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Patton State Hospital: patients and staff. Drawings by D.R. Wilder, ca. 1954.

  • Wilder, Dudley Raymond, 1916-1957.
  • Pictures
  • Online

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In copyright
Credit: Patton State Hospital: patients and staff. Drawings by D.R. Wilder, ca. 1954.In copyright

About this work


Some of the drawings satirise the staff of the hospital, while others are affectionate portrayals of fellow patients. Staff members are depicted as sadistic, hostile, clueless or themselves crazy. Conditions in the hospital are also depicted: the food is repugnant and the daily tasks are menial. The patients are shown as hapless, unshod, and delusional. There can be no doubt that the figures are based on actual people in the institution, some of whom are named. In one of the drawings, a helicopter chasing a patient who has escaped is marked "Patton", which suggests that the hospital is California Department of State Hospitals-Patton (DSH Patton), a large forensic mental hospital operated by the California Department of State Hospitals. It first opened in San Bernardino, California, in 1893, and in 1927 was renamed Patton State Hospital. It provides psychiatric care and treatment to judicially committed, mentally disordered, adult patients



Physical description

12 drawings : pencil on paper ; paper 30 x 23 cm

Creator/production credits

The wrappers of the sketchbook in which these drawings were preserved are inscribed "Dudley R. Wilder". A calendar inscribed on the back cover records a year in which 1 August fell on a Sunday: probably 1954. There is a record of a Dudley Raymond Wilder (1916-1957) who worked as a commercial artist in California from the 1930s to the 1950s and served as a staff sergeant in the US Marine Corps in 1943-1944. The quality of the drawings, and some of the military references, suggest they could well be by him, possibly in the last years of his life where confinement preceded an early death at the age of 41


Wellcome Library no. 2046852i


  • English


  • Sketchbook of twelve drawings

Where to find it

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  • sketchbook wrappers

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  • no. 1

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  • no. 2

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  • no. 3

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