Records at Evansville State Hospital
When Evansville State Hospital, opened in 1890 it was first named Southern Indiana Hospital for the Insane, and also known as “Woodmere”, and served counties in southwestern Indiana. A fire in 1943 that closed the hospital and all the medical records were destroyed. The hospital re-opened in 1945.
For information on patients admitted before the fire, the Indiana State Archives maintains an index with limited patient information. Contact our Health Information Services Department at 812-469-6800 ext. 4936 or Michele.Whitaker@fssa.in.gov for information on now deceased patients admitted after 1945.
Records from Other State Psychiatric Hospitals
Accessing mental health records from Indiana State Hospitals - 300,000 patients were admitted to Indiana’s state mental hospitals and developmental centers between the years of 1848 and June 2008.
At one time there were 13 state facilities in operation, but currently there are six remaining. Many record collections from the closed hospitals and institutions were kept and have been sent to Indiana State Archives for permanent storage.
The medical records contain information such as commitment papers, family histories, psychiatric and psychological evaluations, death and burial records and photographs. Some records are limited to an index.
Researchers should familiarize themselves with the different state facilities and the geographical areas they served.
Index to Patients Discharged from State Hospitals from 1890-1986
This index was created by the Board of State Charities which was established in 1889. This board collected information from all areas of Public Welfare in Indiana, to include persons in state hospitals and correctional facilities.
The index cards contain dates of admission and discharge, hospital name, patient hospital number, diagnosis, county of residence, and date and place of birth. Some contain names of parents and siblings. This index is usually the only source for information on patients admitted to Evansville State Hospital before 1943. Access to this index which has been microfilmed is through staff at the Indiana State Archives due to confidentiality reasons.
For more information you may call the Indiana Archives and Records Administration at 317-591-5326 or visit their website by clicking here.