vintage, nostalgia and memories


June 21, 2017

Haunting Photos Show the Bleak Conditions Faced by Desperate Patients at an American Mental Hospital in the 1940s

The harrowing photographs show the rundown asylum where patients were badly treated and often left for days on end without any attention. These images show how patients were badly treated and left abandoned inside the Cleveland State Hospital, Ohio in 1946.


The pictures were taken by photographers Jerry Cooke and Mary Delaney Cooke, who were sent to capture the conditions inside the facility for part of an article that appeared in LIFE magazine. The article was used as an exposé to shed light on the shocking conditions inside the institution and to campaign for better facilities.

Forgotten patients were left to sit around in corridors at the US hospital.

A female patient suffering from withdrawal buries her head in her hands.

A barefoot patient breaks away from the group in one of the communal rooms.

Two men stare out of the windows in a stark hospital ward.

A patient takes part in a finger painting activity.

A man constrained in a straight jacket stands alone.

A female patient is left on a bench after being fitted in a straight jacket.

Nurses hold down a patient struggling to get out of bed.

A man in a wheelchair takes a listless look through a window at the outside world.

Patients sit around to eat inside the Cleveland State Hospital in 1946.

Men peer from barred windows to the outside world from inside the asylum.

The imposing building of the Cleveland State Hospital in Ohio in 1946.

(Photos: Getty Images, via The Sun)

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