Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York is a new book from local author Stacy Horn about the fascinatingly morbid and dark history of Roosevelt Island. Formerly known as Blackwell's Island and also Welfare Island, Roosevelt Island used to be a place New York housed its undesireables. It contained prisons, mental wards, smallpox hospitals, and other buildings to keep people deemed unsafe away from the rest of the City.
Today we call it Roosevelt Island. Then, it was Blackwell’s, site of a lunatic asylum, two prisons, an almshouse, and a number of hospitals. Conceived as the most modern, humane incarceration facility the world ever seen, Blackwell’s Island quickly became, in the words of a visiting Charles Dickens, “a lounging, listless madhouse.”
Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York is available for purchase in hardcover audiobook, and electronic formats on Amazon.
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