Statement of Significance (as of designation - January 20, 1999):
Friends Hospital was the first private, nonprofit, exclusively mental hospital in the United States and is the oldest continuing such institution. The social and medical concerns which Quakers held regarding psychiatric problems guided Friends Hospital in its physical site plan, the methodology of treatment, and even the manner of its original fund raising. These approaches became the model which was studied throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by others wishing to found similar facilities. The hospital's design, based upon William Tuke's York Retreat in England, but with better ventilation and light as suggested by Philadelphia Friend Thomas Scattergood, became a model for other American mental facilities.