12 December 13, 2013

Cupid Repaired, 1963

12, 13, 13|Artifacts, Buildings, History, News from the Past, People, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fifty years ago today, this news story appeared in the Oregon Statesman newspaper: After being knocked over twice by vandals, this statue-fountain of cupid was replaced on the Oregon State Hospital grounds Thursday by Donald [...]

05 May 30, 2013

In Memorium: Dr. Dean K. Brooks

05, 30, 13|Announcements, People, Uncategorized|0 Comments

It is with great sadness that we announce that Dr. Dean K. Brooks, former superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital and champion of the Oregon State Hospital Museum, passed away this morning at age 96.  [...]

07 July 15, 2012

George F. Berger

07, 15, 12|Hospital Stories, People|0 Comments

In 1905, 48 people were admitted to the Oregon State Insane Asylum with a diagnosis of “alcoholism” and 16 for syphilitic symptoms.[1]  George F. Berger was one of those people. Berger was born in Wisconsin in April of 1869 to Frank and Margaret Berger, Germans who had immigrated to the United States from what is now Baden-Württemberg.[2]  His family, including an older sister Mary, farmed in Randolph, Courtland, Columbia County, Wisconsin.[3] Sometime between 1870 and 1880, the family moved to Oregon.  By the 1880 Federal Census, George was 12 years old and living on Olive Street in Eugene.  Father Frank is no longer in the picture and mother Margaret is going by the last name of Haney, suggesting she may have remarried.  With a two year old brother named Jacob Berger, it would further suggest that George’s father died or left sometime between 1878 and 1880, leaving George as the man of the house at a very young age. Due to an unfortunate fire which destroyed the 1890 Federal Census, we are forced to pick up George’s trail again in Oregon City in 1896 when we find him working as a bartender for Thomas Trembrath.[4]  Four years later, he had moved back to his mother’s 5th Street home in Eugene, where he and his now 21-year-old brother both worked as bartenders.[5] Berger did not keep a low profile after his move back to Eugene.  He was arrested and fined for gambling at least twice.  As a 1903 Oregonian article reported: […]

07 July 4, 2012

Watchman, 1908

07, 04, 12|History, People, Primary Sources|0 Comments

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, [...]

06 June 20, 2012

The Matron, 1908

06, 20, 12|History, People, Primary Sources|0 Comments

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 [...]

01 January 30, 2012

R.E. Lee Steiner Serves 19 Years, 1926

01, 30, 12|History, People|0 Comments

01 January 15, 2012

Suffrage and Sterilization: Dr. Owens-Adair

01, 15, 12|History, Oregon's Mental Health History, People, Primary Sources|1 Comment

One of the most vocal proponents of women’s suffrage in Oregon was also the leading proponent of Eugenics legislation which would affect the lives of hundreds of patients at the Oregon State Hospital.  Beginning in 1907, Dr. Bethenia Owens-Adair lobbied the legislature for implementation of a Sterilization Bill intended to improve society by sterilizing those deemed criminals, insane or developmentally disabled.  Her bill passed in 1909, only to be vetoed by the governor. Nevertheless, similar legislation became law in 1923.  The Sterilization Law remained on the books until 1983 and caused the forced sterilization of over 2,500 people in Oregon’s prisons and mental health institutions.  In 2002, Governor Kitzhaber made a formal apology to those who had been forcefully sterilized under the law.[1]  The following is an excerpt from Dr. Owens-Adair’s Tract entitled Human Sterilization published sometime around 1910.[2] In submitting this little publication to the public, it is with the desire, the hope and belief, that the ever watchful eye of our great commonwealth, will appreciate the immence [sic.] value of this process for preventing disease and crime through propagation.  Since 1883 when I said to the physician who was in charge of the Oregon Insane Asylum, that if the time ever came, that I might be permitted, I would then use my pen and my brain along these lines.  Since then I have used my tongue many, many times, in season and out of season, and I have received in return many rebukes and much good advice, as to modesty, being a priceless gem which every woman should wear.   But not until 1904 did the first opportunity come, when I could use my pen and I assure you I lost no time in sending off the following communication to the Oregonian, and my delight at seeing it in print was beyond expression, to say that this publication shocked my family and many of my friends would be putting it mildly, I am older now and my tears do not lie so shallow (as mother said) as in my childhood days, and there is something in getting used to unpleasant things and yet, I am not innured, but I can go right on smiling just the same.  To illustrate the trend of thought, only 7 years ago when I wrote my first communication to the Oregonian I received four letters all eulogizing and congratulating me on my bravery, etc., but the interesting part was, that those letters were all nameless, who would think of addressing me to-day on this subject without signing his or her name; not one, no not one.  The world is being educated along these lines and is seeking for the purification and betterment of humanity, which in time will be found and vertified [sic.] in the yet unborn children whose parents blood shall be free from disease and crime.  Through this publication I shall try to prove what I have been preaching for 30 years, that the […]

10 October 3, 2011

OSH Campus according to Engineer Garson, 1958

10, 03, 11|Buildings, History, Hospital Stories, People|0 Comments

The following is an interview with Engineer J.A. Garson published in the October 1958 edition of the Lamplighter, an OSH newsletter.  The article coincided with the 75th anniversary of the Oregon State Hospital, and many early staff members and patients are interviewed or profiled.  When Mr. Garson came to the hospital in 1919, it looked much different than it does now.  For example, from 24th to 21st streets there were hospital orchards of walnut trees.  Where the treatment and surgical buildings sit were poultry and pheasant farms for OSH.  The doctor’s cottages were not in existence, and in their place were berry fields.  The machine shop was located where what is now the freezing department.  The morgue building, 1896, is what is today the paint shop.  The Tailoring Shop, Carpenter Shop were all where the Quonset hut is now located.  Mrs. Steiner, with her superintendent husband, planned the landscaping of the grounds and due to patient labor they were completed.  […]

07 July 25, 2011

Long Illnes Comes to an End, 1930

07, 25, 11|News from the Past, People, Primary Sources|0 Comments

The following is an obituary published in a Salem paper June 15, 1930.  Dr. Lewis Frank Griffith, then Assistant Superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital, died June 14. Served faithfully at State institution 39 Years; Widely Honored — Dr. Lewis Frank Griffith, recognized as one of the leading alienists and psychiatrists in the United States, passed away at 5:35 o’clock yesterday evening at his home here.  Dr. Griffith, who had been seriously ill for several months and whose death has seemed imminent more than once in that period died peacefully, being unconscious the last few hours.  His immediate family and a sister, Mrs. Helen Giese of Portland, were with him when death stretched forth his hand. Lewis Frank Griffith was born June 3, 1868 on the old Griffith homestead 12 miles east of Salem in the Waldo hills.  He was the son of Lewis C. and Susan Margaret Griffith, early Oregon pioneers.  His first schooling was in the little country school of his district, but he entered the Salem schools while still in the elementary grades.  Later he was graduated from Willamette university and after that he taught school for a time in the Eldriedge school in Mission Bottom. […]

07 July 6, 2011

Eastern Oregon State Hospital

07, 06, 11|History, Oregon's Mental Health History, People|6 Comments

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] […]