Over 100 digitized pages of a Milledgeville State Hospital Alumna Association Record Book have been added to the Digital Library of Georgia through a partnership between the Twin Lakes Regional Library System and Georgia HomePLACE. Spanning 1910-1957, the journal records the graduating classes of the Milledgeville State Hospital Nursing School over the course of its 37-year existence and is a valuable source of information about the mental health students trained by the program.
The Nursing School of the controversial Milledgeville State Hospital, which was also variously known as the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum; the Georgia State Sanitarium; and the Central State Hospital; began as a two-year training program, graduating 286 certified nurses. Following the closure of the Nursing School in 1947, the hospital became the site of a three-month psychiatric nursing rotation for students both in and out of state. At the time of operation, Milledgeville State Hospital was the only mental health facility in the state and drew nurses and patients from across Georgia, though allegations of neglect and mistreatment, as well as a national trend toward deinstitutionalization of patients, eventually led to the hospital’s closure in 2010.
“Twin Lakes Library is committed to preserving and sharing elements of our community's history, especially ones that offer new insights into the complicated story of Central State Hospital,” says Twin Lakes Library System Director Stephen Houser. “We hope that community members, scholars, and researchers will find great benefit from this fascinating record."
Sept. 8 discussion to explore history of Nursing at Central State Hospital
Little research has been completed about psychiatric nursing students during this time. To shed further light on the program’s history, the Mary Vinson Memorial Library will host a panel discussion titled “Nursing at Central State,” on Sept. 8, at 11 a.m. in the Local History Room.
The panel, which will include two retired Central State Hospital nurses and Gail Godwin, Assistant Professor of Nursing at Georgia College and co-author of an oral history study on psychiatric clinical experiences, will discuss the history of nursing and how Central State Hospital changed the medical field in Georgia.
Georgia HomePLACE encourages public libraries and related institutions to participate in the Digital Library of Georgia. HomePLACE offers a highly collaborative model for digitizing primary source collections related to local history and genealogy. HomePLACE is supported with federal Library Services and Technology Act funds administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Georgia Public Library Service, a unit of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.
Based at the University of Georgia Libraries, the Digital Library of Georgia is a GALILEO initiative that collaborates with Georgia's libraries, archives, museums and other institutions of education and culture to provide digital access to key information resources on Georgia history, culture and life. DLG also serves as Georgia’s service hub for the Digital Public Library of America and as the home of the Georgia Newspaper Project, the state’s historic newspaper microfilming project.