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Elgin Mental Health Center - RG 256 | Illinois State Archives

Name: Elgin Mental Health Center - RG 256
Variant Name: Elgin State Hospital; Northern Illinois Hospital and Asylum for the Insane


Historical Note:

In 1869 the General Assembly appropriated funds for the location and establishment of the Northern Illinois Hospital and Asylum for the Insane. Nine commissioners were appointed by the Governor to choose a suitable site on which to locate the institution. After selection of a site in Elgin a board of three trustees, appointed by the Governor, was empowered to supervise planning and construction, choose a superintendent, and operate the institution, subject to inspection by the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities (L. 1869, p. 24).

The hospital opened on April 3, 1872 and received some of its first patients from the hospital for the insane at Jacksonville. In 1906 the hospital opened a training school for nurses. The board of trustees and the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities were abolished in 1909 when all state charitable institutions came under the control of the newly created Board of Administration. As part of this reorganization the institution became the Elgin State Hospital (L. 1909, p. 102).

From 1917 to 1961 the Department of Public Welfare administered Elgin State Hospital. In 1956, while under the Department of Public Welfare, Elgin State Hospital began to participate in a departmental affiliation program in psychiatric nursing. The Psychiatric Nursing Affiliation Program provided instruction in psychiatric nursing to students from general hospital nursing schools.

The hospital remained part of the Department of Public Welfare until the creation of the Department of Mental Health in 1961 (L. 1961, p. 2666). Elgin State Hospital became Elgin Mental Health Center in 1975 (P.A. 79-581, p. 1895).

Access to some of these records is restricted according to the provisions of the Mental Health Code and the State Records Act of 1957 as amended.






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