My first visit to the McLean Hospital Archives was in February of 2011. The Archives are located in Belmont, MA – the second site of the institution which was purchased in 1873. It’s located in the back of the Administration building – one of the many original buildings still standing on the property.
The McLean Asylum/Hospital was founded in 1811 and admitted its first patients in October of 1818. Its original location was in Charlestown, MA (now Somerville).
The Archives are easy to get to: take the bus or train to Waverly Square and then wait in the parking lot until a white passenger van shows up and hop in – it’ll take you up the hill and drop you at the Administration building for free. The concept of getting into a strange van was foreign to me (it seems like the one thing we’re all taught NOT to do as kids) but there were always plenty of other people waiting around when I was there and all seemed to work out just fine.
The collection held by the Archives is enormous! For those interested: Archivist Terry Bragg has published a Guide to the Archives which serves as a descriptive finding aid and includes several interesting photographs.