Nevada, Vernon County, Missouri

Early Book of Drawings by an Asylum Patient

Reid Henderson shared these scans of a handmade book of pencil drawings done on ledger paper from State Hospital #3 that he once owned. It is circa1900. It includes over 285 drawings - portraits of people,animals, buildings, steamboats etc. Presumably done by a patient of the hospital and obviously done over several years. It is a wonderful folk art collection. Look at the interesting eyes of the subjects.

By 2013, the images are in the hands of New York artist, Harris Diamont. He has done a fantastic job of identifying the artist and telling his story. You can learn all about the drawings at his "Electric Pencil Drawings" website. What a sad but fascinating story. The images have been displayed around the world and are more amazing that you can imagine. Be sure and watch this wonderful video about them. I am so fortunate to have been involved in the project.

This is the worn front cover. If there was ever a name on the front, it is lost with time and wear.

This is the front page - It appears to be fashioned after the elaborate front gate of the state hospital.

Soda Fountain.

Notice that this is on ledger paper referring to the State Lunatic Asylum. Also, note that J. R. Walton was apparently the new treasurer of the state hospital because Joseph Harper's name is inked out.

Arnell C. Smith

Beer Garden

Camp Clark.

Possibly drawn by the artist as he looked at a portrait?


Judge Smith

Mr. Sanders

Mr. Tanner

Miss Arnell - Probably referring to Arnell C. Smith above.


Now and Hereafter

One wonders why a parient labeled a drawing like that.

State's Attorney.


The State Hospital did have its own baseball team for a number of years. Is this that team or is this the Nevada Town Team?

Why Doctor.

Another caption that surely makes one wonder.

Go back to the Insane Asylum page.

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