6 Handwritten Stampless Letters Dr Macdonald Bloomingdale Insane Asylum Ny Paris

6 Handwritten Stampless Letters Dr Macdonald Bloomingdale Insane Asylum Ny Paris

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6 Handwritten Stampless Letters Dr Macdonald Bloomingdale Insane Asylum Ny Paris:

I want to start off by saying that on a weekly basis I get questions from buyers asking if I split up family lots of diaries and sell them separately. So I thought I’d post something to ease everyone’s mind before they buy. I am very passionate about diary collecting and history and I can’t even imagine buying a diary lot from one particular family and then splitting them up and selling each separately. Its heart wrenching when I see this happening and you have my promise that if I have more then one diary, no matter how many I have, I will always sell family lots together in one sale. But I think it’s a good question you should always ask your sellers just in case you want to try and keep a lot together. And with that said…..

I have no problem at all with anyone purchasing my item and reselling it, however my description that I’ve worked hours on is not allowed to be copied by anyone for the above purposes. The main reason I write this is because I was contacted about a listing where someone had copied my exact sale and tried to sell a diary that they didn’t even have. It ended up being a fraudulent sale and I’m thankful they caught it in time. Thank you so much for your understanding.

He remained with this institution until the late 1830’s when, with his brother Allan, became proprietor of a private mental institution on Murray Hill in New York City. In 1844 James and Allan purchased the richly appointed private residence of Nathan Sanford in Flushing, New York and in 1845 transferred their patients to the new Sanford Hall Institution. (1/2 way down on this web site are some pictures of Sanford Hall)

James served as the resident physician and Allan tended to the financial and administrative matters. When Dr. James Macdonald died suddenly in 1849 he left the management of the Sanford Hall Institution to his wife Eliza Harris Miller Macdonald and brother. There is much more to the family history then this as the institution stays in the family for years and the children become stock holders. Eliza spends a good deal of her later years touring Europe and she then died in 1890. They had 6 children; 2 boys and 4 girls.

“New York, November 5th, 1831

Dear Sir,

Your favour of 29th August dated at York was received sometime since but remained unanswered till this time in consequence of not knowing where to address you but by our last letter to the Asylum Committee from Edinburgh I perceive you expect to remain in Paris long enough to receive this. Your monthly communications to the Committee have been regularly received by me as the chairman and have afforded, I think I may say, much satisfaction to the gentlemen comparing it. They have great hopes that the condition of there establishment will be much benefited by your efforts.

Accept my best thanks for your long letter to me individually. Allow me to hope this will be often repeated during your stay in Europe. The observations and opinions of a friend traveling thro any part of the old world are always interesting to one living in the new and who has not been abroad. I see clearly, I think, that you will from your remarks, come home fully satisfied with your own country…..I have but little news to give you from this quarter. Our asylum, I presume, is much in your thoughts in regard to it I have to say that Capt. Gardner has left us, being unwilling to submit to any control and the committee having resolved that the physician must be considered as the head of the establishment and accountable for its faithful management…..”

(I want to add here that Captain Laban Gardner and his wife were the superintendents of the asylum when it opened in 1821 until this time. The letter following this one is actually from Laban Gardner).

“Theo unwilling at first to part with him, the committee are more and more satisfied with the event. They have discovered that many things were neglected and many others badly done by him. Many complaints heretofore stifled, have been since he left, (say 20th August) openly made which bring on him much censure and they find much difficulty in settling his accounts in consequence of a variety of old charges which appear to be trumped up by him because he was leaving his situation. His place if filled by Capt. Ira Ford, formerly commanding the steamboat Chief of Justice Marshall, and his wife. They appear to give general satisfaction. Capt. Ford is a man of agreeable manners and very attentive to his business….We have several new nurses, both male and female, the whole establishment is now kept very comfortable by the diffusion of heated air generated in four furnaces laced in the basement. The Alms House ahs sent us again some 26 or 27 of their manics; several of the very most smart troublesome kind but there was no alternative as the law of the state compels us to receive them. Our whole number is about 110 has been as high as 122…….Your friend, Th. R. Smith.”

(As you might have already figured out, Thomas R. Smith was on the asylum’s committee board)

“Greenwood, November 24th, 1831

Your much esteemed favour of the 8th of October was duly received yesterday for which we are all much obliged to you…..Your inspection of the different lunatic asylums which I hope and trust will enable you on your return to make the unfortunate class of the human family that you will have under our charge, more comfortable than they have been and under the assistance of divine providence to be instrumental in restoring many to society and their friends. After leaving the asylum I visited Dr. Ford at Hartford from thence went to Amherst and took James with me to Albany and Troy to see my children and grandchildren….On my return I called on Dr. White at Hudson and was much pleased with his little situation for comfort and restoration of the insane which I believe better managed than any in this country it being entirely under his control….from thence to Dr. Cornell, occasionally who will undoubtedly inform you of his visit to White Plains at the time of the election when your brother was elected a senator of this state but not by the support of Westchester County……With respect I remain your sincere friend and well wisher, Laban Gardner.”

“New York, January 15th, 1832

Dear James,

I wish you a happy New Year and many and joyful returns of that day which is welcomed in almost all countries as a season devoted to festivity and the revival of ancient friendships…..Allan left here for Albany three days ago in the midst of a snow storm to take his seat in the senate which meets on the 3rd instant. The winter so far has been the most severe of any within my recollection….The railroad mania now prevails all parts of the country. A weekly journal devoted to rail roads is now published here and circulates extensively and no less than 15 or 20 applications will probably be made to our state legislature this winter for rail road corporations.

The celebrated banker and capitalist of Philadelphia, Stephen Gerard, died during the past week and the curiosity of the public has ever since been much centered upon the subject of his will. The details of it are not known although some particulars have transpired…..Mama, Donald and all our friends are well. I have not time left to add another word, adieu, John M. Macdonald.” (His brother)

(He goes on telling of the details surrounding Stephen Gerard’s will)

“New York 9th, April, 1832

My dear Macdonald,

It is a long, long time since I last wrote you for this my long continued silence I have but his to say…….The last two months I spent in Albany whether I went for the purpose of furnishing information to the legislature in relation to a memorial from the eye infirmary (by the by I was appointed one of the surgeons of the institution, in January last) praying for a renewal of our grant which expired by its own limitation in May past. I am very sorry to say that our application was rejected in consequence of the opposition of Dr. Mittedollar of this city who is a member of the assembly. He is an enemy to the institution because, as he says, it is a monopoly, an exclusive institution. You will doubtlessly be somewhat surprised to hear that this gentleman is one of our legislative fathers. He was nominated by that beggarly old Irish radical, McNavin, who gave him the Irish interest which is quite sufficient to ensure the success of any man who is blackguard enough to seek it’s support. The plain state of the whole affair is this…….(He goes on to talk about what is now required and happening with the medical laws; I’ve scanned this page above)….Yours ever, J. E. C.”

“New York, April 20, 1832

My dear brother,

…..On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of last week had our city election for charter officers which was very sharply contested in most of the wards and in none more so than the 4th where our friend Charles G. Ferris was run as assistant Alderman on the regular Jackson ticket. This you will probably recollect is a ___which for many years past has been about equals divided in party politics and it has seldom happened for a long time that the whole of any one ticket for Charter Officers has succeeded there. The independent electors of the ward generally choosing an Alderman from one side and an assistant from the other according their whim or fancy and the popularity of the candidates…..(much more on this subject)…..If you find that there are other institutions to visit or additional researches to be made in the line of your duties and that a further absence will enable you the better to fulfill the objects of your mission, then I say take it upon yourself to extend your time and trust to the liberality of the governors to sanction the proceeding. You are, I think, in full position of their confidence and will undoubtedly be able to give then such just and proper reasons for your absence as well make it more satisfactory to them than your return would be……Your residence in Paris will put you in a position to profit by visiting the lunatic institutions of the old world, it will give you hereafter a never failing source of self reproach and regret. For the rest, the establishment at Bloomingdale cannot suffer as Dr. Bailey will remain there for any length of time you may continue abroad……Adieu, God Bless you, John M. Macdonald.”

“February 26th, 1838

The letter which I sent you my dearest husband by the Great Western (25th instant) I saw depart with feelings of envy at its destination. In a short time it will feel the pressure of your hand, feel its rest in your bosom. How long, how very long it will be before that dear resting place is again my refuge from care and anxiety. It is a week today since you left me and though I have tired to be busy and have sought everywhere for occupation until I was fatigued in body and mind, time has passed heavily and the days of our separation though in reality few seem like a month of sorrow. I suffer most from agonizing fears for your safety, the dangers of the sea, the possibility of your being ill and the conviction that I am not with you to share your perils or soothe you in sickness. These are ideas which distress me particularly at night and deprive me of many hours of sleep……I was surprised yesterday to receive a visit from Mr. Astor. He called with a view to make enquiries about Henry Armstrong whom I promised to send to him whenever I should see him. He talked much about your going to 14th street to live. Asked me if I was fond of the country and when I said yes he remarked that he should endeavor to make the place as much like the country as possible…..He rose to take leave, said he should call again and that if it would not be asking too much he should be happy to have me make his house a visiting place when I walked in Broadway…..

Allan and I are going this afternoon to a dinner party at Mr. Ketchum’s given to a Mr. Rockwell, a senator from Connecticut….Wednesday, 27th, I rose very early this morning and was the first to learn from the newspaper that the South America exchanged signals with the Osceola last Saturday 23rd instant. Oh! If you’d had only come near enough to the homeward bound ship I might have had a letter and then I should feel so much better. But I am thankful to have heard thus much of your safety. The Osecola reports you to have been in latitude 40.30’ longitude 68 ½ from this we made a calculation of your progress and it did not seem to me to have been very great but your safety is better than speed and I must not be discontented because all things are not ordered by my will….I have just received a note from Dr. Post. He writes that no remarkable change has taken place in Mrs. McFarlane’s symptoms. Her pulse is about 95. She generally sleeps well at night, has a good appetite and seems to gain a little strength, is rather more cheerful though she is still melancholy and has occasional crying fits. He adds that he examined the body of Mary Ann Cone at the asylum and that your diagnoses was confirmed by the discovery in the lungs and in the membranes of the brain……Let me have your prayers my husband as you shall hourly have mine. You do not, cannot know how much I love you, how grateful I feel for all your kindness to your undeserving Wife.”


Handwritten items such as diaries and letters are never usually in mint condition. I try and describe my items the best way I can and post as many photos as I can. If a diary is tough to read for me I always say so in the description. If it is in bad condition I also say so and I usually describe the condition at the end of my descriptions. I have never, or I should say rarely, had a handwritten piece be in mint condition and there is a very good reason for that; they are made of paper, they’ve been carried around sometimes for 100’s of years and have been opened and shut hundreds if not thousands of times. So, please keep all of this in mind when purchasing diaries and letters from me..

MY BLOG: I’ve decided, finally, to start a blog site using the diaries in my personal collection. Over the years I’ve got so many amazing people emailing me asking me to share from my own personal collection of antique diaries. I’ve been trying to develop a web site but that is taking time so I thought I’d do this first and also facebook. There is also a page on the blog where I’ve written about why I collect. You can search for the blog by putting into one of the search engines (such as Google) the name; sallysdiaries (no apostrophe and all one word).

Thanks to all of you who have helped me through the years with such positive words of encouragement.

6 Handwritten Stampless Letters Dr Macdonald Bloomingdale Insane Asylum Ny Paris:

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