Photos, photos, photos

Day 2: it’s all about the photos

Arrived at 7am this morning at the archives (the Archivist said he’d be there by 6:30am but I declined the offer to be there quite so early – as is, I was up at 5:45am just to shower and catch the bus – and yes, I’m as surprised as the next person about this fact).

Archivist also totally saved me: I forgot to pack the new magnifying glass my Mom picked up for me and would have missed a ton of stuff in the background of some of the photos if he hadn’t had one to lend me!

Spent the entire day looking through the photos I had selected yesterday off the computer database. Was a bit discouraged during the first few hours – the majority of the interior images were plates taken out of bound annual reports (and seemed quite staged) or were drawings rather than photographs 😦 It’s funny: finding this type of material even a few months ago would have gotten me excited – McLean‘s archives may have spoiled me…..

By mid-day I came across the ‘good stuff’ – photos of patients engaging in all sorts of different sports (golf, basketball, dance, exercises, bowling), amusements (costume parties, riding in carriages), and working (gardening, milking cows). A few of the photos have the faces of the patients scratched out which sucks because I can’t see their expressions but the remainder of the image is in good condition. Their clothing is particularly clear which is great because I hadn’t found any images of patients like this up until now – however, Bloomingdale was a private institution so I still want to find some comparative images of patients at public institutions (fingers are crossed for Albany in a few weeks!)

Despite the plate disappointments I did find some good interior photographs of the kitchens, barns, bedrooms, and nursing school rooms. Already have begun searching for info re: 19th century farming equipment and kitchen tools – send references if you know of any!

For some reason I was also totally tickled with one photo of the office of an assistant physician in the men’s department: Fleury’s painting of Pinel striking off the chains was hanging on the wall behind him. Not totally sure why it surprised me when I noticed it hanging there…


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