Massachusetts Genealogical Council

Institutional Records

Why These Records Are Important

On March 31st, 2021, genealogist, historian, and author Amy Whorf McGuiggan gave a presentation in MGC's M:O.R.E. series describing her search for her grandfather's parents. After an epiphany that an orphan would appear in an orphanage record, she was launched into a new world, that of institutional records.

 

Amy permitted MGC to record her talk and to display it permanently on our Institutional Records page. Amy's story will inspire you to delve into this type of record to learn your family's story.

Press the Shop button to find the many bookstores which sell Amy's book Finding Emma: My Search for the Family My Grandfather Never Knew.

Background Information

 
MA DMH day-3-beds-big.jpg

Spotlight Team, "State Mental Hospitals Were Closed to Give People with Mental Illness Greater Access to Freedom but It Increased the Risk They'd Get No Care At All," The Boston Globe, 28 August 2016; posted on bostonglobe.com. The graph is credited to the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.

As genealogists, we look not just for dates and locations, but for the stories that tell us about our ancestors. We know that a person lived from a birth year to a death year, for example 1815-1865, but we also say that the real story is in the dash. To inform ourselves, we read about sailing across the ocean in steerage class, about cooking in a fireplace, or about building log cabins. We figure out how our ancestors built up their lives in the U.S. to bring us to where we are today. It’s this story that has so much meaning when we share it with our family.

When we can’t trace family members beyond a particular point in time, one possibility is that the family member was institutionalized. Institutions could help the mentally ill, disabled, orphaned, old, bankrupt, people with tuberculosis, or those convicted of crimes. No matter what the reason, we want to find out what happened to them because all relatives have a part in our stories.

In Massachusetts, many older institutional registers are accessible to genealogists. This page provides links directly to images of the records available for an institution, or to catalog entries when those records are still only in manuscript form.

Accessing these records means that we should understand two things: (1) the historical context of these illnesses, disabilities, and treatments because they differ so much from those of today, and (2) the laws and regulations pertaining to our ability to access these records. With a deeper understanding, we can tell a more complete story to our family.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Massachusetts has over 400 years of European settlement. The types of institutions developed over that period is staggering. As a society, Massachusetts has continually discussed the best approach to aid those in need. The state has been at the forefront of treatment options. It is also true that our ability to deliver treatment has never lived up to our ideals. The implementation of the best ideas falls short of the intentions.

In the colonial period, the destitute were sent to live with unrelated families while the town’s board of selectmen paid their room and board. Later, workhouses were developed in towns. Still later the state built large almshouses and workhouses. A little-known legal tool called "warning out" was used by town to tell newcomers that they were not eligible for the town-supported poorhouse. Families warned in this way had two alternatives, to return to their town of birth or to enter the state-run almshouse. Today, we expect social services and public welfare to help families in need to stay in their own homes and lead normal lives. 

The mentally ill in the early colonial period could be treated as witches or as felons or in the system developed for treating the destitute. Massachusetts led the national movement to provide more humane treatment in the 1800s, developing massive hospitals with what was then considered advanced treatment. In its implementation of massive hospitals, the state’s institutions moved quickly to conditions that were overcrowded, and staff that was untrained. With the advent of medications, patients became able to live within communities. Massive hospitals were dismantled or repurposed, often to house smaller programs for specific health issues such as opioid addition.

The treatment of people with intellectual or physical disability also changed over time. In the early period, people facing challenges often remained at home under the care of family members. The same movement that in the 1800s moved the mentally ill into what was then considered more humane institutionalized treatment moved those with disabilities into hospitals, schools, and later large institutions. Today people with these challenges live in their local communities, often with support services. The old state institutions have been dismantled or repurposed.

Many institutions have had more than one name over time. The first name sounds harsh to the modern ear and later names sound too generic to be meaningful to the researcher. For example, the Industrial School for Crippled and Deformed Children was later called the Massachusetts Hospital School. The Northampton Lunatic Asylum became the Northampton State Hospital.

In researching institutionalized family members, the researcher should recognize that treatment considered humane and at the forefront of good care in 1870 was by 1980 considered inhumane. There are several books that provide background on the evolving concepts of what was considered good care and on the poor conditions in these institutions. Here is a list of some helpful resources to use when communicating these historical contexts to our families.

"'Bloom' was a four-day installation by Anna Schuleit Haber at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston, the former Boston Psychopathic Hospital, for which twenty-eight thousand potted flowers in bloom were brought together from all around the country, as well as 5,600 square feet of live sod. The project existed on all floors of the building, for four days, and was free and open to the public. A public forum of former patients and a symposium of former doctors accompanied the project."  

Click on this video. You'll get a message that it is disabled on other sites, Just click the Watch on YouTube choice to be able to view.

See her YouTube channel at:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCydCs0WWtkjNz2kA5sdzRlg

RECORDS ACCESS

Several bloggers have written about genealogical research focusing on institutional records. Some have looked particularly at Massachusetts records.

 

The records that we access are under the authority of the Massachusetts Secretary of State through the Massachusetts State Archives at Columbia Point in Boston. The policy there is to allow access after a period of time, generally 75 years, but this archives period is not set in the Massachusetts General Law (M.G.L.). In a few cases, these public records are stored in private or local public collections where access is restricted according to the best understanding of the librarians and archivists. The variety of records holders and their rules is one of the reasons MGC is gathering in one place available information about research access to the records of state institutions.

 

It is important to distinguish the many types of records kept by institutions. One type are medical records. In addition to U.S. HIPAA regulations, Massachusetts General Law (M.G.L.) includes language to limit access to the records of the modern human services departments.  The second type of record is registration information. This means the information placed in a register at the time of admittance, such as name, residence, age, next of kin, etc. These records were sometimes updated with discharge information or death dates. Genealogists can access older patient or institutional registers.

Large institutions had cemeteries. These cemeteries look unusual, as the graves are marked by stones listing only a number. Genealogists will want to find cemetery records linking these stones to the names and dates of the people interred there. These records are also open records. Some but possibly not all deaths in institutions were listed in the local town’s vital records, so those should also be considered by the researcher as all death records in Massachusetts are open records.

Business records and reports were also kept by the institutions. Business records tend to be more complete in the modern era, but the older printed annual reports are a great source of information about old institutions. An annual report often contains much of use to genealogists. It might contain a picture of the facility, the numbers of admissions and discharges and deaths, an overall description of the facility, and even a list of the treatments offered. There are also annual reports for the state boards which oversaw the institutions.

Many annual reports are available on Google Books (www.books.google.com). Go to Google Books and form a query that includes “annual report” and a year and the name of the institution. For example, click on these queries to see the reports they return.

 

If you have difficulty accessing records that you feel should be open, please contact the MGC Massachusetts Records Director at staterecords@massgencouncil.org.

 

Several state agencies have web portals for modern records access. These are often used to locate public records under the Massachusetts Freedom of Information Act, although some provide for access to patient records. Massachusetts General Law often prohibits providing patient information for patients in the modern department system. For example, here are the two request portals for modern records from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health:

 

Finding Aid

The original records of many hospitals and institutions are held in Massachusetts State Archives Record Group HS. For a detailed finding aid to these manuscripts, download the 208-page pdf here.

Dates Institutions Were Formed

 

Format of each entry: Year Established, Town Where Originally Established, Name When Established, Subsequent Names

 

1800, Boston, Boston Female Asylum, later called Boston Society for the Care of Girls, the Boston Children’s Aid Society, Boston Children’s Services, and the Home for Little Wanderers.

 

1830, Worcester, Worcester State Lunatic Hospital, later called Worcester State Hospital, Worcester State Hospital and Women’s Lunatic Asylum, Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital. See also the Worcester Farm Colony in Grafton.

 

1835, Boston, Boston Asylum and Trade Farm School for Indigent Boys, A private charity, merged in 1835 with the Boston Asylum for Indigent Boys to become the Boston Asylum and Farm School, later the Boston Farm and Trades School. Located on Thompson’s Island.

 

1839, South Boston, Boston Lunatic Hospital, later called Boston Insane Hospital, Boston State Hospital. Its Psychopathic Department became the Boston Psychopathic Hospital later known as the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.

 

1848, Westborough, State Reform School for Boys, Renamed Lyman School for Boys when it relocated in 1884. Branch called the Nautical Reform School existed 1859-1872 based for periods in Salem, Boston, and New Bedford harbors.

 

1848, South Boston (Watertown; after 1887, later Waltham), Massachusetts School for Idiotic and Feebleminded Youth, later called Walter E. Fernald State School, Walter E. Fernald Developmental Center. See also Templeton Colony of Fernald School.

 

1852, Taunton, State Lunatic Hospital at Taunton, later called Taunton State Hospital for the Insane, Taunton State Hospital.

 

1852, Bridgewater, State Almshouse at Bridgewater, later called Bridgewater State Workhouse, Bridgewater State Farm, Bridgewater State Farm Hospital, State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, the Treatment Center for Sexually Dangerous Persons, M.C.I. Bridgewater

 

1852, Monson, State Almshouse at Monson, In 1864 Almshouse children from Bridgewater and Tewksbury were moved here to create the Monson Primary School

 

1852, Tewskbury, State Almshouse at Tewksbury, later called Tewksbury State Hospital, Gravestones at the hospital (also known as The Pines Cemetery): https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/91769/memorial-search

 

1854, Lancaster, Lancaster Industrial School for Girls,

 

1856, Northampton, Lunatic Hospital at Northampton,

 

1873, Danvers, State Lunatic Hospital at Danvers,

 

1876, Dedham, Temporary Asylum for Discharged Female Prisoners, later called Dedham Temporary Home for Women and Children by 1910.

 

1882, Baldwinville, Hospital Cottages for ChildrenBaldwinville is an unincorporated village in Templeton.

 

1884, Westborough, Westborough Insane Asylum, later called Westborough Lunatic Asylum, Westborough State Hospital, and the Massachusetts State Hospital.

 

1884, Concord, Massachusetts Reformatory, later called M.C.I. Concord, cemetery stones: https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2436248/memorial-search?page=1#sr-99092702

 

1889, Foxborough, Massachusetts Hospital for Dipsomaniacs and Inebriates, later called Addiction treatment functions moved in 1914 to Pondville State Hospital in Norfolk.

 

1892, Medfield, Medfield Insane Asylum,

 

1895, Rutland, Rutland State Sanatorium,

 

1899, Templeton, Templeton Colony of Fernald School,

 

1902, Grafton, Worcester Farm Colony (part of the Worcester Lunatic Asylum), later called Grafton State Hospital.

 

1902, Gardner, State Colony for the Insane, later called North Central Correctional Institution.

 

1902, Shirley, Boys Reform School at Shirley, See also Industrial School for Boys.

 

1904, Boston, Industrial School and Home for Crippled and Deformed Children, later called Massachusetts Hospital School; today the Cotting School in Lexington. See blog post at http://goodoldboston.blogspot.com/2011/03/industrial-school-for-crippled-and.html

 

1905, Penikese Island, Gosnold, Penikese Hospital. Operated 1905-1920, fire in 1910 destroyed records.

 

1906, Wrentham, Wrentham State School,

 

1907, Lakeville, Lakeville State Sanatorium, later called Lakeville Hospital.

 

1907, North Reading, North Reading State Sanatorium, later called Berry Rehab Center.

 

1907, Westfield, Westfield State Sanatorium, later called Western Massachusetts Hospital.

 

1908, Shirley, Industrial School for Boys, later called M.C.I. Shirley.

 

1914, Norfolk, Norfolk State Hospital, later called M.C.I. Norfolk.

 

1922, Belchertown, Belchertown State School,

 

1930, Waltham, Metropolitan State Hospital, In 1955, William C. Gaebler Children’s Unit opened, renamed the Gaebler Children’s Center in 1969.

Links to Records by Institution

 
Boston Female Asylum.png

"The child above was boarded out by the Boston Children's Aid Society because her mother was ill." Placing-out, The Adoption History Project, Department of History, University of Oregon, Eugene.

Boston Female Asylum

Also known as Boston Society for the Care of Girls, Boston Children’s Aid Society, Boston Children’s Services, and the Home for Little Wanderers.

For a contemporary account, see Reminiscences of the Boston Female Asylum. Boston: Eastburn’s Press, 1844.

The records of the institution have been deposited at UMass/Boston; the finding aid is here. It includes items that have been digitized as well as manuscript items. The finding aid has links to the digitized items.

Ann S. Lainhart transcribed and annotated the first two volumes of records for the period 1800-1864. UMass/Boston has made her full work available online here.  This is a boon to researchers.

Asylum for Female Orphans

Registers

  • Volumes 1 and 2 (1800-1864) original records, FHL DGS 7943178 (image may only be viewed at a Family History Center or Affiliate Library.
     

  • Volumes 1 and 2 transcribed by Ann S. Lainhart with notations, UMass/Boston ebook.

Boston Female Asylum

Proceedings, Annual Reports

  • Volume 6 (1867 – 1877), Internet Archive images
     

  • Volume 7 (1877 – 1888), Internet Archive images
     

  • Volume 8 (1889 – 1900), Internet Archive images
     

  • Volume 9 (1901 – 1910), Internet Archive images
     

  • Volume 10 (1910-1912), Internet Archive images

 

A. Prentice, “State Lunatic Hospital,” Annual Report of the Trustees of the State Lunatic Hospital at Worcester, October 1867 (Boston: Dutton and Wentworth, 1867), frontispiece.

Worcester State Lunatic Asylum

Also known as Worcester Lunatic Hospital, Worcester State Hospital and Women’s Lunatic Asylum, Temporary Asylum for the Chronically Insane, Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital; affiliate Worcester Farm Colony also known as the Grafton State Hospital.

For a history of the state’s first hospital for the mentally ill, see Gerald Grob, The State and the Mentally Ill: A History of Worcester State Hospital in Massachu­setts, 1830–1920. Chapel Hill: UniVolume N. C. Press, 1966, pp. XV + 399. See the catalog entry from the Boston Public Library here.

With the exception of old patient registers listed below, records are not at the Massachusetts State Archives. They are held elsewhere.

The earliest Worcester hospital records are held in a private library’s offsite storage. That library is the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University School of Medicine, 10 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115. Countway has “the first eighty years of operation of the institution through patient registries, admission record books, reports, and case books split into male and female volumes.” The Harvard catalog entry for the Worcester Lunatic Asylum patient records is here. To request access to an item, use this Ask Countway Form, providing box and file information from the catalog entry.

Other Worcester State Hospital Records are held by the hospital itself. For access to those records, contact Ms Bridget Kearney, Health Information Services, Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital, 309 Belmont Street, Worcester, MA 01604, telephone 508-368-3701.

Two cemeteries were used for the burials of Worcester hospital patients, Hillside West Cemetery and Hillside East Cemetery. Although most state hospital cemeteries have markers that list only numbers, these cemeteries are exceptions as they include names and dates. Find-A-Grave has Hillside West Cemetery here; and Hillside East Cemetery here. The affiliated Worcester Farm Colony (Grafton State Hospital) cemetery is here.

The following table contains links to Family History microfilms which have scanned images online. Each microfilm has one or more items on it. For example, the digital collection 8093555 has six different register books recorded on one microfilm and now a part of one digital image database. To make it easier for you to find the exact register you need to study, click on the link to that register as an item in the digital database for the microfilm.

Worcester Insane Hospital

Registers

  • Volume 18 (1877-1906), FHL DGS 8093555, item 3
     

  • Volume 19 (1843-1876), FHL DGS 8093555, item 4
     

  • Volume 20 (1840-1892), FHL DGS 8093555, item 5
     

  • Volume 21 (1849-1902), first part, FHL DGS 8093555, item 6
     

  • Volume 21 (1849-1902), last part, FHL DGS 7833946, item 1
     

  • Volume 22 (1902-1907), FHL DGS 7833946, item 2

 
Westborough State Hospital.png

General View, State Hospital, Westborough, Mass., from DigitalCommonwealth.org.

Westborough Insane Asylum

Also known as the State Lunatic Hospital, Westborough State Hospital, and the Massachusetts State Hospital.

It was built on the former grounds of a state reformatory (when the Lyman School was moved to another site). It provided homeopathic treatment and took in patients from other hospitals who wanted this type of treatment. When it began using physicians from regular medical schools in 1939, it became like other hospitals.

For information on its closure in 2010, see Lee Hamel, “Westborough State Hospital Set to Close,” Telegram and Gazette, Worcester, Mass., Sunday, 11 April 2010.

The following table contains links to Family History microfilms which have scanned images online. Each microfilm has one or more items on it. For example, the digital collection 8093555 has six different register books recorded on one microfilm and now a part of one digital image database. To make it easier for you to find the exact register you need to study, click on the link to that register as an item in the digital database for the microfilm.

Westborough Insane Asylum

Impatient Registers

  • Volume 1 (1886-1891), FHL DGS 8093554, item 3

  • Volume 2 (1891-1898), FHL DGS 8093554, item 4

  • Volume 3 (1898-1905), first part, FHL DGS 8093554, item 5

  • Volume 3 (1905), second part, FHL DGS 8073427, item 1

  • Volume 4 (1905-1910) is missing

  • Volume 5 (1910-1915), FHL DGS 8073427, item 2

  • Volume 6 (1915-1918), FHL DGS 8073427, item 3

  • Volume 7 (1918), FHL DGS 8073427, item 4

Westborough Insane Hospital

Institutional Registers

  • Volume 16 (1886-1891), first part, FHL DGS 7833945, item 8

  • Volume 16 (1891-1902), last part, FHL DGS 8093555, item 1

  • Volume 17 (1902-1907), FHL DGS 8093555, item 2

Westborough State Hospital

Registers and Case Files

  • Inpatient commitment registers, 1886-1926, Massachusetts State Archives, record group HS7.04/1115X*

  • Inpatient case files, 1886-1960, 1970-1977, Massachusetts State Archives, record group HS7.04/173X*

  • Inpatient histories, 1886-1892, Massachusetts State Archives, record group HS7.04/278X

*Deemed restricted. Call the Massachusetts State Archives for access guidelines, 617-727-2816.
 
ElizabethIslandsChart.png
Pekinese Island is just to the north of Cuttyhunk. Both are on the southern end of the Elizabeth Islands in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. .

Penikese Hospital

The leper (now called Hansen’s disease) hospital operated from 1905 to 1920, always under the same name. It was for a period of time affiliated with Harvard Medical School. When it closed, its patients were transferred to the federal leper hospital in Carville, Louisiana.

“There are remains of residences, a laundry facility, and a cemetery with 14 residents buried there.” (“Pekinese Island History and Fun Facts,” http://www.penikese.org/penikese-island-history-and-fun-facts/.)

The graveyard’s tombstones are all photographed on Find A Grave here. The last burial was for a woman who died 20 December 1920.

Resources:

The First Leprosy Patients Arrive on Penikese Island.” Mass Moments, blog, posted 17 November 2005.

Brooks, Walter. “November 18 - 1905: First lepers arrive on Penikese Island.” Cape Cod Today, posted 18 November 2018.

Hartnet, Ken. “The Tragedy of Pekinese Island,” The Boston Globe, posted 26 November 2005, the 100th anniversary of the transfer of patients to the island.

Honeij, James A. “Leprosy and Its Relation to Massachusetts.” New England Journal of Medicine 173 (1915): 48-53.

Sabin, Thomas D. “The Penikese Hospital — A Massachusetts Hospital for the Treatment of Hansen's Disease.” New England Journal of Medicine 304 (1981): 1610-2. 

Buckley, I. Thomas, and Meg B. Stringer. Penikese, Island of Hope: One of the Elizabeths, a Massachusetts Historical Site. Gosnold, Mass.: Stoney Brook Pub., 1997. The WorldCat link is here.

pekinese island leper colony from mass m
Pekinese Hospital, circa 1915. Photograph used by Mass Moments on 17 November 2005, The First Leprosy Patients Arrive on Penikese Island.
 
chickering house.png

Chickering House in Dedham, about 1935, was the project of Hannah Chickering. This postcard was for sale by seller aboveall on Hippostcard.com in 2018.

Temporary Asylum for Discharged Female Prisoners

Also known as the Dedham Temporary Home for Women and Children, and Chickering House.

The Temporary Asylum for Discharged Female Prisoners was not a state agency or institution. It was opened by Miss Hannah Chickering. She had long supported the separation of women from men in houses of correction.

For a contemporary discussion of Hannah Chickering and her mission, see Sarah E. Dexter, Recollections of Hannah B. Chickering (Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1881).

Temporary Asylum for Discharged Female Prisoners

Annual reports,
1876-1881

  • Massachusetts State Archives, record group HS9.15/1318

Dedham Temporary Home for Women and Children

Annual reports

  • Given by the Dedham Historical Society to the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University in February 1987; see catalog entry.

    Annual reports (available through interlibrary loan), board meeting minutes, inmates savings, some loose papers, 1864-1986, stored offsite. Call ahead for access.

 
hospital cottages for children.jpg

Hospital Cottages for Children postcard, eBay.com, by rosepostcard, originally offered for sale in October 2018.

Hospital Cottages for Children

For an overview, see “Hospital Cottages for Children (Baldwinville, Mass.),” Social Networks and Archival Content.

Although a private enterprise, it received heavy state support.

For a contemporary view, see William Pryor Letchworth, “Hospital Cottages for Children at Baldwinville,” Care and Treatment of Epileptics (New York: Knickerbocker, 1900), 143-145.

Baldwinville is an unincorporated village in Templeton.

Hospital Cottages for Children

Volume 22, Medical records, 1882-1918

  • Volume 22, Medical records, 1882-1918, FHL DGS 7833946, item 3.

Hospital Cottages for Children

Case histories of children, 1900-1907

  • Massachusetts State Archives, Record Group HS7.16/1645X

 
state almshouse at bridgewater.jpg

State Alms House, Bridgewater, Mass., from The Old Print Shop, New York City. Sales page here.

State Almshouse at Bridgewater

Also known as Bridgewater State Workhouse, Bridgewater State Farm, Bridgewater State Farm Hospital, State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, the Treatment Center for Sexually Dangerous Persons, and Massachusetts Correctional Institute (M.C.I.) Bridgewater.

For a look at conditions in the almshouse, see Lucile O'Connell, “Caring for the Sick Poor: The State Almshouse at Bridgewater, 1854-1887” Bridgewater Review 3 (December 1984): 8-12.

Accepting its first inmates in 1854, the almshouse closed in 1872. Afterward, all paupers were sent to the State Almshouse in Tewksbury. They could be transferred to Bridgewater under some conditions, such as a court order stating they had to serve at the Bridgewater State Workhouse or if they were considered demented. Children were held in Bridgewater only if their mother was incarcerated at the workhouse.

In 1887, the workhouse became the Bridgewater State Farm. It added the State Farm Hospital and took in prison inmates who were old, and state farm inmates who were mentally ill. In 1894 it accepted only the criminally insane, and was called the State Asylum for Insane Criminals. In 1909 it became Bridgewater State Hospital. In 1955, it became M.C.I. Bridgewater. See the Massachusetts State Archive’s full description of name changes here under the catalog entry for the Beacon Newsletter (1960-1973).

The State Farm Hospital Cemetery is partially posted on Find-A-Grave here. Although the stones contain only numbers, names have been associated with several burials and some families have installed normal gravestones.

“Titicut Follies” is a 1967 movie of conditions in Bridgewater State Hospital. Frederick Wiseman had permission from the people (or guardians of the people) in the film. In 1969 the state of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court determined that the film could not be shown in Massachusetts because if its gritty and humiliating content. The full content of “Titicut Follies” is now available on YouTube, just don’t view it while you are in Massachusetts unless you are in a qualified group: “doctors, lawyers, judges, health-care professionals, social workers, and students in these and related fields.”

These records have not been imaged or microfilmed. The originals are held in the Massachusetts State Archives. The links below go to their archive catalog entries. Note that those marked with a red asterisk are deemed restricted. For access guidelines to restricted records, call the Massachusetts State Archives, 617-727-2816.

 

State Almshouse at Bridgewater

Volumes

  • Volume 1 (nos. 1-12286; May 1, 1854-Dec. 31, 1862); Massachusetts State Archives; catalog link.
     

  • Volume 2 (nos. 12287-18075; Jan. 1863-June 26, 1872), first section; catalog link.

Massachusetts State Workhouse

Inmate Registers

  • Volume 2 (nos. 1-3353--May 1, 1872-Oct. 7, 1887), second section for paupers in the care of the workhouse; catalog link.
     

  • State Workhouse register, 1866-1887; catalog link.
     

  • Persons supported at the State Primary School, Monson, and at the State Workhouse, Bridgewater, 1872-1882; catalog link.

Almshouse/Workhouse

Registers

Massachusetts State Farm

Cadaver Transfer Book, Registers, Logs, Payroll

  • Bond books for transfer of cadavers to medical schools, 1893-1944; catalog link.
     

  • Admit/discharge logs, 1896-1955; catalog link.*
     

  • State Farm/MCI Bridgewater hospital admit/discharge registers, 1896-1966; Massachusetts State Archives record group HS9.11/2693X.*
     

  • Daily schedules and diaries, 1911-1955; catalog link.
     

  • Photographs of facilities and activities, ca. 1900-ca. 1910; catalog link.
     

  • State Workhouse/State Farm payrolls, 1883-1915; Massachusetts State Archives, Record Group HS9.10/2530X.

Massachusetts State Prison

Mittimus, Logs, and Registers

  • Mittimus files (copies of commitment warrants), 1840s – 1940s; catalog link.
     

  • Admit/discharge logs, 1896-1955; catalog link.
     

  • Admit/discharge logs, 1956-1988; catalog link.
     

  • Prison Dept. inmate registers, 1906-1950, Massachusetts State Archives, record group HS9.10/2543X*

M.C.I. Bridgewater

Various

  • Reports, Surveys, Photographs, 1911-1974; Massachusetts State Archives, record group HS9.11/1072X.
     

  • Admit/discharge logs, 1956-1988; HS9.11/2536X.
     

  • State Farm/MCI Bridgewater death register, 1932-1987; HS9.11/2550X.
     

  • Beacon newspaper, 1960-1973; HS9.11/2560X.
    ;

  • Building plans, 1884-1995; HS9.11/2652X.*

Division of Forensic Mental Health

Files

  • Convict treatment case files, 1957-1961; Massachusetts State Archives, record group HS7.06/1294X.*
     

  • Director's administrative files, 1959-1976; HS7.06/1295X.*
     

  • Adult after-care clinic case files, 1969-1977; HS7.06/1300X.*

  • State hospital discharge case files, 1956-1971; HS7.06/1301X.*

  • Bridgewater judicial transfer files, 1968-1975; HS7.06/1303X.*

*Deemed restricted. For access guidelines call the Massachusetts State Archives, 617-727-2816.