Inventory of the Department of Mental Hygiene - DeWitt State Hospital Records

Processed by The California State Archives staff; supplementary encoding and revision supplied by Xiuzhi Zhou.
California State Archives
1020 "O" Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Phone: (916) 653-2246
Fax: (916) 653-7363
Email: ArchivesWeb@sos.ca.gov
URL: http://www.sos.ca.gov/archives/
© 2000
California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the Department of Mental Hygiene - DeWitt State Hospital Records

Inventory: F3886



California State Archives

Office of the Secretary of State

Sacramento, California

Contact Information:

  • California State Archives
  • 1020 "O" Street
  • Sacramento, California 95814
  • Phone: (916) 653-2246
  • Fax: (916) 653-7363
  • Email: ArchivesWeb@sos.ca.gov
  • URL: http://www.sos.ca.gov/archives/
Processed by:
California State Archives staff
© 2000 California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Department of Mental Hygiene - DeWitt State Hospital Records
Dates: 1900-1972
Collection number: F3886
Creator: Department of Mental Hygiene - DeWitt State Hospital
Extent: 183 file folders
Repository: California State Archives
Sacramento, California
Abstract: DeWitt State Hospital, formerly an Army facility, was purchased from the federal government in September 1946 and began receiving patients in early 1947. To decrease over-crowding in other state mental hospitals, it was required by law to receive patients only on transfer. The records of DeWitt State Hospital consist of 183 file folders spanning the period 1900-1972. The records are organized into one series: Patient Case Files.
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 - DeWitt State Hospital Records, F3886:[Folder Number], California State Archives.

Acquisition and Custodial History

The California State Archives acquired the Department of Mental Hygiene - DeWitt State Hospital Records in a series of transfers according to state law.

Agency History

DeWitt State Hospital, formerly an Army facility, was purchased from the federal government in September 1946 and began receiving patients in early 1947. To decrease over-crowding in other state mental hospitals, it was required by law to receive patients only on transfer ( Statutes 1946, Ch. 129). From the beginning, the hospital was equipped to receive both mentally ill and mentally deficient patients. In July 1950, DeWitt became a permanent hospital and began receiving first admissions directly from its geographical service area - the counties of Modoc, Lassen, Sierra, Yuba, Sutter, Placer, and El Dorado ( Statutes 1950, Ch. 14). By 1960, the hospital had exceeded its rated capacity with over 2800 patients. After 1960, population at the hospital steadily declined until it was closed in 1972.

Scope and Content Note

The records of the Department of Mental Hygiene - DeWitt State Hospital consist of 183 file folders spanning the period 1900-1972. The records are organized into one series: Patient Case Files.
The Patient Case Files provide medical history and biographical information about patients housed at DeWitt State Hospital. Files typically contain various types of reports, notes, death and discharge certificates, and occasionally significant correspondence. Files have been heavily sampled and reflect only a small percentage of total patients. Files ending in zero and fat files have been retained. Fat files are large because either the patient was institutionalized over a long period or was admitted repeatedly for a specific illness, frequently alcoholism.

Accruals

No further accruals expected.

Related Collections at the California State Archives

Earl Warren Papers
Goodwin J. Knight Papers
Dept. of Public Works 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


Arrangement and Description

F3886:800-982

Series 1 Patient Case Files 1900-1972

Physical Description: 183 file folders

Arrangement

Arranged numerically by case file number.

Access Information

Records in this series are restricted for 75 years from the date of last activity under California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 5328 because they contain confidential patient information.

Scope and Content Note

Case files are the primary source of information on care and treatment of individuals at hospital. The records have been arranged within each case by case number with the highest number on top. Common records for each file include, in order, commitment papers and related court documents, patient background information, nurses' admission reports, photographs, clinical conference reports, progress notes, social service reports, ward notes (nursing notes), hydrotherapy reports, electric shock treatment reports, intelligence test reports, release summaries, death certificates, discharge certificates, cumulative case summaries, and correspondence. Relatively little correspondence has been retained unless it was especially noteworthy or written by the patient.

Note

Patient Case Files are not indexed. Researchers must contact the California Department of Mental Health in order to obtain a case file number. To access information about a patient represented by more than one case number, user must search under the highest case number for that individual. For access, see the reference archivist.