I am delighted to participate with you in the documentary film you are undertaking. It would be an honor to help with any project that could bring more exposure to both the plight of mental health in America and our efforts to save a portion of one of the facilities that was instrumental in the care of the INCURABLE INSANE. I wholeheartedly endorse this project.
Not only will such a film be of the greatest intellectual value, but it will surely make an engaging story on the level of human interest. Dr. Zeller’s life’s work here at the Peoria State Hospital, formally known as the Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane, created a deep respect for the person to be treated as such and not as an animal or prisoner as was the case all across the country in that time period. Dr. Zeller was a visionary in his treatment of the mentally ill.
Dr. Zeller said: “Isn’t the humane presence, the human touch, more humane, more efficacious than canvas and leather straps.”
This image and its lesson must reach as large of an audience as possible. Film is the obvious medium for that purpose. I have no doubt that the film you have in mind will find a vast audience among the general viewing public. It is a great story that can touch the hearts of thousands. I only hope this letter will speed you along the way and help in your efforts to show the events of our past.
Richard D. Weiss
Save the Bowen, Inc.