Superintendent's correspondence

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 correspondence of the superintendent of Utica State Hospital. Most letters with the patient’s relatives and describes a patient's condition, serious illness, prognosis or clothing for the patient. A few letters are with officials of other mental health facilities, supervisors of the poor, private physicians or private attorneys. Records are restricted.
1 cu. ft.
Inclusive Dates:
Series Number:


B1539-97:Arranged by male and female patients and therein chronological.

B1539-97A:Chronological by year.

Scope and Content Note

B1539-97: This accretion consists of letterpress books containing copies of outgoing correspondence of the superintendent of Utica State Hospital. Most often, the correspondence describes a patient's condition to inquiring relatives or informs relatives of a patient's serious illness. Some letters request articles of clothing for patients. A few letters are to officials of other mental health facilities.

B1539-97A: The first distinct portion of this accretion consists of incoming correspondence (1897-1898) addressed to Dr. G. Alder Blumer, director of Utica State Hospital. Correspondents are almost exclusively relatives of patients requesting information concerning some aspect of the current condition or prognosis of their relative. A few letters are from local officials such as superintendents of the poor or private attorneys.

The second part of this accretion consists of original incoming and copies of outgoing correspondence (1942-1948). Most of the correspondence is with officials of other institutions or agencies providing services to the mentally ill. Some correspondence is with private physicians, attorneys, and relatives of patients. Typical correspondence includes inquiries or replies to inquiries about patient condition, case history, or whereabouts.

B1539-98: This accretion consists of photocopies of correspondence (ca. 125 letters) of three superintendents of the State Lunatic Asylum (later Utica Psychiatric Hospital. They are Amariah Brigham (1842-1844), Nathan D. Benedict (1853-1854), and James P. Gray (1854-1855).

Most of superintendent Brigham's correspondence is addressed to Charles A. Mann, chairman of the Board of Managers. Topics include water supply for the asylum, payments of patient expenses, reports to the board of managers on patient population, and requests for expanded facilities. Other topics of correspondence include applicants seeking positions, letters of recommendation, and invoices for material and services supplied. Some fiscal information exhanged between the treasurer of the asylum and the state comptroller is also included.

A separate group of correspondence marked "Misc. 1843 Letters" includes a description of the obligations of town officers in relationship to the asylum, a descriptive report of the institution, recommendations of candidates for the position of superintendent, and inquiries as to the services offered by the institution and procedures for commitment.

Some correspondence of Nathan D. Benedict regarding his resignation, and correspondence of John P. Gray is also included.

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

Other finding aids

B1539-97: Volume list.

B1539-97A: Folder list.

Custodial History

B1539-97: These records were transferred to the State Archives on May 7, 1997 from Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center under RDA 19266.

Access Terms

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