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Inventory of the Department of Mental Hygiene - Mendocino State Hospital Records
R318, F3886  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Agency History
  • Scope and Content
  • Accruals
  • Related Collections at the California State Archives
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Department of Mental Hygiene - Mendocino State Hospital Records
    Dates: 1887-1972
    Collection number: R318, F3886
    Creator: Mendocino State Asylum for the Insane, 1889-1893; Mendocino Asylum, 1893-1897; The State Commission on Lunacy - Mendocino State Hospital, 1897-1921; Department of Institutions - Mendocino State Hospital, 1921-1945; Department of Mental Hygiene - Mendocino State Hospital, 1945-1972
    Collection Size: 88 bound volumes, 520 file folders, and 217 photographs
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: Mendocino State Hospital, originally the Mendocino State Asylum for the Insane, was established in 1889. Major programs over the years have included treatment for the criminally insane, alcoholic and drug abuse rehabilitation, a psychiatric residency program, industrial therapy, and others. As part of a major reorganization by the Reagan administration, the hospital was closed in 1972. Records of the hospital are divided into three groups dating from 1887-1972: Superintendent's Records, Business Manager's Records, and Medical Records Division.
    Physical location: California State Archives
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access

    While the majority of the records are open for research, any access restrictions are noted in the record series descriptions.

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Department of Mental Hygiene - Mendocino State Hospital Records, F3886:[folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Agency History

    Mendocino State Hospital, originally the Mendocino State Asylum for the Insane, was established in 1889 ( Statutes 1889, Ch. 23). By that law the Governor was authorized to appoint a board of directors of five members for a term of four years to select the site and to manage the institution.
    In 1893, the name of the hospital was changed to the Mendocino Asylum ( Statutes 1893, Ch. 64). With the Insanity Law of 1897, the hospital took on the name of Mendocino State Hospital. The Insanity Law created the State Commission on Lunacy which was given authority to see that all laws relating to care and treatment of patients were carried out and to make recommendations to the Legislature concerning the management of hospitals for the insane. The 1897 law provided that each hospital should be controlled by a board of managers of five members appointed by the Governor for four year terms.
    In 1921, the state hospitals were placed under the authority of the newly-created Dept. of Institutions. The board of managers continued, but only with advisory power.
    The Department of Mental Hygiene was created by an act of the Legislature in 1945 ( Statutes 1945, Ch. 665). It was given authority over all state mental institutions. Boards of managers were replaced by boards of trustees with no change in function. Advisory boards were established in 1969 to take over the responsibilities of the trustees.
    Mendocino State Hospital, located in Talmage near the city of Ukiah, formally opened its doors in July 1893. Dr. Edward Warren King was appointed first superintendent. The first patients, all male, were transferred from state mental institutions in Stockton and Napa. Female patients were accepted beginning in 1894.
    Following the stock market crash in the late 1920s, patient population increased rapidly. By 1932, the hospital had over 1,900 patients and 300 employees. By 1935, the figure had risen to over 2,600 patients. Hospital population hit a high in 1955 at over 3,000 patients and 700 employees. Increasing discharges and transfer of the criminally insane to the Atascadero facility eased overcrowding. By 1966, population was back under 1,800 patients.
    Building construction occured in spurts over the years. The original main building, completed in 1893, was razed in 1952. With the exception of two wards built in 1910 and 1918, the first major construction project took place between 1925-1933. Little construction was accomplished in the 1940s. Between 1950-1955, many new major structures were completed to replace old buildings and to provide facilities for new programs.
    Major programs over the years have included treatment for the criminally insane (1929-1954), alcoholic and drug abuse rehabilitation, a psychiatric residency program, industrial therapy, and others. As part of a major reorganization by the Reagan administration, the hospital was closed in 1972.

    Scope and Content

    Records of the hospital are divided into three groups. The Superintendents' Records include minutes and correspondence of the board of trustees (directors, managers) dating to 1887; annual monthly reports, 1940s-1950s; files from various hospital committees, 1960s; historical materials collected by a history committee to celebrate the hospital's 75th anniversary; Pomo News (hospital newsletter) 1948-1972; and photographs of staff, buildings, patients, and activities.
    The records of the Business Manager are largely fiscal in nature and cover the period, 1895-1915. In addition, the business manager's records include stock books, monthly reports on patient population, and abstracts of title to hospital property.
    The Medical Records Division records relate to patients and include commitment registers (abstracts of commitments), 1893-1923; patient indexes, 1893-1955; patient summaries; 1893-1972; discharge registers, 1894-1955; and, patient case files, 1892-1972.

    Accruals

    No further accruals expected.

    Related Collections at the California State Archives

    Goodwin J. Knight Papers
    Governor's Papers, Statement of Expenditures, 1897 (GP3:115)
    Governor's Papers, Statement of Dairy Production and Costs, 1904 (GP3:159)
    Governor's Papers, Statement of Recommended Salary Schedules, 1909 (GP4:99)
    Legislative Papers, Investigation into management of State Institutions, 1897-1899 (LP9:1-9)
    Earl Warren Papers
    Dept. of Finance Records
    Dept. of Public Works Records
    Dept. of Mental Hygiene Records

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Mental health
    California. Dept. of Mental Hygiene
    Mental illness--Treatment