Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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NICHOLS, Charles Henry, physician, born in Vassalborough, Kennebec County, Maine, 19 October, 1820. He was educated in the public schools and in the Friends' school, Providence, Rhode Island. taught from his seventeenth to his twentieth year, studied medicine at the University of New York, and was graduated at the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1843. He practised at Lynn, Massachusetts, from that date until 1847, when he became associate physician to the New York state lunatic asylum in Utica. He has since made a specialty of the treatment of mental diseases, and the architecture and hygiene of institutions for the insane. He was physician and superior officer in Bloomingdale asylum, New York city, in 1849-'52. In October of the latter year he chose the site, subsequently built, organized, and equipped the United States government hospitals for the insane in Washington, D. C., and he afterward enlarged the buildings three times, treated 4,000 patients, and procured the extension of the grounds from 195 to 420 acres. He was acting assistant surgeon during the civil war, and, in connection with the general government hospital for the insane, conducted a general hospital for United States volunteers. During his service in Washington he was president of the first board of school commissioners, of the levy, and of the board of police commissioners for the District of Columbia, vice-president of the board of directors of the Columbia hospital for women, and a member of many professional and benevolent societies. He was for several years president of the Association of medical superintendents of American institutions for the insane. At the meeting of the International medical congress in Philadelphia in 1876 he read a paper before the section on mental diseases on the "Best Mode of providing for the Subjects of Chronic Insanity." He resigned the superintendence of the government asylums in Washington in 1877, and since that date has been superintendent of Bloomingdale asylum for the insane, New York city.
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