Lillian Schletter in the 1940 Census

On April 1, 1940 Lillian SCHLETTER, my Grand Aunt, was a 51 year old single white female institutionalized at Creedmoor State Hospital in Queens Village in New York City. She also lived there during the 1930 Census. It was reported to the census taker that Lillian, as all patients on her census page, worked 3 hours a week. Her highest level of education— for the first time in 1940 recorded as part of the census—is entered with a question mark.

Nearly three years later on March 12, 1943, as shown on the Greater Astoria Historical website is this report about Creedmoor:

Governor Thomas Dewey ordered an investigation of what he called “disgraceful conditions” at Creedmoor State Hospital in Queens Village. Those conditions had led to an outbreak of amoebic dysentery, which had killed nine patients. In late February, one patient had beaten another patient to death. At the same time, Queens District Attorney, Charles F. Sullivan, brought these matters before a grand jury. It would be the third time in 8 years that a grand jury had looked into the affairs of Creedmoor. A 1935 investigation revealed that there were 15 violent deaths in 12 months. A 1939 report stated that patients were brutally beaten. Initial findings of the probe disclosed that attendants at Creedmoor were making only $54 a month and that, out of the normal attendant staff of 500, there were 157 vacancies.

Lillian died in July 1967. Her exact place of death is unknown however it was recorded at Suffolk County New York home to King’s Park Psychiatric Center where Lillian was incarcerated during the 1920 Census timeframe.

Woody Guthrie died October 3, 1967 while at Creedmoor. He suffered from Huntington’s Disease, a degenerative nerve disorder.

For more about Lillian see Lillian Had a Knife – A One Way Trip To a Psychiatric Hospital

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