Property Cards

5 09 2011

Probably the most interesting and emotional thing I have found in inventorying historic materials at the Oregon State Hospital was a box of index cards.  The orange box didn’t look like much, but the cards inside were a time capsule highlighting a very personal side of institutional commitment.  These property cards list patient’s personal possessions that were confiscated upon commitment to the hospital for safe keeping.  Below is a sampling of some of the materials listed on the patient property cards:

  • 40 year lodge pin
  • Liquor permit
  • 2 selective service cards
  • Class ring
  • Bankbook
  • Hamilton pocket watch, 2 keys, 7 – 3 cent stamps
  • 1 wedding band
  • Timex wrist watch, 1 old piece of currency, Louisiana chauffeur’s license, Waltham wristwatch face, 5 earings, 4 cents in coins
  • Gold colored initial ring, silver-colored initial ring
  • 1 billfold, 1 tie clasp
  • 1 billfold, 1 pocket knife, 1 mechanical pencil, 1 key in keycase
  • Coin purse, pouch, sunglasses, comb, ballpoint pen, tie clasp, Westclox pocket watch, Ingersoll wristwatch
  • Rosary beads



One response

8 10 2011
Linda Kincaid Adams

I have a relative that was committed to Oregon State Hospital sometime around 1948, and was left there until my father signed her out about 15yrs later! Her parents were told that they…the hospital staff would call them when she was ready to go home. As a result, this woman was left there, all alone….and was forced to clean dead bodies,& get them ready for funerals…. even though it terrified her!!

She was forced to accept shock treatments, time after time…year after year!!! After all of those years of these treatments and drugs…she can not speak in a clear voice, as her tongue doesn’t move very well.
After she was signed out of that place for good, she had to live in group homes, because her brain was so messed up from all of the treatments she received.
She was in the OSH at the time of the filming of “One flew over the Cuckoos Nest”…and she tried to find humor in it by say…”If you weren’t crazy when you went in, you sure were when you left!!”

I’m wondering if it is possible to locate the index card with her information, in order to find out what she had with her when she was admitted?

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