Psychiatric hospital letter from a schizophrenic Alaskan, who murdered his gold-miner father during a paranoid delusion, to his sister. From Eino Robert Mack to Aune Mack.

Psychiatric hospital letter from a schizophrenic Alaskan, who murdered his gold-miner father during a paranoid delusion, to his sister

Juneau, Alaska and Portland, Oregon: 1948. Unbound. Two-page typed letter, unsigned. The letter is datelined, “Morningside, Hospital. / Montaville, Station. / Portland, Oregon. / Sept, 23, 1948,” and is in nice shape. Very good. Item #009245

Eino Mack was the son of a Finnish emigrant who worked for the Alaska-Juneau Gold Mining Company. Beginning in 1939, he was repeatedly committed and released from a psychiatric hospital for a variety of issues including “somatic ideas . . . schizoid make up . . . hypochondriasis . . . fear . . . depression” and a “malignant” threatening attitude. As Eino laments in this letter, he was finally committed for life due to the ‘treacherous’ testimony of his brother before a jury that found him to be "a person who is so mentally unbalanced as to have taken the life, of a person without a reason or a just cause." Eino died on 23 November 1963 after he “fell into a convulsion and died when he heard President Kennedy had been assassinated.” (Morningside Hospital Patient Records, Find A Grave, and 1940 United States Federal Census.)

Eino describes his father’s murder and justification for his action in chilling detail:

“The old man [was] takeing it out on mother, on till I just about had a had a nervous breakdown from listening and watching that moron abuesing her. . . . I made up my mind he was not going to abuse me or mother anymore. . . . He came home by cab [and] started down the trail [and] I step out on the porch with the rifle, and warned him not to come home . . . but he came on, and I fired a shot over his head, he stop at the report [and} I warned him the second time, but he came on at a slow walk I fired the second shot through a bag of grocies he held in his left hand, the third and last warning he took no heed, but told me that he is comeing, I fired and killed him instantly. . . . [He] had no right to have any jurisdiction over us, as he was color or race conscience, and had the intelligence of a moron who would champion a negro above a white race, although we from our mother’s side are white. He had no right to marry a white person." Eino’s father was actually a white man who had been born in Finland.

Eino closes his letter by proclaiming his sanity, although he acknowledges that "the right side of my brain is infected, from bone decaying the right side of the skull [and] the psychiatrist in charge here . . . told me that I was here for life.”

Prior to Alaskan statehood, there were no mental health services in the territory. Alaskans who were committed by family or jury were sent by a combination of dogsled, train, and boat to live at Morningside Hospital (a contracted, private, psychiatric facility) in Portland. By the time Morningside closed after Alaska became a state, it had held over 3,500 Alaskans as patients during its sixty years of business.

Not only does this letter provide insight into the thinking of a patricidal schizophrenic, it is also a testament to an often forgotten chapter in pre-statehood Alaskan care for the mentally ill. Very scarce. As of 2018, no other letters from Morningside Hospital patients are for sale in the trade or held by institutions per OCLC, and Rare Book Hub shows no auction records for similar items.

Price: $750.00