Research

New York State Central New York Developmental Disabilities Services Office Historical Research and "Cornerstone" Files

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 photographs; key plot plans; blueprints; articles on the school; and assorted records representing accumulated research on the history of the Syracuse State School compiled prior to the laying of the cornerstone of a "new" Syracuse State School in 1971. Included is information on laying of the cornerstone of the new building (1971) including planning documents for the ceremony as well as material collection by the Historical Committee of the Central New York Developmental Services Office.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
1 cubic foot
Inclusive Dates:
circa 1937-2007
Series Number:
B1657

Administrative History

In 1972, a $26 million facility was built to replace the original institution (then called the Syracuse State School). The only original building remaining was the gatehouse at the end of the original entrance drive. Building interiors, exteriors, and grounds were documented prior to demolition by a contract photographer. In 1973 the new facility was named the Syracuse Developmental Center.

The Historical Committee of the Central New York Developmental Services Office was formed in 2007 for the purpose of preserving and recording the history of the Syracuse Developmental Center.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of an assortment of records that represent accumulated research on the history of the Syracuse State School. The materials were compiled prior to the laying of the cornerstone of a "new" Syracuse State School in 1971, apparently as part of a preservation effort, and, perhaps, to inform the choice of enclosures placed in the cornerstone of the new building.

Some of this research material may reflect work of Dr. George Buchholtz (superintendent 1967-1978) to investigate the history of the school and coalesce data gathered by others on the founding and early operation of the institution. Examples of such documentation include: files on the school's early history (1851), including photographs of the residences where Dr. Hervey B. Wilbur, the school's preeminent founder and first superintendent, received the first and second pupils; key plot plans and blueprints of old school farms, buildings, and grounds (ca. 1937, 1948-1951); and two dozen photocopies of old prints that document on-site educational and therapeutic activities at the old school.

Other examples include copies of periodicals that featured articles on the school. Chief among these are the "Personal Memoirs of the Syracuse State School," by Dr. E.S. Van Duyn, president of the board of visitors, which appeared in the 100th annual report and in the May 1952 edition of "Mental Hygiene News." Of special note are rare prints of the New York Asylum for Idiots, and of the Western Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded.

Also present is information on laying of the cornerstone of the new building (1971) including planning documents for the ceremony and information on enclosures for the lead box that was placed within the cornerstone. Enclosures were photographs and other memorabilia of the original building, which was an historic landmark. There is a file on plans for the "new" school construction, which included a museum to house documents and artifacts from the facilities' past. Included are drawings of the museum, showing location of plaques placed at its entrance.

B1657-13: This accretion consists of material collected by the Historical Committee of the Central New York Developmental Services Office. Types of records include newspaper articles, photocopies of Power Point presentations, articles or papers on related topics, emails, and minutes of committee meetings.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

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

Access Terms

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