Oregon State Hospital History

In 2007 and 2008 supporters of the Mental Health Association of Portland collected information about the history of the Oregon State Hospital. They did this for two reasons. The first is the history of persons with mental illness has been written largely by the administrators of psychiatric hospitals, a perspective not unlike a Southern sheriff describing for schoolchildren the issues of abolition. Persons with mental illness can come to an understanding of the history of their treatment by society and by the legal and medical communities by recapturing it’s history. The second reason was the organization wished to created a documentary film about the institution which would explain for contemporary audiences why the institution was allowed to become so decrepit and infamous.

Female inmates receive nurse's aid training at the Oregon State Hospital in the mid-1960s. (Board of Control Records, Photographs, box 4, separated from State Institution Research Reports, box 76, folder 23)

Female inmates receive nurse’s aid training at the Oregon State Hospital in the mid-1960s. (Board of Control Records, Photographs, box 4, separated from State Institution Research Reports, box 76, folder 23)

The documents below are in no particular order, but are some of the hundreds of texts the supporters read through, collected from the closets of the hospital, from office cabinets in the DHS offices, from the state archives and state library, from the Cutler Library at OHSU (now dismantled) and from personal collections. The film project was not able to secure sufficient funding to move forward.

If you have documents – especially photographs and public documents, newspaper clippings, reports, films, videotape, we’d like to see them. Contact us at info@mentalhealthportland.org.

A Bushel of Shoes, by Dean Brooks, M.D. Brooks was superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital. From Journal of Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 1969.

Description of A Patient’s Memories from the 1960s – Oregon Historical Society article with interview with Oregon State Hospital superintendent Joe Treleven by former patient C L Brown, June 2007

A Turning Point for Mental Health Programs in Oregon, by J. Don Bray, October 1973.

Dean Brooks, Superintendent and Actor, Talks About Cuckoo’s Nest, interview from Journal of Hospital and Community Psychiatry, January 1977.

A Three-Decade Perspective on Community and Public Psychiatry Training in Oregon, by Rupert Goetz, M.D., David L Cutler, M.D., David Pollack, M.D., Neil Falk, M.D., Elizabeth Birecree, M.D., Bentson McFarland, M.D., Ph.D, George Keepers, M.D., Dale Walker, M.D. From Psychiatric Services, September 1998.

A Model for Management and Treatment of Insanity Acquittees, a description of the Psychiatric Security Review Board. From Psychiatric Services, November 1994. Received the American Psychiatric Association Gold Award for outstanding contribution to the mental health field.

The Fatigue Syndrome, by Herman Dickel M.D. and Henry Dixon M.D., American Journal of Nursing, June 1953. Dickel and Dixon were at University of Oregon Medical School.

Insanity Defenses: Contested or Conceded? by Jeffrey L. Rogers, J.D., Joseph D. Bloom, M.D., and Spero M. Manson, Ph.D. From American Journal of Psychiatry, July 1984.

Nurses display handicrafts created by patients at the Columbia Park Hospital and Training Center in a 1968 biennial report. (Board of Control Records, Photographs, box 4, separated from State Institution Research Reports, box 76, folder 23)

Nurses display handicrafts created by patients at the Columbia Park Hospital and Training Center in a 1968 biennial report. (Board of Control Records, Photographs, box 4, separated from State Institution Research Reports, box 76, folder 23)

Residency Curriculum in Forensic Psychiatry, by Joseph Bloom, M.D., David Kinzie, M.D., James Shore, M.D. From American Journal of Psychiatry, June 1980. This article describes the public psychiatry training program at OHSU.

Training in Social Psychiatry at Ward Level, by Maxwell Jones, M.D. From an unknown journal, 1963. Jones was director of education and research at the Oregon State Hospital.


Brian Barraclough interviewed Maxwell Jones at his home
on 23 September 1983.

Society and the Sociopath, by Maxwell Jones, M.D. From an unknown journal, 1962. Jones was director of education and research at the Oregon State Hospital.

Civil Commitment Is Disappearing in Oregon, by Joseph Bloom, M.D. From the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 2006. Bloom is Dean Emeritus at OHSU.

Characteristics of State Hospital Patients Who Are Hard to Place, by Douglas A. Bigelow, Ph.D, David L. Cutler, M.D., Laurie J. Moore, M.D., Peggy McComb, Paul Leung, M.D. From the Journal of Hospital and Community Psychiatry, February 1988. Bigelow et al were associated with OHSU or the Oregon VA.

Training Psychiatrists to Work with Community Support Systems for Chronically Mentally Ill Persons, by David Cutler, M.D., Joseph Bloom, M.D., James Shore M.D. American Journal of Psychiatry, January 1981. This article describes the OHSU community psychiatry training program at OSH.

The Last Half-Century of Psychiatric Services as Reflected in Psychiatric Services, by Jeffrey Geller, M.D. From Psychiatric Services, January 2000. Good national overview of community mental health services.

Oregon State Hospital, Guidelines and Standards Regarding the Appropriate Medical Uses of Electroconvulsive Therapy. From Convulsive Therapy, 1988.

Letter from J. C. Evans, OSH Superintendent to R. H. Mills, Secretary of the Board of Control, asking for permission to begin providing lobotomies, 1947.

Evolution of Oregon’s Social Programs another internal Department of Human Services “history” from about 1975. Author and intended audience is unknown.

A Survey of the State Mental Health Institutions of Oregon, conducted by the United States Public Health Service, 1940.

Emergent Issues in the Public Mental Health System 1995. This document was created for the the state legislature by OMHS number-cruncher Jim Carlson. This is a great example of public psych gobbledegook – lingo which bloomed in the 1980s and had taken over by this point.

Frontier Asylum The Oregon Insane Hospital 1861-1883. This appears to be a history dissertation by Rick Hydrick written in 1978. Collected from James H. Beck, grandson of Dr. James Hawthorne.

Tarrytown Tattler, June 1943. This is a patient-collected newsletter which ran under different headings from at least 1932 to 1962. These were created on a mimeograph machine, and required considerable planning and perfect typing and This issue is a particularly terrific example of a lost artform – keyboarding – using the typewriter to create patterns and forms.

Tarrytown Tattler, January 1943.

Lamplighter, February 1963 – 50 MB PDF. This is a patient-made newsletter from Oregon State Hospital.

History of Care of Insane in Oregon – This an excerpt of Olof Larsell’s book The Doctor in Oregon (1947), published in the Oregon Historical Quarterly (December, 1940). Post from OHSU Historical Notes.

History Oregon Forensic Psychiatric Center

Major Changes and Improvements within Institutions 1955-1965

Medical Illness Among Chronically Mentally Ill Patients

Herman Dickel’s History of Psychiatry in Oregon – 46 MB

Oregon’s Mental Health Milestones

Evolution of Oregon’s Social Programs another internal Department of Human Services “history” from about 1975. Author and intended audience is unknown.

Battle of the Beds. Created by Barry Kast, head of AMH, in March 2005 as a portion of a presentation to the state legislature.

Mental Commitments: the Judicial Function – a Case Perspective, by Arthur LaFrance, former Dean of Health Law at Lewis & Clark Law School. Great commentary on the ’boutique’ nature of Multnomah County’s civil commitment process. From the Journal of Psychiatry and the Law, 1995 – 152 Pgs, 9 MB.

Memo from Kevin Concannon, director of DHS to Governor Neal Goldschmidt, “Organization and Authority of the Department of Human Resources,” March 15, 1998. A rough history of the agency.

Minutes from a September 1968 Oregon Criminal Law Revision Commission discussion about partial responsibility for crime by persons impaired by mental condition

Minutes from an October 1968 Oregon Criminal Law Revision Commission – same subject. (This is perhaps one of the formative conversations about creation of the Psychiatric Security Review Board.)

Oregon State Hospital Superintendent’s Overview 1968, 1968. By Dean Brooks, M.D.

Oregon State Hospital Administrator’s Overview, 1968. By Ken Gaver, M.D.

Oregon State Hospital Administrator’s Overview, 2009. Unknown author. This text has a lengthy history of the hospital and timeline, a bibliography and organizational chart.

An alphabetical list of the cremated remains (called ‘cremains’ by the funeral industry) of over 3000 patients of the Oregon State Hospital. These patients either had no family willing or able to collect their remains when they died, mostly in the late 19th and early 20th century. Families who identify relatives on this list should contact Medical Records Services at 503-945-2976. You can also reach Medical Records Services by e-mail at oshcremains@state.or.us or postal mail: OSH Medical Record Services, 2600 Center St. NE, Salem, OR, 97301. See also Oregon State Hospital unites families with cremated remains of deceased patients.

The History of the Oregon State Hospital from 1883-2012, an unsigned Western Oregon University student 2-page essay. Includes a table of causes of insanity reproduced from the Seventh Biennial Report of the Oregon State Insane Asylum, December 1894 and November 1896.

Effects of Publicity on a Forensic Hospital, by Scott M. Reichlin, M.D., and Joseph D. Bloom, M.D. Bull Am Acad Psychiatry Law, Vol. 21, No. 4, 1993

The 2011 union contract for nurses at the Oregon State Hospital.

The Right to Refuse Treatment in Oregon’s State Hospitals. PowerPoint presentation. Presented at OHSU Grand Rounds by Joseph D. Bloom, M.D., Martin Epson, M.D., M.T.S. and Liban Rodol, J.D., M.D. in 2012.

Post-Hinckley Insanity Reform in Oregon, by Scott M. Reichlin, M.D.; Joseph D. Bloom, M.D.; and Mary H. Williams MS. Bull Am Acad Psychiatry Law, Vol. 18, No. 4, 1990

Using a Specialized Foster Care Community Treatment Model for Children and Adolescents Leaving the State Mental Hospital, by Patricia Chamberlain and John B Reid, from the Journal of Community Psychology – July 1991.

Oregon State Hospital, 1883–2008, from the American Journal of Psychiatry – February 2009


Barry Kast Interviews

Joseph Treleaven

Joseph Treleaven

Here are a set of documents and interviews by state mental health director Barry Kast created with Karen Unger in preparation to write a history of mental health services in Oregon in 1999.

Karen Unger’s Proposed Plan – to write a history of mental health services in Oregon, 1945 to present. (1998) Here is her proposed schedule of activities.

Oregon – History of Mental Health System, Box 1. This appears to be a inventory of file cabinet from the state mental health division. Some of these texts, not all, are archived on this page.

History of Mental Health Services in Oregon, by Karen Unger, MSW, Ed.D, created for the state Department of Human Services, 1999.

Interview with Dean Brooks, M.D., Superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital – 1955-1981

“[Dean] Brooks to [Karen] Unger (OSH 1951)”. This seems to be a transcript of a tour of the OSH, perhaps by Dean Brooks. There is a light penciled title “Oregon State Hospital 1951.”

Interview with Don Bray, M.D., Administrator of Oregon’s Mental Health Division, 1971-1979.

Interview with Joseph Treleaven, M.D., Administrator of Oregon’s Mental Health Division, 1962-1966.

Interview with Prasanna Pati, M.D., 1958 – 1965, Oregon State Hospital psychiatrist

Interview with Ken Gaver, M.D., Administrator of Oregon’s Mental Health Division, 1966-1971.

Interview with George Suckow, M.D., superintendent of Dammasch State Hospital.

Interview with Stan Mazur-Hart, Ph.D, superintendent of Dammasch State Hospital – 1987-1991, superintendent of Oregon State Hospital – 1991-2004

Interview with Barry Kast, MSW, Administrator of Oregon’s Mental Health Division, 1995-2005.

Interview with Joseph Bloom, M.D., Dean of Psychiatry at OHSU – April 1999.


 

Circuit Rider Statue

Circuit Rider Statue

This color lithograph depicts the Circuit Rider statue in front of the Oregon State Capitol in 1924. The lithograph was included in theprogram commemorating the dedication of the statue. The Capitol was destroyed by fire in 1935 and the statue was moved to the east side of the current Capitol. (Board of Control Records, Circuit Rider Statue Dedication Program, box 82)


 

Proposed Oregon State Building - 1938

Proposed Oregon State Building – 1938

This architectural drawing depicts a proposed Oregon State Building in Portland. The drawing was created in circa 1938. The Board of Control oversaw the construction and maintenance of numerous state buildings. (Board of Control Records, Photographs, box 1, separated from State Building Construction Records, box 17, folder 9)


 

Oregon State Hospital Roller Skating - 1962

Oregon State Hospital Roller Skating – 1962

Roller skating at the Oregon State Hospital in the late-1960s. (Board of Control Records, Photographs, box 4, separated from State Institution Research Reports, box 76, folder 23)


 

Oregon State Hospital Storm Damage - 1962

Oregon State Hospital Storm Damage – 1962

A boy surveys some of the damage on the grounds of the Oregon State Hospital in the wake of the Columbus Day Storm of 1962. The storm caused extensive damage on the hospital campus and throughout much of Oregon. (Board of Control Records, Photographs, box 1, separated from State Institutions Correspondence, box 46, folder 11)


 

Oregon State Insane Asylum in about 1905

Oregon State Insane Asylum in about 1905

Civilian defense officials wanted to use various state institutions for housing in the event of an emergency during the war. Shown above is the exercise yard at the Oregon State Insane Asylum in about 1905. (Photo no. OSH0023, Oregon State Hospital Records, OSA)


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