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Consumer/Survivor led efforts to restore and properly memorialize state hospital cemeteries is a very visual subject. In this slideshow you will see members of the Danvers State Memorial Committee working to restore the two cemeteries at Danvers State Hospital over the last 3 years.

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Slide 1

    In the early spring of 1997 Pat Deegan was walking on the grounds of the closed Danvers State Hospital and came upon a field. The field looked like so many of the other fields surrounding the old buildings at the state hospital. However, as she explored further she came upon a granite marker with a number and realized that she must be in a cemetery.
Slide 2
    As Pat explored further she found a few small markers with numbers on them. She assumed that this must be a burial ground for former patients of Danvers State Hospital. Soon after Pat began to interview former employees and state officials to find out where the cemetery records were kept. She found out that the state had lost the records. However, she did find a former staff person who had a photocopy of the burial record with about 150 names in it. The record of those buried between the hospital opening in 1878 and 1929 has been permanently lost.
Slide 3
    Pat later found a second, smaller cemetery with upright markers. The second cemetery was also located in a field and looked more like a briar patch. Farmers working the fields tossed large rocks into the "briar patch" as you can see in this photo.
Slide 4
    Pat was outraged at the lack of dignity and respect for the cemeteries and organized a meeting of other ex-patients. About sixty former patients and allies met in February of 1998 and agreed that these forgotten and neglected cemeteries were a disgrace. The abandoned cemeteries with numbered markers sent a message of disrespect to former, current and future clients of the Department of Mental Health. The group vowed to restore the cemeteries. We called ourselves the Danvers State Memorial Committee. In this photograph you see our first rally, held up at the Danvers State in June of 1998. Marie Balter and Bill Capone, both ex-patients of Danvers State, told their stories and emphasized the importance of restoring and properly memorializing the two cemeteries.

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