The Asylum Journal Presents Presidential Candidates

Asylum Journal  (Brattleboro, VT)  November 22, 1842
Published every Tuesday, By the inmates of the Vermont Asylum.


The Asylum Journal was published at the Vermont Asylum for the Insane, a private institution founded in 1834 by Anna Hunt Marshall.  It used a humane form of treatment on its patients, based on the theories of William Tuke that insanity was a medical condition and not due to problems of character or moral issues.  This issue shows that they used the activities of editing, printing, and publishing of a weekly journal as a form of therapy for its inmates.

This particular issue is interesting and oddly relevant as various people start declaring themselves as candidates for the upcoming presidential election.  In the nineteenth century it was common practice for a publication to print an election ticket for the party they supported.  The following appeared on page three of this issue:

AsylumJournal_0002The Crazy Man’s Ticket


As the public are, no doubt, waiting with no small anxiety, to see what course we shall take in the coming Presidential election, we present them above our ticket, reserving to ourselves the privilege of substituting another candidate for either office, should we hereafter discover a more crazy politician.

We have selected one from each of the great political parties of the day, believing that if we can unite the crazy ones of both parties, we shall most certainly elect our candidates.

We are aware of the mighty influence our paper is destined to exert upon this great question, as it has now a tremendous subscription list, and we already receive more than seventy different newspapers and other publications in exchange.  The public may, however, rest assured that we shall exercise that influence most conscientiously, and if we succeed, (as we think we shall,) no one need fear but that we shall be at least as well governed as for the last several years.

If we are permitted, we may, on some future occasion, more fully define our position, and urge the claims of our candidates.

Of course today it is difficult to select just one candidate from each party.

Published by

Vincent Golden

Curator of Newspapers and Periodicals, American Antiquarian Society

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