New Orleans Insane Asylum Patient Records (1882-84)


These are the records of the New Orleans City Insane Asylum from the late 1800s as provided by the New Orleans Public Library. Every single entry is a short story waiting to be written. This is fascinating reading. The person writing them even passes moral judgment on them in a way that seems odd now, but is very revealing. Even though it was probably written by multiple people, I found myself imagining a single overworked nurse keeping the records.

Here is one example:

Mary Jane, female, colored, about 35 years of age, native of N.O. La., widow, recommended her commitment to the State Insane Asylum, at Jackson, La on November 7th, 1882, finding her suffering from Hallucinations.
This woman is noisy & turbulent. She is a slave to the belief that she has been injured and that her children have been killed. Once before she was arrested & brought to the Parish Prison for the charge of Insanity. Being in doubt, I gave her the benefit of the doubt & released her not insane, but to-day there can be no doubt.

Read them all by clicking here

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