Before the opening of the hospital, the mentally ill of New Jersey were "cared for" in jails, almshouses, or private homes where they were frequently confined to attics, cellars, or outbuildings. Regardless of the setting, however, conditions were very poor and rarely reflected any aspect of humane treatment. During the first year of operation, under the superintendent Dr. Horace A. Buttolph, the hospital admitted and treated 86 patients. Treatment modalities at the time included general and local depletion, medicine, baths, exercise, and regulation of diet. Medical treatment was supplemented by "moral treatment," with emphasis on creating an atmosphere of serenity.