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State Hospitals: Historical Patient Records: Cambridge

Historical patient, employee, and student records from Minnesota State Hospitals

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Cambridge State Hospital

The Cambridge State Hospital opened in 1925 as the Colony for Epileptics. Six years earlier the legislature had authorized the State Board of Control to choose two sections of state land for the site of an epileptic colony. Land was purchased near the town of Cambridge in Isanti County, and construction was begun. The first cottage opened on June 1, 1925.

Previously, facilities for epileptics had existed at the Minnesota School for the Feeble Minded and Colony for Epileptics at Faribault. The first patients at Cambridge were those transferred from Faribault. The colony at Cambridge was operated as part of the Faribault institution until August 1927, when the main building opened at Cambridge. Thereafter the epileptic colony at Faribault was closed, and the Cambridge colony was operated independently. 

The colony was operated under the administration of a superintendent, assistant superintendent (1939 on), and steward. A full-time physician joined the staff in 1927, and a principal was hired in 1941 to administer the colony’s education program. In 1965 the superintendent’s position was abolished and superseded by a medical director and administrator.

Currently the hospital serves a nine-county area. Its primary focus of treatment has shifted to mentally disabled persons, but it continues to admit epileptics, as well as emotionally disturbed, socially maladjusted, and physically disabled individuals.

The institution has been operated under various names. Established as the Colony for Epileptics, its name was changed to the Cambridge State School and Hospital in 1949 and to Cambridge State Hospital in 1967. In 1985 the name was changed to Cambridge Regional Human Services Center.

Patient Records

Hospital Register, 1931-1937.
Information includes patient name and number, diagnosis, and admission and discharge dates.
MNHS call number: 127.B.16.14F

Cemetery Records, 1926-1977
Record of cemetery grave numbers, listing patient’s name and birth and death dates (1926-1977), and cemetery plat (September 1933).
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Cambridge State Hospital.)

Aggregated Patient Cards, 1920s-1990s
Part of the Department of Human Services Administrative Records
Aggregated patient index cards from various state hospitals; information includes name, Department of Public Welfare number, birth date, birth place, county of commitment, county of residence, occupation, hospital, hospital case number, social security number, admittance history. Patients may have multiple cards.
MNHS call numberDigital Finding Aid

Note: These records include private information about individuals. Records with private information are closed for 75 years from date of last entry in the record. Researchers must apply for permission to use these records.  Click here for more information on accessing restricted records. 

Employee Records

Minnesota Division of Public Institutions Personnel Service Records - Cambridge, 1934-1937.
Cards listing employee name, address, position, salary, brief statement of duties, data on previous state service, education, training, and personal and family information.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Social Security Department: Public Institutions Division).

Staff Photographs, 1932-1984
The photographs include aerial views of the campus; staff groups (with employee name and position identified), staff recognition ceremonies, and employee band; resident activities, including basketball, softball, music class, handicraft class, and a beauty contest; and the main building and power plant, farm buildings, warehouse and paint shop, cottage living quarters, dining rooms, kitchens, library, and laundry. Residents' identities have been concealed in all photographs.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Note: These records include private information about individuals. Records with private information are closed for 75 years from date of last entry in the record. Researchers must apply for permission to use these records.  Click here for more information on accessing restricted records. 

Other Records

School Records, 1928-1942, 1944-1951.
Mainly annual schedules of classes and pupil listings. Also scattered holiday presentations programs, procedural notices for teachers, correspondence, school equipment inventories, and school grade reports.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Cambridge State Hospital). 

Note: These records include private information about individuals. Records with private information are closed for 75 years from date of last entry in the record. Researchers must apply for permission to use these records.  Click here for more information on accessing restricted records. 

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