20.7 cu. ft. (boxed) and 26 volumes
Patient records Confidential; T.C.A. 10-7-504.
These records were generated by the operation of the State Mental Hospitals from 1895 to 1912 and by the administration of the Department of Mental Health from 1953 through 1970. The nineteenth and early twentieth century volumes consist primarily of lists of inmates or patients housed in the state mental hospitals and in the Confederate Veterans' Home. The loose records are almost entirely administrative materials. Most interesting among these are the minutes of Board meetings and copies of proposed legislation affecting the state's role in the care and treatment of the mentally ill and mentally retarded.
The Tennessee Department of Mental Health was created by the General Assembly in 1953. The County Courts had been required to appoint guardians over the mentally ill in Tennessee since 1797. The Legislature provided for the establishment of Tennessee's first "Lunatic Hospital" in 1832, and the first such institution opened in 1840 in Middle Tennessee. By 1915, there were three such hospitals for the insane, and a Board of Control was created for their administration. In 1923, the hospitals were placed under the Department of Institutions. Governor Frank Clement's administration brought about many reforms in the state's care of the mentally handicapped and provided the initiative for the establishment of the Department of Mental Health.
Unpublished register available in the repository.