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The Descendants and Relatives of Former Patients


March 21, 2024

The Rowland Medical Library (RML) at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) is now custodian of historic and individual patient records from the Mississippi State Asylum. These records date back to about 1900 and include individual patient files. A patient's closest living relative may request records as outlined under Miss. Code Ann. § 41-21-51 and approved by the Mississippi State Legislature during the 2023 session. Read legislation here.
Records Description
  • The RML has a large volume of both digital and paper records.
  • Some of these files are patient files of those treated at the Mississippi State Asylum before 1935.
  • We are aware of patients who were admitted before March of 1935 who do not have individual patient records within this collection.
  • We are presently unable to ascertain why some patient files still exist and some do not.
  • There are very few if any files on patients who died or were discharged from the institution before 1900.
  • Various historical accounts confirm that the Asylum’s records from 1855 to 1863 were burned during the siege of Jackson.
  • Some patient files consist of extremely limited information--sometimes only one page.
  • Other records are hundreds of pages long.
  • We are presently unable to discern why some patient files are more detailed than others.

If you would like to request your relative's records, please email Lida Gibson.


Would you like to hear more about the Asylum Hill Project?

The Mississippi Museum of Art is currently hosting What Became of Dr. Smith? April 20th through September 25th 2024This exhibition, created by a member of the Asylum Hill Descendant community, touches on questions of identity and mental health. Please visit the MMA website for upcoming presentations and events.  



Request a Speaker

One of the most important aspects of our work on the Asylum Hill Research Project is to nurture relationships with the descendants of those buried here. Historical records indicate that asylum patients were representative Mississippi's diverse population: immigrants, male and female, young and old. They represent all 82 counties in Mississippi and came from all walks of life: housewives, farmers, merchants, lawyers, and former enslaved persons, just to name a few. Please contact Lida Gibson if you would like to schedule a presentation about the Asylum Hill Project whether you are a community organization, church, business group, class, or any other interested group.  

Mississippi State Insane Hospital circa 1915. Courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History


  • Raymond History Club
  • Terry History Club
  • Pass Christian Public Library, Dec. 10, 2022
  • The Historical Society of Gulfport, July 23, 2022 
  • Mississippi Book Festival, August 22, 2022




 These public events are made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.