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March 19, 2008

Fergus Falls State Hospital Papers

Filed under: What's New — Lori Williamson @ 10:37 am

Fergus Falls State Hospitalward-leave-card.jpg

Originally commissioned in 1885 by the State of Minnesota as the Third State Asylum for the Mentally Ill, the Fergus Falls State Hospital/Regional Treatment Center received its first patients in 1890.  The facility was self-sufficient with its own farm, food service, laundry, workshops and power plant.  The institution served 17 counties in northwestern and west central Minnesota, with the patient census reaching an all-time high of 2,078 in 1937,  The regional treatment center was one of the first multi-purpose campuses, serving those with developmental disabilities, chemical dependency as well as psychiatric illnesses.  For the past two decades patients have been moved to smaller community based facilities, and in 2007 the campus buildings were sold to the City of Fergus Falls

Selected historical records of the Fergus Falls State Hospital/Regional Treatment Center are preserved in the Minnesota State Archives, and with a few exceptions, are available for public use.

Fergus Falls Hospital LaundryFF State Hospital Laundry workers

fergus-fall-state-hospital.jpg

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49 Responses to “Fergus Falls State Hospital Papers”

  1. Christine Says:

    This is a great find! I my family has some history with this institution. Thank you! ~C.

  2. Christine Hall Says:

    I am looking for information regarding my great grandfather who was a patient here. His last name was Norman, I think his first name is spelled Alois. I know he was there in the 196o’s. Thank You

  3. Lori Williamson Says:

    Hi Christine. I will forward your request to our Reference Department; hopefully they will be able to help.
    Thanks!

  4. Christine Taylor Says:

    Hello! Could you have the Reference Department make contact with Jeanette Servin of the Dassel area Historical Society @ ? We are trying to locate information about my g-g-grandma who resided there in the years between Sept. 1898-1904. Her name was Mary Anderson, a widow who eventually contracted TB before passing away there.
    Thank you sincerely, ~Christine Taylor.

  5. Todd Holes Says:

    Hello,
    Are there any existing records from the 1940’s?
    I’m looking for anything on Alveretta Holes who died there (I believe) in 1947.
    Thanks,
    Todd

  6. Jacklynn Nelson Says:

    Hello,
    Belle Smith, imate, f. w. 58, wd, Denmark, Denmark, Denmark, Danish. Was found in the 1910 census of Furgus Falls State Hospital. Is there any more information on her, birth place, parent’s name, death date.

    Thank you for your time and effort in answering this request.
    Jacklynn Nelson

  7. Priscilla Anderson Says:

    How can I find out more about a patient that was there in the late 50’s early 60’s. My Great-grandfather was there for almost 4 years until his death on 12-31-1962. His name was Alex Akren

    Melanie Akren reply on December 17th, 2010:

    Hi Priscilla,
    Alex Akren was my grandfather. I have a copy of his death certificate, but know very little about him overall. I did find a reference to him in a book online:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=Jm4RAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA295&lpg=PA295&dq=akren+minnesota&source=bl&ots=FVOGyezz95&sig=dkoLhi9tx_uuagU_Y9X531H2uS4&hl=en&ei=A4cLTcD2G8X_lgfTp8mKDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Do you know much about him?

  8. Daniel Borden Says:

    My Grandfather, Morris Morton, worked at the Fergus Falls Treatment Center for a short period around 1905. Can I get some documention to verify this please?

    Daniel Borden,
    Canada

  9. Jeanne Benecke Says:

    Hello,
    My Great-Grandfater, Hiram L. Cooke, was a nurse at Fergus Falls circa 1895-1904. I would be interested in verifying this information and in particular locating a picture of him as I have no pictures of my grandparents or great-grandparents. Thank you, Jeanne Benecke, Minneapolis

  10. Paula Cole Says:

    I am looking for all patients records if possible in connection with information about my grandfather who was a patient there as well as at Moose Lake State Hosptial. His name was Alexander Pederson he passed away October 1952.
    I would apprectiate your help greatly.

    Thank you.

  11. Charles Rodgers Says:

    The State Archives collection of the Minnesota Historical Society preserves selected patient records (admission and discharge registers, commitment papers, case books), and selected employee records (time records, payrolls) that are useful to determine whether or not a specific person was a patient at the hospital, or was an employee of the hospital. Most, but not all, of the records date from about 1890 to 1998. For research assistance please contact the Society’s Reference Department at 651.259.3300 or refe...@mnhs.org. Thank you.

  12. Nancy Thompson Says:

    In the 1920 Federal census Margaret (Berrigan)LeVitre was listed as an inmate at the Fergus Falls State Hospital. Are commitment and release records available for Margaret, along with any dignosis or related papers?

    She was again committed 16 Sept. 1927 and died there on 12 Oct 1927. If possible, I would be interested in the cause of her death. She was my grand-aunt the sister of my Grandmother.

    Were their any survivors listed?
    With appreciation.

    Charles Rodgers reply on October 19th, 2009:

    The State Archives collection of the Minnesota Historical Society preserves several Fergus Falls State Hospital records that may answer you specific questions. The records include commitment papers, admission and discharge registers, and patient case books; all of the records are dated 1890-1967. I recommend you check the Library’s on-line research service for state hospital records available at: http://shop.mnhs.org/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=2474.
    Also, you may contact the Society’s Library staff at 651.259.3300 or refe...@mnhs.org for further assistance. Good luck with you research!

  13. Barb Monti Says:

    Looking for information on Mary Stegge, who was an inmate at Fergus Falls from around 1900-through 1920’s. Her husbands name was John H. Stegge.

    Charles Rodgers reply on January 6th, 2010:

    The State Archives collection of the Minnesota Historical Society preserves several Fergus Falls State Hospital records that may help you located information about Mary Stegge. The records include commitment papers, admission and discharge registers, and patient case books; all of the records are dated 1890-1967. I recommend you check the Library’s on-line research service for state hospital records available at: http://shop.mnhs.org/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=2474.
    Also, you may contact the Society’s Library staff at 651.259.3300 or refe...@mnhs.org for further assistance. Good luck with you research!

  14. Corrine Says:

    Are there any books on the state hospital in fergus falls! I am so interested in the history of this hospital? Thank you!

  15. Charles Rodgers Says:

    The State Archives collection of the Minnesota Historical Society preserves many Fergus Falls State Hospital records useful for studying the history of the institution. The records include commitment papers, admission and discharge registers, patient case books, plus other records good for researching the institution’s history. I recommend you check the Library’s on-line research service for state hospital records available at: The State Archives collection of the Minnesota Historical Society preserves several Fergus Falls State Hospital records that may help you located information about Mary Stegge. The records include commitment papers, admission and discharge registers, and patient case books; all of the records are dated 1890-1967. I recommend you check the Library’s on-line research service for state hospital records available at: http://shop.mnhs.org/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=2474.
    Also, you may contact the Society’s Library staff at 651.259.3300 or refe…@mnhs.org for further assistance.

    Also, you may contact the Society’s Library staff at 651.259.3300 or refe...@mnhs.org for further assistance. Good luck with you research!

  16. Jason Says:

    For various research services offered by the MN Historical Society, try this link:
    http://shop.mnhs.org/category.cfm?Category=134

  17. Jason McCuen Says:

    I was wondering if you could post or send any information regarding the connection with FFSH and the new Super8 movie campaign.

  18. alice schow bowman Says:

    Did the hospital take in Scandinavians patients from other states for language barrier reasons, by chance?

  19. Charles Rodgers Says:

    I consulted another archivist here at the Minnesota Historical Society, and based on our 30+ years experience stte hospital records we do not think this practice occurred. Fergus Falls State Hospital (and other state hospitals) did receive a limited number of patients that may have had residences out of state, but we usually there was some kind of Minnesota connection, usually family here that they were staying with. We’re unaware of any language issues that would have affected placement in a Minnesota state hospital.

  20. Patricia G. H. Says:

    Are there any memories or records of Miss Patricia Boit-(later Mrs. R. Gaustad)dance & OT/Recreational therapist at the hospital in the late 1930’s & early 1940’s? We believe, Miss Isabelle Sheeran,told her she was possibly the first such dance/ recreational therapist hired by a State Hospital in MN and possibly the US; other states soon following suit. [Is this correct?] Miss Boit (as she was reffered to)has a scrap- book that includes the “Weekly Pulse” vol. 10, # 7. One paragraph lists the names of her town students who performed dance routines at the hospital carnival: Marian Wright, daughter of Dr. & Mrs.M.R.Wright; Aileen Fick,(later Nicklemoe)- daughter of Elmer Fick,instructor in Industrial Arts? at the Hospital; (his students made a Norwegian, Rosmaled sewing basket for Miss Boit); Romaine Berg, daughter of John Berg, a former Hospital employee; and names of her other town, dance students. There is, also, a poster advertising an Indoor Carnival. Her scrap book has 3 photos of women patients on the lawn in dance- recital costumes: 1939. Miss Boit designed the costumes. For her town students, the mothers sewed and taylored the costumes.
    I’m not sure who did the sewing for the patients costumes.

    Please feel free to contact me if you have any memories or
    stories of Miss Boit as the dance instructor at Fergus, or
    if the archives would like a copy of our photos etc. Hopefully, the archives would have the copies of “The Weekly
    Pulse” and other Carnival & activity notices?
    Mother has always been very pleased to have been part of
    the Fergus State Hospital therapy programs and the staff
    and patients she worked with there. I just noticed the
    links to the MN Hist. Soc. and will try those as well, when
    I can, for further info.

    She is 96 this year and we are reminiscing.
    Thank-you, Her daughter, Patti

    Charles Rodgers reply on September 9th, 2011:

    The Minnesota State Archives has a nearly complete set of “The Weekly Pulse”, though we are missing a few issues from the 1970s. The State Archives would be interested in coies of photographs and other items regarding Fergus Falls State Hospital. Let me know if you would like to consider donating any items you have. See my other blog entry, dated 9 September 2011, about personnel records concerning Fergus Falls State Hospital staff.

  21. Patricia G. H. Says:

    p.s. Is there any information on a Ms. Hazel Brisbane
    that also worked at the Fergus State Hospital, possibly
    in a Supervisory role?
    (As before, I may find time to check the MHS archives at a
    later date.)

  22. Charles Rodgers Says:

    There are two sets of records that may interest you.

    See this URL for an inventory of Fergus Falls State Hospital staff records, dated 1891-1998. http://www.mnhs.org/library/findaids/ffsh009.pdf.

    Also,there is a set of personnel service records, dated 1925-1940, of the Division of Public Institutions.
    Here is a summary of the records. Physical Details 4.0 cu. ft. (4 boxes). Records documenting various state personnel, particularly those at the state’s public institutions. The majority are personnel service record cards (1925-1939) for the state’s institutions, listing employee name, address, position, salary, brief statement of duties, data on previous state service, education, training, and personal and family information. Also State Employees Retirement Association deduction cards (1929-1939) and payroll deduction records on State Relief Agency and State Emergency Relief Administration paid employees (1939-1940).

  23. Marilyn Cragoe Says:

    My great-grandfather, Adolf (or Adolph) Johnson, born 1863, was at the Fergus Falls State Hospital, and died there on April 6, 1893. I’m not sure when he was admitted. I’d be grateful for any information/records you could provide. Thank you.

  24. Charles Rodgers Says:

    The State Archives collection of the Minnesota Historical Society preserves many Fergus Falls State Hospital records useful for studying the history of the institution. The records include commitment papers, admission and discharge registers, patient case books, plus other records good for researching the institution’s history. I recommend you check the Library’s on-line research service for state hospital records available at: The State Archives collection of the Minnesota Historical Society preserves several Fergus Falls State Hospital records that may help you located information about Mary Stegge. The records include commitment papers, admission and discharge registers, and patient case books; all of the records are dated 1890-1967. I recommend you check the Library’s on-line research service for state hospital records available at: http://shop.mnhs.org/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=2474.
    Also, you may contact the Society’s Library staff at 651.259.3300 or refe…@mnhs.org for further assistance.

  25. Carrie Alme Says:

    My great great Grandfather Gunder Vehus Pederson died 1946 and his son Peder Kristian Pederson died 1969 as clients at the Fergus Falls Mental institution. I was wondering if you would have any information or documentation on them. ~Thanks Carrie

  26. charles rodgers Says:

    The State Archives collection of the Minnesota Historical Society preserves many Fergus Falls State Hospital records useful for finding information about residents of the hospital. The records include commitment papers, admission and discharge registers, patient case books, plus other records good for researching the institution’s history. I recommend you check the Library’s on-line research service for state hospital records available at: http://shop.mnhs.org/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=2474.

    Also, you may contact the Society’s Library staff at 651.259.3300 or refe…@mnhs.org for further assistance. The Library staff can give you details about the types of records useful for your research, and if you wish, you may do the research yourself in the Society’s Library in St. Paul.

    http://shop.mnhs.org/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=2474

  27. Charlene Hennen Says:

    I am interested in finding any information on my uncle Gordon Babb, I believe he lived in the state hospital for a large portion of his life. I visited him one time in the 70’s but he did not know who I was. I am doing a research paper for school and I would love to find out any information you may have on Gordon for my paper and my family tree. Gordon suffered from retardation due to a surgery when he was a child. His parents, my grandparents were Vernal and Florence Babb from Fergus Falls.
    Thank you,
    Char Hennen
    Redwood Falls MN

  28. Jill Petersen Says:

    http://people.mnhs.org/dci/Results.cfm?CFID=17146308&CFTOKEN=79450861

    Search here.. Birth death records for mn

  29. Jessica Says:

    Can you still take tours at this facility?

  30. Jonathan Davidson Says:

    Can I find out about the use of homeopathy to treat patients at Fergus Falls? It was founded as a homeopathic institution and directed until 1965 by homeopathically trained doctors (Williamson, Welch and Patterson). One has to assume that they used this to treat patients but that eventually it was replaced by more modern treatments. Is there further information about homeopathy in the hospital? And when it stopped being used?

    I also came across a reference to Time magazine carrying an article about electroshock (ECT) at Fergus Falls hospital in 1951. Do you have any more about this?

  31. Glenda Clark Says:

    Is it possible to get a higher resolution copy of the two images of the ladies that worked in the Fergus Falls Hospital laundry above? I am trying to identify a relative in that picture and having some difficulty since it is so very low resolution.
    Any help would be appreciated!

    Lori Williamson reply on October 22nd, 2012:

    The photos are part of the State Archives Collection, so it would have to be located within that collection, pulled, and scanned. Here is the URL for the on-line inventory: http://www.mnhs.org/library/findaids/ffsh016.pdf
    You could come use the Collection here at the Library (see here for hours: http://sites.mnhs.org/library/)to see the higher quality image for yourself or use Reference Services available here: http://sites.mnhs.org/library/researchservices.
    Hope this helps! Thanks for your interest.

  32. Dorothy Scanlan Says:

    We lived in a glorious apartment on the third floor of the Administration Building, in 1966. Doctor Patterson, the Hospital Chief, lived on the second floor.
    My husband was an MD, who was between the Military and a Psychiatry Residency; there was a terrific Psychiatrist who was working at the State Hospital, and John went to work there to work under him, Ralph Hirschowitz. Dr. Hirschowitz began the CTC at the Hospital, the Community Treatment Center. I don’t have any history of what happened after we-and he-left.
    We had three small children in this extraordinary setting. They used to have rocking chair races in the great hall.
    It was a great adventure.
    My attention was caught by yesterday’s (January 12) article in the Minneapolis Tribune.

  33. Jean Evans Says:

    I am trying to find information regarding my Grandfather Arthur Brostrom. He was born on Nov 26, 1891 and died Nov 15, 1967. My grandparents divorced in 1947, so that he would have to stay in the hospital. We have no information on why he was there and if he actually died there. Is there anybody that can help me with some information regarding him.

    Thank you!

  34. Hans Olav Hugdahl Says:

    Jeg har hørt at Pder og Kjersti Hugdahl arbeidet på Fergus Falls State Hospital rundt 1900 – 1905. Finnes der noe registert over ansatte på hospitalet ?

  35. Hans Olav Hugdahl Says:

    I have been told taht Peder and Kjersti Hugdahl hav ebeen working on Fergus Falls State Hospital 1900 – 1905. is there a record over enployed personale from that years ?

    Lori reply on February 13th, 2013:

    The State Archives collection of the Minnesota Historical Society preserves several Fergus Falls State Hospital records that may answer your specific questions.
    There are two sets of records that may interest you.

    See this URL for an inventory of Fergus Falls State Hospital staff records, dated 1891-1998. http://www.mnhs.org/library/findaids/ffsh009.pdf.

    Also,there is a set of personnel service records, dated 1925-1940, of the Division of Public Institutions.
    Here is a summary of the records. Physical Details 4.0 cu. ft. (4 boxes). Records documenting various state personnel, particularly those at the state’s public institutions. The majority are personnel service record cards (1925-1939) for the state’s institutions, listing employee name, address, position, salary, brief statement of duties, data on previous state service, education, training, and personal and family information. Also State Employees Retirement Association deduction cards (1929-1939) and payroll deduction records on State Relief Agency and State Emergency Relief Administration paid employees (1939-1940).

    I recommend you check the Library’s on-line research service for state hospital records available at: http://shop.mnhs.org/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=2474.

    Also, you may contact the Society’s Library staff at 651.259.3300 or refe...@mnhs.org for further assistance.

    Good luck with you research!

  36. Donna Berg Says:

    I would like any records to do with William McMahon who died there in August 30,1950. Any information would be appreciated

    Lori reply on March 6th, 2013:

    Please see the reply above for more specific you might be interested in. Otherwise I would recommend contacting our Reference Department; information on that is above as well.
    Thank you for your interest!
    Best, Lori

  37. Kelly Garner Says:

    Thank you Dorothy Scanlin! What a great memory to cherish!

  38. Hans Olav Hugdahl Says:

    Hallo
    Olaf Hugdahl was employed at the hospital around 1900, is there any information tio be foung about him ?

  39. Mary Says:

    My grandfather was a nurse there, his name was Wallace Gamble was wondering if you know the dates he worked there?
    Thank you,
    We had a tour of the buildings today was amazing…
    Mary

    Hans Olav Hugdahl reply on June 1st, 2013:

    No, I dont know much. Only thing I know is that he work there about 1900.

    Mary Gamble reply on June 6th, 2013:

    Thank you so much, going to try and dig out more information. My grandmother Rose Flyberg came to Fergus Falls between 1910-1915, one of her brothers was apatient there, think his name was Richard Flyberg, she made grandpa when she visited her brother. Trying to locate the time Richard was a patient there. Is there any records of patients some where? Which I could access?
    Thank you,
    Mary



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