Share your Pennhurst Memories

Pennhurst has affected the lives of many people in many ways.  If you have a Pennhurst story or memory that you would like to share, please click the Add A Comment link below and post your story.  You may include up to 2 images.

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Walter Hug10/10/2019
In the past few years, I discovered that my first cousin spent most of his life at Pennhurst. His family was not very close to ours, and he was 25 years older than me. As familyhistorian, I do ancestor research, and came across my cousin William Bittel known as Billie Bittel listed in the 1940 US Census - he was 15 years old as that time. The census page showed his name and he is listed as a inmate, just like all of the other Pennhurst residents that were listed on the same page. These records are all available on the internet, and I am guessing the list of all inmates! are available for all of the census records over the years it was in operation. I have very foggy memories of the one time I met Billie I was about 5 years old - he was about 30 and my family made a rare visit to the Bittel home. I could write a lot more, but I only have a few characters remaining! I tried to add the image of the census page but only have as a jpeg and cant get via website as required
Darlene Padgett10/06/2019
Robert and Gladys Tyson were cooks the kitchen , they were my grandparents,My mother Edna I Padgett was a employee. I can remember going there when I was like 8 years old, small festivals lots of food and interacting with a lot of people that were different then us, but we were taught different . Helen had acid on her face my grandparents sometimes would bring her home she was like family. and our lovely Margret we see she noticed me and said hey your a Tyson how she loved them and said I know your mom Irene. IT was a GREAT FEELING that she could remember who loved her and gave their time and shared her life with, Family isnt just blood. This is living proof I as a kid have great memories of Pennhurst. I was sad to see what has happened to it.MY Grandparents are gone and so is my Mom., but this place gives me good memories , no haunted. Im actually going there for the first time,, AND NO IM NOT SCARED SEE YOU THERE DARLENE TYSON , PADGETT
Dr. Fatima Abdul Johnson05/13/2019
My Uncle Edward Myers lost his life at Pennhurst due to mistreatment and neglect. He was a patient from his early years of life as a child to his adult years. In life he was looked upon as a NOBODY know one of any importance. Just a patient. BUT I have changed that... because he is a SOMEBODY. My uncle and all individuals that lost their life due to mistreatment and neglect at Pennhurst are people of great importance and they are worth being remembered. I have founded a nonprofit organization and Scholarship Fund in my Uncle's honor.
Joseph DiGiovanni10/18/2018
My Aunt Pauline passed away at pennhurst in the year 1980 . She was 35 heavily abused, bed sores, they ripped out all her teeth , and kept her in isolation for 24 hours a day. She died was under no supervision while eating cake , so thats what i was told but aM looking for more information. I was born in 1984 i was not born. My father was 17 at the time his only sister. Anyone with any information on this please contact . Bill baldini also wrote about this in a newspaper article
Catherine Capizzi06/26/2018
In 1968, the year Bill Baldini did the expo on Pennhurst I worked there for one week. I missed seeing Bill and the crew, I was already gone. I was 19 years old just out of school and wanted to help people. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. Not because of the patients, but because of the cruelty inflicted on those poor people. I tried to help as much as I could, but I was not prepared for the sights I encountered. I cried every night I went home. After I was injured by a patient he didn't mean to harm me my doctor and my husband persuaded me to quit. Before I left I was asked by the staff if I saw anything done by the other aides that was harmful to the patients. I told them that I did, numerous times. These patients were at the mercy or lack of people who had no business being employed to take care of them. Yes it was challenging for sure, but all they wanted was some love and kindness. The treatment was deplorable ,I reported it as such. At 69 now, I never forgot.
Lynn Ward01/17/2018
I just discovered that my grandmother had a cousin who lived and died at Pennhurst. On her death certificate, it said she died of Tubercular Peritonitis. I think I remember being told that her mother had died of tuberculosis. My grandmother's cousin was also listed as a cretin, which makes me wonder if the peritonitis was actually caused by sterilization surgery, seeing as this young woman was only 16 when she died in 1931. Her name was Teresa Fure, but she also went by Esterline/Esther, I believe. I am researching more to see what else I can find out. This is truly heartbreaking, to know the conditions she likely endured. I work in special education and this site has been eye-opening to me.
Crystal Rodriguez12/21/2017
To all the people who said they have worked here.. did you ever meet Dr.Fear and did he come off as a bad person??
CC Rosati06/06/2017
I had 2 maternal uncles who lived here from 1947 until ?. Both died in the '80. I was told very little about them and only met them once one played a guitar and sang - pleasant people they were. I surely would like to know more about what happened to them and what turns their lives took, but how to find out? Ralph and Christopher Daniels.
Gregg Hershberger04/22/2017
I worked at Pennhurst the summer of 1975 as an intern while taking a summer social work course at West Chester University. I trained severely mentally retarded adults in basic hygiene such as brushing their teeth and washing themselves. During my internship Pennsylvania State employees went on strike and as interns we went. To Pennhurst and worked 24hours a day living there until the strike ended. This allowed us to see all areas of the institution including locked wards and areas normally not viewed by outsiders. It was an experience I'll never forget. Some of the clients were so disabled they were blind and unable to care for themselves in any manner, needing diapers and crawling on the floor. Some wards were very dangerous where staff assaults were common due to the severe mental disabilities. I graduated from Elizabethtown College in 1976 and again worked with mentally retarded adults for a short while in another facility. Conditions had already improved for the disabled.
Katt Eddy DuBose07/22/2016
I am trying find anyone that can help me get records from Pennhurst. My father was there from the time he was 6 years until transferred. This was in 1962. I don't know much more he never spoke about it. He sadly passed away. His name was Robert Samuel Eddy but went by bob! Date of Birth is 4/13/1956 I don't have any pictures of him as a child anything will help. After watching all the videos I am terrified that my father was left in that place to suffer. I am so ashamed that in that time people thought that was the only thing to do was to lock someone up and throw away the key. If anyone knows anything please email me.! thekittykatt89@gmail.com God Bless!

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