Research

Autopsy reports

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
This series consists of autopsy reports from Willard State Hospital. Information includes case name; autopsy number; date of death; place of death (ward or building); physician in charge; place of autopsy; date; physician conducting autopsy; others present; age at death; form of insanity; duration; cause of death; external appearance; weights of various organs; and anatomical details and remarks. Some include diagrams and measurements of the skull. Some reports provide more complete medical and mental histories. Records are restricted.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
4.5 cu. ft.
Inclusive Dates:
1895-1967
Bulk Dates:
(bulk 1906-1964)
Series Number:
B1462

Arrangement

Numerical, consecutive numbers corresponding to a chronological arrangement.

Scope and Content Note

This series consists of autopsy reports from Willard State Hospital. The earliest reports (1895-1902) are in bound volumes, handwritten on printed form pages. Information includes case name; case book number; autopsy number; date of death; place of death (ward or building); name of physician in charge of case; place of autopsy; date; physician conducting autopsy; others present; age at death; form of insanity; duration; cause of death; external appearance; weights of various organs; and anatomical details and remarks. Some include diagrams and measurements of the skull.

Reports are typewritten beginning in 1906. Some are carbon copies; many are on printed forms. Each report includes name of patient; autopsy number; date of death; date of autopsy; name of physician performing autopsy; and assistants. Patient number, place of death (ward or building), and signature of physician are sometimes included. Some reports provide more complete medical and mental histories. Some include information concerning circumstances and conditions prior to death.

These later reports typically begin with a narrative describing general observations concerning the appearance and condition of the body followed by a more detailed description of anatomical findings. Some include microscopic observations. Almost all conclude with pathological diagnosis or cause of death. At least one report includes photographs of brain and brain sections. Besides patients autopsies, at least one employee autopsy is included.

Of special interest is a small group (ca. 8) of "Reports from the Pathological Institute" (1915-1921). These reports consist of detailed anatomical descriptions of brains removed during patient autopsies. Reports give name of patient, report number, and date received. Some include autopsy number. The reports include narrative of gross observations; detailed observations; drawings; diagrams; photographs of brains and brain sections with labels and captions; photomicrographs; microscopic observation; and summaries.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

Restricted to protect personal privacy.Access permitted under certain conditions upon application and approval by the State Archives.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series 19069, Patient medical records, also include autopsy reports.

Other finding aids

Container list.

Index consists of a small note book which shows autopsy number, date of death, name, number for year, coroner case, location of death (ward or building), physician performing autopsy, and date of autopsy. Only autopsies performed from September 1947 to January 1967 are included in the index.

Custodial History

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

Access Terms

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