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Dr. Albert Priddy was the first superintendent of the Virginia Colony for Epileptics, which was founded in the first decade of the 20th century. It opened approximately in 1912. Dr. Priddy was very concerned about the expanding numbers of people who populated almshouses and prisons, and other kinds of mental institutions, and he was a strong supporter of the theories of the eugenics movement. He pushed for an expansion of the Virginia Colony in 1916 to include people who he designated as feebleminded. And as a result of his efforts, legislation was put into effect that not only expanded the Colony but changed its name, to the Virginia Colony for the Epileptic and the Feebleminded. Dr. Priddy began sterilizing inmates there, or residents, in 1916, even though the law that was written to cover the Colony didn't explicitly allow that, and as a result of his extracurricular operations, in 1918 he was sued by a family from Richmond. He had sterilized the mother of that family and one of the daughters and he'd taken a second daughter into custody in the Colony. When the husband and father of that family, the Mallory family, learned of Dr. Priddy's work, he brought suit to release his wife and his daughters and also to obtain a judgment of damages against Dr. Priddy in a Richmond court. Priddy eventually won the lawsuit, but his concern that he might be sued again forced him to stop sterilizations at that time and to work more explicitly on a sterilization law, that would give him both the power to operate on people as well as that would indemnify him and hold him harmless from any lawsuits like the one he had suffered in the Mallory case.
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