Retiring PSH Supervisor Recalls Major Changes

17 09 2012

The following article was found in a scrapbook in the Oregon State Hospital Museum Collections.  From the text it appears that it was published in the Oregon Statesman Newspaper in 1965, although exact publication date is unknown.

Charles Robinson, whose service as a psychiatric aide and a supervisor of aides stretches to the days when the OSH was known as the state insane asylum,* will be honored by hospital employees Wednesday as he retires.

Robinson, who was 65 in January, has been a hospital employee since 1934, except for three years in the service in world War II.  Since 1945 he has been supervisor of aides.

More Pleasant today.

Services as a mental hospital aide has never been easy, but it’s a more pleasant job now than it was before the advent of drugs, Robinson recalls.

Treatment in 1934 was custodial only for the vast majority of patients; about 2100 were crowded into the old Center building and the Dome building at OSH.

“I was scared to death for the first five or six weeks,”  Robinson recalls. “In those days they just handed you the keys, sent you to a ward and you went to work.” Read the rest of this entry »





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.





Watchman, 1908

4 07 2012

The following is the description of duties of the watchman and watchwomen employed by the Oregon State Hospital as spelled out in the Rules and Regulations for the Government of the Oregon State Insane Asylum, Revised April 15, 1908.

WATCHMAN

1. The duties of the watchman will commence at 8 o’clock P.M., at which time he will visit the office to receive instructions for the night.

2. He must, while on duty, be faithful and vigilant; visit every part of the male wards at least every hour during the night, making as little noise as possible, never conversing in a loud tone, and opening and shutting the doors as quietly as possible.

3.  He must be kind, gentle, and soothing in his manners to the patients, and use every means in his power to tranquilize those who are excited, and to allay the fears and apprehensions of the timid; he will pay particular attention to the sick, the suicidal, and those recently admitted; will see that the patients are properly supplied with water when it is asked for, and will attend to all other reasonable wants;  will notice any unusual noise in the patients’ rooms, endeavor to ascertain the cause, and, if necessary, report the same to the attendant.  He will notice anything unusual occurring during the night, and enter the same on a a slate or book provided for the purpose [see example of book here], and he shall report any irregularities, neglect of duty or violation of rules which may come under his notice.

4.  It will be the duty of the watchman to look after the heating apparatus during the night; he must be very watchful about fire, and, in case of its occurrence must immediately give general alarm;  he shall ring the bell at the hour for rising in the morning, and he shall perform such other duties as may be required of him.

WATCHWOMAN

1.  The watchwoman shall have charge of the interior of the female department during the night.  In the management of the patients, and in the discharge of other duties, she must be governed by the rules and regulations laid down for the government of the watchman.





New Quarters for school, 1961

25 06 2012

The following is an article published in the BOSH: Bulletin of the Oregon State Hospital, on September 11, 1961.

NEW QUARTERS FOR SCHOOL

Miss Dixie McKay is joining Mrs. Janice Stein in teaching our OSH school children, and with this increase in the teaching staff the OSH school is moving from the 50 Bldg. to new quarters on the 2nd floor of the Dome Bldg., above the dental offices.





The Matron, 1908

20 06 2012

The following was published in By Laws of Trustees Rules and Regulations for the Government of the Oregon State Insane Asylum,revised April 15, 1908.

Article V.

MATRON

Section 1:  The matron shall, under the direction of the superintendent, have charge of the female department of the asylum.  She shall have a general supervision of the sewing department.  She shall be with the female patients in all the wards as much as possible; see that they are kindly treated; that their food is properly cooked, served and distributed; that their apartments are kept clean and in good order, and properly warmed and ventilated; that the female employees attend to their duties in all respects, and report to the superintendent any departure on their part from the rules and regulations of the institution.





State Hospital Patients’ “New Look”, 1965

23 04 2012

The following is an excerpt from an Oregon Journal newspaper article published on Tuesday, April 20, 1965.  The changes described would not last long.  By 1969, patient clothing reappeared in the news. Articles in the Capital Journal (May 8th) and Oregon Statesman (May 10th) describe phasing out uniforms at the State Hospital.

By Marge Davenport

Journal Medical Writer

There’s a new look at the State Hospital in Salem.

It’s a bright, cheerful look and the patients are going to have it.

About a year ago, a consultant was asked to make an evaluation on the Oregon mental hospital. He was Dr. Hugh Caven of Eastern State Hospital at Medical Lake, Wash.

After surveying the institution he said, “The grounds are beautiful, the buildings are well kept and painted, but why don’t you paint the patients as well?”

HE EXPLAINED to puzzled State Hospital Administrator Dr. Dean Brooks that he thought nice looking, bright clothes for patients would go a long way towards improving morale, and helping the mental patient’s attitude.

Dr. Brooks agreed, but wondered how this could be accomplished on a yearly clothing budget of $9.79 per patient, the amount allowed for each person for the 12 month period. Read the rest of this entry »





Bakery Report, 1926

12 03 2012

This report was published in the 22nd Biennial Report of the Oregon State Hospital to the Oregon State Board of Control for the years 1924-1926.

Ovens at OSIA, Oregon State Archives Photo

Bakery

This department is operated by one employe [sic] and eight patients;  its function is to supply the entire institution with bread, pastry, etc.  During the biennium it has required approximately 4,900 barrels of flour to do this.  The requirements of the institution for two years are approximately 620,000 loaves of bread, 418,000 biscuits, 12,480 pies, 4,200 12×24-inch pans of ginger bread, 78,000 cookies, 73,000 doughnuts and 2,100 loaf cakes.