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.


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 »

Florists Report, 1924-1926

12 12 2011

The following report of the Florist Department at the Oregon State Hospital was taken from the 22nd Biennial Report of the Oregon State Hospital for the biennium ending September 30, 1926.

The work of this department has been taken control of by one employe and six patients.  They are planting and caring for many beds of flowers on the hospital grounds, this department has furnished cut flowers and potted plants for use on the various wards.

Flowers, shrubs, plants and bulbs have been furnished without charge to the following institutions and departments:


Chemawa Indian School……………………………….160
Deaconess Hospital……………………………………..1382
Eastern Oregon State Hospital……………………….2633
Oregon State Industrial School for Girls…………..951
Oregon State Institution for the Feeble Minded…587
Oregon State Penitentiary……………………………..3267
Oregon State School for Blind…………………………418
Oregon State School for Deaf………………………….200
Oregon State Tuberculosis Hospital…………………143
Public schools and colleges in the state……………1126


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.

Read the rest of this entry »

DeWitt’s Hair Dressing

12 09 2011

This bottle of DeWitt’s Fragrant Hair Dressing was found in a box of old medicine bottles from the Eastern Oregon State Hospital.

E.C. DeWitt & Company was in operation as early as 1906.  Trademark records show that a logo similar to that of the one on this bottle was registered in 1908.  The registration claims that the first use of this image was in June of 1906.[1]  The publication of the National Association of Retail Druggists include advertisements for the E.C. Dewitt & Company the 1913 issue.[2]  They appear to be directly distributing patent medicines like:

  • Little Early Risers
  • Witch Hazel Salve
  • One Minute Cough Cure
  • Kennedy’s Laxative Honey and Tar
  • Kodel Dyspepsia Cure

to retailers across the country.[3]

And while we were somewhat tempted, we didn’t open it to see just how fragrant it was. Read the rest of this entry »

Eastern Oregon State Hospital Staff List, 1913-1914

18 07 2011

The following list contains the names and positions of the staff of the Eastern Oregon State Hospital (Pendleton, Oregon) during its first two years of operation (1913-1914).  This list was published in the report[1] of the hospital to its parent organization, the Oregon State Board of Control.

It is interesting to note that, although there were only 54 staff members were employed at the hospital at any one time, the payrolls for the biennium list over 140 names.  This is a testament to the high turnover rate for employees at both Eastern Oregon State Hospital and the Oregon State Hospital in Salem.

W.D. McNary Superintendent
A.E. Tamiesie Assistant Superintendent
R.H. Hagood Assistant Superintendent
Fred W. Hendley Bookkeeper
Minnie E. Stillman Stenographer Read the rest of this entry »

Eastern Oregon State Hospital

6 07 2011

On January 26, 1913, 325 patients were transferred from the Oregon State Hospital in Salem to the newly built Eastern Oregon State Hospital in Pendleton.[1]  The first impetus for the new hospital came to the legislature by the initiative process in 1910.[2]  The initiative called for the building of an insane asylum in Eastern Oregon in Baker City, Pendleton or Union.[3]  The 1911 Legislature appropriated a total of $515,000 for the purchase, building and furnishing of the new hospital.  A 450 acre site one mile east of Pendleton was selected.  The hospital soon outgrew its 400 bed capacity and the 1915 legislature appropriated additional funds for a building expansion that would help accommodate an additional 180 patients. [4]  The wing was designed by the Olson & Johnson Company.  Additional improvements that year included the building of an ice plant, installation of cement walks, construction of a chicken house, installation of a coal shed and transformer house, construction of a morgue and crematory, extension of the irrigation system, and the fencing of the grounds.[5] Read the rest of this entry »


2 05 2011

T2009.002.222 Straitjacket, Oregon State Hospital Museum

This straitjacket is thought to be from the Eastern Oregon State Hospital in Pendleton.  It has a tag in the back that reads “Melrose 4000.”   It is well-worn, and there are patches on both shoulders where the canvas fabric has been torn and repaired.

Another interesting note.  Although this straitjacket was commercially made, a 1918-1920 record book (T2011.002.016) from the OSH sewing department lists straitjackets as one of the many garments that were being produced at the hospital.  Other garments included:  overalls, jumpers, mittens, restraint sheets, white coats, and pants.  The sewing department also pressed and cleaned suits, made alterations and repaired pants.