Who is William Tuke?

Who is William Tuke?

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

William Tuke was born in York in 1732 to a Quaker family.

He used to be a tea and coffee merchant. In his thirties, Tuke joined the social activist movements and campaigned for the abolition of the slave trade. The death of a friend at York Shelter in 1790 prompted Tuke to lead the establishment of a private shelter. In 1796 he founded and became director of the York Retreat, a humanitarian and religious organization to serve Quakers with mental illness.

York Retreat took into consideration the basic needs and comforts of patients with humanistic approaches. This approach was called the moral approach. Tuke had a reputation among Quakers for his tough self-discipline and high moral standards. Self-discipline became central to the moral approach, and the asylum reformers of the time took Tuke’s approach as a model. The moral approach became one of the most effective practices in European asylums of the 1800s. Tuke’s work influenced the famous French physician Philippe Pinel, who studied mental illness.

Tuke continued both business and activities at York Retreat at the same time. He also helped found several Quaker schools. His role in the origin of moral treatment was accepted by the authorities with his books published after his death.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Ömer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook; Translation: Tuba Yildirim