Day 3: So many cases, so little time
NY is making me an early bird: I was ringing the bell to get in to the Archives today at 6:50am!
There doesn’t seem to be a finding aid available for researchers for the Bloomingdale collection so I started the day sitting with the archivist at his computer while we searched for key terms in their database that might be of interest to me. That’s when he asked if my interest in photographs included photos of individual patients – I had to stop myself from jumping up and yelling “Hell YA!”
Turns out that the archivist I’m working with this week (who is retiring Friday I think?) and the past Head Archivist went to Bloomingdale together back in 1994 (currently the New York Hospital, Westchester Division) and grabbed a bunch of books and papers from their basement. Among these items was a giant bound casebook that lists roughly four pages per patient and includes a summary of their basic personal information, the details from their admissions form and medical certificates, and then an almost daily account of their first year or two or three at the institution PLUS each entry includes at least one photo of the individual.
The day couldn’t have gone better: I got HIPAA approval on-the-spot and spent the remainder of the day reading descriptions of behaviour, activities, hydrotherapy, and medicines. Only problem is that there is far too much material for me to get through by the end of the week (yes, I understand that my need to return to NYC for MORE material should never be a problem!)
[Photo inset on this post was found on the University of York’s women’s history page and did not come from the casebooks I was looking at today – no photography allowed :(]