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State Hospitals: Historical Patient Records: St. Peter

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

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St. Peter State Hospital

The St. Peter State Hospital was Minnesota’s first institution for the care of the insane. The establishment of such an institution was authorized by the legislature in 1866. The St. Peter site was selected in July of 1866, and the hospital accepted its first patients in December of that year. In 1907 the legislature authorized establishment of an asylum for the dangerous insane, to be operated in conjunction with the St. Peter State Hospital; separate buildings for this institution (now known as the Minnesota Security Hospital) were completed in 1911. By 1911 St. Peter also had separate facilities or wards for the care of the tubercular insane. A course of study in psychiatric nursing was offered at St. Peter starting in the 1890s.

Patient records for the St. Peter State Hospital can be viewed in person at the library or ordered online from our  State Hospital Records Request

This Great Charity: Minnesota’s First Mental Hospital at St. Peter, Minn., 1866-1991, by Wm. D Erickson. 
St. Peter, MN: W.D. Erickson, c1991.
MNHS call number: RC445.M63 S237 1991

Patient Records

To order state hospital records for an individual visit our State Hospital Records Request.  

Case Books, 1864-1903

Personal and medical histories of each patient admitted to the hospital. Information recorded may include patient’s name and case file number, county of residence, date admitted, gender, age, nativity, marital status, occupation, education, religion, medical history and condition and date discharged. 
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Patient Registers and Indexes- St. Peter, 1864-1924
Part of the Minnesota Division of Public Institutions Series
Alphabetical index by patient name, and statistical record giving information about the patient's background, a diagnosis, and dates of hospital residence. This series does not include all patients in the date range. 
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Admission and Discharge Books, 1860s-1993
Records include series divided by female and male patients (1866-1904), entries kept by admission number (1866-1902) with readmissions and discharges/deaths (1918-1920), and registers kept by patient's county of residence (1860s-1968).
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Commitment Papers, 1941-1964
Records may include warrant of commitment, report of examination, absence agreement, judicial order, voluntary application to state hospital, transcript of judicial proceedings, state hospital proceedings report, and related probate court and state hospital papers, as the individual case required.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

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 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. 

State Security Hospital

To order state hospital records for an individual visit our State Hospital Records Request.  

Patient Registers and Indexes- Hospital for Dangerous Insane, 1911-1924

Part of the Minnesota Division of Public Institutions Series
Alphabetical index by patient name, and statistical record including name, date of admission and discharge, residence, physical appearance, nativity of parents, diagnosis, and remarks. 
MNHS call number: 102.D.2.8F

Minnesota Security Hospital Records, 1911-1987.
Records documenting the population and activities in the security hospital, including admission and transfer book (1911-1938), admissions index (1911-1963), daily movement of population record, dangerous insane (1911-1913), and scrapbook (1937-1987) kept by longtime Medical Director Dr. Charles G. Sheppard. The latter includes clippings, correspondence, and 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. 

Employee Records

Employee Card Files, ca.1885-1955.
Card files with information for employees employed prior to 1955, including name, job title, date began work at the institution and date left the institution.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (St. Peter State Hospital). 

Nurse Employment Record Books, 1880s-1950s. 
Two volumes, one for female nurses and one for male nurses, including names, date arrived, date left or resigned, and remarks regarding job performance. Although the data begins in the 1880s, the compilation was not begun until August 1906.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (St. Peter State Hospital). 

Minnesota Division of Public Institutions Personnel Service Records- St. Peter, 1931-1938.
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).

Psychiatric Nursing Program Records, 1938-1981. 
Documenting the hospital’s psychiatric nursing program, begun in 1937, the records include class photographs, lists, schedules and curriculum materials (1937-1974), conference papers and reports (1966-1981), and subject files (1936-1980). Subject files cover such topics as rehabilitation, nurses’ roles, behavior management, accreditation, charting, curriculum, Minnesota Nurses Association, and psychiatric and technician training. Also included are lists of students (1937-1974), lecture notes (1936), and Minnesota Board of Nursing reports on affiliation (1948-1964) and official visits (1948-1971).
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

Subject Files and Miscellaneous Records, 1855-2010.
Cemetery records (1896-1985), daily ward record (1891-1892), land records (1855-1925), nurse employment record books (1880s-1950s), doctors time book (1964-1975), outdated procedures manual sections (circa 1895-2010), and subject files. Topics covered in the latter include chaplaincy, Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals, medical staff, Minnesota Security Hospital, nursing policies, the 125th anniversary celebration, photographs of dormitory and building interiors, Recruitment Assessment Committee, St. Peter weather statistics, strategic planning, and visitors.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

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