Oregon Historical County Records Guide
Multnomah County Records Inventory
Insane Commitment Records
Series documents the examination, commitment, and release of mentally ill persons to and from the state's mental institutions. Series contains statements of complaint and commitment recorded by the county clerk or recorder and includes petitions to have an individual committed; physicians certification that an individual is insane; delivery warrants authorizing a county official (usually the sheriff) to take the individual to the state hospital; patient discharges; paroles or transfers; indexes; and correspondence. Information includes patient and family names, date committed, reason, physical description, and a brief family history. This series may also be known as the Insane Record, Mental Illness Record, and Mentally Ill and Feeble Minded Record. By 1968, in most counties, the commitment of the mentally ill or deficient had become the responsibility of the circuit court. Access to these records may be restricted for 75 years by Oregon Revised Statute 192.496.
Records indicate that the circuit court assumed sole responsibility for mental cases from the county court in 1919. Mental Commitment Case Files have been indexed on the Oregon Judicial Information Network (OJIN) since 1988.
Records at the Multnomah County Courthouse, Room 131, Circuit Court File Room:
[Journal County Court Law-includes some citizenship and insanity cases], vol. 1-8, 1859-1934 (4 reels of microfilm).
Records at the Multnomah County Courthouse, Basement, Room B-8:
Civil Commitment Files [Case-Mental], 2010-present (72 cu.ft.).
Records at the Multnomah County Courthouse, Basement, Evidence Room:
Civil Commitment Files [Case-Mental], 2004 (24 cu.ft.).
Records at the Towne Storage Building, Multnomah County Circuit Court Records Area:
Civil Commitments [Case Files-Mental], 2006 (25 cu.ft.);
Civil Commitments Mental Records, no. 1-29318, 1902-1960 (151 reels of microfilm);
Feeble-Minded [Index], ca.1919-ca.1944 (1 volume);
Feeble-Minded [Record], vol. 2, 1951-1964 (1 volume);
Index for Feeble-Minded, 1949-1979 (1 volume);
Index for Insane, 1949-1960 (1 volume);
Index for Mentally Ill [title varies], 1921-1986 (3 volumes);
Insane Index, vol. 1-4, n.d.-1948 (4 volumes);
Insane Misc. [Miscellaneous-Record], 1958 (1 volume);
Insane Record, vol. 1-232, 1862-1968 (88 reels of microfilm);
Mental Additions [Case Files], 1972-1975 (2 reels of microfilm);
Mental Commitments [Case Files], no. 29331-33669, 1961-1966 (24 inches of microfiche);
Mentally Deficient Case Files, no. 33675-47969, 1966-1979 (74 reels of microfilm);
Old Feeble-Minded [Index], 1917-1949 (1 volume);
Record of Feeble-Minded, vol. 1, 1917-1951 (1 volume);
Wards of State Institutions [with index], vol. 1, 1932-1947 (1 volume).
Records at the Towne Storage Building, Multnomah County Circuit Court Side Caged Records Area:
Civil Commitments [Case Files-Mental], 2002-2003 (50 cu.ft.); 2007-2009 (75 cu.ft.).
Records at the Walnut Park Building, Multnomah County Circuit Court Basement Records Area:
Civil Commitment Alpha Index [Cards-Mental], ca.1917-1985 (23 cu.ft.);
Civil Commitments [Mental Case Files-includes earlier cases from the county court], no. 1-53534, 1917-1983 (42 cu.ft.); no. 8401.95150-9501.98377, 1984-1995 (195 cu.ft.);
Civil Commitments [Mental Case Files], no. 99.60001-01.74149, 1999-2001 (67 cu.ft.).