Preservation and Access: Preservation Assistance Grants

Period of Performance

1/1/2010 - 6/30/2011

Funding Totals

$6,000.00 (approved)
$6,000.00 (awarded)

Preserving a Unique Historical Record: The Archives of the Austen Riggs Center

FAIN: PG-50717-10

Austen Riggs Center, Inc. (Stockbridge, MA 01262)
Robert DiFazio (Project Director: May 2009 to October 2011)

The purchase of archival supplies and storage furniture to preserve 600 linear feet of administrative records documenting the treatment of mental illness in the United States from the early 20th century to the present. Founded in 1919, the Austin Riggs Center pioneered alternative approaches to traditional custodial state mental hospitals.

The grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities would support the purchase of storage cartons, shelving and other supplies to remove at-risk archival records from danger and to begin the process of organizing the collection. The purchase of these materials will enable the Austen Riggs Center to act on the immediate steps recommended in the recent preservation assessment. Riggs has earned an important place in the history of medicine and is an essential chapter in the history of both psychiatry and psychoanalysis in America. It is the only remaining institution of its kind in the United States and the historical records of other similar institutions have, in many instances, been lost. Since Riggs continues to thrive, there is an opportunity to preserve and organize its rich archival holdings and to procure additional materials that relate to Riggs history and the history of similar institutions.