State Hospital Records Request
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For this research service, Library Staff will search for one patient in one institution's records.
State Hospital Records Requests may take up to 60 business days to complete.
Turnaround: Research is usually completed and sent within 60 business days.
About this Research Service:
- Admission and discharge registers
- Commitment papers
- Statistical records
- Patient summary cards
If Library Staff find a photographic image in the records, they will photocopy it (if possible) and include directions for separately ordering a photographic-quality print or scan of the image.
Important note: The majority of patient records that are found in the collections of the state hospitals are not the “medical case files” of the patient. For most institutions, the records that have been transferred to the Minnesota Historical Society are the admission/discharge registers that include general information regarding each patient, such as name, residence, date of admission/discharge, date of death (if the death occurred at the state hospital), and diagnosis upon admission to the state hospital. Medical case files are destroyed pursuant to an approved records retention schedule for state hospital patient records.
The State Archives of the Minnesota Historical Society preserves records from many of the state hospitals, but provides research services for only the records of the following facilities:
Fergus Falls State Hospital (opened 1890)
Gillette State Hospital (opened 1897)
Hastings State Hospital (opened 1900)
Willmar State Hospital (opened 1912)
Buena Vista, Wabasha County (opened 1917)
There is a Primary Date Range listed with each hospital's name in the drop-down options. This represents the years for which we have at least an individual patient record similar to a statistical record listing name, area of residence, nativity, diagnosis, and remarks. Most have more information or additional patient records in all or part of this date range. We do not suggest requesting records from outside of a hospital's stated range, but you may do so if you wish. However, out-of-range requests may result in very little or no information on a patient and you will be charged full-price for the research service.
Restrictions on access: Patient records contain private information about individuals and access to many of them is restricted.
Patient records are generally restricted for 75 years from the date of the last entry in the record or file. If you know or suspect that the records you are requesting will be restricted under this guideline, you should apply for permission to access the records.
If additional permission/paperwork is likely to be required for your specific order, you will have the opportunity to upload the application form and supporting documents during the ordering process. If you prefer, you may also email, mail, or fax your form and documents to us. Please include your order information with your paperwork, so that it can be connected to your order after it arrives.
Mail: MNHS Library, attn: State Hospital Record Request, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102
- Restricted Records FAQ Page
- State Institutions Research Guide: State Hospital and Tuberculosis Hospital pages