Last dissertation trip

Day 1: Massachusetts State Archives

Today was the first day of my last archive trip for my dissertation. I’m having completely mixed feelings about the situation: on the one hand I’m “archiving” which I love; on the other hand, I don’t have any trips on the horizon…..

But staying with the positive: today I started at the Massachusetts State Archives in Boston, MA. The Archive holds the collections of many of the asylums and state hospitals that opened across the state beginning in the early nineteenth century. I started with some cash books from Danvers State Hospital and then spent the remainder of the day with the annual reports of Worcester State Hospital (for my thoughts on annual reports, see mid-way down this post).

Making things a bit more exciting though was that the annual reports had an element that I haven’t seen before: daily weather records (pictured top left). Curious what the weather was like on Thursday, November 1, 1849 in Worcester, MA? It was cloudy with snow squalls, 24 degrees Farenheit at sunrise but up to the freezing mark by sunset. How about the 24th? There was a beautiful sunset. What am I going to do with this info? In all honesty, I haven’t got a clue yet….


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