CPS Unit Number 071-01
Unit ID: 1
Title: Lima State Hospital
Operating agency: MCC
Opened: 1 1943
Closed: 9 1946
CPS Unit No. 71, a Mental Hospital unit located at Lima State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Lima, Ohio operated by Mennonite Central Committee, opened in January 1943 and closed in September 1946. Men served as ward attendants.
Twenty-nine men served in the unit.
Men in Mennonite camps and units tended, upon entry into CPS to reports denominational affiliation with Mennonite groups.
The men served as attendants.
In response to a survey questionnaire reflecting on his experience at Lima State Hospital, one man offered the following:
Within a month or so of our arrival at the Lima State Hospital, some of us were taking the places of two or three regular staff attendants, because our approach in dealing with the patients earned their respect. Rather than trying to control patient behavior, our approach had been to lend a helping hand. As a consequence, many patients improved in a relatively short time . . . We were trusted by the medical staff and some of us were given the opportunity to become familiar with individual cases and even invited to enter into treatment decisions. (Sareyan p. 240)
According to hospital Superintendent R. E. Bushong, the men were “diligent, compatible, conscientious and well-behaved”. (Taylor p. 236)
A previous superintendent at Lima, Dr. E. H. Crawfis had replaced Superintendent Lee at Cleveland State Hospital after a media exposé forced Lee to resign.
Mennonite churches and young people in Lima helped provide social and religious support for the assignees. During winter months the men held Wednesday evening religious services.
The unit enjoyed good public relations with the Lima community. In addition, reports indicate that the men were satisfied with the living conditions.
For more information on this unit and other mental health and training school units, see Melvin Gingerich, Service for Peace: A History of Mennonite Civilian Public Service. Akron, PA: Mennonite Central Committee printed by Herald Press, Scottdale, PA, 1949, Chapter XVI, pp. 213-251.
See also Alex Sareyan, The Turning Point: How Persons of Conscience Brought About Major Change in the Care of America’s Mentally Ill. Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1994.
Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Camp periodicals database.
For more in depth treatment of the mental health and training school units, see Steven J. Taylor, Acts of Conscience: World War II, Mental Institutions, and Religious Objectors. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2009.