Amadeus Arkham was the patriarch of the wealthy Arkham family in Gotham City several decades ago.

An insane man killed his family, and rather than being outraged, Amadeus was moved to compassion and realized that Gotham City had no facility for the care and treatment of the insane. With some renovations to the huge buildings found there, he donated Arkham Island and its buildings to the city of Gotham, to be Arkham Asylum.

Within a few years, however, Amadeus Arkham himself went insane, and became a patient of his own facility--where he died, still insane, and boding ill for the success of Arkham Asylum.



  • "Arkham" is an intentional reference to the name of the fictional Massachusetts town that features in H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos stories, as an inside joke to comic readers who'd also read Lovecraft. Arkham is a deeply unfortunate and ominous name for an insane asylum, something like naming an airport Crashington Field.