The Minneapolis Tribune used to prowl the probate courts for heart-rending tales of dissipation, melancholia and “brain trouble”:


Sad Story of a Young Woman Who
Started Life Under the Hap-
piest Auspices.

And Is Now a Physical, Mental and
Moral Wreck – In the Insane
Asylum Next.

Several Other Cases of Minds Dis-
eased Disposed of by Judge
Corrigan Yesterday.

There was a peculiarly sad case of insanity in the probate court yesterday. The victim was Vivian Clayton, a girl of 24, who was taken from a house of ill-fame five or six weeks ago and sent to the house of the Good Shepherd. Her real name is Mary Ida Davis and she was born in Massachusetts. She was once a handsome girl and well educated in music and literature.
She is now a total wreck. Her lips are ulcerated from cigarette smoking and the marks of dissipation are everywhere apparent. Yet through it all could be seen traces of her former beauty and grace.
Her story is that of many another unfortunate whom society looks down upon. She stood high in the society of the old Bay State, and lavished the great wealth of her affections upon a man in her circle, who took advantage of her love to ruin her after leaving a party where wine had been served. She was one of those proud, warm-blooded creatures that can bear disgrace in secret, but must plunge the deeper into dissipation to drown the thoughts that crowd upon the mind and the remorse over the wrong doing. She ran a swift course, and now is the friendless and forsaken occupant of a room in the insane asylum at St. Peter.
There was another sad case, though from a different cause. It was Mrs. Kate Arnold, of 818 Hennepin avenue, a recent widow of 33 years. She lost, by death, her husband, child and sister within three months, and after the death of her husband was forced to go to dressmaking with another sister. Her bereavement preyed upon her mind, and, augmented by hard work, soon dethroned her reason, and now she imagines that she is being persecuted by everybody, and has melancholia, strongly developed with suicidal tendencies. She, too, was sent to St. Peter.
Kate Dennison, a single woman, 42 years old, living at 2743 Victoria avenue, was also ordered admitted to St. Peter’s asylum. She is a Methodist and a musician, and her insanity is due to overwork.
Geo. F. Bernholdt, 68 years old, living at 624 Sixth avenue north, was sent to the Rochester asylum. His insanity is due to brain trouble, and he imagines that somebody is after him all the time.

St. Peter State Hospital in about 1936. (Photo courtesy

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Nov. 3, 1911: Suicide in the funnies

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Nov. 11, 1921: Rachmaninoff sorry he wrote prelude