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Lorilla Frances Bullard Tower, Doctor, Papers

Collection Number: A&M 4568

Scope and Contents

Dr. Lorilla Frances Bullard Tower’s collection includes photographs of the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane, circa 1900, and correspondence regarding her hiring and retention. The collection also includes documents regarding the treatment of the mentally ill at the time. The photographs, in boxes 1 and 2, are of the interior and exterior of the building and grounds as well as staff and patients, some individual and some groups.

Interior photographs show staff living areas and offices, patient wards and other areas, and staff work areas. Exterior photographs also include staff pictures and additionally show a pasture, farm buildings and equipment, views of the hospital. Group and individual photographs are of the professional staff, laborers, and administrators. Only three photographs list the identities of the people. Other photographs include Black patients and staff, women and men, in wards. There are a few studio portraits.

Documents in boxes 2 and 3 include letterhead paper from 1898 and 1904. A ledger contains medical notes on four patients, 1896-1897. The rest of the collection consists mostly of correspondence.

Handwritten lectures on various ailments and practical matters for administering to the mentally ill are also included in Box 3. Other miscellaneous items include a newspaper, The Independent, Weston, West Virginia, January 23, 1900, prescription pads, and a book titled Saunders Pocket Medical Formulary, 1894.


  • Creation: 1894-1904 and undated

Conditions Governing Access

No special access restriction applies.

Conditions Governing Use

The donor of this collection has transferred rights to the intellectual property they created to the Center. For more information regarding permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the West Virginia and Regional History Center.

Biographical / Historical

Lorilla Frances Bullard was born in Wheeling, West Virginia, 1870 March 15. She and her sister Rachel both attended the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She was an Assistant Physician at the Weston Hospital for the Insane, 1896-1901. She married Edward Zealous Tower in 1902 in Lewis County, and then moved back to Oakland where she was active in local causes and child welfare until her death in 1963. Dr. Tower was recognized as a Maryland suffragist for “her work to empower women for social reform and suffrage.”

This collection is reflective of Dr. Bullard’s work in early service to women admitted as psychiatric patients at the Weston Hospital for the Insane which is now dubbed The Trans-Alleghany Lunatic Asylum. This name originates from the 1858 Virginia legislation authorizing the start to the building of “The Lunatic Asylum West of the Alleghany Mountains”. Upon its completion and it now being in the state of West Virginia, it was dubbed The Weston State Hospital in 1863. In 1913 the name was changed to the Weston State Hospital which remained its name until its closing in 1994.

*Taken mostly from an interview with the donor, William Tower, Lorilla Bullard Tower's grandson. Also, from and various other internet sources including “Valiant Maryland Women: the Fight for Suffrage.”


0.79 Linear Feet (9.5 in. (1 flat storage box, 2 in.; 1 document case, 5 in.; 1 document case, 2.5 in.))



Physical Location

West Virginia and Regional History Center / West Virginia University / 1549 University Avenue / P.O. Box 6069 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6069 / Phone: 304-293-3536 / Fax: 304-293-3981 / URL:

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Tower II, T. William, 2022 September 28.

Lorilla Frances Bullard Tower, Doctor, Papers
Linda Blake
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center Repository

1549 University Ave.
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown WV 26506-6069 US