APG-L Archives

Archiver > APG > 2008-12 > 1228248826

From: Rebecca Rector <>
Subject: [APG] Mental Hospitals and records
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2008 12:13:46 -0800 (PST)

A book was recently published about Willard Psychiatric Center in upstate NY: "The Lives they left behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital attic" by Darby Penney and Peter Stastny. When the hospital closed in 1995, hundreds of patient suitcases were found in the attic. The book highlights the stories of about 15 patients (real names were not used). It's fascinating. It also became an exhibit at the NYS Museum in Albany.  Here is a link to the exhibit, the book, and information about the hospital, including the cemetery (mostly buried by numbers, but there are some names)   www.suitcaseexhibit.org
  To get access to records of mental hospitals in NY, one needs to determine what institution is currently housing the records, then write to that institution. There is a board or committee which decides if access will be allowed (this process can take a long time). I believe one must be a direct descendant, but access still may be denied.   I found a 2005 website about Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center becoming the records center, but I can't find anything more up to date.

Rebecca Rector, MLS
RbInfo Research
Troy, NY

This thread: