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History of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing

Preserving the History of Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing in New York State


A guide to locating psychiatric/mental health nursing records in New York State (2005)


  • Middletown Psychiatric Center, Middletown, NY
  • Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY
  • Pilgrim State Hospital, West Brentwood, NY
  • Rochester Psychiatric Center, Rochester, NY
  • Saratoga Hospital, Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Sisters of Charity Hospital, Buffalo, NY
  • Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital, Penn Yan, NY
  • South Beach Psychiatric Center, Staten Island, NY
  • St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center of New York – Staten Island Division, Staten Island, NY
  • Steuben County Community Mental Health Center, Bath, NY
  • Visiting Nurses Association of Albany, Albany, NY
  • Visiting Nurses Association of Western New York, Williamsville, NY
  • Schools of Nursing
  • Adirondack Community College, Queensbury, NY
  • Broome Community College, Binghamton, NY
  • Columbia University School of Nursing, New York, NY
  • Decker School of Nursing at Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
  • Dutchess Community College, Poughkeepsie, NY
  • Erie Community College, Buffalo, NY
  • Hudson Valley Community College, Troy, NY
  • Long Island College Hospital School of Nursing, Brooklyn, NY
  • Nassau Community College, Garden City, NY
  • Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, NY
  • Orange County Community College, Middletown, NY
  • Pace University, Pleasantville, NY
  • Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester, NY
  • The Sage Colleges, Troy, NY
  • St. Joseph’s College of Nursing at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Syracuse, NY
  • Suffolk Community College, Seldon, NY
  • SUNY Canton, Canton, NY
  • Trocaire College, Buffalo, NY
  • University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
  • University of Rochester School of Nursing, Rochester, NY



  • Adelphi University Archives, Garden City, NY
  • The Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • Bellevue Alumnae Center for Nursing History, Foundation of NYS Nurses, Guilderland, NY
  • Central Islip Historical Preservation Society, Central Islip, NY
  • The College of Staten Island Archives and Special Collections, Staten Island, NY
  • Daughters of Charity Archives of the Northeast Province, Albany, NY
  • Historical Society of Middletown, Middletown, NY
  • Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Levy Library, New York, NY
  • New York Weill Cornell Medical Center Archives, New York, NY
  • New York Psychoanalytic Institute, Abraham A. Brill Library, New York, NY
  • New York State Archives, Albany, NY
  • Office of Mental Health Records
  • Buffalo State Hospital
  • Middletown State Hospital
  • Utica State Hospital
  • Willard State Hospital/Willard Psychiatric Center
  • North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System Archives, New Hyde Park, NY
  • Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
  • Seneca Falls Historical Society, Seneca Falls, NY
  • SUNY Health Sciences Center Archives, Syracuse, NY
  • Teachers College Library, Columbia University, New York, NY


Project Overview

Psychiatric/mental health nursing in New York State has an extraordinarily rich and proud heritage.  Materials documenting this heritage are nursing’s historical treasures – indispensable to the profession’s and public’s understanding of nursing and its unique contribution to society.

The Center for Nursing exists to increase public knowledge and understanding of nursing.  The Center for Nursing History was created to ensure that records documenting the “life” of the nursing profession and its members in New York State are identified, preserved, and made available to the public, the profession, and interdisciplinary researchers.

A grant from the New York State Documentary Heritage Program funded a 2004-2005 survey of nursing schools, health-care facilities, individual nurses, nursing organizations and historical societies.  The purpose of this survey was to discover the existence and location of psychiatric/mental health nursing records in New York State and to assist in making these records available to researchers.  The contents of this Guide represent the survey’s findings.

The staff of this project extends our heartfelt thanks to all who took the time to respond to our surveys and who welcomed us into their facilities to view their records.  This project would not have been possible without the support of so many nurses, educators, archivists and others across the state who are committed to preserving the history of psychiatric/mental health nursing.
Although paper surveys were sent to over 400 locations and individuals across the state and even more were contacted via telephone or electronic mail, it was simply impossible to contact every potential records holder in the state in the duration of this project.  If you own or are aware of psychiatric/mental health nursing records that are not listed in this Guide and would like to submit information on those records for future updates, please contact us at the following address.  If records from your facility are listed in this Guide, but the listing is incomplete or new records have been identified subsequent to the completion of the survey, please contact us.  The Guide is a working document and will continue to be updated.


Restriction Note

Access to materials described in this Guide may be legally restricted due to health care confidentiality and privacy laws.  Contact the Center for Nursing for restriction information on collections at facilities or schools of nursing.  Archives may be contacted directly at the address, email address, and/or telephone number provided.


Using This Guide

This Guide is divided into three categories: health care facilities, schools of nursing, and archives.  Health care facilities and schools of nursing may have none or limited archives staff.  If you would like more information on the materials from facilities or schools of nursing, please contact us at (518) 456-7858.

Archives, which designates facilities with organized programs to maintain and preserve historic records, should be contacted directly.  These facilities include historical records beyond the school or organization which houses the archives.  Contact information for each archive is provided.

Each entry begins with the name of the institution.  This is followed by a set of dates which designate the inclusive dates of the historical records held by the institution and the estimated size of the collection, as reported to the Center for Nursing at the Foundation of New York State Nurses, Inc. in the 2004-2005 survey.

The terminology used in this guide reflects the terminology of the various eras in which the included records were created.  While terms such as lunatic, lunacy and insane asylum are no longer used today, they were common for the early twentieth century.  Their use in this Guide is a reflection of the past and not present thinking.

This Guide does not purport to be a comprehensive guide to records in New York.  The nature of archives tends to be ever-changing and therefore records available at the time this Guide was created may not be available or in the same location in the future.  While this Guide primarily holds information on records currently in New York State, it should be noted that two entries outside of New York have been included: the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania and the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.  These archives have been included because they hold significant collections relating to psychiatric/mental health nursing in New York State. 

This Guide should serve as a starting point for researchers in the area of psychiatric/mental health nursing history.  The Guide will be updated on an ongoing basis as information becomes available.

Should readers know of psychiatric/mental health nursing records omitted from this Guide, the Center for Nursing would deeply appreciate receipt of such information for use in updating this Guide.

Page authored by Rachel Donaldson, 2005.
© 2005-2006 Foundation of New York State Nurses
© 2006-2014 Foundation of New York State Nurses, Inc.
Last revised: January 12, 2008.