The Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, currently known as the Sheppard Pratt Health System, was established in 1853 and opened in 1891 in Towson, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore.
Founded by Moses Sheppard, a
Baltimore Quaker (Society of Friends) merchant, and benefactor Enoch Pratt, the
Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital served as a mental facility and training
school for psychiatric medical professionals.
The hospital’s administration stressed improved hygiene and sanitation for
the treatment of mental illnesses. Through
the examples of humane medical treatment by the Society of Friends, Moses Sheppard
stressed comfortable and polite treatment of patients that included privacy and
fresh air and sunlight. At this time,
most mentally ill patients were treated in municipal almshouses, private
hospitals, or family homes. Although
almshouses treated large volumes of patients, these patients received
inadequate treatment in unsanitary, poorly equipped, and under staffed
facilities. Administrators of the
Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital aimed to offset the inadequate mental health
treatment in these facilities through the use of curative medicine.
Patients of the hospital were separated
by sex, with separate buildings for men and women. Each building contained about fifty rooms located on
four floors. Patients were also treated
in different wings of the buildings depending on psychiatric classifications. Those deemed as most disturbed, including
those at risk of hurting themselves or others, were placed in wings furthest
from administrative offices. Convalescent
patient rooms were located closest to reception rooms and the library.
Sheppard Pratt Health System continues to treat mental health patients today.
It is a non-profit, private facility that specializes in special
education services, mental health, and substance abuse treatments for children and
adults. The facility maintains the patient-centered
approach that Moses Sheppard and Enoch Pratt established in the late 19th
century. The Sheppard Pratt Health
System’s Towson campus also houses the Robert W. and Diane E. Gibson Museum,
which consists of nearly 2,000 artifacts, including documents, furniture,
books, photographs, equipment, and art.
Many of these artifacts are from Moses Sheppard’s personal collection. This museum is open to the public by