An Interview with Simeon Edward Josephi

6 06 2011

From the Oregon Health Sciences University's Archives

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The following is an interview with Dr. Simeon Edward Joesphi, physician (1877-1881) and superintendent (1881-1883) at the Oregon Hospital for the Insane and one time superintendent of the Oregon State Insane Asylum (1886-1887).[1]  The article appeared in two editions of Fred Lockley’s column, Impressions from a Journal Man, in the Oregon Journal starting September 1, 1926. The column regularly featured interviews with influential people in Oregon.

Impressions and Observations of the Journal Man

By Fred Lockley
9/1/1926

Here begins an installment story of the career of a pioneer physician of Portland, who came hither in 1867.  A second chapter is forthcoming.

Dr. S.E. Josephi is, in point of service, dean of the medical profession of Portland.  When I interviewed him recently at his office in the Corbett building, he said:

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“I was born in New York city on December 3, 1849.  My father, Edward Josephi[2], with his brothers Henry and Isaac, conducted a wholesale jewelry establishment in Maiden Lane.  My father was born at what was then St. Petersburg but is now Leningrad, Russia.  My mother’s maiden name was Sarah Mendoza.  Her parents were Spanish but she was born in England.  You can see that I am a product of the melting pot.  There eight of us children.  I had five sisters and two brothers.[3]  I went to school to Professor Quackenbos.  He had a private school in New York city at that time and was the author of an arithmetic that was very popular.  Later I attended the public schools of New York city and still later the Free Academy, now known as the New York college.  I secured work as a clerk in a wholesale hat house. Read the rest of this entry »

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Exodus of the Insane/Safe Arrival In Salem, 1883

8 09 2010
 The following two accounts of the transfer of patients from the Oregon Hopsital for the Insane in East Portland to the newly built Oregon State Insane Asylum (OSIA) in Salem appeared in the Oregonian October 24th, 1883.  Prior to the completion of a state-owned facility in Salem, the state had contracted with the privately owned Oregon Hospital for the Insane.  The transfer of patients was a three day process.  An admissions register for the Asylum shows 268 male patients arriving at the hospital October 22nd (1), 23rd (265), and 24th (2) and 102 female patients being transferred October 24th. [1]

EXODUS OF THE INSANE

The Male Patients of the State Asylum Taken to Salem Yesterday.

NO TROUBLE WHATEVER IS EXPERIENCED.

How the Strange Procession Appeared to an Outsider-Some of the Curious Conceits of Crazy Folks.

The male patients of the Oregon state insane asylum were removed yesterday from their old quarters in East Portland to the large and commodious structure recently prepared for their accommodation at Salem.  On account of the large crowd from Portland and its suburbs that would have otherwise been in attendance upon such a strange and curious scene, the matter of the exact date of the removal of these patients had been kept a profound secret, except to the authorities and a few newspaper reporters, who gave the required promise as to their silence.  In fact, the reporters’ promises of secrecy had been the price of their knowledge and their presence at the asylum on the appointed day.  So well, therefore, had the secret

Safe arrival in Salem

FROM THE OREGONIAN’S LOCAL CORRESPONDENT.

            Salem, October 23 – 5 P.M.

The special train containing the 265 male patients from the Oregon hospital for the insane at East Portland, arrived here at 2:45 o’clock P.M. and pulled up at the intersection of Chemeketa Street, where they were removed.  Dr. Carpenter, superintendent of the new asylum, was on hand, and with the assistance of Drs. Givens, Geisy, Kenworthy, Richardson and Warriner, superintended the removal of the patients from the cars.  Hacks and carriages were provided for the most helpless class of patients, numbering some seventy-five, and their removal was effected without a single accident.  The various vehicles containing these patients having driven ahead, those that were able to walk were allowed to leave the train, and having formed in ranks four deep, with the attendants, some twenty in number, the column took up its line of march for the asylum building, about one half a mile

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Oregon Hospital for the Insane, Portland 1861-1883

31 08 2010

The first institution in Oregon devoted to the care of the mentally ill was the Oregon Hospital for the Insane.  Drs. James C. Hawthorne and A.M. Loryea opened the private hospital in September of 1861 in a temporary building on Taylor Street between First and Second Avenues in Portland.  Somewhat ironically, the proprietors made it very clear that their hospital was only a temporary fix for the state’s mental health care needs, and stated at the dedication of the new institution that they would happily turn over their patients to the state in the event that it created an asylum to care for them.

In 1862, the hospital was moved to a new building off of Hawthorne Avenue, east of SE 12th Avenue.   The State of Oregon contracted with the hospital in the fall of that Read the rest of this entry »