Insane asylums were subject to a great deal of scrutiny and interest, and no detail was too small to catalog. Inquiry by the surgeon general into the number of eggs served at the Government Hospital for the Insane (St. Elizabeths) during 1904 revealed the following:
January – 3463 and 1/2 dozen
February- 3148 dozen
March – 3569 dozen
April – 3972 and 1/2 dozen (the high number was due to Easter falling within the month)
Dr. William A. White, St. Elizabeths’s superintendent, said that eggs were served in “considerable quantities” in the wards with acute cases of insanity. He stated that “from one diet kitchen 122 patients are served with 152 dozen eggs per week.”
Though White did not attribute a specific therapeutic value to eggs, it was generally believed that eggs and milk were exceptionally nutritious fare for insane patients.