Autograph Letter Signed, 6pp., With original mailing envelope.
Valentine S. McClatchy is remembered today as the near-fanatical leader, for some 20 years, of the racist anti-Japanese movement in California, while publisher (and co-owner with his brother Charles) of the influential Sacramento Bee newspaper. While there is a biography of Charles, there is none of Valentine, so there is no historical record of the personal sorrow he must have experienced when one of his seven children, his 17 year-old daughter Claire was examined by Dr. Hoisholt, one of California’s leading psychiatrists, suffering from what was then called a “nervous or mental disease” – what we now consider a developmental disability.
The half-dozen California State Hospitals were originally known by the misnomer “Insane Asylums” – though many of the 5,000 patients at Stockton and Napa were epileptics, alcoholics, or, like Claire McClatchy, “mentally retarded”. In sending Claire’s father this detailed description of his latest examination (he had seen the girl two years before) Dr.Hoisholt diplomatically stressed the positive points – “normal” senses of taste, smell, hearing (with some “ear for music”). But she spoke in a “male” voice, read very slowly, had an “infantile understanding” of many subjects, a short attention span, was often nervous and irritable and easily confused – a “psychic defect” in her analytical powers. His conclusion:”…at her age, it is a little late to expect radical results” from treatment.” The most he could suggest was to encourage her to sing and play outdoor games like golf and tennis, and perhaps be taken on camping trips in the mountains.
Claire McClatchy was committed to the Napa State Hospital – Dr. Hoistholt soon became its “progressive” Superintendent – and remained there long after her father’s death in 1938 – until her own death in 1974.