Civil War · University of Alabama

awesome visit to Bryce Hospital


The rain, wind and lightning were coming down very hard, but sixteen students, our graduate teaching assistant Liam Adkison, and I joined Steve Davis, historian for UA’s Bryce Hospital, for a wonderful tour. What a walk through time for my “American Civilization Since 1865” class!

I learned the 22nd patient was an African American man. He was admitted during the Civil War. The American Civilization Since 1865 will consider Bryce in the context of understanding the across time ways in which the government intervenes in our lives. Attention to mental health was part of reform efforts that took place in this country long before the Progressive period or New Deal era.

The “Antebellum America” students who joined the tour have many things to consider including the complexities of white and black interaction in the South before and during the war. I especially enjoyed seeing the renovations on this historic structure. Yummy pictures below. Thank you, Steve, and the wonderful men who joined you to make sure we were safe!

It was also very cool to see the ghost-like photo of Peter Bryce, the superintendent for which the facility was named, on your camera. Whoa!





I can see why this former hospital is a favorite place for our students to think about ghosts. Check out this image. Davis says it was definitely not doctored. It appeared on the cameras the night the patients were moved to a new facility to make room for the renovations. Bryce overseeing his patients until the very end.





I love this image of Davis and an “Antebellum America” student looking out the window. While on that high floor, I thought again about the chaos as the Union soldiers arrived, disrupting life as everyone alive had known it in Tuscaloosa in 1865.




The day ended with a wonderful talk by Amy Taylor in tenHoor Hall on the slave “refugee” camps in the South. I loved the maps that further pushed my thinking on race, space and power in the Confederacy. Can’t wait to read her new book. The “Antebellum America” students have an extra credit opportunity to write a one-page synopsis by midnight tonight, making ties between her book and today’s lecture on freedom and movement in the South before and during the war.





2 thoughts on “awesome visit to Bryce Hospital

    1. It was a great talk! I am an 1820s to Ft. Sumter-kinda girl, but her Civil War talk really spoke to my lectures and research (including present project beyond that era). Looks like an incredible read.


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