Auburn Prison Physician's Office 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 contains admission reports, hospital reports, medical records, correspondence, examination reports, injury reports, and pharmacy reports generated by the office of the Auburn Prison physician. The medical and record-keeping duties of the physician were spelled out in Chapter 382 of the Laws of 1889.
5 cubic feet
Inclusive Dates:
Series Number:


Chronological within record type.

Organized into thirteen subseries: 1: Admission Reports; 2: Hospital Statistics; 3: Medical Reports; 4: Daily Hospital Reports; 5: Correspondence and Information Files; 6: Immunization Consent Forms; 7: Certificates of Medical Examination; 8: Injury Reports; 9: Lost Time Records; 10: Yearly Maintenance Inventories; 11: Monthly Medical Reports; 12: Volunteer Blood Donor Release Forms; 13: Monthly Pharmacy Reports.

Scope and Content Note

These are files of the prison physician. The medical and record-keeping duties of the physician were spelled out in a law of 1889 (Chapter 382). The files contain a number of different types of records.

Subseries 1: Admission reports give: inmate's name; if married; number; age; weight; height; wife's name; color; crime; term; county convicted in; from (e.g. court, parole violation); home address; date; race; birthplace; date of birth; eye and hair color; how long in U.S.; how long in New York State; crime committed at; arrested at; father's name and birthplace; mother's maiden name and birthplace; order of birth; heredity (health and education of parents); home conditions; environmental influences (e.g. lack of parental influences, bad companions); habits: age began (tobacco, gambling, alcohol, sexual, drugs), kind (e.g. gambling - cards, dice, pool), most of (e.g. gambling - cards), and degree (e.g. excess); daily amount: drug first used, next, greatest amount, least amount, length of time, predisposing causes, how habit acquired; education; religion; previous illnesses and injuries; stigmata (e.g. left ear ill formed); physical examination upon admission: class (e.g. A-3); defects (e.g. defective vision, deviated septum); delinquencies: age, institution, crime, sentence, time served, disposition (eg. suspended, paroled), institution liked best, institution kept straight longest after; jobs (e.g. machinist); how long at first job; at last job; highest wages at; longest at (time); liked best; previous ideals (career goals): at 5-10 years old, 10-15, 15-20, 20-25, and now; correlation (if any) between previous ideals and previous jobs, present choice and previous ideals, and present choices and previous jobs; qualifications: health, mentality, age, family, personality (e.g. o.k., NO); recommendations: trade choice, if approved, and trade suggested; scores on I.Q. and mental age tests; capacities; causative factors of delinquency; classification (e.g. psychopath, alcoholic); outlook (e.g. poor); and recommendations (e.g. parole is not recommended).

Subseries 2: Statistics provide number of inmates in hospital on first and last day of the month; received in hospital during month; and discharged from hospital during month.

Subseries 3: Medical data sheets give inmate name and number; date entered; date discharged; and diagnosis.

Subseries 4: Daily Hospital Reports give the date; number of applications so far in month (added each day); treated; excused from labor; retained in hospital; discharged from hospital; received in prison; discharged from prison; patients in hospital; and daily prison population.

Subseries 5: Information and correspondence files include correspondence among prison wardens, physicians (various prisons), and the Correction Department regarding treatment of diseases (e.g. poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, Asiatic flu), budgetary matters, etc.

Subseries 6: Consent forms for immunization of inmates under 20 years old include date; name; number; signature of inmate and witness; and guardian's name, address, relation to inmate, and signature.

Subseries 7: Certificates of Medical Examination include name; date of birth; marital state; family history of nervous or mental diseases and treatments; military service: organization, enlistment and discharge dates, cause or type of discharge, and physical disabilities incurred in service; past severe accidents accompanied by unconsciousness; if has life insurance; if ever rejected by a life insurance company; if ever received workman's compensation; if has or has had diseases (e.g. encephalitis, syphilis); if suffers from ailments of skin, eyes, ears, organs, throat or tonsils; if subject to headaches, dizzy spells, etc,; if has had any other disease not previously mentioned; extent of drug and alcohol use; if incapacitated for work, and cause: name of ailment, disease or injury, number of attacks per month, per year, duration, effects; family history: members' ages, occupations, health, if dead (cause of death and length of illness); indications of any abnormalities (e.g. heart, blood pressure, lungs, teeth, etc.); alertness during examination; mental and nervous condition; coordination; classification (1, 2, 3, or 4) and reason (e.g. defective vision); and signature of physician.

Subseries 8: Injury reports give the date; time and place of injury; name and number of inmate; inmate's statement of how injury occurred; type of injury; signature of inmate and witness; procedures (e.g. X-ray; sutures); disposition (e.g. retain in hospital; report daily dressing); and signature of physician.

Subseries 9: records of days lost give name; number; date; location; where inmate works in prison; and time.

Subseries 10: Yearly maintenance inventories of the medical division of Auburn Prison give the year, list of items, and quantity of each.

Subseries 11: Monthly Medical Reports give the month and year; number of hospital patients on first day of month, admitted during month, discharged during month, total days lost due to sickness, number seen at sick call, completed physical exams, operations, tuberculosis cases under treatment, and accidents reported; diagnostic clinic: inmates treated by dentist, dental treatment, examined by oculist, syphilis cases treated, anti-syphilitic treatments, ear-nose-throat examinations and treatment, and gonorrhea cases and treatment; laboratory: examinations, x-rays taken; autopsies; and deaths not coming to autopsy.

Subseries 12: Volunteer Blood Donor Release forms give date; name; number; and signature of inmate and witness.

Subseries 13: Monthly pharmacy reports include two types of forms. Description of Narcotic Medicine Administered gives inclusive dates; types; inmate number and name; date; time; amount; administered by; list of non-narcotic drugs dispensed to inmates; name of pharmacist; and signature of physician. 24 Hour Hospital Narcotic and Drug Count forms, produced each day, give date; type of drug; strength; number at midnight; number used midnight to 8 a.m.; number at 8 a.m.; number used 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; number at 4 p.m.; number used 4 p.m. to midnight; number at midnight; signatures of persons responsible for drug counts; name and number of inmate; medication; dosage given; time; by whom given; and physician's name. With these records are prescription slips giving inmate number and name; date; type and strength of medication; and physician's signature.

There are also various other records in the series such as lists of inmates (cell block, cell name); Monthly Syphilis and Gonorrhea Clinic statistical reports; correspondence form the State Health Department to the warden (e.g. regarding analyses of chest x-rays); copies of Interdepartmental Communications between warden and physician (e.g. regarding examinations, treatments, consultants, etc.); and unpublished copies (typed carbons) of Medical Department (Auburn Prison) Annual Reports.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

Summary information on adult inmates is disclosable under law. State Archives staff will review records containing probation, parole, medical, and juvenile criminal history data and disclose information pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law and Personal Privacy Protection Law. The identity of victims of sex crimes is not disclosable. Unless a specific law forbids disclosure indefinitely, all records must be disclosed after 75 years.

Access Terms

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Detailed Description

Contents Box

Accretion: B0052-77
Admission's Reports 1
Daily, Monthly, and Annual Hospital Reports; Medical Data Sheets, Vaccine Files, and Injury Reports 2
Physicals; Physician Correspondence 3
Correspondence with Health Department; Annual Reports 4
Pharmacy Reports 5