John’s tale begins with a paperclip. In putting away some old records found in storage today, I came across one employee card with two rusting paperclips clipped to the back of it, making it difficult to refile the two cards I had been looking at. Irritated, I pulled out the offending card and found the bizarre and intriguing story of John Krine/Kirne (the exact spelling is a little unclear, as you can see in the signature above).
John Krine was hired on as an Attendant at the Oregon State Hospital on April 3, 1913. The tall, blue-eyed 52 year old widower had come from Indiana where he was previously employed as a clerk. As an attendant, he received $30 dollars a month and worked on a ward directly supervising and caring for patients. Krine worked at the hospital for just over two months before he was discharged, not an uncommon occurrence for new employees at the State Hospital during that time. The payroll cards show a high attrition rate for new staff members. If not for the paperclip, Krine would have just been another short-tenured attendant.
Underneath the paperclip, however, was a two page, hand written letter. Sent anonymously, the letter reads