Historical background and research files

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

This series consists of various records considered to be historical that were collected or retained by the Willard Asylum for the Insane (later Willard State Hospital and Willard Psychiatric Center). Records include chapel books; hospital rules and regulations; patient and staff handbooks; orientation material; histories of Willard facilities; biographies of founders and officials; training materials; legal documents and photographs of groups and activities. Also included are early reference works on psychoanalysis, demonic possession, hysteria epidemics, and double consciousness.
5 cu. ft.
Inclusive Dates:
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Arranged by type of record.

Scope and Content Note

This series contains a wide assortment of record types considered to be historical or archival in nature which were collected or retained by several entities at the Willard Asylum for the Insane (later Willard State Hospital and Willard Psychiatric Center), including the Willard Staff Library. The records were collected and preserved for their historical interest, to provide information to the public, or for research value in the areas of treatments and conditions, patient life, staff training, facility expansion, and infrastructure repair and improvement.

Records include chapel books; material relating to Willard State Hospital's centennial (1969); published hospital rules and regulations; laws regulating the insane and state hospitals; patients' handbooks and orientation material; staff handbooks; typewritten histories of Willard facilities, and biographies of founders and officials; local histories of the Seneca Lake region; and photographs of various hospital groups and activities.

Of particular interest in the series is an original notebook kept during the first formal training class for attendants (1887). These classes later evolved into curricula for the Willard State Hospital School of Nursing. One group of news clippings details the events and circumstances leading to the closure of the Willard School of Nursing. Information includes class roster; attendance list; printed handouts; outlines of lectures; and copies of examinations.

Another distinct group of records consists of leases, deeds, and mortgages concerning hospital property; and contracts and specifications for construction.

A significant portion of the records document attempts to restore Chapin Hall, and its ultimate destruction. A distinct set of records, salvaged from Chapin Hall shortly before its demolition, consists of a variety of reports, correspondence, memoranda, and fiscal documents dating from the 1880s.

Also included in the series are early reference works (1840s-1920s) dealing with such topics as psychoanalysis, demonic possession, hysteria epidemics, and double consciousness; collections of published articles on mental health topics and facilities; and copies of published annual reports of other mental health facilities.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of the material.

Related Information

Other finding aids

Container list.

Custodial History

Portions of this series are apparently part of a collection started in 1924 by Mrs. Margaret E. McDonald, Assistant Principal of the School of Nursing. Sometime after the School of Nursing closed, portions of the School of Nursing Library collection was consolidated into the Willard Staff Library.

These records were transferred to the State Archives from Willard Psychiatric Center at the time of its closure in April, 1995.

Access Terms

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Detailed Description

Dates Contents Box Folder

Accretion: B1440-96
1969 Material relating to Willard State Hospital's Centennial (1969) 1 1
1969 School of Nursing 1 2
1969 Willard Centennial 1 3
1969 History of Willard State Hospital, Centennial 1 4
1969 Willard Centennial Press Kit 1 5
1969 Centennial Files 1 6
1969 Willard Cultural Histories 1 7
1969 History of Willard State Hospital 1 8
1969 Mental Hospitals 1 9
1969 Willard Regulations and Procedures 1 10
1969 Registered Pharmacy Certificates 1 11
1969 Photographs 1 12
1969 October 9 Rockefeller Visit October 9, 1969 1 13
1956 Governor Harriman Visit 1 14
1969 Willard State Hospital Photographs 1 15
1969 Nursing Procedures 1 16
circa 1890s Photograph of Willard State Hospital and Staff (late 1890s) 1 17
Willard State Hospital Employee Photographs 1 18
Patients' Library Publications 1 19
The Window - Publicity 1 20
Sampson Division Correspondence 1 21
Local History Publications 1 22
Dorothea Lynde Dix 1 23
1978 History of Willard Asylum for the Insane and Willard State Hospital 1 24
The State Hospital - Past and Present 1 25
Fire Service Department 1 26
State Hospitals Rules and Regulations 2
Hospital Commission Handbook 2 21
Nursing Activities 2 1
Willard Medical Staff 2 2
Baseball Photograph 2 3
Nursing Photograph 2 4
Men's Photograph 2 5
Roosevelt Visit 2 6
Museum 2 7
Letters Donated 2 8
N.Y Times Article 2 9
1887 Chapin House Negatives 2 10
1888 Preservation of Chapin House 2 11
Chapin House 2 12
Mentally Disabled Facilities 2 13
Annual Reports 2 14
State Commission Official Regulations 2 15
Willard's Law and Regulations 2 16
State Hospital Rules and Regulations 2 17
Board of Charities Report 2 18
Nursing Professional Development 2 19
Lunacy Handbook 2 20
Hospital Commission Handbook 2 22
Chapel Service 2 23
Nursing Museum 2 24
Receipts and Payments for Building Maintenance 3 1
Reports from Medical Superintendent, Patient Discharge and Auditing 3 2
General Fund Receipts and Dry Goods 3 3
Reports from Medical Superintendent and Auditing 3 4
Discharge Reports and Finance Reports 4 4
Blueprints and Contract Specifications 5 1
Documents Concerning W.S.H. numbered 1-26 5 2
Reference works: The Statutes Relating to Lunacy 6 1
Reference works: The History and Practice of Psychoanalysis 6 2
Reference works: Double Consciousness 6 3
Reference works: On the Nature, and Proximate Cause of Insanity 6 4
Reference works: Contributions to Psycho-Analysis 6 5
Reference works: The Kallikak Family 6 6
Reference works: The Marriage if Near Kin 6 7
Reference works: Clinical Lessons on Nervous Diseases 6 8
Reference works: Demonic Possession in the New Testament 6 9
Reference works: Medico-Legal Treatise on Homicide 6 10
Reference works: Responsibility in Mental Disease 6 11
Reference works: Hecker's Epidemics of the Middle Ages 6 12
Reference works: Periodical Loans 6 13
Reference works: Outlines of Psychology 6 14
Reference works: Willard Training School Syllabi 6 15
State Hospitals Bulletin Vol.1 7 1
State Hospitals Bulletin Vol.2 7 2
State Hospitals Bulletin Vol.3 7 3
State Hospitals Bulletin Vol.4 7 4
State Hospitals Bulletin Vol.5 7 5
State Hospitals Bulletin Vol.6 7 6
State Hospitals Bulletin Vol.8 7 7