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.





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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Standard Hospital Asylum and Institution Directory, 1928

18 04 2011

The Standard Hospital Asylum and Institution Directory, written by M.F. Teehan and Published by Standard Publishing in Topeka, Kansas, was the directory for hospital workers.  In addition to topical essays on general practices within asylums and institutions, it lists all institutions in the country (and some in the Caribbean as well) and provides detailed information on such things as staff housing situations, uniforms, staff entertainment, time off per week, salaries paid, size and layout of the hospital, size of the nearest town and approximate transportation fare between the town and the hospital.

It had the following to say about Oregon’s 3 institutions at the time [I have expanded upon the original abbreviations for the purpose of clarity]:

Eastern Oregon State Hospital, [closest town] Pendleton — Population 8,000. 2 miles. 50 c taxi fare.
Wing [layout].  Dr. W.D McNary [Superintendent].  Patients 800.  Employees 75. Physicians 3.  Semi-weekly amusements.  Partial married quarters. Uniform: stripe gingham, belted at waist, bib and strap, white apron.  Duty hours: 12.5-14.  Night Duty hours: 10.  Time Off: 3 afternoons a week.

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The Alaska Connection

21 02 2011

From Morningside Hospital Catalog, 1920.

“Although Portland is somewhat remote from Alaska…” begins the less obvious explanation in a 1916 book of an intricate history of contractual agreements that brought thousands of Alaskans to Oregon for treatment in mental health facilities here.[1] 

This history begins January 16, 1901, when the federal government contracted with the Oregon State Insane Asylum (OSIA) in Salem to care for people deemed “insane” in the then U.S. Territory of Alaska. The year long contract stipulated that OSIA care for what the book calls the “Alaska insane” for $20 per month per patient.  During that year 29 patients were taken to Salem, 27 men and 2 women.  The contract was renewed for year at the first contracts’ expiration. [2]

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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 »





How to get to Portland, 1877

28 07 2010

For many years before the opening of the Oregon State Insane Asylum in Salem in 1883, Oregon contracted with a private hospital (the Oregon Hospital for the Insane) in Portland.  Patients from all over the state were sent to Portland. A 1879  disagreement about who was to pay for their transportation, gives an interesting look into what it took to get to Portland in the late 19th century.  The following is an invoice to the State of Oregon from B.F. Burch, the Superintendent of the State Penitentiary in Salem for the transport of a person to the hospital.  It was published in the 1879 “Report Of Committee of Investigation Appointed Pursuant to House Joint Resolutions, Nos. 8 and 13, Passed at the Tenth Regular Session of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon.”¹

State of Oregon,
 To B. F. Burch, Superintendent Penitentiary, Dr.

For conveying S.J. Cardiff, an insane person, to the Asylum, Sept. 24, 1877

Mileage of Superintendent, 100 miles…………………………$ 10.00
Mileage of patient, 50 miles………………………………………$    5.00
Per diem of Superintendent, 1 day……………………………..$    3.00
Fare on railroad for Superintendent and patient…………..$    7.50
Hack Hire at Portland………………………………………………$    3.00
Meals for trip………………………………………………………….$    1.50
                                                                                                      Total:  $ 30.00

I hereby certify that the above account is correct.
 (signed)  B.F. Burch.

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