Joseph R. Anderson Letters
Scope and Content
The Joseph R. Anderson Letters contain correspondence to Dr. Francis T. Stribling, the head of the Western Lunatic Asylum in Staunton, Virginia, for the creation of bedposts, and James T. Ames, Esq., of Ames Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Massachusetts, regarding machinery and material Anderson would be unable to obtain and use due to the oubreak of the American Civil War.
- 1860 - 1861
- Anderson, Joseph R. (Joseph Reid), 1813-1892 (Person)
- Stribling, Francis T. (Francis Taliaferro), 1810-1874 (Person)
Language of Materials
The material in this collection is in English.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
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Joseph R. Anderson (1813-1892) was a Confederate Brigadier General during the American Civil War. He gained his commission by attending the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, where upon graduation he was assigned as an officer for the 3rd United States Artillery. While with the unit, he was recognized for his engineering capabilities and then was transferred to the Army Corps of Engineers. Realizing he would be better suited to work in engineering outside the military, Anderson left the army to become chief engineer at Valley Turnpike Company and later the Tredgar Iron Company in Richmond, Virginia. He offered his services to the Confederacy when the American Civil War broke out in 1861 and commanded forces in Willmington, North Carolina and led forces against the Union during the Penninsula Campaign in 1862.
"Joseph Reid Anderson", findagrave.com https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/4656/joseph-reid-anderson, accessed on June 5, 2023.
Originally called the Western State Lunatic Asylum, the Western Lunatic Asylum was a hospital for the mentally ill in Staunton, Virginia, opening in 1828. In its early years, the institution was a resort-style asylum, directed under Dr. Francis T. Stribling. Dr. Stribling promoted a clean, healthy, and kind atmosphere that would aid in the healing process of his patients. While Dr. Stribling was the director of the hospital, patients were well cared for and treated with respect.
This model of care vanished in the 1900s, replaced by the overcrowding and the warehousing of patients. Techniques such as physical restraints and straitjackets were then used. After the passage of the Eugenical Sterilization Act of 1924 in Virginia, patients at the Western Lunatic Asylum were sterilized (sometimes forcibly) under the authorization of Joseph DeJarnette, a noted eugenicist. He was the director of the hospital from 1905 to 1943, implementing much stricter and harsher practices than his predecessor. Electroshock therapy and lobotomies were also practiced at the institution.
The hospital moved to its present site off of Interstate 81, and the property remained vacated until it was converted in the 1970s into the Staunton Correctional Center, a men's penitentiary. The prison closed in 2003, and the site was then left vacant again for several years. In 2005, the state of Virginia gave the property to the Staunton Industrial Authority, and the facility has now been converted into condominiums called The Villages at Staunton.
0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)
The Joseph R. Anderson Letters contain correspondence to Dr. Francis T. Stribling, the head of the Western Lunatic Asylum in Staunton, Virginia for bedposts, and James T. Ames Esq., the agent for Ames Manufacturing Company in Chicopee, Massachusetts regarding orders.
Source of Acquisition
The Joseph R. Anderson Letters were purchased by Special Collections and University Archives in September 2017.
Rights Statement for Archival Description
The guide to the Joseph R. Anderson Letters by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/).
The processing, arrangement, and description of the Joseph R. Anderson Letters was completed in June 2023.
- Joseph R. Anderson Letters, 1860-1861
- Sterling Bryant, Student Assistant
- 2023 (CC0 1.0)
- Language of description
- Script of description
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