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New England Hospitals tells of the impact of an institution on a people.
In 1790 few New Englanders had ever seen a hospital. By 1833, when the Worcester State Asylum opened, the institution had become a New England tradition.
The formative years were those when such men as Horace Mann, the Reverend John Bartlett, John Adams, John Lowell, Josiah Quincy, and Dr. Eli Todd turned men's thoughts to the care of the mentally and physically ill. People like the gentle-mannered Dr. Jackson considered it their duty not merely to "throw a few pills and powders into one pan of the scales of Fate, while Death the skeleton was seated in the other, but to lean with their whole weight on the side of life, and shift the balance in its favor if it lay in human power to do it."
In this early period the hospital was, as it is in our time, an institution devoted to healing the sick, a center of research and teaching, a challenge to the architect, and the ground of endless financial and administrative struggle and growth. In this book, Leonard K. Eaton places this early development of American hospitals in its cultural perspective.