Former Chicago State Hospital Patient

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Originally posted my Jessie Taylor on Sun Dec 14, 2008:

Hi,

I am a former patient of the infamous Chicago State Hospital (Dunning), Formerly located at 6500 W Irving Park Road (Now the Dunning Shopping Center). In 1969 at 13 years of age I ran away from a foster home, lived on the streets of Chicago for 7 months, and was arrested on 12/07/1969, and placed in the Audie Home ( a juvenile correctional facility) not knowing what to do with me the juvenile court judge ordered me to be committed to the Chicago State Hospital, on 01/27/1970 at 14 years of age I was admitted to the MEN'S Recieving Ward at Chicago State, 4 months later I was transferred to an adolescent unit CW 10 was for boy's and CW 11 was for girls, the hospital itself was a huge place about 30 buildings, it was a small town, it had a school, a church, a store, there was even a medical hospital on the grounds, I have a lot of memories both good and bad, I escaped from the hospital when I was 16, so I was there for about 2 years.
_________________
Jessie Taylor
Residential Manager
Liberty Manor For Veterans, Inc.
http://www.thomas-industriesinc.com/ - Author of Harrisburg State Hospital (Images of America). Owner of City on the Hill & Danville State Hospital websites.

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how can i research a former patient
What happened to Irene Kelly, listed as a patient there in 1930.

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I'm not quite sure what you mean? Is Irene Kelly a relative of yours? Is she some one of importance who was placed in CSH?

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If your a relative you can request records, although I should warn you it usually isn't easy to do. I've been told most of the old Dunning records disappeared years ago.

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Irene Kelly
I remember Irene as I was a former patient of Dunning. Irene was lobotomize. Unfortunately it didn't improve her malady, so after extreme electro-shock treatments (which didn't take), her corpse was thrown in with the rest of the nuts in Potters Field. To bad, so sad, ha, ha.

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A lot of the records for the sites and for former patients are actually held by the office of the secretary of state. Unless you are family you may have a hard time finding her. If you are looking for the cemetery associated with Dunning, it is still located in dunning, though it was listed as an endangered historic place in 2005 so I don't know if anything was done to it. You might try www.graveyards.com. Dunning is currently named the Chicago-Read Medical Center or Chicago-Read Mental Health Center. You may also find more information here http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=2153439 as it gives some info on the cemetery park that was created after "Dunning" closed. My guess is based on the date, you'll not find her final resting place here, but in Oak Forrest Cemetery as that was were many indigent patients were buried from 1911-1970. Best of Luck.
Edited On 9:18:34 PM - Mon, May 23rd 2011 by Evilavatar

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Quote:Evilavatar Mon 23rd 4:17 pm
A lot of the records for the sites and for former patients are actually held by the office of the secretary of state. Unless you are family you may have a hard time finding her. If you are looking for the cemetery associated with Dunning, it is still located in dunning, though it was listed as an endangered historic place in 2005 so I don't know if anything was done to it. You might try www.graveyards.com. Dunning is currently named the Chicago-Read Medical Center or Chicago-Read Mental Health Center. You may also find more information here http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=2153439 as it gives some info on the cemetery park that was created after "Dunning" closed. My guess is based on the date, you'll not find her final resting place here, but in Oak Forrest Cemetery as that was were many indigent patients were buried from 1911-1970. Best of Luck.


The Secretary of State's office does not have any of the records for Chicago State, they're in the state archives. Well, what little is left anyway. This old news article has some pretty good information.

http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/grave-mistake/Content?oid=874451

It's been thought that none of the mental patients were buried at Oak Forrest, that's based on death certificates.

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Quote:Squad546 Wed 25th 3:43 am
Quote:Evilavatar Mon 23rd 4:17 pm
A lot of the records for the sites and for former patients are actually held by the office of the secretary of state. Unless you are family you may have a hard time finding her. If you are looking for the cemetery associated with Dunning, it is still located in dunning, though it was listed as an endangered historic place in 2005 so I don't know if anything was done to it. You might try www.graveyards.com. Dunning is currently named the Chicago-Read Medical Center or Chicago-Read Mental Health Center. You may also find more information here http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=2153439 as it gives some info on the cemetery park that was created after "Dunning" closed. My guess is based on the date, you'll not find her final resting place here, but in Oak Forrest Cemetery as that was were many indigent patients were buried from 1911-1970. Best of Luck.


The Secretary of State's office does not have any of the records for Chicago State, they're in the state archives. Well, what little is left anyway. This old news article has some pretty good information.

http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/grave-mistake/Content?oid=874451

It's been thought that none of the mental patients were buried at Oak Forrest, that's based on death certificates.



The more I dug the more I got the same answer, but I know that there are very few bodies left in the section that was the original Dunning cemetery. I have a friend at Cook County that has some weight so I'll see if he can find out where they might have been moved. I am not sure there are very good records but I was told there is an indigent section at Oak Forrest that is not marked with grave markers that may have some of the folks from Dunning. I'll keep digging if people would like though.

You might also try contacting Wolff Landscape Architecture Inc., they built the Dunning Memorial Park and might be able to put you in contact with someone who knows more about where bodies might have been moved, but I fear many were moved prior to the memorial park opening and there may be no record of where they ended up.

There are also rumors and stories over the years of body snatchings associated with deceased Dunning patients. It was not common practice, but in some cases bodies were given over to medical school or other facilities for use as teaching cadavers. In other cases the bodies were stolen or illegally sold for the same use. Most of this happened in the late 1800 and early 1900's but due to the poor accounting for patient bodies it is hard to say exactly what happened to everyone.

You may also find what you are looking for by contacting David Keene through the owner of this site [1]. Mr. Keene was brought in to assist with assessing the bodies found during some of the development around the site.
Edited On 7:32:38 PM - Wed, May 25th 2011 by Evilavatar

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There was a fire at city hall in the mid 1950s that supposedly destroyed many old records from when it was still run by the city. Probably didn't ruin any records but makes a good excuse!

It was more common then people think for mental patients' bodies to be used for research through the 1960s. Most of the time there was no one to claim a body, so if a local med school had a need for cadavers, a state hospital would hand them over. They found more then a few set of remains at ESH with a complete set of skeletal remains missing the skull.

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I know that at Weston, which they mentioned on the tour, used to let unclaimed bodies go to research. There is locally famous case where a doctor did a lot of research on mummification and actually ended procurring two bodies from Weston that he mummified. They are still on display at a museum in Phillipi WV, although there is a movement to have them buried (see the last link below).

Read more here:
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2930
http://www.virginiawind.com/virginia_travel/philippi.asp
http://www.wvpubcast.org/newsarticle.aspx?id=3494

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I asked a couple people that used to work at Chicago State. The records were all moved to one cottage in the early 1970s when the downsizing began. Apparently everyone left and the records stayed behind, only a small amount be be salvaged from the years of water damage. Here's what one wrote;

I had a very good contact within Read who told me most all records on site were heaped in a vacant Cottage Ward building. The roof had leaked and the records were ruined and destroyed. He did get me a few dozen pages of burial records that were stashed in someone's desk drawer. Also I found a couple dozen pages of Dunning burials at the "daughter" Cook County facility in Oak Forest, a new facility opened when the County sold Dunning to the State in 1912. These burials were at the front of a ledger book recording the new cemetery, That Cook County Cemetery at Oak Forest which operated roughly 1912-1958.

As soon as I find out more I'll pass it along.

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Quote:Squad546 Wed 1st 4:56 am
I asked a couple people that used to work at Chicago State. The records were all moved to one cottage in the early 1970s when the downsizing began. Apparently everyone left and the records stayed behind, only a small amount be be salvaged from the years of water damage. Here's what one wrote;

I had a very good contact within Read who told me most all records on site were heaped in a vacant Cottage Ward building. The roof had leaked and the records were ruined and destroyed. He did get me a few dozen pages of burial records that were stashed in someone's desk drawer. Also I found a couple dozen pages of Dunning burials at the "daughter" Cook County facility in Oak Forest, a new facility opened when the County sold Dunning to the State in 1912. These burials were at the front of a ledger book recording the new cemetery, That Cook County Cemetery at Oak Forest which operated roughly 1912-1958.

As soon as I find out more I'll pass it along.



Yeah I have a friend that works medical records at Cook County (Stroger) Hospital that I usually turn to for help tracking down records in Chicago, but he hasn't come up with much, just the general paperwork sating that people were buried at such and such during these years. I'll ask him if he can dig some more though.

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I need a record for a patient 1936 -- please help

heritage_hunting@yahoo.com

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For anyone looking for info on a previous patient, you will not get anywhere without proper approval. Being a mental health facility, it is bound by both HIPAA laws and the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act. The only way info is being released is by the consent of the patient, approval of a legal guardian/representative or by court order. I have tried researching an ancestor of mine, and in doing so, have spoken with the Director of the Illinois Department of Human Services, and I have corresponded with Read Mental Health Center. I received the same response from both.

Squad was right (at least with his last post), the records are held on site at Read. I was told this by the Illinois DHS. In my case, I knew by obtaining the death certificate first, that she was buried next to her husband in the family plot - not at the asylum. My suggestion to anyone looking for info, would be to obtain the death certificate first, which have been required by law in Illinois since 1916 I believe. If they died at Chicago State, it would say so, and list where they were buried.
Edited On 9:57:58 AM - Sun, Dec 18th 2011 by Soldat251

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medical records
hi
in searching i came to this site, and was hoping the person you are talking about at cook county may be able to help me. i was born in 1950 at cook county hospital and then was transfered to a tuberculosis sanitarium, there is alot more to the story and would like to know if are interested in helping me, please contact me at smileyjoann@hotmail.com
thank you
joann smiley


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