"Baseball for the Insane" The Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital and its "Asylums" james e. overmyer Dr. Selden Haines Talcott, superintendent of the Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital in Orange County, New York, had progressive ideas about how to treat the mentally ill. In a time not long after the basic treatment for "lunatics" was to warehouse them in asylums and poorhouses, Talcott believed a healthy mind should reside in a healthy body. As he put it, "the physical means for recuperating the worn and wasted systems of the insane may be stated in three words--heat, milk, and rest, and the greatest of these is rest."1 Talcott and his staff also believed in stimulating patients' minds through activities. The hospital had educational classes, theater, and its own patient-run newspaper. The doctors also encouraged their wards to exercise, in the fresh air if possible, and soon settled upon baseball as a way to give male inmates a workout and provide a sort of therapy to other patients who could become attentive fans and focus on the game instead of their troubles. Baseball, the sole nationally popular team sport in America at the time, was not a new tool for mental health
NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jul 21, 2011
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