Category Archives: Patient List

It’s HERE! The Morningside Hospital Patient Database

Carlson, Gustave-1When the Lost Alaskans blog went online five years ago, we began to hear from people who were searching for friends and relatives who were committed to Morningside Hospital, some as long as one hundred years ago. We hope the Morningside Hospital Patient Database will make their search easier and answer their questions.

There are three types of records available. The Quarterly Reports have diagnoses and other information on patients, the Death Certificates are those who died while at Morningside, and the court records document the commitment process. There are gaps in all of the record sets so the search continues.

The database will be formally announced in January. In the meantime, give it a try and send comments and recommendations. Click on Search Patient Records and then enter at least three consecutive letters of the patient’s last name and, optionally, any part of the patient’s first name. The database searches both the name as entered as well as alternate spellings found in the records.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority for their long-term support, especially over the past six months. The Trust made it possible for our volunteer researchers to get to record archives in Maryland, Alaska and Oregon. The entry of 45,000 records would not have been possible without Trust support.

And thanks to the volunteers who collected the information in the database. Volunteers by type of record are Meg Greene and Niesje Steinkruger (Court Records), Eric Cordingley, David Anderson and Sally Mead (Death Certificates) and Marylou Elton, Karen Perdue, Ellen Ganley and Robin Renfro (Quarterly Reports), and Deborah Smith (Alaska State Archives).

Many thanks to Doug Toelle, our project manager at Access Alaska And last, but not least, thanks to database programmer Don Kiely, web designer Jana Peirce, and data entry queen Nancy Lowe, all of whom are hugely talented and extremely patient.

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Death Certificates Posted on Records Archive

More than 200 Oregon death certificates for Morningside patients are now available in the Morningside Hospital Record Archive. You can find them here.

Thanks to Portland residents Eric Cordingley and David Anderson for their many trips to the Oregon State Archives in Salem and for scanning all of these documents. Their continued commitment provides a rich source of information for families of Alaskans sent to Morningside.

Also posted in 1900-1929, 1930-1949, 1950-1960s | 5 Comments

Morningside Hospital Record Archive

Morningside Hospital sent monthly and quarterly reports to the US Department of the Interior that contain a wealth of information about the patients. Our goal from the beginning was to make this information available to families and researchers.

The first installment, which includes 200+ monthly and quarterly reports, can be found here: Morningside Hospital Document Archive

Some basic information about this set of records:

  • The Archive is in Google Docs and you will need a google/gmail account to access them.
  • These records are from the National Archives II in College Park, MD. If you use them in an article or book, they are from Record Group 126 and please use the NA II standards of attribution: Citing Records in the National Archives of the United States (756)
  • The files are indexed by year and month.

And let’s all take a moment to thank Marylou Elton for her countless hours scanning these documents, and many more. Thanks, Marylou!

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Before Morningside

Prior to the Morningside Hospital years, the Department of the Interior contracted for care of Alaskans at the Oregon State Insane Asylum, now known as Oregon State Hospital (Salem).

Between 1901 and 1903, 69 Alaskans were sent to there, 31 of whom were later transferred to Morningside. Six men died while in Salem, including:

  • William Johnson, d.23 Aug 1901 (age 30, b. England)
  • Thomas A. Wilson, d. 9 Jan 1902 (age ___, b. England)
  • Alexander H Carpenter, d. 30 Mar 1902 ( age ___, b. ___)
  • Robert Sweet, d. 9 Nov 1902 (age 48, b. American)
  • Wm. Ukas, d. 24 Jun 1903 (age ___, b. Alaska)
  • Louis Bronson, d. 27 Jun 1903 (age 68, b. Germany)

On January 11, 1902, the Oregon Statesman published Thomas A. Wilson’s obituary. They reported that he committed suicide by jumping from a third floor window. The article went on to say:

“Wilson was committed to the Insane Asylum from Alaska, and he had recently shown marked signs of improvement. When realizing that he was in an insane asylum, he was very much distressed. He had thus far shown no signs of suicidal tendencies, and was generally considered a model patient.”

One of the interesting aspects of this is that the six men who died at the Oregon State Insane Asylum may be among those whose remains are in the copper canisters I wrote about on September 15. Another lead to follow the next time I’m in Oregon.

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More Patient Names

Former Juneau resident Marylou Elton deserves the volunteer of the year award. For the past six months, she’s spent her Wednesdays locating and scanning patient information at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.  She’s focusing on the quarterly reports/invoices that Morningside sent the Department of the Interior. These documents include the names of patients who were at the hospital and information on patients who died during the quarter. Here are examples from March 1924 and March 1945. We now have a complete (or nearly complete) list of all those sent to Morningside Hospital from 1904 to 1945. Unfortunately, the quarterly reports from 1946 to the closure of the hospital in the 1960s are nowhere to be found.

The patient database is still our top priority. We expect the receive funding (through a partnership of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and Access Alaska) before the end of the summer

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We’re off to the National Archvies!

Karen and I are headed to College Park, MD, next week to spend three days at the National Archives. Prior to statehood, the US Department of the Interior, Office of the Territories, contracted with Morningside Hospital for the care of Alaskans with mental illnesses. The federal records for these years are at the National Archives.

We are very excited about two record groups in particular:

Letters Received and Related Records concerning the Alaskan Insane, compiled 1900-1911: National Archives, College Park, MDThis series consists of letters received, copies of contracts, telegrams, vouchers, lists of patients, and other records.  Some of the correspondence refers to policy, but most of it concerns the custody and care of mental patients, discharge of cured individuals, and related topics.

Record Group 126, Records of the Office of the Territories: This record group includes 26 boxes pertaining to the care of the insane in Alaska. 

The records will undoubtedly provide more information about the operation of Morningside Hospital and its relationship with the federal government. Of course, our greatest hope is that the boxes at the National Archives contain patient lists. If the patient lists are not there, we’re out of ideas and pretty much at a deadend.

Please contact us if there are particular records that interest you. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed.

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Where Are They Buried?

We’ve gotten a number of emails from people who have found a relative on one of our patient lists. All of them wanted to know where their relative was buried. Unfortunately, we don’t have much information on patient burials, though we’re working on it.

For now, here’s what we know:

Cemeteries: Over the years, Morningside Hospital patients were buried in multiple cemeteries. During the 1940’s and 1950’s, Multnomah Park Pioneer Cemetery and Greenwood Hills Cemetery were the sites of patient burials. We located a few patient graves at Greenwood Hills, but most are unmarked or grown-over. Multnomah Park Pioneer Cemetery is still in operation but Read More »

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1920 US Census Data Added

The 1920 US Census data has been posted and added to the Wall of Names. The Census data is interesting in that it contains information that our other lists do not, including birthplace, marital status, literacy, race, and mother tongue, all of which will be helpful to researchers tracking down family history. This was a hand-written document that had to be transcribed into a spreadsheet, we’ve done our best to ensure the data was copied accurately, but there may be typos.

You can view these lists here: 1920 US Census

When we posted the 1955 Department of the Interior Report, we pointed out some names that appeared on both that list and the Wickersham Papers. With the addition of the 1920 US Census list there are even more names that appear on multiple lists, helping to fill out the profile of some Morningside patients. Read More »

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Patient list from 1955 Department of the Interior Report Added

The Morningside Hospital patient list found in the 1955 Department of the Interior (DotI) Report has been posted and incorporated into the Wall of Names.

You can view these lists here: 1955 Department of the Interior Report

The Wall of Names is sorted alphabetically by last name, and then by first name, rather than by source. The intended reason for this was to organize the names in a way that makes it easier for someone researching their family history or looking for a specific name to find the name they’re looking for. The other effect of sorting the names like this is that names that appears on more than one list group together. In adding the names from the Department of the Interior Report from March 1955, I stumbled upon a few patients who’s names appear in Judge Wickersham’s list from Morningside in 1916 and in the 1955 DotI Report. Read More »

Also posted in 1930-1949, 1950-1960s, Morningside Hospital | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Morningside Patients: 1904 – 1916

Many of the children and adults who were sent to Morningside from Alaska never returned home. Often, they became faint memories or a part of family history that can’t be verified. The uncle no one talks about or the child everyone assumes died.

One of the things we’d really like to do is collect and make available the names of as many Morningside patients as possible, with the hope that families can find long-lost relatives and fill in the empty spaces on family trees.

The first installment is a list of all patients admitted to Morningside from 1904 to 1916. This information came from the papers of Judge James Wickersham, who was the Alaska delegate to Congress in the early 1900s. The spreadsheet includes the information as it was originally organized, and then a series of spreadsheets organized by admission date, disposition and the community the person came from in Alaska.

We also have patient lists from the 1920 and 1930 U.S. Census records. We’ll post them as soon as we get them into spreadsheets.

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