Photographic images of mental health patients, staff, and facilities

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

Prints, slides, and photo albums provide extensive visual documentation of the daily activities at several central New York state mental health facilities. Scenes include parties; sports; field trips; dining; ceremonies; entertainment, patient therapy and treatments and interior and exterior of buildings. Staff, patients, and visitors are shown in committees; classes; meetings; therapy groups; nursing school, and other settings. Images include facilities and equipment, and patient art.
B1560-97: 9 cubic feet (ca. 7,000 photographs, 4,000 negatives, 750 slides, and 5 CD-ROMs); B1560-98: 0.75 cubic foot (ca. 1,000 photographs)
Inclusive Dates:
[ca. 1900-1990]
Bulk Dates:
(bulk 1958-1985)
Series Number:


B1560-97: Arranged in four subseries: Subseries 1, Black-and-White Photographs, bulk ca. 1958-1980, 3 cu. ft. (ca. 6,000 items); Subseries 2, Black-and-White Negatives, ca. 1958-1975, 1 cu. ft. (ca. 3,500-4,000 items); Subseries 3, Ward Activity Photograph Albums, ca. 1983-1990, 4 cu. ft. (ca. 20 albums); and Subseries 4, Color Slides, Snapshots, and CD-ROMs, ca. 1965-1985, 1 cu. ft. (ca. 1,750 items).

Subseries 1, Black-and-White Photographs, is arranged roughly by subject. Subseries 2, Black-and-White Negatives, is roughly alphabetical by subject. Subseries 3, Ward Activity Photograph Albums, is arranged by ward. Subseries 4, Color Slides, Snapshots, and CD-ROMs, is arranged by type of medium.

B1560-98: Arranged roughly by state hospital.

Scope and Content Note

B1560-97: This accretion consists of black-and-white photographs, negatives, CD-ROMs, slides, and color snapshots maintained at Utica State Hospital (later Utica Psychiatric Center). Subjects of the images provide extensive visual documentation of almost every aspect of staff and patient daily activities, as well as special occasions, at Utica and at Marcy State Hospitals and at Marcy and Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Centers.

Images include scenes of recreation activities (such as parties, sporting events, and field trips for patients and staff); committees; officials; classes; staff and patients in groups and individually; meetings; dining; ceremonies; patient therapy and rehabilitation groups; patient medical treatment; staff training; receptions; holiday celebrations; entertainment; and visitors. Also documented are interiors and exteriors of buildings, grounds, and facilities, including maintenance, construction, and equipment.

Subseries 1. This subseries consists of ca. 2,000 black-and-white photographs (most are 8 x 10 inches) dating primarily from ca. 1960-1980, although some are much earlier. Although many of the prints are not fully identified, most are stamped and dated on verso; some are captioned on verso or have handwritten or typewritten captions attached. Approximately half of these photographs depict Marcy State Hospital (later Marcy Psychiatric Center). Better identification of individual photographs can sometimes be obtained by referring to captioning information associated with the negatives in subseries 2.

Subseries 2. This subseries consists of black-and-white negatives. Almost all date from 1960-1980 and appear to correspond to the photographs in subseries 1. The negatives are housed in glassine envelopes and identifying information is almost always provided. Most negatives are 4 x 5 inches in format. Many smaller format negatives (2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches) are also present. Also included are seven 8 x 10 inch negatives (four glass plates) which appear to correspond to prints in series B1559, Utica State Hospital School of Nursing records.

Subseries 3. This subseries consists of photo albums produced by individual wards of the hospital, showing ward activities, staff, and patients (ca. 1983-1990). Most photos are color snapshots with a few black-and-white prints, instant camera photographs, and newspaper clippings. Wards are sometimes not identified. Staff and patients are sometimes identified. Images depict therapy and recreational activities, birthday parties, outings, and other occasions.

Subseries 4. This subseries consists of ca. 750 slides (35 mm); 1,000 color snapshots; and 5 photo CD-ROMs. Although most slides appear to be typical snapshot subjects of staff, patients, facilities, and activities, some appear to be reproductions used for lectures or instruction. Some slides are from Marcy State Hospital. Snapshots are seldom identified. A few 35 mm negatives and 126 color negatives are also present. The photo CD-ROMs contain 434 historical images including nursing school classes; past directors; hospital equipment;, patient art work; views of buildings; and patient treatment and activities.

B1560-98: This accretion consists of approximately 1,000 black-and-white and color photographs documenting activities of patients and staff of Utica State Hospital and Marcy State Hospital (later Utica Psychiatric Center and Marcy Psychiatric Center). Subjects include volunteer activities; recognition ceremonies; group photographs of staff; recreation activities; picnics; training; and entertainment. Most photographs contain no identifying information; the bulk of the dated photos cover the period 1968-1983. Most photographs are black and white and range in size from 5 x 7 inches to 8 x 10 inches. Many smaller color snapshots are also included.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

Patient and staff identification photographs in the series are restricted under provisions of the Personal Privacy Protection Law. Use under supervision of archivist.

Related Information

Other finding aids

B1560-97: A container list is available at the repository.

Acquistion Information

B1560-97: Many of the photographs in Subseries 1 were collected by Lyle Engell, hospital archivist. Records in this series were transferred to the State Archives on May 7, 1997 from Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center under RDA 19266.

B1560-98: The photographs in this accretion were created at Utica State Hospital and Marcy State Hospital (later Utica Psychiatric Center and Marcy Psychiatric Center) before their consolidation as Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center. The photos were combined at an unknown date and maintained by Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center as part of a photography archives of predecessor facilities.

Access Terms

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