Faculty Advisor

Kimberly Jensen, Todd Shaffer

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


This thesis examines the experiences of female patients in mental health institutions in the early twentieth century using two patient medical files from the Oregon State Hospital in the 1920s as a case study. The two patient case files are examined for their content regarding the treatments given to patients in order to determine the rationale behind the treatments. This rationale would often cross the line between treatment and discipline. The treatments were chosen in reaction to the behaviors of the patients and were an attempt to control their bodies. The treatments examined are put into context with a comparison to the greater psychiatric medical field as presented by secondary scholarship. This scholarship includes the works of both medical historians such as Joel Braslow and social historians including John D’Emilio and Estelle Freedman. Through the examination of the two case files and secondary scholarship the therapeutic rationale of physicians is inspected. This thesis takes the narrative of two female patients from the Oregon State Hospital and orients them in the medical field of the period. An evolution of psychiatric treatment occurred from the 1890s through the 1950s and by analyzing the field in the 1920s this thesis presents a look at one point within this change.

Document Type


Type (DCMI Terms)




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