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Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital Archives

Identifier: MS C 606


Correspondence, minutes, reports, ledgers, journals, publications, and photographs document administration, professional training, and treatment programs at Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital from its inception to 2003.


  • 1853-2003


92.88 Linear Feet (25 boxes + 140 ledger books)


Physical Location

Materials stored onsite. History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine

Language of Materials

Collection materials primarily in English

Access Restrictions

Collection is restricted. Portions of the collection are restricted according to HMD's Access to Health Information of Individuals policy. Contact the Reference Staff for information regarding access. For access to the policy and application form, please visit

Copyright and Re-use Information

Donor's copyrights were transferred to the public domain. Archival collections often contain mixed copyrights; while NLM is the owner of the physical items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. It is the user's responsibility to research and understand any applicable copyright and re-publication rights not allowed by fair use. NLM does not grant permissions to publish.

Privacy Information

Archives and manuscript collections may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in any collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which the National Library of Medicine assumes no responsibility.

Historical Note

The Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, colloquially known simply as Sheppard Pratt, was founded in 1853 by Baltimore merchant and reformer Moses Sheppard. Horrified by the inhumane treatment of mentally ill persons in American prisons, Sheppard was inspired by Dorothea Dix to apply for a charter from the State of Maryland to build a private asylum. It was to provide, in Sheppard's words, "Courteous treatment and comfort of all patients; that no patient was to be confined below ground; all were to have privacy, sunlight and fresh air; the asylum's purpose was to be curative, combining science and experience for the best possible result."

To these ends, Sheppard established his aslyum on 340 acres of former farmland in Towson, Md. just outside of Baltimore. Nationally renowned architect Calvert Vaux designed the buildings according to the Kirkbride Plan, an architectural format inspired by Philadelphia physician Thomas S. Kirkbride which emphasized maximum light exposure for the benefit of the patients. Though the cornerstones for Vaux's buildings were laid in 1862, the Sheppard Asylum did not open until 1891 due to financial constraints Sheppard imposed.

Impressed with the Sheppard Asylum trustees' administration of the trust, Baltimore philanthropist Enoch Pratt endowed the asylum with two million dollars upon his death in 1896. This endowment enabled the completion of construction and renamed the facility The Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital. It also gave the hospital the necessary financial means to grow and thrive. In 1971 the hospital was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Collection Summary

Correspondence, minutes, reports, ledgers, journals, publications, and photographs document the administration and professional training, and treatment programs of the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital (92.88 LF; 1853-2003). Records date literally from the moment of its birth with 1853 meeting minutes signed by Moses Sheppard. Trustee minutes, cash accounts, patient accounts, trustee accounts, estate and investment records, correspondence, reports, publications, photographs, and motion pictures cover the entire life of the hospital from 1853 to 2000. The collection is organized and arranged according to series developed by Sheppard Pratt. A separate, more comprehensive photograph collection and the original set of Calvert Vaux architectural drawings can be found in the HMD Prints and Photographs Collection.

Series 1, Trustees Records, covers the hospital's first one hundred and fifty years. Seventeen volumes hold the minutes of every Trustee meeting from 1853 through 2001. Committee records, dating from 1922 through 1965, detail projects and expenditures for groundskeeping and landscaping as well as the dairy herd which was dispersed in the mid-1950s. Correspondence begins about 1920 and is most comprehensive through the early 1960s, predominantly through Trustee presidents and secretaries. Correspondence referring to patients by name were removed and access is restricted according to HMD's Personal Health Information Policy.

Series 2, Administration, is a small collection of organization-level hierarchies and regulations dating from the mid-20th century.

Series 3, Land Transactions (1922-1991) consists of records, correspondence, and maps detailing property owned by the board of trustees. Information documents land maintenance and sales of lots to medical and educational institutions.

Series 4, Administrative Reports (1891-2001) in many ways augments Series 1 and documents nearly every minutiae related to the hospital's administration. Annual reports (1891-1923, 1963-1983) to the board of trustees summarize hospital activities. Daily reports from the medical superintendent of the hospital (1892-1906) were directed to the trustees and, though limited, cover a period not represented in the correspondence. The same may be said about the trustees reports to the Governor of Maryland (1877-1935). Reports also summarize the last years of the hospital's dairy herd.

Series 5, Ledger Books/Financial Records (1857-1965), provide a detailed itemization of the hospital's administration. The earliest ledgers, from 1857 to the mid-1890s illustrate the trustees' careful maintenance of Moses Sheppard's bequest in the period before the hospital admitted patients. Separate volumes are also devoted to the administration of Enoch Pratt's 1896 bequest to the hospital. Cash accounts (1903-1965) and cash corpus accounts (1927-1965) track the daily and often mundane transactions necessary to a functioning institution. Hospital account books (1899-1965) track expenditures and income specific to patient care. Patient account volumes (1893-1918) are self-explanatory. Portions of the hospital and patient accounts dating after 1914 are restricted. Itemized details include cost for toll calls, dry cleaning, newspaper subscription, staff salaries; patient rolls and admissions; income from stocks, rents, and mortgages; itemized costs for seeds, fertilizer, shoeing horses, bricks, boarding horses; daily expenses incurred by patients, such as barber and cigarettes.

Series 6, Bank Record Books (1857-1876) consists of two volumes of check stubs recording early expenditures by the trustees through Farmers and Merchants bank accounts.

Series 7, Miscellaneous Records and Subject Files (1860-1995) provide an eclectic range of information about the hospital, such as acquisition records of books for the general, medical, and patient libraries and a few files devoted to individual nurses. The largest segment of this series is the historical subject files (1860-1995). It contains information on various hospital anniversaries and activities held on the grounds, reports and plans for renovation and modernization, articles about the hospital, hospital policies, and some significant early items such as bids for the contract to build the gatehouse (1860) and announcement of the hospital’s formal opening and first patient admissions (1891).

Series 8, American Psychiatric Association (1947-1980) is a small portion of documents dealing with the hospital's affiliation with APA.

Series 9, Hospital Services (1968) consists of photographs of laundry and food service operations at the hospital.

Series 10, Personnel and Volunteers (1929-2003), contains mostly photographs. Volunteer and auxiliary activities are covered in newsletters dating from 1970-1998. Clinical staff portraits, 1965-1981, and scenes of employee picnics, dances, and award presentations make up the bulk of this series.

Series 11, Community (1968-1981) consists predominantly of photographs illustrating speaking engagements, conferences, and meetings coordinated by the hospital in the Baltimore area. Subjects range from lectures on mental health issues to coordination of care in the greater Baltimore region.

Series 12, Forbush School, Mt. Airy School, and Jefferson School (1968-1997) contains mostly photographs of these schools located on the hospital campus and activities held at them.

Series 13, Nursing Department/School of Nursing (1891-1981) and Series 14, School of Mental Health Studies (1972-1984) cover the hospital's educational programs. While the School of Mental Health is very lightly covered, the School of Nursing contains much information about school regulations and policies, some faculty meeting minutes and correspondence, and a large quantity of reports detailing curriculum guidelines from 1930 to 1945.

Series 15, Treatment Programs (1913-1990), consists mostly of photographs depicting activities, meetings, fairs, and lectures devoted to mental health or occupational therapy. Some photographic topics depict patient treatment and access is restricted according to HMD's Personal Health Information Policy.

Series 16, Writings and Publications (1867-1992) holds both literature created by the hospital and its staff and printed material acquired by the hospital. The latter consists mostly of a small number of books on mental health treatment (1883-1944) along with books on the history of the hospital (1968-1986). The largest segment contains research reports generated by hospital staff, thirty two in number dating from 1968 to 1984. Two newsletters detail current events at the hospital from 1965 to 1981. Two other newsletters, which were produced by patients, are restricted according to HMD's Personal Health Information Policy. Various pamphlets and brochures were created by the hospital announcing conferences or lectures, providing guidance to patients and visitors, inviting the public to celebrations and ceremonies, and giving general descriptions of the hospital, its history, and its mission. A smaller segment contains articles and speeches produced by medical staff (1911-1990). Scrapbooks hold clippings about the hospital from 1867 to 1977.

Series 17, Audiovisual Materials and Printing Plates (1952-2001) consists of motion picture film, videocassettes, audio cassettes, slides, and printing plates. The four films depict patient activities at the hospital from 1952 to 1966--access is restricted according to HMD's Personal Health Information Policy. The audiocassettes all seem to date from around 2001. Their subjects range from student nursing, public relations, the casino, renovations, and "Images of Care." Most of the seven videocassettes are finished productions relating to the hospital, such as "Choices" and "Images of Care." One depicts a portrait unveiling at a 1990 Board of Trustees reception. The printing plates are undated, but seem to date from the early 20th century. The two zinc plates were used to print cards and bookplates, while the copper plates depict scenes in the hospital, hospital activities, and views of the grounds.


Correspondence, minutes, reports, ledgers, journals, publications, and photographs document administration, professional training, and treatment programs at Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital from its inception to 2003.

Physical Location

Materials stored onsite. History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine


Gift, Byron Forbush, July 15, 2005. Accession 2005-027.


Processed by
Jim Labosier
Processing Completed
July 2014
Encoded by
Jim Labosier
Finding Aid to the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital Archives, 1853-2003
Unverified Partial Draft
Jim Labosier
July 2014
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English
Edition statement

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Archives and Modern Manuscripts Collection Collecting Area

8600 Rockville Pike
Bldg 38/1E-21, MSC 3819
Bethesda MD 20894 US
1-888-FINDNLM (1-888-346-3656)