Author Archives: Ellen

History searches an asylum for ‘The Lost Alaskans’

By Julie Stricker ( Jun 10, 2015 FAIRBANKS — Back in Alaska’s territorial days, it wasn’t uncommon for a gold miner to go berserk in a lonely, remote cabin. A woman on an isolated homestead might fall into severe, debilitating depression, becoming catatonic. The territory also had its share of violent, sometimes mentally ill […]

Posted in Media Coverage, Oral Histories, Research Project News | Comments closed

The Gardens at Saint Elizabeths — A National Memorial of Recovered Dignity

It’s time for memorial in Alaska. “The Gardens at Saint Elizabeths — A National Memorial of Recovered Dignity is being designed by the University of Georgia’s College of Environment and Design, and will be incorporated into the existing 10-acre cemetery adjacent to the new hospital. Saint Elizabeths, which opened in 1855, was the first federally […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lost Alaskans Partners with

[image title=”” size=”full” id=”1531″ align=”center” linkto=”viewer” ] The Morningside Hospital patient database will soon be available on, the largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world. And, not only is it the largest collection, you can use it for free. Here’s some background from their website: “FamilySearch, historically known as the Genealogical Society […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Christmas at Morningside: 1923

The text on the photo reads: Christmas Festivities at Morningside Morningside Hospital provided three Christmas trees for the inmates. Natives helped to provide the entertainment which was held in the Assembly room in the new Parole House. Gifts were provided for all the patients in the institution by Dr. Henry Waldo Coe, the Chief Officer. […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Long Journey is Eventful

My last post was about citizens being hired by the U.S. Marshall to take patients from Alaska to Oregon. The article below details one of the more exciting trips. Patient Jennie Zimmerman was 49 and from Fairbanks. She was admitted to Morningside Hospital on March 2, 1919. Her diagnosis on admission was, “Paretic, noisy and […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Citizens Hired as Guards for Patients and Prisoners

I got an interesting email yesterday from John Drews, who relayed a part of the Morningside story I’d never heard before. “Many years ago I interviewed a gentleman in Fairbanks who had worked as a Deputy Marshall in Alaska during the territorial days. He told me about criminals and “others” that would be held in […]

Posted in 1900-1929, 1930-1949, Media Coverage | Leave a comment

It’s HERE! The Morningside Hospital Patient Database

When 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 […]

Posted in Court Records, Morningside Hospital, Patient Burials, Patient List, Research Project News | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Early Travel to Morningside

Niesje Steinkruger sent this picture of the Valdez Stage. Her description is below. Keep in mind that the trail between Fairbanks and Valdez was 400 miles long. “This is  a good picture of the Valdez Stage.  Many patients travelled from Fairbanks and the Interior to Valdez  via this Stage.  It was a long, hard trip by […]

Posted in 1900-1929, Photos, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Memories of Morningside Hospital from a Staff Psychiatrist

 Published: Sunday, August 26, 2012, 6:00 AM   I read with interest The Oregonian’s Aug. 5 article about Morningside Hospital. The article focused primarily on the deaths and inadequate care of the “inmates.” The researchers said they’d never heard of the hospital before, so they obviously had no firsthand knowledge of its standards and practices. […]

Posted in 1950-1960s, Oral Histories, Quality of Care | 2 Comments

More Death Certificates Online

  Nearly 300 more death certificates are now available in the Morningside Hospital Research Archive. Once again, we have Eric Cordingley and David Anderson of Portland to thank for these invaluable records. I’m sure they’re on a first name basis with everyone who works at the State of Oregon Archives. Thanks to Eric and David’s […]

Posted in 1900-1929, 1930-1949, 1950-1960s, Patient Burials | Leave a comment