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Janet Colaizzi Papers

Identifier: 2022-097

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the Janet Colaizzi Collection concerns activities, programs, and psychiatric nursing administration at Eastern State Hospital, the Commonwealth of Virginia's mental health facility in Williamsburg. Of particular importance are a series of professional staff manuals relating treatment standards and philosophies at the hospital, which offer a good overview of mental health care in the period from the 1950s to the 1970s. Also of interest is a patient handbook from 1964; materials concerning nursing staffing, organization, and orientation; and details of a patient token economy program, designed to promote patient responsibility and self-discipline. The remainder of the collection contains materials of a more general nature relative to psychiatric nursing, including manuals, a textbook, and other publications on psychiatric nursing practice and the development of professional standards. The period covered runs from the 1960s through the 1980s.


  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1964-1984

Biographical / Historical

Janet Colaizzi (b. 1936) received a B.A. in Nursing and Philosophy in 1964 and an M.S. in Counseling Psychology and Philosophy in 1966, both from Pittsburgh's Duquesne University. She earned a doctorate in History from The Ohio State University, Columbus, in 1983. Dr. Colaizzi's career spans both teaching and professional practice. As an assistant professor at Duquesne University and subsequently at Ohio Wesleyan University, she taught psychiatric nursing for eight years. Later in her career, she joined the faculties of Christopher Newport University and Saint Leo University, in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, where she taught History and Philosophy courses for more than a decade. Dr. Colaizzi's activities as a practitioner began in 1983 with positions at both the community and university levels. She coordinated the psychiatric inpatient treatment team at the Charles B. Mills Mental Health Center, in Marysville, Ohio, and supervised professional staff at the Upham Hall Psychiatric Hospital of The Ohio State University. In 1986, Dr. Colaizzi moved to Virginia and continued work as a Psychiatric Nurse Clinician at the Eastern State Psychiatric Hospital in Williamsburg, where she also served as Nursing Education Coordinator. Dr. Colaizzi has made numerous presentations concerning the current theories and history of psychiatric practice, and has reviewed monographs, published journal articles, and authored two books: Homicidal Insanity: 1800-1985, published by the University of Alabama Press in 1989, and an institutional history released in 2006: The Unfortunates Committed to Our Care: the History of Eastern State Hospital, Williamsburg, Virginia, from 1865.


.75 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



(b. 1936) Papers document activities, programs, and psychiatric nursing administration at Eastern State Hospital, a state mental health facility in Williamsburg, Virginia. Includes professional staff manuals for treatment standards and philosophies at the institution from the 1950s to the 1970s.


The Janet Colaizzi Collection consists of two groups of materials: items specific to Eastern State Hospital and items concerning psychiatric nursing more generally. These are arranged in alphabetical order by subject heading within the two groups.

Janet Colaizzi Collection
Henry K. Sharp
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry Repository

University of Virginia School of Nursing
P.O. Box 800782
Charlottesville Virginia 22908-0782 United States