Camarillo State Hospital Documents and Oral Histories


At the turn of the century, Joseph P. Lewis, known for establishing lima beans and walnuts in California, entered into a business partnership with Adolfo Camarillo. In 1932, 1648 acres of that agricultural land were purchased by the State of California and a year later, 10 patients and 3 employees came to Camarillo State Hospital to be housed in the former Lewis ranch house. The first portion of the male custodian unit was ready for the occupation of 900 patients in the summer of 1936 and a formal dedication of the hospital was held in October of that year. The hospital population reached its peak in 1955, with over 7,000 patients. This collection contains documents and oral histories related to the opening, operation, and closing of Camarillo State Hospital. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE HOSPITAL can be found (1) at University Archives, (2) through the One Search feature on the main library page, (3) using the database Los Angeles Times Proquest on the Library's website, and (4) reviewing the Jane Tolmach Collection. Notation: Transcription of recordings is on-going and will be posted upon completion. PLEASE NOTE THAT unfortunately, we do not have patient records here at the university. They were either forwarded on with the patient, if they transferred to another facility or went to the Department of Developmental Services in Sacramento, which oversaw the hospital, when it closed. You might be able to obtain them by contacting DDS, especially if you are a close relative. That web address is: https://www.dds.ca.gov/general/contact-us/ The contact information is: Department of Developmental Services, Office of Legal Affairs, 1600 9th Street, Room 240 (MS 2-14), Sacramento, CA 95814, Telephone: (916) 654-3405.

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