1923 DOI Inspection

[image title=”Photos 1923_0003″ size=”full” id=”592″ align=”right” linkto=”viewer” ]Research team member Marylou Elton lives in Washington, DC, and spends many of her Wednesday’s at the National Archives II scanning Department of the Interior (DOI) administrative records of Morningside Hospital. She recently sent an interesting set of documents relating to the 1923 DOI inspection of the hospital, including the DOI inspectors report and recommendations, Morningside owner Henry Waldo Coe’s response, a list of exhibits and photos.

A few of the more interesting things in the report:

  • On July 25, 1923, there were 246 patients at Morningside, including 35 Alaska Natives.
  • 25% of the patients had syphilis. One of the symptoms of late stage syphilis is mental illness.
  • 472 patients out of the 973 admitted between 1904 and 1923 were discharged.
  • The federal government was paying $50 a month for each patient. The monthly rate for the Pioneer Home in Sitka was $103.
  • The inspector found that three Morningside patients were not insane and one other was doubtful.
  • The sexes were kept “entirely separate”.
  • The hospital grounds included 97 acres of farm land which was used to produce food for the patients.
  • The inspector found that there were no other institutions in the northwest that were “prepared to properly care for the Alaska insane” besides Morningside.
  • Emigration officials inspected patient records three times a year, and deported foreign patients regardless of their condition.
  • Deceased patients were buried in the Riverview Cemetery. The graves were “properly marked with a cement block imbedded in the ground and marked with a number, which corresponds to a like number, with name, shown on a plat kept by the Cemetery Association.”
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