Tag Archives: State Library Information Center

Researching New Jersey’s Mental Hospitals

1849 New Jersey State Asylum Report

1849 New Jersey State Asylum Report
1849 State Asylum Report Title Page
The reports of New Jersey’s State Asylums to the Legislature are now digitized and available online in our New Jersey State Publications Digital Library. These documents are snapshots of how the State perceived, housed, and treated the mentally ill. Researchers of the history of medicine, the history of social movements, and the history of patient rights will find these collections of interest.

On Tuesday February 5, Digital Librarian Caitlyn Cook presented “From Dorothea Dix to the Post-War Era: Historic Reports of New Jersey’s Mental Hospitals.” Cook discussed the unique contents of over seventy years of government documents, during a period when the treatment of mental illness was undergoing profound change.

The State Hospital network included facilities in Trenton, Morristown, Ancora (Hammonton), Glen Gardner, Arthur Brisbane (Farmingdale), and Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital. Our collection is incomplete, but you can browse our print holdings in our catalog under the heading Psychiatric Hospitals – New Jersey or by searching the State Library catalog by facility name. The most complete collections of reports in the Library’s collection are from the Trenton and Morristown facilities and these, as well as Ancora, have been digitized. Additional reports will be digitized over time. We actively collect and will add new state documents to the library’s collection when they are made available to us.

Digitized State Hospital Collections

To date, librarians have digitized the following State Hospital collections.

What do Asylum Reports contain?

State Asylum at Trenton baseball team
State Asylum at Trenton baseball team
Report contents varied widely year to year. A budget statement was always included, but in some years you will find photographs of patient activities and treatment rooms, architectural drawings, and renderings of building works. The other persistent feature of asylum reports are patient statistics; these did vary year to year, but they typically include gender, race, occupation before admission, reason for the illness and its duration, and New Jersey county of origin. The eugenics movement in the early 1900s prompted reporting on patients’ ethnicity, level of education, and literacy. In some years, you will find charts that attempted to correlate diagnosis with ethnicity. Some reports contain pathology reports, x-rays, microscopy, and summaries of autopsies conducted at the hospital, including individual patients’ ages and genders, as well as brief summaries of autopsy findings.

Other Sources for Asylum Research

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of the Trenton Asylum, 1908
Plans of the asylums were included in some reports, but can also be viewed on fire insurance maps. State employees and TESU staff and students can access the interactive database Fire Insurance Maps Online with their state library card. Older fire insurance maps are public domain; freely available digital collections can be accessed from Princeton University and the Library of Congress.

Asylum reports did not name individual patients and will be of limited use to the genealogist. Extant patient records are in the collections of the New Jersey State Archives and are unavailable to the public except under extraordinary circumstances. Records of the chancery court (also held at the State Archives) may contain information about the legal circumstances under which patients were committed.

U. S. Federal Census returns include names of all patients and staff residing on the campus. On some returns, resident occupations and ethnicity were included. To find state asylum listings on the Census, try searching for the superintendent at the time the census was conducted. For example see the 1850 record for asylum superintendent Dr. Horace Buttolph; asylum residents and staff appear on pages 30-35. See Dr. Buttolph’s record in 1870; residents and staff are enumerated on pages 47-64.

About the Digital Publications Library

The New Jersey State Library’s State Publications Collection preserves all works published by the State and its entities, whether print or born digital. The digitization of our extensive print holdings is ongoing. Visit our collections in the New Jersey State Library Digital Publications Library. For questions about asylum reports, state publications, and other digital collections, contact Caitlyn Cook, New Jersey Reference & Digital Librarian, or Deborah Mercer, New Jersey Collections Librarian.

December 27-author talk on NJ Hessians

Please join us on December 27 from noon – 1 p.m. for an author talk with Peter Lubrecht titled, New Jersey Hessians – Truth and Lore in the American Revolution.

During the American Revolution, five thousand of the thirty thousand German troops hired by Great Britain to fight rebellious colonists marched across New Jersey. Though popular legend would cast these individuals called Hessians as cold and vicious mercenaries, many were prisoners of war with little choice. Stories of their exploits still circulate in New Jersey. Join author Peter Lubrecht as he navigates the myth of Hessian troops in New Jersey to separate fiction from fact.

NOTE: This program is part of Patriot’s Week held in downtown Trenton and the surrounding area. Many individuals attended last year’s program at the State Library.  The room has a capacity of 75, please try to RSVP for this event.  You can RSVP to cwarrick@njstatelib.org or 609-278-2640 ext. 172.

Dementia Conversations

Don’t wait to have difficult conversations. Invite family, friends, employers and health care professionals to form a care team, communicate with each other, and help you and the person with changes in functioning.  Dementia Conversations is an education workshop offered by the Alzheimer’s Association. This program will offer helpful tips to assist families with difficult conversations related to dementia, including going to the doctor, deciding when to stop driving, and making legal and financial plans.

Topics covered will include:
• Tips for having difficult conversation around some of the most common issues that arise regarding Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
• The need to plan ahead and build a care team that communicates well in order to reduce the stress that can accompany a disease like Alzheimer’s.
• Connecting with helpful resources to enhance quality of life for everyone involved.
• Hearing from people who are dealing with similar issues.

Presented by the Alzheimer’s Association serving the Greater New Jersey Region

Fields marked with an * are required

Please indicate the classes you would like to attend by clicking on the appropriate box below.

*You must use Yes to answer the last question*

Take a Virtual Tour of the State Library Information Center’s U.S. Government Documents Collection

Take a Virtual Tour:

Learn more about the many useful resources available to you from the State Library Information Center’s U.S. Government Documents Collection from the comfort of your computer screen.

  • Teri Taylor, the New Jersey State Library’s U.S. Documents Librarian, covers the ins and outs of the collection by presenting the types of materials the collection holds and how to search and find those materials. Teri also provides information on a number of online resources and subscription databases offered by the library.

Introduction to HeinOnline

Did you ever want to know if New Jersey ever outlawed Witchcraft?[1] Or why King Henry VIII was able to dress so much better than his subjects?[2] If you had attended the “Introduction to HeinOnline” class given on March 10, 2016, at the New Jersey State Library as part of its LunchTime Learning Program, you could have found out.

HeinOnline is a legal research database, organized into different collections, such as the Law Journal Library with over 2,200 law and law-related periodicals, the Federal Register Library, which includes every issue of the Federal Register ever published, and the Code of Federal Regulations collection, which includes every version of the CFR back to its inception in 1938. Older material is available through some of HeinOnline’s other collections, such as the “State Statutes: A Historical Archive” collection which has historical compilations of statutes from every state, some going back to the 1700s. The Session Law Library and Statutes of the Realm collections include even older material.

The “Introduction to HeinOnline” class demonstrated how to access these collections either remotely or by using computers available in the State Library. The class also showed how your search results could be downloaded, emailed or saved to your MyHein account.

One of HeinOnline’s most attractive features is that all of the documents are available in PDF format, so you can see how the documents actually looked when they were originally published. This preserves any charts or graphs that might have appeared in original the document.  In older documents, you can also see the original typeface, such as in the first Chapter Law passed in the Province of New Jersey in 1703 during the Reign of Queen Anne:

HeinOnline - First Chapter Law, 1703
The first Chapter Law passed in the Province of New Jersey, in 1703.

 

[1] By searching for “witchcraft” in the State Statutes collection, and limiting your search to “New Jersey,” you could discover that the “General Assembly of the Province of New-Caesarea, or New-Jersey” had passed a law in 1688 that said “If any Person be found to be a Witch, either Male or Female, they shall be put to Death.”

The General Assembly was equally hard on children who smited or cursed their parents – they were also to be put to death.

[2] According to 1 Henry VIII, Chapter 14, available in the Statutes of the Realm collection, only the royal family could wear “Clothe of golde of Purpoure Coloure or Sylke of Purpoure Coloure.”

July 22 – Place Names of the Jersey Shore author talk

Join us to hear some fascinating stories of how the cities, roads and waterways in Atlantic and Cape May counties got their names.

Author and lecturer Lee Ireland is a native of New Jersey who has spent his life in  the Shore area. His love for history led him to research names of places, roads and waterways in the Cape May Point, Atlantic City, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Stone Harbor, Wildwood, Cape May and Delaware Bay communities. His book gives stories of more than 300 places in the Atlantic and Cape May county areas.

Often the real origin of  names is quite different from what seems to be the obvious explanation. For example, the Boardwalk is not named for the boards you walk on, and Stone Harbor doesn’t have a stone on the bottom of the harbor there! Ireland puts in historical notes about the places as well as giving the name origin.

The talk will take place on Wednesday, July 22nd from noon to 1 p.m. in the Level 2 Reading Room.

All are welcome. RSVP is appreciated.  Please respond to: Cindy Warrick at cwarrick@www.njstatelib.org or 609-278-2640 ext. 172.

July 22 – Place Names of the Jersey Shore author talk

Join us to hear some fascinating stories of how the cities, roads and waterways in Atlantic and Cape May counties got their names.

Author and lecturer Lee Ireland is a native of New Jersey who has spent his life in  the Shore area. His love for history led him to research names of places, roads and waterways in the Cape May Point, Atlantic City, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Stone Harbor, Wildwood, Cape May and Delaware Bay communities. His book gives stories of more than 300 places in the Atlantic and Cape May county areas.

Often the real origin of  names is quite different from what seems to be the obvious explanation. For example, the Boardwalk is not named for the boards you walk on, and Stone Harbor doesn’t have a stone on the bottom of the harbor there! Ireland puts in historical notes about the places as well as giving the name origin.

The talk will take place on Wednesday, July 22nd from noon to 1 p.m. in the Level 2 Reading Room.

All are welcome. RSVP is appreciated.  Please respond to: Cindy Warrick at cwarrick@www.njstatelib.org or 609-278-2640 ext. 172.

July 22 – Place Names of the Jersey Shore author talk

Join us to hear some fascinating stories of how the cities, roads and waterways in Atlantic and Cape May counties got their names.

Author and lecturer Lee Ireland is a native of New Jersey who has spent his life in  the Shore area. His love for history led him to research names of places, roads and waterways in the Cape May Point, Atlantic City, Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Stone Harbor, Wildwood, Cape May and Delaware Bay communities. His book gives stories of more than 300 places in the Atlantic and Cape May county areas.

Often the real origin of  names is quite different from what seems to be the obvious explanation. For example, the Boardwalk is not named for the boards you walk on, and Stone Harbor doesn’t have a stone on the bottom of the harbor there! Ireland puts in historical notes about the places as well as giving the name origin.

The talk will take place on Wednesday, July 22nd from noon to 1 p.m. in the Level 2 Reading Room.

All are welcome. RSVP is appreciated.  Please respond to: Cindy Warrick at cwarrick@www.njstatelib.org or 609-278-2640 ext. 172.

April 21 – Author talk on Brendan Byrne: The Man Who Couldn’t be Bought

Please join us on April 21 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Level 2 Reading Room for an author talk entitled, Brendan Byrne – The Man Who Couldn’t be Bought.  Author Donald Linky will focus on the years when Brendan Byrne was governor (1974-1982).  Mr. Linky served in the Byrne administration as counsel to the Governor and director of the Governor’s office of policy and planning.

All are welcome to this free event. RSVP is appreciated. Please respond to Cindy Warrick at cwarrick@www.njstatelib.org or 609-278-2640 ext. 172.

April 21 – Author talk on Brendan Byrne: The Man Who Couldn’t be Bought

Please join us on April 21 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Level 2 Reading Room for an author talk entitled, Brendan Byrne – The Man Who Couldn’t be Bought.  Author Donald Linky will focus on the years when Brendan Byrne was governor (1974-1982).  Mr. Linky served in the Byrne administration as counsel to the Governor and director of the Governor’s office of policy and planning.

All are welcome to this free event. RSVP is appreciated. Please respond to Cindy Warrick at cwarrick@www.njstatelib.org or 609-278-2640 ext. 172.

April 21 – Author talk on Brendan Byrne: The Man Who Couldn’t be Bought

Please join us on April 21 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Level 2 Reading Room for an author talk entitled, Brendan Byrne – The Man Who Couldn’t be Bought.  Author Donald Linky will focus on the years when Brendan Byrne was governor (1974-1982).  Mr. Linky served in the Byrne administration as counsel to the Governor and director of the Governor’s office of policy and planning.

All are welcome to this free event. RSVP is appreciated. Please respond to Cindy Warrick at cwarrick@www.njstatelib.org or 609-278-2640 ext. 172.