Resthaven Auxiliary was a volunteer organization supporting Resthaven Psychiatric Hospital and Mental Health Center, located on College Street in downtown Los Angeles. Established in 1912 under the leadership of Mrs. Oliver Perry Clark, Resthaven Psychiatric Hospital was the oldest such non-profit institution in the city of Los Angeles and a leader in the treatment of mental health problems of women. (Not until 1961 did Resthaven begin to treat both men and women, children and adults.)
In the early 1960s Resthaven became the first private, non-profit, mental health institution to become a community health center, a change epitomized by the construction of a new facility, completed in 1970, at the site of the old hospital. Thus, Resthaven Psychiatric Hospital and Community Health Center served the central city, made up of such places as Echo Park, MacArthur Park, and Pico-Union; this area as a whole was one of the poorer and more ethnically diverse in Los Angeles. As such, and as a community mental health center, Resthaven provided its services free of charge to needy clients. This laudable philosophy unfortunately led to financial difficulties that shrinking government aid for the institution only compounded. Some accounts of the ensuing financial distress can be found in this collection's holdings, both in the limited holdings for the Hospital itself and in the material of the Resthaven Auxiliary.
As a private organization, Resthaven relied on volunteer support groups, one of which was the Resthaven Auxiliary, founded in 1959 and incorporated in 1960. Its duties were to develop interests in the field of mental health in its members and, most importantly, to serve the hospital and to raise funds. To accomplish these goals, Resthaven Auxiliary held benefits for the hospital, sold such items as cookbooks authored by its members or products made by Resthaven patients, solicited funds from businesses, etc. It was a large organization, boasting by 1976 some ninety-seven full and part-time members. When budgetary problems forced the closure of Resthaven Community Mental Health Center in the 1970's, the Auxiliary, of course, also disbanded.
All information in this history comes from material found in the collection.