Boston State Hospital

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The Boston Lunatic Hospital was established as a municipal agency in 1839; it was renamed Boston Insane Hospital in 1897. It was made a Massachusetts state agency under the name Boston State Hospital in 1908 and closed in 1981.

From the description of Hospital policy memorandums, 1949-1972 (bulk 1949). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80954833

From the description of School clinic administrative files, 1925-1942. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79840262

From the description of Trustee reports, 1932-1953. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81793027

From the description of Employee newsletter, 1969-1971. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 180704816

From the description of Autopsy reports 1881-1977. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 180704826

From the description of Departmental monthly reports, 1946-1947. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 83716151

From the description of Inpatient case files, 1856-1930 (bulk 1890-1930). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 180704848

From the description of Utilization Review Committee minutes, 1971-1977. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 79918195

From the description of Psychopathic ward inpatient case files, 1911-1912. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 82316349

From the description of Annual reports, 1889-1962. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81866256

From 1839 until 1981, Boston State Hospital was responsible for providing residential care and treatment for mentally ill persons in the Boston metropolitan area currently known by the Massachusetts Dept. of Mental Health as departmental Region IV. In addition the hospital served as a center for research into causes and treatments for mental illness and as a training center for psychiatric health care professionals.

Boston State Hospital was originally established as Boston Lunatic Hospital by St 1839, c 131, which authorized the Boston City Council to erect and maintain a hospital "for the reception of insane persons not furiosly mad." It was the second such public institution for the care of mentally ill in Massachusetts and the first municipally supported institution in the state, operating under the general supervision of council members until 1857, when a Board of Inspectors of Public Institutions was established to manage all city institutions. Under St 1897, c 451 it was renamed Boston Insane Hospital and placed under an Insane Hospital Dept. consisting of seven trustees (see also St 1897, c 395)

The hospital remained under municipal control even when the state assumed responsibility for all insane in 1904 (per St 1900, c 451) and did not relinquish its control until 1908, when it sold the hospital's property and facilities to the state for $1,000,000. At that time its name was changed to Boston State Hospital and a board of trustees was appointed by the state to oversee the institution under the general supervision of the State Board of Insanity (St 1908, c 613) and succeeding state mental health agencies.

Initially the patient population consisted of persons committed by the municipal court judge for the City of Boston, insane persons removed from the house of correction and house of industry, and insane persons removed from the Worcester Lunatic Hospital to Boston (per RS 1836, c 48, ss 14-15). The inpatient population included both chronic and acute cases. However, despite the hospital's expansion over the years, in 1908 less than fifteen percent of the mentally ill in the Boston metropolitan area were being cared for there; the remainder had to be sent to other state facilities.

In 1912, under the authority of St 1909, c 470, Boston State Hospital founded a Psychopathic Dept., the first of its kind in the country, to diagnose and treat acute cases of emotional disturbance through the observation of patients and to conduct research and develop modern methods of treatment. Per St 1920, c 537, the department became the Boston Psychopathic Hospital (per St 1956, c 63, the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, which see)

During the 1960s, as a result of increased emphasis on alternative methods of treatment and the trend towards deinstitutionalization and community based mental health care, the inpatient population decreased significantly. Following extensive community mental health center construction in the Boston area, Boston State Hospital was closed in 1981, with its services being reconsolidated into other centers, units, and hospitals.

NAME AUTHORITY NOTE. Series relating to the agencies described above can be found by searching the following access points for the time period stated: 1839-1897--Boston Lunatic Hospital; 1897-1908--Boston Insane Hospital; 1908-1981--Boston State Hospital.

From the description of Agency history record. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 83716077

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Psychopathic ward inpatient case files, 1911-1912. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Hospital policy memorandums, 1949-1972 (bulk 1949). Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
referencedIn Channing, Walter, 1849-1921. Papers, 1810-1921. Massachusetts Historical Society
referencedIn Massachusetts. Division of Drug Rehabilitation. Director of research subject files, 1965-1974. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Record of Restraint, Seclusion and Packs, 1938-1954 (inclusive). Harvard University, Medical School, Countway Library
referencedIn Massachusetts. Dept. of Mental Health. Admissions card files for state institutions, 1910-1950. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Record of Visits, Escapes, and Returns, 1925-1939 (inclusive). Harvard University, Medical School, Countway Library
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Agency history record. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
referencedIn Massachusetts. Dept. of Mental Health. Weekly returns of admissions to and discharges from institutions, 1916-1945. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. School clinic administrative files, 1925-1942. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Inpatient case files, 1856-1930 (bulk 1890-1930). Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Trustee reports, 1932-1953. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Employee newsletter, 1969-1971. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Sick Call Register, 1925-1930 (inclusive). Harvard University, Medical School, Countway Library
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Infirmary Register, 1912-1915 (inclusive). Harvard University, Medical School, Countway Library
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Daily Census of Men, 1900-1915 (inclusive). Harvard University, Medical School, Countway Library
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Utilization Review Committee minutes, 1971-1977. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Annual reports, 1889-1962. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Autopsy reports 1881-1977. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
referencedIn Richardson, Robert Dale, 1901-1969. Papers, 1920-1969 (inclusive). Harvard University, Divinity School Library
referencedIn Richardson, Robert Dale. Papers, 1920-1969. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Departmental monthly reports, 1946-1947. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
referencedIn Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. Northeast Region. Records, 1926-2007. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
creatorOf Boston State Hospital. Weekly Summary, 1908-1911 (inclusive). Harvard University, Medical School, Countway Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. Northeast Region. corporateBody
associatedWith Boston Insane Hospital. corporateBody
associatedWith Boston Lunatic Hospital. corporateBody
associatedWith Channing, Walter, 1849-1921. person
associatedWith Massachusetts. Dept. of Mental Health. corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts. Division of Drug Rehabilitation. corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts. Division of Mental Deficiency. corporateBody
associatedWith Richardson, Robert Dale, 1901-1969. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Massachusetts--Boston
Massachusetts
Massachusetts--Boston
Massachusetts--Boston
Massachusetts
Massachusetts--Boston
Massachusetts--Boston
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Massachusetts--Boston
Massachusetts
Massachusetts--Boston
Massachusetts
Massachusetts--Boston
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Massachusetts
Masschusetts
Massachusetts--Boston
Massachusetts--Boston
Subject
Patients
Patients
Psychiatric hospital care
Psychiatric hospital patients
Religion
Autopsy
Children with mental disabilities
Psychiatric hospitals
Psychiatric hospitals
Psychiatric hospitals
State hospitals
Occupation
Activity
Managing psychiatric hospitals
Monitoring patients
Rehabilitating mentally ill
Researching mental illness
Treating children
Treating mental illness
Administering psychiatric hospitals
Admitting patients
Diagnosing mental illness
Diagnosing mental retardation

Corporate Body

Active 1949

Active 1972

Information

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