established in Baltimore.' It seems to have been funded entirely by Captain Yellott and his associates, and while at the time the term 'Retreat' often referred to a psychiatric facility, and while Captain Yellott's Retreat undoubtedly accepted mariners who were suffering from mental illnesses, available historic information suggests that it was primarily a facility intended for the treatment of general medical conditions -- such as infectious and nutritional diseases -- that occurred among seafarers.

Few additional details about the Retreat are known. A history of the Hospital, published in 1943, reads: 'The hospital started in a building known as The Retreat, located on the ground now occupied by the Administration Building of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The building and grounds became the property of the City of Baltimore in May, 1798, when Captain Yellott consummated the purchase. At the time the inmates consisted of a few insane, a few physically sick indigents, and a few mariners who [had fallen] sick while their boats were in the thriving port of Baltimore.' (The Beacon, 1943) The accuracy of this report can not be confirmed. Another report, written in 1947 and entitled, 'The History of Spring Grove State Hospital', says very little about the Retreat, but seems to condemn it through an unexplained passage (presumably taken from an unidentified earlier publication) that reads: '[The Retreat] suffered various vicissitudes during its career, and its success was far from flattering.'

The Founding of the Hospital

Drawing of the original hospital, from an 1801 map of Baltimore

The newly conceived hospital represented the first organized public effort in Maryland to address the mental health (as well as the general medical) needs of the poor and indigent through the establishment of a hospital. Not only was the hospital that was eventually to become Spring Grove the third such institution in the country, it was also the very first public hospital of any kind in Maryland. In 1794, Spring Grove's predecessor facility, the Retreat, seems to have been the very first freestanding health facility in Baltimore. However, it probably would not have been considered to have been a hospital. Furthermore, it was not specifically designated to treat psychiatric patients and it was not publicly funded or operated (although it seems that it did accept indigent patients). The College of Medicine of Maryland was established in December, 1807. The Maryland Infirmary [later known as the University of Maryland Hospital], founded by the College of Medicine's faculty, was not established until 1823. Baltimore's Almshouse, the predecessor of the present-day Hopkins Bay View Hospital, was established in 1773. However, although some medical services to the infirm were provided there, the Almshouse was not a hospital and offered only limited medical care and few vocational, recreational or rehabilitative services and therapies in what was primarily a shelter for the homeless.

The original hospital looked something like this.

An early history of the hospital notes that the property occupied by the Retreat was purchased from Captain Yellott on May 18, 1798 for $800. (By one account, Captain Yellott may have donated part of the property.) The source of the funds for the purchase price are not known, although they may have been charged against the $8,000 that was appropriated by the General Assembly in January 1798. The reason that the price paid for the property was recorded in British pounds, rather than in U.S.dollars is also not known, but it may have been a function of the fact that in 1798, only 11-years after the U.S. Constitution was ratified, the dollar was not yet a stable currency.

While construction of a new hospital building on the site reportedly began shortly following the purchase, there is also evidence that the same building that served as the Retreat temporarily became the Public Hospital of Baltimore immediately upon it's purchase by the City. For that reason, May 18, 1798 (the date that the property was purchased) is sometimes considered to be the anniversary of the founding of the hospital, since that seems to be the date that 'the Retreat' officially became a hospital and public psychiatric facility. However, Spring Grove has traditionally used November 2, 1797, that date of the legislation that its establishment specifically as a facility for the treatment of the mentally ill.

By all accounts, construction of the expanded facility started shortly after funds were appropriated and the site was officially selected in 1798. One historic source suggests that that early references to the erection of the 'new hospital' in 1798 actually refer to the expansion of the original, circa 1794, building -- through the addition of an annex to, or other upgrade of, the original structure.  However, all other sources of information about the hospital's early history make what seem to be specific references to the construction of an entirely new building (albeit at the same site) in 1798. It should be noted that later references to the 'original building' (later, a part of the west wing) do not suggest that it was comprised of more than one original section, a circumstance that, in turn, would argue against any assertion that the earlier Retreat building was somehow incorporated into the 'original' 1798 structure. Furthermore, a drawing of the hospital, as seen on a map of 1801, indicates that, as of that time, the hospital consisted of a single, unified structure. On the other hand, the limited information that is known about the founding of the hospital indicates that construction was started shortly after the site was selected and purchased in May of 1798 -- and that the building was occupied later that same year -- a set of circumstances that would indicate that either a entirely new building was built very quickly or the 'new construction' actually involved an expansion of the existing structure; i.e., the Retreat. Unfortunately, the fate of the building used by the Retreat between 1794 and 1798 is not known. However, it does seem reasonable to assume that, if it survived, it may have eventually become one of the hospital's outbuildings. This, however, is pure conjecture.

While most sources indicate that patients were able to occupy at least part of the new building by the end of 1798. Other sources suggest that the new building may not have been completed until two years later, in 1800. In view of the fact that a substantial sum of money ($18,000) was appropriated to the hospital in 1799, it seems unlikely that the whole of the new building was completed by the end of 1798. As noted above, while the name, mission and ownership of the 'Retreat' changed in 1798, it would seem that the 'new' hospital continued to operate, without interruption, in the same building that it had occupied since its inception in 1794 -- at least until patients were able to occupy the new (c.1798) building.

As noted above, an interesting part of the hospital's history is the fact that, despite its designation as a hospital for the care and treatment of 'lunatics,' a primary impetus to the State's decision to fund the facility in 1798 seems to have been a yellow fever epidemic that led to the death of 1,200 people in Baltimore that same year. Similarly, a yellow fever epidemic in 1794 had apparently been one of the factors that had mitigated in Captain Yellott's decision to open his Retreat.

No medical or financial records from the Public Hospital at Baltimore (Spring Grove's original name) are known to exist. However, according to a then contemporary newspaper account, at least one patient of the hospital was treated for a fever by phlebotomy. More specifically, according to the report, 130 ounces of blood were drawn, over an unspecified period of time. The doctor also gave the patient 35 grains of mercury and applied 12 ounces of mercurial ointment. (It is not known if the patient survived.) In 1800, Dr. J.J. Gireaud published a formula that he believed both prevented and cured yellow fever. The formula included ipecac, rhubarb, magnesia, kermes mineral, camphor and 'columba.' While it was Dr. Gireaud's intention was to treat yellow fever with this preparation, it is interesting to note that what was then known as 'columba' is better known today as 'Saint John's wort,' a herb that has been used as a modern treatment for mild depression.

1801 Map of Baltimore (Showing the original location of Spring Grove)

Over the years, the hospital's land holdings were expanded considerably, so that, eventually, its grounds covered an area that today is roughly bordered by the present Monument St. to the north; Broadway (formerly Market St.) to the west; Jefferson St. to the south; and Wolfe St. to the east. Other than Market St. (Broadway), none of these streets existed when the hospital was built.

Privatization of the Hospital Management in the Early 1800s

The City Hospital of Baltimore in 1819

Early Expansion of the Hospital

On December 24, 1808 Maryland's legislative body, the General Assembly, passed an act which authorized a lottery to raise sums of up to $40,000 for improvement and expansion of the existing hospital building.  By all accounts, the lottery was very successful, and at least one historian has noted that a number of the lottery winners donated their winnings back to the State so that they could be applied to the expansion of the hospital. The sum of five-hundred dollars was appropriated by the Baltimore City Council in 1809 for repairs of the original building, and, in 1811, an allocation of $18,000 was granted by the Maryland General Assembly -- specifically for the purpose of the ongoing expansion. In early 1812 the 'Treasurer of the Western Shore' (of Maryland) was directed to pay $5,000 annually, for three years, for the completion of several additional (interconnected) buildings that were already in progress.

To view a copy of the 1817 equivalent of a modern patient discharge s ummary (signed by Drs. Smyth and Mackenzie) Click Here

Two years later, in 1814 a second lease of an additional 10 years was granted by the City of Baltimore to Drs. Smythe and Mackenzie -- on the condition that they complete the addition of the 'Centre Building,' which, it should be noted, was not a separate building, but, instead, a new component of a single larger structure. According to the terms of the new lease, the 'Centre Building' was to serve exclusively as a 'lunatic asylum.' In addition, the terms of the lease required the lessees to build a section that would connect the original building to the Centre Building (thereby forming a West Wing), as well as an 'east wing' that was to extend off the Centre Building in the opposite direction (ref: 1852 report of the Board of Visitors). As noted above, records indicate that the original building, c.1798, stood at the far western end of the structure - closest to Market Street (Broadway). As part of an effort to help Drs. Smythe and Mackenzie complete the Centre Building, the balance of the West Wing, and the East Wing, a further appropriation of $30,000 was made by the Legislature in 1816. Additional sums of money were raised by a second lottery, and an additional $60,000 were directly invested by the lessees, although it is not clear if Mackenzie and Smythe invested the money personally or if it came from other private sources. (A brief history of the hospital, published in the 1843 'Report of the President and Board of Visitors [of the Maryland Hospital]' includes a passage that reads: '-- and to the honor of these gentlemen [Mackenzie and Smythe] it should be known that a large sum, amounting to $60,000, was furnished from their profits and other private resources to carry out fully their benevolent plans, making an entire expenditure of $154,000, up to this period of the history of the Institution.') There is evidence that the Centre Building and the East Wing, which had already been under construction (possibly since 1808), were completed later in, or shortly after, 1816. The additions were probably completed in stages, but the order of completion is not known. A 1819 drawing of the hospital clearly shows that the hospital building -- including the Centre Building, and both the east and west wings -- had been completed by that date. There also seems to have been some uncertainty as to the cost of the hospital's construction. As noted above, a report of 1843 says that the cost had been $154,000. However, a Report of the Board of Visitors in 1856 says that hospital's construction, up to 1819, was estimated to have been in excess of $200,000. This evidently inflated estimate may have been made in the face of the fact that in 1856 consideration was being given to the possibility of selling the property -- and the Board of Visitors may have been attempting to make it appear that the site was more valuable than it actually was.(One other source places the cost at, or around, $140,000.) According to the brief history written in 1843, after completion of the expansions that were overseen by Drs. Mackenzie and Smythe, the hospital was usually able to accommodate 'about 40 lunatics [i.e., patients with mental illnesses] and 150 [other] patients, with general diseases.'

Spring Grove During the War of 1812

Mackenzie Letter During War of 1812

In addition to treating indigent Maryland citizens and 'strangers' (i.e., those without local family or friends) the hospital also continued to treat sick and disabled U.S. seamen for a number of years. In 1814, during the War of 1812, some 234 sick and wounded soldiers were taken to the hospital from the battles that occurred around Baltimore, including the Battle of North Point. In addition, yellow fever patients were treated at the hospital during the several epidemics that occurred between 1798 and 1819. For example, records indicate that during the yellow fever epidemic of 1819, 145 yellow fever 'victims' were admitted to the City Hospital of Baltimore (the then contemporary name for Spring Grove), 85 of whom died.

1819 Map of Baltimore (Showing the Baltimore Hospital at 'Hospital Square')

In 1813 admission to the City Hospital could be ordered or authorized by the chancellor of an entity known as the 'Chancery Court.' As head of the Chancery Court, the chancellor had the authority to commit to the facility those individuals who were referred to in the law as 'any lunatic, idiot or person insane.' (Acts of 1813). By 1815 the hospital was sometimes referred to as 'The Hospital in the Vicinity of Baltimore' -- the use of the phrase 'in the vicinity' possibly referenced the fact that part or all of the hospital's property may have extended beyond the 1815 Baltimore city limits. With the approval of local trustees of the poor, county levy courts were authorized in 1817 to commit persons referred to as 'lunatic paupers' to the hospital, upon agreement by the county to provide an annual payment to the hospital (Acts of 1817).While no direct evidence exists today that slaves were ever used to staff the hospital, it should be noted that, during this period, similar institutions did use slave labor for certain tasks. However, there is clear evidence that African-American slaves were admitted as patients.

Although leased to Drs Mackenzie and Smythe, who controlled the day-to-day operations of the hospital, both the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland maintained at least titular oversight powers during this period -- and both entities continued to provide some of the hospital's funding. Dr. James Smythe died in 1819, and Dr. Colin Mackenzie in 1827. With the approval of the City Council, Dr. John Mackenzie, the son of Dr. Colin Mackenzie, took control of the hospital in 1827, following his father's death.

The State of Maryland Assumes Full Governance

In 1828, following the death of the second original lessee, Dr. Colin Mackenzie, and in response to growing concerns about conditions at the hospital, the State of Maryland asserted its authority and resumed full Governance of the institution. The State's authority was vested in a corporation that was styled 'The President and Visitors of the Maryland Hospital' [Acts of 1827, passed 1828]. However, the powers of the corporation were temporarily suspended under an agreement with Colin Mackenzie's son, Dr. John Mackenzie. The agreement allowed Dr. Mackenzie, the younger, to maintain control of the daily operations of the hospital and to be in receipt of any profits until his lease expired in 1834.

1836 Map of Baltimore (showing location of the Maryland Hospital)

The Maryland Hospital

In 1834 the institution was officially renamed 'The Maryland Hospital,' a name that, evidently, had been in use since 1826. In the two years between 1834 and 1836, the patient population grew to 54 individuals -- 42 psychiatric patients, and 12 general patients.  Perhaps in an anticipation that the hospital would need to continue to grow, a lot to the north of the hospital was purchased for $4,000 in 1834. Early reports indicate that by that time the abandoned roadbed of the 'The (Old) Joppa Road' (also known as the Old Road to Philadelphia) -- directly to the north of the original hospital building -- had already been purchased by the Hospital. The annexation of the Old Joppa Road, plus the additional land purchased in 1834, extended the hospital property's northern boundary to Monument St. (A report from the 1850s cites as one of the reasons for the hospital's debt the fact that the hospital was assessed for part of the cost of originally paving Monument St.)

The Maryland Hospital, from a lithograph published in 1847

Patient Care and Treatment in the Early Days

Some early records indicate that certain patients were permitted 'to go partially at large.' For example, by one report the hospital maintained horses and carriages so that patients could go out for rides and other activities. However, other reports indicate that many, or even most, patients were kept in 'strict confinement' -- either in individual 'cells' or behind the hospital's high walls.  A number of local newspapers, including the [Baltimore] Sun, were known to have contributed subscriptions to the hospital's patients. The primary treatment modality used during the period was called 'Moral Management' (see below). In a manner perhaps consistent with modern industry practices, the annual reports from the early 1840s seemed to have painted a somewhat misleadingly rosy picture of life at the institution. Nevertheless, these reports do indicate that the providers placed great emphasis on the importance of cleanliness, good hygiene, patient activities, nourishing foods, personal dignity, and freedom of movement.

The Baltimore City Hospital (Later, Spring Grove) in 1822

A list of the supposed causes of Insanity, in order of prevalence among the 143 patients at the Maryland Hospital in the year 1844, is as follows:

  • Intemperance (27)
  • Ill Health (12)
  • Masturbation (9)
  • Constitutional (9)
  • Domestic Trouble (6)
  • Religious Excitement (4)
  • Pecuniary Loss (4)
  • Love Affair (3)
  • Puerperal [related to childbirth] (3)
  • Loss of Friends (2)
  • Disappointed Ambition (1)
  • Mortified Pride (1)
  • Remorse (1)
  • Political Excitement (1)
  • Want of Employment (1)
  • Unknown (59)

A List of the forms of Insanity that presented at the Maryland Hospital in 1844 included:

  • Monomania(30)
  • Dementia (44)

Roughly synonymous with what today might be a diagnosis of Schizophrenia or Manic Episode. Obsession with a single, often paranoid idea. (Delusional Disorder, Psychotic Depressions, and Paranoid Schizophrenia.)The term 'idiocy,' not unlike terms such as moron, imbecile and lunatic, did not have the pejorative meaning in 1844 that it does today.

In 1838 the hospital was again renamed, this time to 'The Maryland Hospital for the Insane,' one year before the General Assembly passed legislation that specified that the Maryland Hospital was only to accept psychiatric patients. Two years later, in 1840, the connection between the hospital and the Sisters of Charity was severed, following what evidently was a power struggle between the Sisters of Charity and the hospital's resident physicians. According to a number of sources, the disagreement was over the fact that the Sisters refused to recognize that the decisions of the hospital's physicians were 'supreme' in all clinical and administrative matters. Following the departure of the Sisters of Charity, the Hospital engaged a matron and a number of nurses to replace them. The Sisters of Charity went on to establish another psychiatric facility, known as the 'Mount Hope Retreat,' which later became the Seton Institute.  An interesting footnote is the fact that the Sisters of Charity were later accused of using the Mount Hope Retreat to 'unlawfully imprison' and torture patients. This accusation was made in the literary work, The Cornets: or the Hypocrisy of the Sisters of Charity Unveiled , a book that supposedly described the author's personal experiences while confined as a patient to the Mount Hope Retreat. Such claims must be considered within the context of the growing anti-Catholic sentiment of the era, and must also be balanced against historic evidence of the many selfless acts of the order.

Shifts in the Hospital's Mission

Despite the new construction and other improvements, by 1839 the facility had become badly overcrowded. On April third of that year, the General Assembly passed an act that required the Maryland Hospital to be 'devoted exclusively to the treatment of lunatics.' (The 1852 annual report of the Hospital's board suggests that this change had actually been in progress since 1834). This same act required that 'one-half of [the Maryland Hospital]...be appropriated to the accommodation of pauper lunatics of [the State of Maryland], who shall there be accommodated and treated at the expense of the county so sending such lunatic paupers; provided, the same shall not exceed one hundred dollars for each pauper lunatic so sent.' As noted above, additional land was acquired at around this time, and the hospital was again expanded. However, the expansions and other changes did not allow the facility to keep up with demand, and overcrowded conditions continued.

Later Years at the Baltimore Site

In 1852, the hospital's name changed again, at least informally, this time to The Maryland Hospital for the Insane at Baltimore. According to hospital records, during an 11 month period in 1857 some 43 patients were admitted to the Maryland Hospital; 39 patients were discharged from the hospital; and six patients died. On November 30, 1857 there were 153 patients (80 males and 73 females) at the Maryland Hospital; of these, 88 were private (paying) patients, and 65 were public patients. An annual report of 1857 notes that of those patients who were discharged in that year, the large majority were private patients. By way of explanation, the report points out that the illnesses of the 'public' patients tended to be significantly more chronic than those of the 'private' patients. Although certainly not suggested in the 1857 report, an alternative explanation for the much higher 'cure rate' for the private patients could have been , of course, that they may very well have received better care and treatment than the public patients -- and, just like today, the private patients were probably more likely to have had housing available to them in the community. Records from the period indicate that a number of children were admitted to the Maryland Hospital, although most patients were adults.

Enoch Pratt was among the distinguished local citizens who were affiliated with the Maryland Hospital in its early days. Records indicate that the well-known philanthropist and founder of Sheppard Pratt Hospital served as a member of the Maryland Hospital's Board of Visitors from 1857 - 1868. It has also been noted that Mr. Pratt donated, in addition to his time, several gifts to the Maryland Hospital over the years. For example, he reportedly donated billiards tables in the years 1863 and 1879. Among his other gifts was a piano.

Various improvements were made to the Maryland Hospital during the 1850s and 1860s. For example, the Hospital had installed gas lighting fixtures by 1858. The Hospital's annual report of 1861 notes that running water in the bathrooms and water closets (flush toilets) were added to the West Wing of the building, and the hospital was connected to the Baltimore City public water system. The old heating system that had included 13 separate hot air furnaces and five coal stoves, was replaced in or around 1864 with a single hot water heating system -- an improvement which was cited as resulting in significant improvement in both comfort and safety. A gatehouse ('Sleeping Room at the Gateway for the accommodation of the Gatekeeper') was built at the Monument St. Entrance in 1863.

Dorothea Dix -- An Impassioned Plea

Dorothea Dix, the outspoken advocate and crusader for the mentally ill, pointed to the inadequacy of the bed capacity of the Maryland Hospital for the Insane in her 1852 impassioned address before the Maryland General Assembly. She also cited a need to relocate the hospital to a more pastoral setting, outside the City of Baltimore. Subsequently, the General Assembly passed a law which created a commission to 'select and purchase' a tract of land for the purpose of 'erecting a 200- to 250-bed hospital for the insane' (Acts of 1852).Although Ms. Dix is deservedly given much of the credit for the General Assembly's decision to authorize and fund the construction of a new facility, it should be noted that her lobbying efforts were made after she learned that there was already a formal proposal for a new hospital in Maryland. Records indicate that as early as 1848 the Governor of Maryland had asked for a proposal to substantially expand the existing hospital. A proposal to build two large additions, one at the southern end of each of the existing wings, was briefly considered. However, the proposal was abandoned after it was realized that the it would be impractical to try to expand at the current site -- primarily because there wasn't enough land to support a larger hospital (and farm). By the 1850s, Baltimore had expanded and the Maryland Hospital, which originally had been in a rural setting, found itself surrounded by the growing city. Because the land values in the Hospital's now-urban neighborhood were fairly high, it would have been prohibitively expensive to have acquired significant additional amounts of additional land there. Furthermore, many individuals, including Ms. Dix, had emphasized for a number of years that efforts to treat psychiatric patients in accordance with the principles of Moral Management (see below) were generally not practicable in the middle of a crowded, noisy, urban area. Accordingly, the fact appears to be that by 1852 it had all but been decided that a new hospital would be built and that this new facility would need to be constructed at a location outside of the City of Baltimore. It would seem that the lobbying efforts of Dorothea Dix in this regard provided the extra 'push' necessary to get the General Assembly to act.

Dr. Richard Sprigg-Stewart

Construction of the New Site at Spring Grove Begins -- The Civil War

Main Building, Spring Grove.  (Lithograph, 1872)

By the end of November 1852 the commission had hired an architect,J.Crawford Neilson (J. Crawford Neilson (1816 - 1900) was a noted Baltimore architect and was one of the founders of the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Architects. In addition to the Main Building at Spring Grove, Mr. Neilson designed a number of notable buildings in Maryland and in neighboring states. For example, he served as one of a series of principal architects who were responsible for the design of the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, SC. He also designed the Hilltop Chapel at Green Mount Cemetery, and the Grace and St. Peter's Church (Park Avenue at Monument St.), both in Baltimore.), as well as an excavation contractor. Not only did Mr. Neilson design the Main Building, he oversaw the entire project, from start to finish. The Main Building's design was based upon the work of Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride, who served the Pennsylvania Hospital as superintendent from 1841-1883. The 'Kirkbride Plan' included Dr. Kirkbride's theories regarding therapies, psychiatric hospital design, and the management of institutions. His recommended plan for hospital design called for a monumental 'centre building' (in accordance with the classical tastes of the time). A series of wings that were arranged in echelons emanated from the center building. This basic design scheme became the predominate style of psychiatric hospital construction throughout the United States in the second half of the 19th-century. Among other advantages, the progressive setback arrangement of the components of the building allowed air to flow into each ward of the building through windows on all four sides. The arrangement also tended to shield each individual ward of the building from the view of persons on the other wards, thus affording greater privacy. J. Crawford Neilson is perhaps best known as the architect of the South Carolina State capitol building.

The Main Building, c. 1896

It appears that the commission did not meet again until November 1867. As noted above, politics came to the fore again when the original commissioners were reappointed (Acts of 1868). While no record of its proceedings are known to exist, the commission presumably continued to oversee the construction of the Spring Grove facility after construction was resumed in 1868, but progress was reportedly very slow. In 1870, the legislature ordered the sale of the hospital's holdings in Baltimore City (Acts of 1870). The property was sold to Johns Hopkins, after whom the hospital and university have been named, and proceeds of the sale were then applied to the construction costs of the new hospital at Spring Grove.(See below.)

The Inebriate Asylum

Watercolor of the Main Building

The Baltimore Property is Sold to Johns Hopkins

One of the original outbuildings at Spring Grove (current photograph)

Johns Hopkins, the wealthy Baltimore merchant and investor after whom both the university and the hospital are named, had been involved for two decades in the oversight of the Maryland Hospital for the Insane as a member of its Board of Visitors and as part of his many philanthropic activities. Records indicate that the old hospital, which by then was situation on 13-acres, was sold to Mr. Hopkins in 1870 for the sum of $150,000, although the net proceeds of the sale were only $133,318.67, after several deductions were made.  These deductions included a $2,000 withholding for a small parcel of land that had been considered part of the property but that could not convey because the Maryland Hospital did not hold clear title to it. (The hospital did hold a legally binding option to purchase the parcel in question for $2,000, and this option was transferred to Johns Hopkins at the time of the sale. Accordingly, $2,000 was deducted from the purchase price.) The balance of the deductions were for rent for the continued occupation of the property by the Maryland Hospital and its patients for several years after the sale. (See below. Although the property was sold to Johns Hopkins in 1870, and although Mr. Hopkins agreed to pay for the property before he was actually able to take possession of it so that the proceeds could be used to finish the new facilities at Spring Grove, the new hospital building was several years away from completion -- and so an agreement was reached at the time of the sale for the State to lease the property back from Mr. Hopkins.) Furthermore, the terms of the sale allowed Johns Hopkins to withhold $25,000 of the payment until such time as the General Assembly of Maryland passed a resolution that would afford him immunity from any unfriendly extensions of Baltimore City streets through the property. (Similar immunity had previously been granted to the Maryland Hospital, but could not be transferred to a new owner.) In the following year, 1871, the General Assembly did pass a law that provided Mr. Hopkins with the protection that he requested, on the condition that the property be used as a hospital and for no other purpose.

There had been an earlier plan to preserve the Baltimore site as 'an auxiliary institution' after the Spring Grove site was completed However, the hospital was already in debt, there was no way that the partially completed structure at Spring Grove could be completed without a major infusion of funds, and so the original proposal to maintain the hospital at two sites (Baltimore City and Spring Grove) was formally abandoned in 1870 when the property was sold.  While debate as to whether to maintain two state hospitals or simply transfer the Maryland Hospital from its original site in Baltimore to the new site in Catonsville continued for most of the time that the new hospital was under construction.  However, the decision seems to have been essentially made by the late 1860s. In a report dated January 12, 1870, Dr. R. S. Steuart, the hospital's chief executive officer, summarized the bases of the decision to sell and abandon the Baltimore site and to move all of the hospital's operations to the 'new Hospital' as follows:

  • It is too small, and too defective in its construction.
  • It is too old and dilapidated, and will require too large a yearly outlay to keep it up.
  • When established, it was remote from the City, now it is surrounded by buildings on every side, subjecting the patients to the noises and excitements around them; and they, in their turn, disturbing the population by which this building is surrounded.
  • The property, itself, has greatly enhanced in value, and can be sold for more than the land and improvements have cost the State, (from is commencement in 1797,) by which means, the treasury may be protected from the future cost of the completion of the new Asylum, now under construction, by Commissioners, who have that work in hand, and from whom we learn, the work may be regarded as one half completed and capable of full completion in one year, if appropriations are sufficiently large, and made at an early date.

(Taken from the Forty-First Report of the President and Visitors of the Maryland Hospital for the Insane, Baltimore, for 1868 and 1869)

A Plan to Subdivide the MD Hospital Property. c. 1868

*This four-year absence refers to the fact that the Board of Visitors of the Maryland Hospital had been replaced in 1864, during the third year of the Civil War, after most members refused to sign an oath of loyalty to the Union. The members, together with their President, Dr. R. S. Steuart, were reinstated when the Democratic Party returned to power in Maryland, three years after the war's end.

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Completion of the Catonsville Site -- 1872 ​

Construction of the new hospital at the Spring Grove site had resumed in 1868, but, apparently, on a limited scale -- due to a lack of money. However, following the acquisition of funds from the sale of the Baltimore property in 1870, full-scale construction activities were resumed. On October 7, 1872 the Maryland Hospital for the Insane officially relocated from its original site in Baltimore to its current site at Spring Grove. On that date, it transferred staff and 112 patients to the newly completed building. (The original building at Spring Grove, known in later years as the 'Central Building,' and then as the 'Main Building' or the 'Administration Building' or simply as 'Old Main,' was demolished in 1964. However, what had once been the Main Building's powerhouse and gas works, a building that was built at the same time and was originally adjacent to, but not part of, the Main building survives today as what is known as the Laundry Building . In addition, several buildings that were built at the site a matter of only several years after the Main Building opened are still extant. These include the original firehouse ; and several other outbuildings .)​

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According to the Maryland Hospital's Annual Report for 1872 and 1873, when the hospital sold its property in Baltimore to Johns Hopkins in 1870 it owed $120,439.73 on past-due invoices for Spring Grove-related constructions costs. Understandably, workers, trades people and materials suppliers were unwilling to resume construction activities until the past-due bills were paid -- and the Board acknowledged that it would be dishonorable to not pay their debts, especially if, as was the case in 1870 after the sale of the old hospital, the funds were available. Furthermore, the Board was aware that there was a only a limited supply of workers and trades people in the area to do the types of work that needed to be done, and that if they didn't pay these individuals what was already owed to them the Board would be unlikely to get them, or, for that matter, anyone else, to do the additional work that was necessary to finish the building. However, the Board of Visitors also recognized that if the hospital used all of the proceeds from the sale of the Baltimore property (a net of just $133,318.67) to pay the overdue bills for the construction that had been completed at Spring Grove to date (an amount that, as noted above, was over $120,000), there wouldn't be enough money left over to finish the hospital -- or to even finish enough of it so that at least a section of it could occupied as a hospital. Accordingly, the board members knew that if they paid off the existing construction debt in full, they would find themselves in possession of a debt-fee, but uninhabitable, partially completed, large 'shell,' with no reasonable expectation of being able to complete and occupy it in the short term. Furthermore, their agreement with Johns Hopkins was time limited and if the new hospital building at Spring Grove was not completed within the next several years, it was recognized that the Hospital would have to close and the patients would have to be sent to almshouses or simply be put out on the streets. Within this context, a deal was struck between the hospital and the workers to whom the debt was owed: The hospital would pay the workers, trades people and suppliers 90% of what was owed, on the condition that new materials would be supplied and that the workers would resume construction on a full-scale, pending additional appropriations by the State.

The rate at which the patients were transferred from the old site to the new one is not know for certain. However, early histories of the hospital indicate that all remaining patients were all transferred on October 7th. Presumably, if any additional patients remained at the Baltimore location after the new hospital at Spring Grove officially opened on October 7, 1872, these patients were transferred to Spring Grove fairly quickly afterwards; most of the old hospital had been razed by the end of 1873. However, it is possible that the Hospital did operate simultaneously at both locations for at least a a brief period of time until all the patients, furniture and equipment could be transferred. The cost of 'removing the patients' to the new site in Catonsville was listed as having been $872.25 (Annual Report of 1872 and 1873.)

Several names were used initially to identify the new site for the Maryland Hospital. It may originally have been referred to as the 'Maryland State Lunatic Asylum [at] Spring Grove.' (This is the name that is used on what evidently was the original plan for the first floor the new hospital building in Catonsville, circa 1853.) A number of documents that date from the period between the end of the Civil War and 1872 refer to it simply as 'The Spring Grove Asylum.' In a report written about the yet-to-be completed new hospital, Dr. William Steuart, the Resident Physician, referred to it as 'The new Asylum, at Spring Grove.' Several early documents refer to the institution as 'The Maryland Hospital for the Insane at Spring Grove.' However, by 1874 the facility seems to have settled on an official name: 'The Maryland Hospital for the Insane, Near Catonsville, Baltimore County.' This name was used continuously (at least officially) until the hospital was formally renamed: 'The Spring Grove State Hospital' in 1912. However, regardless of its official name, the hospital in it's Catonsville location has always been informally referred to as 'Spring Grove.'

Maryland Hospital Razed -- Around 1873

For more information about the history of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, visit their web site at https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/about/history/index.html

It should be noted that J. Crawford Neilson not only was the architect that designed the Main Building, he oversaw its construction during the 19 years that passed between the start of construction, in 1853, and its completion, in 1872.  Many of the interior walls were constructed of multiple courses of brick, while the exterior walls were built of grey stone that was quarried onsite. (The location of the quarry has not been determined by this writer, but some people believe that it was located at the site of today's Weltmer Bowl, Spring Grove's athletic field.) The new building was built in the Italianate style and was originally designed to hold 250 patients. Male patients resided on the north wing of the building (known as the 'Male Department) and female patient were housed in the south wing (known as the 'Female Department.') There were originally 18 wards - 9 on each wing, spread out over three floors. Occupational therapy rooms and, soon after the building opened, a bowling alley were located in the basement. Staff quarters and offices were located in the front of the center section of the building. A kitchen pantry, and eventually dining refectories and an amusement hall and chapel were located in at the rear of the center section. Higher functioning or 'convalescent' patients were placed on the units that were closest to the center section of building in each wing. So called 'General Patients' were housed in the next echelon back, and more disturbed or 'violent' patients tended were placed on the units that were the farthest back from the center section. These were the so-called 'back wards.'

The building was heated by hot water pipes that ran to it from the nearby (and still extant) Boiler House that was located immediately to the building's west. The hot water was used to heat air that was contained in heat exchangers that were located in the basement, and then a series of air shafts were used to allow the heated air to rise to the upper floors through gravity-fed convection. As might be guessed, this heating system quickly proved to be inadequate and the upper floors in this very large four-story building were reportedly always cold in the winter.

Early Views of the Grounds of Spring Grove

The Maryland Hospital for the Insane at Spring Grove in Its First Years

Although the State Legislature had funded the construction of the new facility at Spring Grove, it evidently didn't make arrangements to provide sufficient resources to pay for furniture, equipment, staffing and other operating costs. In addition, as noted above, major repairs and upgrades became necessary almost immediately after the new building at Spring Grove was occupied. Repeated requests for additional funding by the Spring Grove management went unanswered by the General Assembly and the hospital's debt mounted. In what may have been an early example of a bureaucratic 'end run,' the managers mortgaged the hospital to private lenders for $150,000 in 1874 -- just two years after the hospital was finished.  This action, of course, raised the specter of the State losing its entire investment through foreclosure should the General Assembly continue to refuse to appropriate additional funding. If the decision to mortgage the Hospital was, in fact, intended to force the General Assembly to provide additional funds, it may have backfired in one sense. In response to the prospect of facing foreclosure, the Maryland General Assembly did appropriate the funds needed to pay off the mortgage in 1876 -- but, at the same time, it ordered the Maryland Hospital to be reorganized. Subsequently, the hospital was formally renamed as the Maryland Hospital for the Insane at Spring Grove, and it was placed under a new board of managers appointed by the governor (Acts of 1876). Dr. Richard Sprigg-Steuart, who had been President of the hospital's Board since 1828 was replaced as its President by C.W. Chancellor, M.D. Dr. Stueart was also replaced as the hospital's chief executive officer by John S. Conrad, M.D., who held the title of 'Medical Superintendent and Treasurer.'

The following classification system was developed by Dr. R. G. B. Broome, who was one of the Spring Grove 'Medico-Psychological' physicians (psychiatrists) in 1874. This is taken from the Spring Grove Bi-Annual Report for the years 1874-75.

Map Showing Spring Grove in 1898.  (Note locations of the Ponds)

Conditions of Depression:

  • Hypochondria
  • Melancholia, with Stupor
  • Melancholia, with Suicidal Tendency
  • Melancholia, with Homicidal Tendency
  • Melancholia, Simple.

Conditions of Excitation:

  • Mania, Hysterical
  • Mania, Puerperal [i.e., Related to Childbirth]
  • Mania, Suicidal
  • Mania, Homicidal
  • Epileptic Mania
  • Monomania [i.e., Related to a single idea or obsession, usually paranoid in nature]
  • Amenomania [Related to menopause or 'Uterine Derangements' - about 8% of the hospital's admissions.]

Conditions of Mental Weakness:

  • General Paresis [Tertiary Syphilis]

Conditions [of] Moral Insanity without Intellectual Aberration:

  • Homicidal Insanity
  • Suicidal Insanity
  • Dipsomania [Alcoholism - 48 of the hospital's 138 admissions that year.]
  • Kleptomania
  • Erotomania [Masturbation was thought to be the cause of mental illness in about 8% of the admissions]

Spring Grove Grows

Dr. Richard F. Gundry was appointed the superintendent of the hospital in 1878, whereupon a number of reforms were implemented. The hospital's annual report to the Governor in 1876 indicates that restraints were applied to about 2% of the patient population. (It is not clear if this figure represented the continuous use of physical restraints in 2% of the patient population at any given time, or if it meant that 2% of the population had been restrained at some point.) With considerable opposition, Dr. Gundry discontinued the use of all mechanical restraints, thereby making the Maryland Hospital at Spring Grove one of the first, if not the first hospital in the United States to discontinue the practice. (It should be noted that locked door seclusion was still permitted, and reports from the period indicate that, usually, one or two patients were 'confined' to their rooms at any given time. Furthermore, records from the period indicate that many, if not most, patients were routinely locked in their bedrooms at night while the nurses and everyone else, other than the men and women who served night as watchmen, slept.)

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Moral Management and Other Treatments in the Late 1800s

Nurses, 1897

Eau de Botot

  • Cloves, macerated into a coarse powder --30parts
  • Cinnamon, macerated into a coarse powder --30 parts
  • Anise, crushed --30 parts
  • Cochineal (red coloring) --20 parts
  • Oil of Peppermint --15 parts
  • Alcohol --2000 parts

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  • Two Ounces Tincture Nucis Vomicae
  • Two Ounces Tincture Physostigmatic
  • One Ounce Tincture Belladonnae
  • Seven Ounces Cascara Cordial

The Directions for use read: 'One Ounce Night and Morning.'

Notes: Both Belladonna (also known as Atropine) and Physostigmine are used today in medications to reduce intestinal spasm and give tone to relaxed muscular walls of the stomach and bowels. Cascara Cordial was a mild laxative. Nucis Vomicae, from the seeds of an East Indian tree, is said to stimulate appetite and aid digestion. However, these formulas are reproduced only because they are of historic interest. They should not be considered safe or appropriate for modern consumption.

'Classification' of patients -- by illness and level of functioning -- was felt to have been an important intervention at the time. An early floor plan of the Maryland Hospital at Spring Grove indicates that the more violent patients were segregated to the back of the building. As noted above, 'General' patients were treated in the middle sections of the building, and the wards that housed the convalescent patients were closest to the hospital building's main entrance.  A heavy emphasis was placed upon the healing power of restful sleep, and, accordingly, patients were segregated by illness and level of activity so that the more disturbed patients were less likely to interrupt the rest of those patients who were recovering.

Superintendent's Office, Around 1900

Click here to take a 'virtual' tour of the main building

A second state psychiatric hospital is built.

A second Maryland state psychiatric hospital, originally called the 'Second Hospital for the Insane' (now known as Springfield Hospital Center) was established in Sykesville, Maryland in 1896. At end of the nineteenth century more than 1000 mentally ill persons in Maryland were being kept in prisons and in almshouses, and, although a number of steps had been taken over the years to increase its capacity at Spring Grove well beyond the 325 beds for which it had originally been designed, admission to Spring Grove was not possible for many of the mentally ill persons in prisons and almshouses individuals because the hospital had reached -- and often exceeded -- its capacity. The creation of this second State psychiatric hospital helped to ease the growing pressure for admissions to Spring Grove.  However, records from the early 1890s indicate that the Spring Grove executive staff lobbied against the creation of a second administratively independent State psychiatric hospital. For example, in an 1893 letter to the Governor of Maryland, George H. Roh, M.D., Superintendent of Spring Grove at the time, wrote:

'The question [of] whether a new insane Hospital should be built in another part of the State, under separate management, or whether a colony should be established at some distance from this Hospital and under the management of its Board of Managers is a subject for profitable discussion. In the first place a new Hospital would require more time before it could be made useful than a colony directed from this place. A new Board of managers, new executive officers, new buildings for the lodgment [sic] of the latter and for administrative purposes would be required before the quarters for the patients themselves could be made useful. On the other hand a colony under the management and direction of an institution already established could be made available for its beneficent purposes almost as soon as the land is acquired.'

Springfield Hospital's 'Men's Group' in the late 1890s.

Springfield was built according to what was called the 'cottage' plan, a scheme that called for a series of relatively small, often modest, patient 'cottages' that, while separate from each other, were frequently interconnected by covered walkways or porticos. This newer system allowed for greater flexibility in terms of grouping patients by diagnosis and level of functioning, and it also tended to make expansion and future growth easier.  On the other hand, Spring Grove's Main Building (1853) had been built in accordance with the previous era's 'Kirkbride' plan of institutional design -- a plan that led to the construction of hospitals that consisted essentially of a single, imposing, often immense, even monolithic building. In addition to the Main Building, buildings at Spring Grove that represented or evoked the Kirkbride plan included such buildings as the Foster-Wade Building (1914 and 1926) and the Bland-Bryant Building (1930).  Later, Spring Grove transitioned to the more flexible cottage plan. Examples of cottage plan buildings at Spring Grove include The Hillcrest Building (1921), the Garrett Building (1932), the Women's Convalescent Cotta​ges ('Stone Cottage' Group)​ and, more recently, the four Red Brick Cottages (1950s).

For more information about Springfield Hospital Center's History, see Springfield History

African-American Patients

African American Female Patients at Spring Grove

African-American patients were identified in the records by the notation 'col' or 'colored.' To view one of the records of an African-American patient of Spring Grove from the hospital's Centennial year, 1897, click on the image to the above right.

Several documents from the period speak, predictably, to the then predominate belief that the races should be separated -- although there was also evidence that therapeutic activities, such as industrial therapy, were integrated. In 1877, the following report was made by the Hospital's Board of Managers:

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At first, the new facility at Spring Grove seems to have been racially integrated. However, several annual reports from the end of the 19th-century indicate that by that time African-American patients were segregated to certain (less desirable) sections of the Main Building. For example, it was noted that in 1896 an old bowling alley that was, evidently, located in the basement of the Main Building, was converted to serve as a ward for African-American patients. (The Annual report of that year suggests that, unlike any of the other units in the hospital, the single African-American ward served both male and females patients.) Records from the turn of the 19th-century also indicate that African-American men often lived in tents on the Hospital's grounds for as many as eight months out of the year.

In the same tradition, in 1906 a separate building, constructed in back of the Main Building, was opened as a 'Cott​age for Colored Women' (see above). This cottage seems to have been the first public hospital building in Maryland specifically for the treatment of mentally ill African-American patients.

African-American Male Patients Often Lived in Tents in 1900

State Care vs. County Care.

The founding of Crownsville State Hospital and the Eastern Shore State Hospital in the early part of the 20th century -- together with major expansions of the bed capacities at Spring Grove and Springfield State Hospitals at around the same time stemmed from what may have been the first major mental health patient advocacy movement in Maryland since the days of Dorothea Dix in the mid-nineteenth century. Between 1908 and 1910 the local newspapers ran a series of stories that shed light on the often squalid conditions that existed in the county-run almshouses of the time. These newspaper expose's were complete with 'candid' photographs, and some of the photographs were taken, through the use of recently available portable flash-photography, during unannounced visits to the alms houses -- sometimes in the middle of the night. By way of contrast, the newspaper accounts also pointed to what was considered to have been the pleasant, healthful and therapeutic conditions at the two State psychiatric hospitals in Maryland (Spring Grove and Springfield). Up until that time, Maryland had depended heavily upon a system known as 'County Care,' i.e., the basic care and shelter that was provided in 'County Homes' (alms houses) to indigent citizens (including indigent citizens with mental illnesses) by the various counties. The new movement, known as 'State Care,' took hold in Maryland between 1908 and 1810 and sought to substantially expand the capacities of the State hospitals so that the responsibility for the care and treatment of mentally ill citizens could be shifted from what was considered to have been the non-therapeutic, often substandard environments of the county-run homes, to the healthful and therapeutic State hospitals. It is interesting to note that only approximately 40-years later the Baltimore Sun newspaper published a similar series of expos's - this time of the State hospitals. Collectively, these articles have been come to be known as the 'Maryland's Shame' story. (See below.)

World War I -- And Spring Grove in the Early 20th Century

Sun Parlor -- West (male) Wing, Foster-Wade Bldg., 1920s

The Maryland Hospital for the Insane, often informally referred to as 'Spring Grove,' was officially renamed Spring Grove State Hospital in 1912 when funds were appropriated for additional hospital buildings (Acts of 1912).

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Spring Grove Continues to Expand (1920s - 1950s)

The Thomas-Rice Auditorium

Maryland's Shame and a Period of Reconfiguration

Expansion of the Hospital continued into the early 1960s. The White Building (originally known as the 'Disturbed Women's Building') was built in 1952, the Hamilton Building (originally known as the 'Admissions Building') in 1953, and the Red Brick Cottages (originally known as the 'Convalescent Cottages') also were completed in 1952. As recently as the late1950s, Spring Grove had as many as 3,400patients at any given time, and the 'construction boom' at Spring Grove continued into the 1960s.The Rehabilitation Building (a portion of which is also known as the 'Rush Building,' and now the headquarters of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration, and other State agencies) was built in 1960 and was doubled in size through an expansion several years later.  The Dayhoff Building (originally known as the 'Active Treatment Building,' for males) was built in 1961; the Tawes Building (originally called 'the Infirmary') in 1962; and the Moylan Building (originally known as the 'Children's Unit') in 1964.

A Ward in the Main Building in 1949

Spring Grove Today

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Now officially known as Spring Grove Hospital Center (renamed in 1973) and under the governance of the Mental Hygiene Administration, the facility operates 330 beds and provides advanced inpatient psychiatric services to approximately 1000 patients every year.Spring Grove is fully accredited by the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO), was recently awarded commendation status by thatorganization, and maintains a major teaching affiliation with the University of Maryland. The Center is also the host site of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, a world-renowned research institution that focuses on identifying the causes and cure for schizophrenia.

To learn more about Spring Grove and its history, visit the Spring Grove Alumni Museum​ in the Garrett Building on the grounds of the hospital. Hours of operation are Thursdays, 10 am to 2 pm, and at other times by appointment.

Aerial View of Spring Grove Hospital Center, 1992

Note: Spring Grove wishes to gratefully acknowledge that much of the above information was provided through the courtesy of the Maryland State Archives. Additional information about Maryland's history (including additional information about Maryland's public mental health system) is available through their web site: http://www.msa.maryland.gov/ . Other important sources included the Maryland Historical Society and the Baltimore County Historical Society. If you would like to comment on Spring Grove's History, or if you would like to suggest additions or corrections, please contact us at [email protected]

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About the IFSWF Membership

The ifswf is a diverse group of sovereign wealth funds from every inhabited continent. they have varied economic roles and mandates., our members define themselves as:, “special-purpose investment funds or arrangements that are owned by the general government. created by the general government for macroeconomic purposes, swfs hold, manage, or administer assets to achieve financial objectives, and employ a set of investment strategies that include investing in foreign financial assets.”, — sovereign wealth funds generally accepted principles and practices, “the santiago principles”, sources of wealth for ifswf members, 2018.

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Savings funds.

Savings funds are sometimes referred to as intergenerational savings funds because they have decades-long investment horizons. The world’s oldest SWF, the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), is a good example.

Savings funds are often set up by commodity-rich countries to save a portion of their resource wealth for the future. Oil, gas and precious-metal reserves are finite: one day they will run out. There is also a risk that these resources will become stranded assets as climate-change regulation and the rise of green-energy alternatives render hydrocarbon extraction uneconomic.

But by using their SWFs to convert today’s resource wealth into renewable financial assets, governments can share the windfalls with the generations of tomorrow. By investing overseas, savings funds in commodity-rich countries can also help prevent Dutch Disease, whereby a surge in commodity exports leads to a sharp rise in foreign-exchange inflows, generating in inflationary pressures and damaging the competitiveness of other economic sectors.

Some savings funds are designed to nance future liabilities. Pension reserve funds, such as Australia’s Future Fund, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and Chile’s Pension Reserve Fund, typically invest to build capital that will help defray their sponsoring government’s future pension obligations. Unlike orthodox pension funds, the assets they manage remain the property of the government and no individual has any claim on them. As a result, these funds can remain, long-term investors, even as they are drawn upon.

The New Zealand government created NZSF (also known as NZ Super) in 2001 to build savings to defray future pensions costs. As is the case in many countries, such costs are likely to rise as the population ages; as the number of older citizens increases, the number of taxpayers relative to the number of retirees falls.

The NZSF is managed by the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, a Crown entity which is empowered to make investment decisions independent of the government. The Guardians invest government contributions, along with the returns generated by these investments, to grow the capital of the fund. Withdrawals are due to begin in the mid-2030s.

As a long-term investor, NZSF can devote a relatively large proportion of its portfolio to private-market assets, taking advantage of the illiquidity premium available on such investments. For example, the fund invests in global forestry assets, transport infrastructure and real estate. 

The Guardians use a reference portfolio as a benchmark against which to measure the performance of NZSF and the value added by its various active investment strategies. The reference portfolio is comprised of passive, low-cost, listed investments, split between global equities (80%) and fixed income (20%).

As of 31 March 2018, the Guardians allocated 66% of the fund’s NZ$37.8 billion ($27.4 billion) portfolio to global equities, 13% to global fixed-income and other public market investments, 4% to domestic equities and 17% to alternative investments such as infrastructure, private debt and property. 

Stabilisation funds

Stabilisation funds are designed as pools of capital which governments can draw on to smooth the budget. Often, commodity-rich nations create these funds to manage revenue streams; the fund will save some of the proceeds from large influxes of revenue and pay out when commodity receipts fall below a specified amount.

Stabilisation funds can thus help mitigate the resource curse, an economic phenomenon whereby commodity-rich countries tend to experience slower growth than comparable countries that lack such wealth. The resource curse occurs partly because energy prices are volatile. When prices are high, governments usually increase spending; when they are low, governments must tighten their belts. These fluctuations exacerbate the economic cycle. 

By helping to smooth out commodity revenues, stabilisation funds can help governments avoid extreme peaks and troughs in the cycle. These funds are also used to help stabilise the value of the country’s currency during macroeconomic shocks. For this reason, stabilisation funds tend to hold a large proportion of their assets in liquid investments so that they have access to capital at short notice.

The Chilean government established ESSF in 2007. ESSF superseded an older fund called the Copper Stabilisation Fund, which the government had used to save a portion of its revenues from copper exports. The ESSF inherited much of its $2.6 billion in start-up capital from this older vehicle.

The timing was propitious. Only a year after the fund was created, the financial crisis hit, reducing demand for commodities. By drawing on the fund’s capital, the government could support the Chilean economy without issuing more debt. This is one reason Chile fared better than its Latin American peers during the crash (Chile’s GDP growth declined by 1% in 2008; by contrast, Mexico’s fell by 4.7%).

ESSF works in tandem with another SWF, the Pension Reserve Fund, in Chile’s fiscal setup. According to Chile’s Fiscal Responsibility Law, ESSF receives an amount equal to the government’s annual surplus once contributions to the Pension Reserve Fund and the Central Bank of Chile have been deducted. As of end-March 2018, the fund held $14.9 billion in assets.

As a stabilisation fund, ESSF needs to keep the bulk of its portfolio in liquid securities that can be accessed at short notice. As of 31 March 2018, ESSF held 33.4% of its portfolio in money-market assets; 55.2% in sovereign bonds; 8% in developed-market equities; and the rest in inflation-linked bonds.

Strategic funds

Since the global financial crisis, there has been a marked change in how governments use their liquid and illiquid assets. With interest rates at record lows and global economic growth sluggish, the appeal of traditional savings and stabilisation funds has diminished. Instead, many states have created development funds that form part of their domestic economic policies. 

These funds follow the lead of two well-established South-East Asian SWFs, Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional. These funds acquire stakes in companies in strategic industries to nurture their development, promoting the growth of the wider economy and realising financial returns. Temasek and Khazanah have also been able to build portfolios of overseas assets from the proceeds of the realisation of some of their major investments, as well as using the dividends and other cash distributions they receive from their portfolio companies.

The Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) neatly illustrates how these vehicles differ from traditional savings funds. ISIF has a mandate to invest on a commercial basis to support economic activity and employment in Ireland in targeted economic sectors. The fund’s recent activity includes the launch of an infrastructure development plan to finance student accommodation across Ireland and a €100 million ($107 million) fund that will offer loans to Irish milk producers.

Strategic funds can promote the domestic economy in a variety of ways. They may provide financing to early-stage companies in strategic industries, or buy long-term stakes to facilitate the development of more mature firms. Some, like Kazakhstan’s Samruk-Kazyna, are active managers of their portfolio companies, aiming to upgrade their operations and profitability with a view to privatisation.

Some strategic funds will make direct investments in critical infrastructure projects, occasionally using their local expertise to leverage co-investments from peer institutions. 

Founded in 2011, RDIF co-invests in Russian projects with expected attractive returns on investment and economic benefits to the country. It also allocates a small proportion of its assets to overseas investments alongside foreign partners.

Unusually, RDIF is designed to work in tandem with top global investors, including SWFs, acting as a catalyst for direct investment in Russia. To this end, RDIF has formed partnerships with over 20 international institutions. Several of RDIF’s investment partners automatically participate in all its deals.

In 2012, RDIF partnered with the China Investment Corporation (CIC) to create the Russia-China Investment Fund, a vehicle that invests primarily in the Russian economy, with each party allocating $1 billion to the vehicle. RDIF also has similar agreements in place with the Kuwait Investment Authority, Mubadala Investment Company, Qatar Investment Authority, Caisse des Dépôts, CDP Equity, the Korea Investment Corporation, and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, among others.

RDIF often makes direct investments alongside more than one international partner at a time. Over 30 deals have been closed across a wide range of sectors in the five years of RDIF’s investment activity, with a proportion of funds attracted from partners per each rouble invested by RDIF totalling 9 to 1.

This co-investment model enables RDIF to amplify the economic impact of its investments. As of the end of 2017, RDIF has invested 100 billion roubles ($1.8 billion) of Russian government capital while over RUB 1.1 trillion came from its co-investors, partners and banks. RDIF has also established joint investment platforms with a total value of more than $30 billion through partnerships with leading international investors.

Multiple Objectives

Not every SWF has a single objective. Many funds combine two or more of the functions listed above, mixing stabilisation, savings and development. 

While these hybrid funds arise all over the world and include the China Investment Corporation, the Trinidad and Tobago Heritage and Stabilisation Fund, and the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan, they are particularly common in developing economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Many of these nations created their SWFs following the commodity super-cycle of the 2000s, which led to a boom in resource revenues.

Locking away capital for future generations is clearly inappropriate for countries with high levels of poverty or pressing infrastructure-development needs. For this reason, African countries have created innovative SWF structures that often integrate sub-portfolios dedicated to discrete objectives.

For example, the Fundo Soberano de Angola allocates a third of its portfolio to international securities such as Treasury bonds and developed-market equities, and the remainder of its assets to private-equity investments in Angola and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa to support “socioeconomic development”. Similarly, Botswana uses its Pula Fund, sub-Saharan Africa’s oldest SWF, for a combination of savings, stabilisation and development.

In 2004, Nigeria created a fund called the Excess Crude Account (ECA), designed to manage its oil revenues for both savings and stabilisation purposes. As oil prices surged during the 2000s, ECA collected a large proportion of the government’s revenues. But ECA also had a poorly-defined legal mandate, which meant its savings were subject to wrangles between the federal government and state governors.

In 2012 Nigeria launched a new SWF, NSIA, to rectify these problems. NSIA has a clearer and more-legally rigorous mandate than ECA: it is divided into separate, ring-fenced pools of capital, each of which has a different objective: a Future Generations Fund, an Infrastructure Fund and a Stabilisation Fund.

As of end-2016, the most recent date at which the NSIA disclosed the composition of its investment portfolio, the Future Generations Fund was 43% in cash, 53% in public- and private-equity strategies, with the remainder of the portfolio allocated to commodities and other diversifiers. The Stabilisation Fund also allocates a portion of its capital to absolute-return fixed-income managers (36%) but devotes its portfolio to more-liquid assets such as short-duration Treasury bonds (29%) and time deposits (47%).

The Infrastructure Fund is primarily run by an in-house team and invests domestically, in projects such as bridges and toll roads, alongside commercial partners. For example, NSIA collaborated with construction firm Julius Berger Nigeria to help finance a new bridge over the Niger River connecting the cities of Asaba and Onitsha. The Infrastructure Fund has also made investments in telecommunications and healthcare.

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