The collection consists of petitions for release, letters, and drawings
of inventions by mental patient John Wilson. Four of the petitions are in the
form of long scrolls made up of smaller pages pasted together.
John Wilson was an inmate in the Stockton State Hospital for the Insane.
In his correspondence, Wilson indicates that he received two felony
convictions, was sent to Folsom prison (March 8, 1895) and was later (1904)
transferred to the Stockton State Hospital for the Insane. Wilson claims to
have been illegally transferred to the asylum with out a hearing. In his
writings Wilson begs to be released from his "illegal imprisonment, where he is
being tortured by invisible, wireless electricity." He also writes with some
ire to the hospital Superintendent, Dr. Margaret H. Smythe, about his treatment
in the hospital, describing himself as an important inventor whose patents have
been stolen. Wilson's inventions included: a reversible, rotary propeller for
helicopters and ships; an automatic relighting electric lamp; a puncture proof
tire; tire compartments for automobiles; and, a closing tire valve. John Wilson
was apparently in contact with V. Covert Martin, a Stockton Record
photographer. A Wilson letter addressed to Martin expresses concern that his
petitions for release are not being delivered. This collection was previously
filed under the pseudonym of "John Wilton."