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The Case Books

The Case Books, together with the detailed Admission Papers, form the core records relating to patients before the First World War. The Case record patients’ personal details, and contain a chronological account of their health and treatment, usually ending with release or death. The Case Books were superseded by individual Case Files.

For the Lawn, the main series of Case Books commences in 1847. The earliest entry relates to Mary Houghton, a 32 year old farmer and miller’s wife from Swayfield who was admitted following childbirth. Unlike at St John’s, male and female cases are recorded in the same volumes.

The main series of Case Books runs from 1847 to 1912, then splits into separate male and female series from 1911 to 1925 and 1931 respectively, and there are separate volumes for Voluntary Boarders from 1895 to 1932.

These are supplemented by a separate series of Physicians’ Case Books, covering 1837-1869, which are arranged chronologically rather than by individual patient.

The five series of Case Books for the Lawn are as follows:

  • Case Books, 1847-1912 [HOSP/LAWN/2/12/1-12]
  • Case Books (Female), 1911-1931 [HOSP/LAWN/2/13/1-4]
  • Case Books (Male), 1911-1925 [HOSP/LAWN/2/14/1-2]
  • Physicians’ Case Books, 1837-1869 [HOSP/LAWN/2/15/1-5]
  • Case Books (Voluntary Boarders), 1895-1932 [HOSP/LAWN/2/16/1-3]

For St John’s there are separate series of Case Books for male and female patients. These Case Books are physically larger than those of the Lawn, and contain significantly more entries - reflecting the larger population of the county institution. The Male series runs from 1863 to 1917 and the Female series from 1852 to 1853 and 1863 to 1917. In addition to the main series of Case Books, parallel series of Chronic Case Books commenced in 1897 for those patients with no prognosis of recovery, extending to 1924 for Males and 1925 for Females. Entries include descriptive details of the patient, date of admission, cause of admission and diagnosis, followed by chronological details of treatment and assessments of their health, ending with details of discharge, transfer, or death, or cross-reference to an entry in a later volume. The volumes contain name indexes.

Only one early Case Book survives for St John’s, containing entries for female patients, 1852-1853. The first entry is for Mary White, a 64 year old from Coningsby, suffering from Senile Dementia. She had been suffering for two years and the implication is that her husband could no longer cope with looking after her at home. This volume gives details relating to the admission of patients, but does not record subsequent treatment.

Ten years later the format had changed. Early entries in the Female Case Book for 1863-1865 are continuations from earlier lost volumes, and give only chronological accounts of health and treatment. Fortunately, most Admission Papers survive from this period, so the information is not lost. The example shown relates to Mary Miller, and ends with her death from apoplexy in 1866.
By this time, for new patients of both sexes, there were pre-printed pages to record specific personal and admission details. The example shown relates to Cornelius Rusking, aged 66, who was diagnosed as suffering from Melancholia.

The Case Books of the mid 1860s appear to be bound together from loose sheets, and the page numberings have been altered, but later volumes were pre-bound, with a printed form on one page for personal details, and a lined page used for the chronological record. Sometimes, long entries spilled over onto other pages or volumes, often re-using blank space below short entries.

Fortunately, all the volumes are indexed at the front and entries are cross-referenced, so it is possible to locate matching entries.

For St John’s the two categories of Case Books are as follows:

  • Case Books, 1852-1917 [HOSP/ST JOHN’S/2/13/1-29].

No volumes received for Males prior to 1863, or for surnames P-Z, 1870-1894.

No volume received for Females, 1853-1863.

  • Chronic Case Books, 1897-1925 [HOSP/ST JOHN’S/2/14/1-6].

For Rauceby there are Series of Case Books for Males, 1897-1916 [HOSP/RAUCEBY/2/7/1-4] and Females, 1897-1927 [HOSP/RAUCEBY/2/8/1-5]. The formats and information contained in the volumes resemble those of St John’s, but there are fewer patients as it was a smaller institution.

There are also additional binders containing just pages relating to discharged and deceased patients - the pages for other patients would have been held in their Case Files. The male volume contains entries 1916-1919 [HOSP/RAUCEBY/2/7/5] and two Female volumes cover 1913-1921 and 1922-1929 [HOSP/RAUCEBY/2/8/6-7]. None of these volumes have been microfilmed or digitised as they fell outside the scope of the original project.

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Last updated: 20 August 2014

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