Three Amazing Days at the National Archives

Karen Perdue (l) and Ellen Ganley

Karen and I spent Wednesday through Friday of last week at the National Archives II in College Park, MD. After worrying that we wouldn't find any patients records, we found more than I imagined possible. Too much, in fact. They have nearly all of the Morningside Hospital patient lists from 1904 through the early 1950s, plus contracts, investigation reports, personnel records, medical officer reports, and administrative correspondence between Morningside and the Department of the Interior. We worked each day for 10 to 11 hours, scanning and copying. In the end, we had nearly a gig of scanned documents and photos and a 4 inch stack of copies. I don’t think we made a dent in what’s there.

This presents us with an entirely new set of questions, the most important of which is how to handle this much information and make it readily available to families and other researchers. Over the next month, we’re going to seek advice on the organization of historical collections and database design. In the meantime, we’ll post more patient lists and articles on some of the more interesting information and photos we found in the files. Stay tuned.
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One Comment

  1. Christiane T Martens
    Posted January 21, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    I am searching for information about my German relative, Paul Hoppe, who was a prospector in the Fairbanks area from 1902 -1916 when he was taken away to the Morningside Hospital . He was there until he died January 5, 1919. I have letters and photos of him which give no indication of mental illness. The Swiss Consulate informed the family in 1921 that he had a stroke and was totally paralyzed and therefore taken from Hot Springs to Portland. In contrast, a notice in the Fairbanks Daily Times, July 12, 1916 mentioned that “another insane, Paul Hoppe”, was taken by US Marshall, placed in jail until termination of the term of court and then he would be taken Outside with prisoners. He just disappeared.
    Can you help me clarify his illness and the last probably miserable 3 years of his life ?No written letters as he faithfully provided the family before, no sign of his existence, nothing.
    Thank you for the enormous work you are doing regarding your research on Morningside’s darkest chapter.

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