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Angels in the Architecture: a Photographic Elegy to an American Asylum

by Johnson, Heidi A

  • ISBN: 9780814329504
  • ISBN10: 0814329500

Angels in the Architecture: a Photographic Elegy to an American Asylum

by Johnson, Heidi A

  • List Price: $39.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Great Lakes Books
  • Publish date: 12/01/2001
  • ISBN: 9780814329504
  • ISBN10: 0814329500
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Description: In the nineteenth century, perhaps no approach to mental illness was more compassionate than that of hospital administrator Thomas Story Kirkbride, whose asylum designs integrated beauty and nature as a method to treat patients. The Northern Michigan Asylum in Traverse City, Michigan, was one of the last of nearly two hundred such architecturally intriguing asylums. Founded in 1885 under the principle "beauty is therapy", the Northern Michigan Asylum closed in 1989 and today stands as a haunting reminder of this lost era.

Angels in the Architecture is a photographic study of this institution's one-hundred-year history. Heidi Johnson's photographs of the building today are juxtaposed with rare images from private collections and state archives. The photographs are augmented by powerful first-hand accounts of former staff members and patients that reveal both sad realities and surprising acts of kindness.

The book takes readers on a virtual walking tour of a nineteenth-century asylum. Of particular interest is the hospital's Building 50, a four-block-long structure topped by twelve castlelike spires that is now on the National Registry of Historic Places and is also Save America's Treasures candidate.

Kirkbride's architecture conveyed a belief in the healing influence of landscape shared by poets and artists of the nineteenth century. Johnson has captured Kirkbride's spirit of compassion -- of angels in the architecture -- in a book that conveys the human element of mental illness with beauty and integrity.

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Seller: Blue Vase Books
Location: Interlochen, MI
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