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Mason General Hospital

Page history last edited by Mary Ann Koferl 13 years, 4 months ago


The Army took over a number of  buildings from the Pilgrim State Hospital during World War II and they used them for a hospital for soldiers who returned from the war and were suffering from shell shock. All of the buildings from the Edgewood Hospital were used by the Army and were called the Mason General Hospital and it was named after Brig. General Charles Field Mason  who was noted for his medical services in the Army.    Mason General was the only Army hospital dedicated to the care of soldiers who had mental illness. The army took over part of Pilgrim State Hospital on May 27, 1943 and one million dollars would be used to convert these buildings for use by the Army.  By December 30, 1946 the buildings were returned to Pilgrim State Hospital. 


A film was made by the well known filmmaker, John Huston on how the shell shocked soldiers were rehabilitated during their stay at Mason General.  The film, “Let There Be Light” was considered a controversial topic by the government and they refused to allow the film to be shown until 1981.


It was determined by the Surgeon General that many of the soldiers could return to active duty while others could return to civilian life after treatment. Approximately 30 to 40 percent of the soldiers could indeed return to the front line after treatment and another 40 percent would remain in the service for other duties. Part of the method of caring for these patients included shock therapy, water therapy, medical and dental care, recreational, educational, and occupational therapy.


The School of Military Psychiatry was established at the hospital for the training of doctors and nurses in the care of shell shocked patients. At this time the Surgeon General’s Department made a division under it’s care for psychological treatment. 

Currently three of the buildings that were used by the Army are still being used for mental health facilities today. 


-M.Koferl, Local History Newsletter, May 2008


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