THIS DAY IN VIRGINIA HISTORY
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September 27, 1848
William B. Day Requested the Transfer of a Patient to the Lunatic Asylum
The first government-supported hospital for mentally ill persons opened in 1773 in Williamsburg. In 1825 the General Assembly approved a second mental hospital in western Virginia, and the Western Lunatic Hospital opened in Staunton in 1828. Dr. Francis Taliaferro Stribling (1810–1874), the superintendent from 1836 to 1874, supported “Moral Therapy” for patients, focusing on curative practices as opposed to the restraint system previously standard in treating mental illness. In 1848 Dr. William Benjamin Day (1817–1886) requested the transfer of a patient from Fairfax County to the Western Lunatic Asylum. Today the facility is known as the Western State Hospital.