Kankakee State Hospital Collection


Kankakee State Hospital Collection


Mental health services
Mental health
Medical care
Psychiatric hospitals
Psychiatric patients


The Kankakee State Hospital originally opened in 1879 as the Illinois Eastern Hospital for the Insane under the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities. In 1886 the hopital began serving as a training school for nurses. The institute became the Kankakee State Hospital in 1910 after the abolishment of the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities. The hospital operated under the Department of Public Welfare beginning in 1917 until the Department of Mental Health's establishment in 1961. In 1974, the hospital became a treatment center for developmentally disabled patients and all other patients were transferred to other hospitals. At that time the hospital was renamed the Samuel H. Shapiro Developmental Center in honor of the Illinois governor and former Kankakee resident.

Photographs in this collection include images of the Kankakee State Hospital patients, activities, and buildings.

Collection Items

Occupational Therapy
Patients of the Kankakee State Hospital relax on front lawn near gazebo and Hampton Hall. On verso: "Sheep used to keep grass short."

Industrial Therapy
Patients of the Kankakee State Hospital work in the fields as a part of their therapy.

Baseball Club
Members of the Kankakee State Hospital's baseball club pose for a team photo.

Christmas Decorations
A man sits in a room at the Kankakee State Hospital decorated for Christmas while a nurse stands on the opposite side.

Several men sit on long benches in a ward of the Kankakee State Hospital.

Sewing Room
Several women work on clothing items in the Kankakee State Hospital sewing room. This photograph was taken just after electricity was installed in the psychiatric hospital.

A library patron asks the librarian a question while several other patrons read at tables in the Kankakee State Hospital library.

Old Fire House
Horse-drawn fire equipment sits inside the old firehouse.

Men sit on or lie in their beds in a croded Kankakee State Hospital dorm.

Paring Room
Several men and women work in the Kankakee State Hospital's cannery.

Patients of the psychiatric hospital enjoy time at the zoo.

Gym Class
Patients of the Kankakee State Hospital take part in a gym class on the lawn.
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