TABLE OF CONTENTS
RG 042, Commission on the Prevention and Care of Sickness
Inventory of Records
Finding aid prepared by Connecticut State Library staff.
Copyright © 2007 by the Connecticut State Library
In 1939 the General Assembly enacted House Bill 1650 that established a five member commission appointed by the Governor to study the problems associated with physical and mental diseases in Connecticut and the delivery of services made by the State. It was originally known as the Commission on the Treatment and Care of People Afflicted with Physical or Mental Disabilities and sometimes known as the Barker Commission. 1650 directed it to report to the governor on or before January 1, 1941. Lawmakers granted the power to issue subpoenas and to examine any records of a state institution under study. The commission's mission was to propose legislation and recommend what expenditures should be made by State agencies.
Connecticut's health services at the time were in a process of change, and hence the focus of much controversy. Overlap and inefficiency of state agencies and institutions was criticized, and in some cases (Norwich State Hospital, Mystic Oral School) serious charges were made.
Due to demographic and economic changes in the state, health needs were shifting. The population was increasingly elderly and urban. At the same time, peoples' expectations as to the extent and nature of state services were changing. There was an increase in demand, and the General Assembly wanted to know why. The Commission was to examine this increase in demand, the building program, coordination and cooperation between agencies, laws concerning the commitment of mental patients, the problems of alcoholics (which were only beginning to be considered), and many other topics. They were also to examine the State's role in disease prevention through public school health education, with particular emphasis on hygiene and nutrition, and whether the schools should offer immunization, dental service, and physical examination programs. There was also a need to train more health personnel and to strengthen the State Department of Public Health.
Thus the task this Commission took in hand was one with broad implications, necessitating detailed and comprehensive study, and closely affecting the lives of Connecticut's citizens.
Membership fluctuated but during the life of the commission included the following: Honorable Kenneth Wynne, Judge of the Superior Court, New Haven; Wilmer A. Allen, M.D. Director, Hartford Hospital, Hartford; Creighton Barker, M.D., Executive Secretary, Connecticut State Medical Society, New Haven; William H. Coon, M.D., Member of the General Assembly, Easton; John A. Markham, Attorney, Hartford; Hon. Joseph B. Downes, State Senator, Norwich; Ira V. Hiscock, Sc. D., Professor of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven; and Lucius F. Robinson, Attorney, Hartford.
The Commission proceeded in two stages. At the request of Governor Raymond E. Baldwin, it first investigated charges made against the administration of the Norwich State Hospital for the Insane and submitted a report in November 1939. The commission next addressed the areas designated by HB 1650. It held meetings and public hearings and submitted its final report in 1940.
The record group documents the commission's study of State agencies and institutions and their services and contains minutes of commission meetings, supplementary studies, public hearings, correspondence, draft findings and recommendations, and the final report. Of particular note is a paper analyzing the growth of cases of cancer. Also included are records of the commission's deliberations, studies, and investigation of Norwich State Hospital. Half of the files consist of transcripts of testimony taken under oath.
Series 1. Administrative and Subject Files, 1939-1940
Series 2. Investigation of Norwich State Hospital, Transcript of Testimony, 1939, Accession: 1941-002
Restrictions on Access
These records are stored at an off-site facility and therefore may not be available on a same-day basis.
Restrictions on Use
See the Reproduction and Publications of State Library Collections policy.
RG 005:027, Governor Raymond E. Baldwin, 1939-1941, "Norwich Investigations" and "Norwich State Hospital," Box 428.
Connecticut Documents, G251pmd/repn, Report of the Study of Conditions at Norwich State Hospital, August 15 - November 15, 1939.
Connecticut. Commission on the Prevention and Care of Sickness
Connecticut. Commission on the Treatment and Care of People Afflicted With Physical or Mental Disabilities
Connecticut. Commission on the Prevention and Care of Sickness -- Records and correspondence
Connecticut. Commission on the Treatment and Care of People Afflicted With Physical or Mental Disabilities -- Records and correspondence
Mentally ill -- Care -- Connecticut
Mentally ill -- Care -- Connecticut -- Norwich
Norwich State Hospital (Norwich, Conn.)
People with disabilities -- Care -- Connecticut
People with disabilities -- Connecticut
Psychiatric hospital care -- Connecticut -- Norwich
Psychiatric hospitals -- Connecticut -- Norwich
Dr. Creighton Barker, the second chairperson, turned these files over to the State Library on July 15, 1941.