Oregon Hospital for the Insane Description, 1868

5 09 2012

Listen to the 1868 report of visiting physician Dr. J.S. Giltner to the Oregon Hospital for the Insane in Portland. The Oregon Hospital for the Insane was a private hospital run by Drs. Hawthorne and Loreya in Portland, Oregon from 1861-1883. They contracted with the State of Oregon for the care of people diagnosed with insanity prior to the creation of the Oregon State Hospital in Salem.

We are experimenting with the idea of using a combination of QR codes and YouTube videos to create audio features in the exhibit spaces.  This is our first attempt.  Let us know what you think below.

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A Visit to the Oregon State Hospital, 1916

5 08 2012

This is an excerpt from the Oregon Teacher’s Monthly magazine published in May 1916 (volume 20, no. 9).  Oregon Teacher’s Monthly featured articles written by teachers, students and administrators related to general interest topics and had a news section with a county by county listings of school-related events.  We came across this issue in the holdings of the Oregon State Library.  This excerpt is chapter 10 in a series of articles written by Frank K. Welles, Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction, on state institutions.  The information he presents appears to have come from studying published reports of the hospital and a personal tour.

 OUR OREGON STATE INSTITUTIONS

The Oregon State Hospital

 Some of the school children who will read this article have never visited a hospital for the insane and will be interested to know what such an institution looks like, how the hundreds of patients are cared for, what they do and how they live.  The modern hospital for the insane is quite a different institution from what it used to be.  Now it is indeed a hospital for the treatment of persons with deranged minds, most of whom also have some physical ailment, rather than simply an asylum for the detention and safe-keeping of the insane.

Oregon has two hospitals for the insane.  One is situated just east of the city limits of Salem and the other is a short distance west of Pendleton in Umatilla county.  The Eastern Oregon State Hospital was built during 1911 and 1912 and is modern in every respect.  As soon as this institution was completed, 325 patients were transferred to it from the Salem hospital in order to relieve the over-crowded condition at the latter place.  As far as possible, the insane from Eastern Oregon are sent to Pendleton and those from Western Oregon to Salem. The number of insane is increasing so rapidly that the last legislature authorized the construction of a new $100,000 wing to the Pendleton hospital.  This has recently been completed.  There is also a fine farm in connection with that institution.  The last report of the superintendent shows that there are now about 379 insane persons at the Pendleton hospital. Read the rest of this entry »





Mental Health Care in Oregon’s Provisional Government

23 01 2012

Read about how Oregon’s Provisional Government provided mental health services in 1845 at the Oregon State Archives’ online exhibit: Echoes of Oregon.





Suffrage and Sterilization: Dr. Owens-Adair

15 01 2012

One of the most vocal proponents of women’s suffrage in Oregon was also the leading proponent of Eugenics legislation which would affect the lives of hundreds of patients at the Oregon State Hospital.  Beginning in 1907, Dr. Bethenia Owens-Adair lobbied the legislature for implementation of a Sterilization Bill intended to improve society by sterilizing those deemed criminals, insane or developmentally disabled.  Her bill passed in 1909, only to be vetoed by the governor. Nevertheless, similar legislation became law in 1923.  The Sterilization Law remained on the books until 1983 and caused the forced sterilization of over 2,500 people in Oregon’s prisons and mental health institutions.  In 2002, Governor Kitzhaber made a formal apology to those who had been forcefully sterilized under the law.[1]  The following is an excerpt from Dr. Owens-Adair’s Tract entitled Human Sterilization published sometime around 1910.[2]

In submitting this little publication to the public, it is with the desire, the hope and belief, that the ever watchful eye of our great commonwealth, will appreciate the immence [sic.] value of this process for preventing disease and crime through propagation.  Since 1883 when I said to the physician who was in charge of the Oregon Insane Asylum, that if the time ever came, that I might be permitted, I would then use my pen and my brain along these lines.  Since then I have used my tongue many, many times, in season and out of season, and I have received in return many rebukes and much good advice, as to modesty, being a priceless gem which every woman should wear.   But not until 1904 did the first opportunity come, when I could use my pen and I assure you I lost no time in sending off the following communication to the Oregonian, and my delight at seeing it in print was beyond expression, to say that this publication shocked my family and many of my friends would be putting it mildly, I am older now and my tears do not lie so shallow (as mother said) as in my childhood days, and there is something in getting used to unpleasant things and yet, I am not innured, but I can go right on smiling just the same.  To illustrate the trend of thought, only 7 years ago when I wrote my first communication to the Oregonian I received four letters all eulogizing and congratulating me on my bravery, etc., but the interesting part was, that those letters were all nameless, who would think of addressing me to-day on this subject without signing his or her name; not one, no not one.  The world is being educated along these lines and is seeking for the purification and betterment of humanity, which in time will be found and vertified [sic.] in the yet unborn children whose parents blood shall be free from disease and crime.  Through this publication I shall try to prove what I have been preaching for 30 years, that the Read the rest of this entry »





A Survey of State Mental Institutions, 1940

21 11 2011

Source: A Survey of the State Mental Institutions of Oregon. Washington, D.C.: United States Public Health Service, 1940.

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Columbia Park Hospital and Training Center, 1959-1977

24 10 2011

May Building, Columbia Park Hospital, The Dalles. 26th Biennial Report of the Oregon State Board of Control for period ending June 1964. Page 16.

The Mid Columbia Home (aka Columbia Park Hospital and Training Center, Columbia Park Home) was Oregon’s first hospital devoted exclusively to chronically ill and geriatric patients.1 In 1959, the Oregon State Legislature established the Mid-Columbia Home in the former Eastern Oregon Tuberculosis Hospital in The Dalles, Oregon.2 Geriatric patients from the Oregon State Hospital, Eastern Oregon State Hospital and Fairview were transferred to the new facility.3 The institution underwent many name changes and purpose shifting, gradually becoming the primary care facility for adults with developmental disabilities who “would not benefit from the Read the rest of this entry »





Wilderness as Therapy

1 08 2011

In 1972, 51 Oregon State Hospital patients and 51 Oregon State Hospital staff spent 16 days on a wilderness trip in Eastern Oregon.  It was an experimental, and perhaps radical, program designed to radically change the lives of its participants.

The idea for the expedition came when then Superintendent Dr. Dean K. Brooks witnessed transformations in a group of Girl Scouts undergoing a workshop with world-renown climber Lute Jerstad.  As a reporter quotes: “Last year he [Dr. Brooks] watched an adventure camp Jerstad ran for Girl Scouts and decided that if young people could change roles so dramatically when encouraged to face challenges of white water rafting, wilderness survival and rock climbing, it might also help the mentally ill develop new self-concepts.”[1]

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