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Syracuse State School Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Syracuse State School for Mental Defectives (N.Y.)
Title: Syracuse State School Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1862-1924
Quantity: 0.25 linear ft.
Abstract: Checks, receipts, wage and salary listings and miscellaneous correspondence relating to the Syracuse State School for Mental Defectives in Syracuse, New York.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

The Syracuse State School was created in Albany 1851 as the New York State Asylum for Idiots and moved to Syracuse in 1854. Other names over the years include the New York Asylum for Idiots, the Syracuse Idiot Asylum, the Syracuse State Institution for Feeble-Minded Children, the Syracuse State School for Mental Defectives, and finally the Syracuse State School in 1927. The school was closed in 1973.

The longest-serving administrator of the school was Dr. Edward Van Duyn, who served in that capacity from 1904 until his death in 1955.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Syracuse State School Collection consists of business records for the institution, including checks, receipts, wage and salary lists and miscellaneous correspondence about deliveries, freight, etc.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetical by type, and within that chronological.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

See also the James Thornton Correspondence. Thornton was a pupil at the school.

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Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

Syracuse State School for Mental Defectives (N.Y.)
New York State Asylum for Idiots.
Syracuse State Institution for Feeble-Minded Children (N.Y.)
Syracuse State School (N.Y.)


Mental health services -- New York (State)
People with disabilities -- Institutional care -- New York (State)
Psychiatric hospitals -- Costs.
Psychiatric hospitals -- History -- 19th century.
Psychiatric hospitals -- New York (State)
Psychiatric hospitals -- Records.


Syracuse (N.Y.)

Genres and Forms

Checks (bank checks)
Financial records.
Receipts (financial records)

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Syracuse State School Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2014.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MRC
Date: 14 Jan 2015
Revision history:

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Business records
Box 1 Checks 1865, 1869, 1879-1880
Box 1 Receipts 1862-1868 - single items (e.g., a shipment of coal) as well as complete ledger pages covering several weeks; items mentioned include food (nutmeg, oysters, coffee), clothing (boots, socks), supplies (soap, drapes, tea kettle, twine), loan payments, etc. (7 folders)
Box 1 Wages and salaries 1867-1869 - lists of staff and doctors, with services rendered and payment amounts
Box 1 Miscellany 1912-1924, undated - postcards about freight deliveries, shipping damage, solicitations for business, etc.

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