On Frances Farmer’s birthday: A book written by her sister, published by a small press in Portland, Oregon in 1978 (likely self published). It’s sad, of course, and a bit different than other Farmer books. Edith Farmer leans too heavily on the distrust of communism and its influence on Frances and has her own family agenda, perhaps, but she believes Farmer was spared a lobotomy (though doctors tried). Edith Farmer does contend, not surprisingly, that her sister did suffer “barbaric” shock treatments that “thoroughly terrorized Frances.” Here’s a letter her father wrote during Farmer’s incarceration at Western State Hospital in Steilacoom, Washington, sometime in the 1940s:
"I was over to see Frances a week ago and we had a wonderful visit. She is just about as crazy as I am but try and make those damned doctors believe that. But I keep on trying. I got there just in time to head them off from some deranged experimental brain operation on her. I notified them one and all if they tried any of their guinea pig operations on her they would have a danged big lawsuit on their hands. The head man answered my letter agreeing that nothing would happen without my written consent. And when I wrote my brother Frank what they were planning he blew his top and wrote them a good strong letter along medical lines, I understand. He doesn’t think much of the doctor in charge of the ward Frances is in and says he ought to be in the ward himself. We will get her out of there or know the reason why."