Browse Primary Sources
"A modest, comely well-dressed girl of nineteen who gave her name as Nellie Brown, was committed by Justice Duffy at Essex Market yesterday for examination as to her sanity. The circumstances surrounding her were such as to indicate that possibly she might be the heroine of an interesting story . . . ."
New York World 1887-10-09
"Nelly Marina, who also calls herself Nelly Brown, the pretty crazy girl who was sent from Bellevue to Blackwell's Island a week ago yesterday, and about whom there is believed to be a romance, has not yet been claimed. Her case is diagnosed as melancholia, and Dr. Ingram considers it a very hopeful case."
New York Sun 1887-10-05
"The doctors are not certain that she is insane. She says continually that men are going to kill her, and that she would kill herself if she only knew the making of the poison she wants to take."
New York Sun 1887-09-26
"On my first arrival in New York the editor of the Sun said to me in an interview, "There is nothing so valuable as a reporter who gives facts; who, when told that two and two make four, puts it four instead of three or five." I have always been particular in stating only facts in all my work, but never did I confine myself so closely to this rule as in my story of "Behind Asylum Bars." As the Sun undertook to prove that I really passed ten days as an insane girl on Blackwell's Island, I would like to correct the many mistakes and misstatements which I found throughout the six columns recently published about me in that journal . . . "
The New York World 1887-10-17
"Around 3 a.m., hair uncombed, face unshaven, wearing a few layers of shabby jackets and shirts, I get off the subway outside Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn. I walk into the lobby and tell the hospital police that I'm looking for psychiatric help. An officer is amused, thinking I was brought to the hospital by the NYPD. 'They just dropped you off, huh?' she says. She escorts me to the emergency room. . . ."
City Limits 1998-06-01
Godey's Lady's Book 1889-01-01
"Nashvillians who plan to send an elderlly relative to one of this city's 26 nursing homes should be aware that they may be committing their loved ones to a crowded, unsanitary, ignored existence. " I know. I as a patient in three of them last month. "I have just finished a six weeks survey of privately owned Metro nursing homes for the elderly and for three weeks I was a patient. "What I saw shocked me."
The Nashville Tennessean 1968-03-31
The state commissioner of mental health announced yesterday he has appointed a special committee of professionals and lay citizens to investigate the Farmer complex at Central State Psychiatric Hospital. The Farmer complex includes the building where Tennessean reporter Frank Sutherland stayed for 31 days posing as a patient.
The Nashville Tennessean 1974-01-22
VI-Von Solbrig Task Force: "'A nice place to go,' doctor tells drunks" - William Crawford - Chicago Tribune
"One of Northeast Community Hospital's most frequent patients is Michael Wadley, a resident of the Northmere Hotel, 4943 N. Kenmore Av., who was admitted to the hospital six times between October and May, according to state public aid records. . ."
The Chicago Tribune 1975-09-09
"From all over the city, private ambulance companies take public aid recipients, easily able to use other transportation on expensive rides to Northeast, a violation of public aid regulations. In some cases, ambulances carrying "emergency" cases bypass other hospitals to go to Northeast, another public aid violation. . ."
The Chicago Tribune 1975-09-09
". . .I was a Task Force reporter, hired as a janitor at the von Solbrig Memorial Hospital, 6500 S. Polaski Rd. I had been employed to scrub and mop and throw out garbage, not to assist nurses and doctors in the sterile surgical area. . ."
The Chicago Tribune 1975-09-07
I-Von Solbrig Task Force: "Filth and neglect bared at von Solbrig Hospital" - Unsigned - Chicago Tribune
"It is a critical period for a 6-year-old girl lying in an anesthetized sleep on the operating table in von Solbrig Memorial Hospital. Only minutes ago she had undergone two operations, a tonsillectomy and surgical repair of a hernia. But the only other person in the operating room is a $2-an-hour janitor, in his unsanitary working clothes, who has just put down his mop in the corridor outside and rushed in to watch over the young patient at the request of a nurse. . ."
The Chicago Tribune 1975-09-07
On Michigan Av., women entrust their bodies to doctors who may be mere mechanics on the abortion assembly line. They may be moonlighting residents, general practitioners with little or no training in women's medicine, or even unlicensed physicians. While slick clinic brochures promise only board-certified obstetrician-gynecologists, few have earned that accreditation.
Chicago Sun Times 1978-11-14
Five months ago, the Sun-Times and the Better Government Assn. began the first in-depth investigation of Chicago's thriving abortion business since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion on Jan. 22, 1973. We found: - Dozens of abortion procedures performed on women who were not pregnant and others illegally performed on women more than 12 weeks pregnant.
Chicago Sun Times 1978-11-12
"The water used for cooking and drinking at the madhouse is obtained from two deep wells. It is good water, at the start, when it is discharged from the wells. But after that it is subject to contamination from a number of sources. The well water is collected in an open concrete reservoir of two million gallons capacity at the well site. This reservoir, looking like an ideal swimming pool, is close to the Kankakee river. A wire fence surrounds the pool to exclude inquisitive inmates. It fails in its purpose. It offers no protection against animals dust or dirt."
Chicago Daily Times 1935-07-25
Official promises of ward-by-ward investigation of Kings County Hospital psychiatric division and other city mental institutions bring hope not only to former patients and their loved ones but to families now torn by mental illness. Because many of these people face the possibility of having to rely on city institutions to help their families, they look to the committee headed by Dr. Lawrence C. Kolb, director of the New York Psychiatric Institute, to find ways of bettering some of the shocking conditions which now exist. The worst of these at Kings County Hospital is the failure to segregate patients by age or illness.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1961-03-24
My stay in the locked wards was the direct result of scores of letters this newspaper received from former patients of Kings County. One of those detailed the experiences of a sane woman, who was admitted to "G" Building, suffering from depression brought on by menopause. For 12 days she lived in the center of the vortex: She saw senile women, tied in wheelchairs, who helplessly fouled their gowns all day long. She saw little girls - the youngest 9 - living among sex exhibitionists, drunks, dope addicts and desperately disturbed women of all sorts.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1961-03-23
Then I was summoned to see my psychiatrist. Our session came about at my request because I wanted to know what the hospital was planning to do with me. This interview just lasted a few moments, in contrast to the first meeting, which was 20 minutes long. The doctor said that three courses of action were open: I might be retained at the hospital for further observation; I might be committed to a state mental hospital; or I might be released. He added that his decision would have to be backed up by the judgement of his immediate superior, whom I might see very soon.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1961-03-22
I had worked my way from Ward 31 to Ward 33 but I hadn't known what to expect: Ward 33 smelled like the hold of a troop ship. This is the odor of too many unwashed men sleeping too close together. Five beds had been set up in the day room, where men slept under the unrelenting glare of overhead lights all night long. Near the nurses' station lay a man who was tied to his bed by the sleeves of his straitjacket. He was straining against his bonds and staring straight ahead with unseeing eyes.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1961-03-21
Two men used to tell me at length about the people they thought they had killed. When you listen to this sort of talk all day long, it is like listening to a gall bladder patient tell you about his operation. Boredom became almost insufferable. The temptation, to over-eat was great, because the food, although simple, was excellent. Several men helped out in the ward's little kitchen for whatever extra food they could get.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1961-03-20
Not all days have 24 hours. To the patients at Kings County a "day" is sometimes only 50 minutes long. A visiting day at the psychiatric division of Kings County Hospital is officially 90 minutes long. But in practice, it is often shorter than that. The periods that come at 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1961-03-18
Before I could find out what happened, I was called into the psychiatrist's office. The doctor questioned me gently and with great patience and skill.I allowed him to drag from me a story I had prepared very carefully. I told him in considerable detail that emotional difficulties had been aggravated by heavy drinking and had created severe problems. After the session, the doctor said he was going to admit me to the hospital "for a couple of days," and I was taken into a small dressing room while the doctor talked to my wife.
New York World-Telegram and Sun 1961-03-16