Cover image for God knows his name : the true story of John Doe no. 24
Title:
God knows his name : the true story of John Doe no. 24
Author:
Bakke, David, 1951-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
xxii, 142 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Language:
English
Personal Subject:
ISBN:
9780809323265

9780809323272
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Item Holds
Searching...
HV2534.D63 B35 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

Police found John Doe No. 24 in the early morning hours of October 11, 1945, in Jacksonville, Illinois. Unable to communicate, the deaf and mute teenager was labeled feeble minded and sentenced by a judge to the nightmarish jumble of the Lincoln State School and Colony in Jacksonville. He remained in the Illinois mental health care system for over thirty years and died at the Sharon Oaks Nursing Home in Peoria on November 28, 1993.Deaf, mute, and later blind, the young black man survived institutionalized hell: beatings, hunger, overcrowding, and the dehumanizing treatment that characterized state institutions through the 1950s. In spite of his environment, he made friends, took on responsibilities, and developed a sense of humor. People who knew him found him remarkable.Award-winning journalist Dave Bakke reconstructs the life of John Doe No. 24 through research into a half-century of the state mental health system, personal interviews with people who knew him at various points during his life, and sixteen black-and-white illustrations. After reading a story about John Doe in the "New York Times," acclaimed singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter wrote and recorded John Doe No. 24 and purchased a headstone for his unmarked grave. She contributes a foreword to this book.As death approached for the man known only as John Doe No. 24, his one-time nurse Donna Romine reflected sadly on his mystery. Ah, well, she said, God knows his name. "


Summary

Police found John Doe No. 24 in the early morning hours of October 11, 1945, in Jacksonville, Illinois. Unable to communicate, the deaf and mute teenager was labeled "feeble minded" and sentenced by a judge to the nightmarish jumble of the Lincoln State School and Colony in Jacksonville. He remained in the Illinois mental health care system for over thirty years and died at the Sharon Oaks Nursing Home in Peoria on November 28, 1993.

 

Deaf, mute, and later blind, the young black man survived institutionalized hell: beatings, hunger, overcrowding, and the dehumanizing treatment that characterized state institutions through the 1950s. In spite of his environment, he made friends, took on responsibilities, and developed a sense of humor. People who knew him found him remarkable.

 

Award-winning journalist Dave Bakke reconstructs the life of John Doe No. 24 through research into a half-century of the state mental health system, personal interviews with people who knew him at various points during his life, and sixteen black-and-white illustrations. After reading a story about John Doe in the New York Times , acclaimed singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter wrote and recorded "John Doe No. 24" and purchased a headstone for his unmarked grave. She contributes a foreword to this book.

 

As death approached for the man known only as John Doe No. 24, his one-time nurse Donna Romine reflected sadly on his mystery. "Ah, well," she said, "God knows his name."

 


Author Notes

Dave Bakke is senior writer at the State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois. With Dale Hamm, he is the author of The Last of the Market Hunters .


Dave Bakke is senior writer at the State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois. With Dale Hamm, he is the author of The Last of the Market Hunters .


Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Though labeled "feeble-minded" by bureaucrats and lacking an established identity, deaf and mute John Doe Boyd led a remarkable though sad life in the Illinois mental health care system. Through personal interviews and research, journalist Bakke (coauthor, The Last of the Market Hunters, Illinois Univ., 1996) recounts his subject's life, from being picked up as a teenager by police in Jacksonville, IL, in 1945 to his last years as a blind man who was able to communicate and form strong relationships. More than one person's story, the narrative highlights the postwar history of mental health care in Illinois, from the harrowing days of institutional life in the 1950s to the more humane era of deinstitutionalization, community-based treatment, and psychopharmacology. Given the neglect, overcrowding, and violent conditions that John experienced as a young adult, his accomplishments will inspire any reader. Recommended for large public libraries and mental health care collections.ÄAntoinette Brinkman, formerly with Southwest Indiana Mental Health Ctr. Lib., Evansville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal Review

Though labeled "feeble-minded" by bureaucrats and lacking an established identity, deaf and mute John Doe Boyd led a remarkable though sad life in the Illinois mental health care system. Through personal interviews and research, journalist Bakke (coauthor, The Last of the Market Hunters, Illinois Univ., 1996) recounts his subject's life, from being picked up as a teenager by police in Jacksonville, IL, in 1945 to his last years as a blind man who was able to communicate and form strong relationships. More than one person's story, the narrative highlights the postwar history of mental health care in Illinois, from the harrowing days of institutional life in the 1950s to the more humane era of deinstitutionalization, community-based treatment, and psychopharmacology. Given the neglect, overcrowding, and violent conditions that John experienced as a young adult, his accomplishments will inspire any reader. Recommended for large public libraries and mental health care collections.ÄAntoinette Brinkman, formerly with Southwest Indiana Mental Health Ctr. Lib., Evansville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.