Inmate Publications at State Institutions

At the end of the nineteenth century, inmates at the Minnesota State Prison in Stillwater began publishing a newsletter written and edited by fellow prisoners. For the first time in US history, inmates at a state institution had their own regular publication to discuss news, share literary and artistic works, and organize for institutional change. Their newsletter, the Prison Mirror, served as a model for similar publications produced by inmates at nearly all of Minnesota’s state hospitals, correctional facilities, and state schools.

Cover of the Voice of the Women and Men

Cover of the Voice of the Women and Men

The Winter and Spring 1973 cover of the Voice of the Women and Men, a publication produced by the adult writing class at Faribault State Hospital, depicting two people under rain clouds. Faribault State Hospital publications, 1950–1997 (box 119.C.4.2F). State Archives, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul.

Cover of the Voice of the Women and Men

Cover of the Voice of the Women and Men

The April 1970 cover for the Voice of the Women and Men, a publication produced by the adult writing class at Faribault State Hospital, depicting two people under rain clouds. Faribault State Hospital publications, 1950–1997 (box 119.C.4.2F). State Archives, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul.

Cover art for Hospitality

Cover art for Hospitality

Cover art depicting various social activities for the October 1953 issue of Hospitality, a publication made by and for inmates at Hastings State Hospital. Available at the Minnesota Historical Society library as RC445.M6 H32.

A calendar in the Coverall

A calendar in the Coverall

A calendar showing events for the recreation room at the Faribault State Hospital in 1951, published in the inmate publication the Coverall. Faribault State School and Hospital publications, 1950–1977 (box 119.C.4.2F). State Archives, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul.

Cover art for Echoes

Cover art for Echoes

Cover for the only volume of Echoes, a publication made by the patients at the Gillette State Hospital for Crippled Children in 1944. Gillette State Hospital for Crippled Children miscellaneous records, 1898–1976 (box 109.I.5.5B). State Archives, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul.

Cover of the Weekly Pulse

Cover of the Weekly Pulse

The cover art for the February 1935 edition of the Weekly Pulse, a publication by patients and staff at the Fergus Falls State Hospital announcing an approaching circus event. Available at the Minnesota Historical Society library as FOLIO RC445.M6 F.

Poem in the Weekly Pulse

Poem in the Weekly Pulse

A poem published in 1935 in the Weekly Pulse, a publication by patients and staff at the Fergus Falls State Hospital detailing one patient’s view of hospital life. Available at the Minnesota Historical Society library as FOLIO RC445.M6 F.

Cover of the Pine Knot

Cover of the Pine Knot

The cover of the Pine Knot, a publication made by the residents of the Ah-Gwah-Ching sanitarium for July 1920 with art depicting one of the institution’s buildings surrounded by trees. Available at the Minnesota Historical Society library as FOLIO RC313.M6 A3.

Charles Thompson

Charles Thompson

Charles Thompson in Thomasville, Georgia, ca. 1901.

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