This series consists of photographs, negatives, slides and architectural drawings created by various provincial mental health institutions from 1901 to 2002. These records regard the following institutions: New Westminster Provincial Asylum (later Public Hospital for the Insane or Provincial Hospital for the Insane), Essondale (later Riverview), Home for the Aged Coquitlam (later Valleyview), Home for the Aged Terrace (later Skeenaview), Home for the Aged Vernon (later Dellview), Crease Clinic, Colony Farm, Colquitz, Woodlands School, Tranquille and other medical facilities. Most records were created by the Essondale or Riverview Hospital Audio Visual Department.
Photos, negatives and slides cover a broad range of subjects which may overlap with or relate to other series of mental health photos at the archives. There are three broad categories of subjects: photos of institutions, pathological photos, and staff and patient photos. Images from these categories may all be intermingled together and specific subjects may be duplicated over multiple media types.
Photos of institutions include interior and exterior images of the buildings, facilities and grounds. This includes the construction and renovation of facilities. Most publicly operated mental health facilities in the Province are represented, as well as some additional medical facilities.
Pathological photos include images of adults and children with various mental and physical conditions or injuries, including full body shots and close ups. This includes close ups of human anatomy, dissections and brain samples. There are also images demonstrating various medical treatments patients underwent.
Staff and patient photos cover many aspects of daily patient and employee life. Many of the images document public events at the hospitals such as sports days, parties, dances, parades, graduations, opening ceremonies and other events. Additional subjects include patient leisure activities; recreational therapy; occupational therapy such as woodworking and sewing; patient care; hospital services such as laundry, food series, pharmacy and dentist; a variety of patient and volunteer programs; patients working at colony farm; staff demonstrating their work; passport style headshots of patients and staff; and group photos of staff from as early as the opening of the hospital.
Each media type is organized separately. They are represented by the following subseries:
- Photographs. Most photos date from the 1940s to 1970s, though altogether they range from the early 1900s to early 2000s. Almost all photographs are black and white, but some later ones are in colour. There are duplicates and copies of some images throughout the collection.
Each photograph will include varying amounts of information on its back. Some photos are unlabeled and include no information. Photos may be labelled with numbers, descriptions and/or dates. Many are stamped with Audio Visual Department, Mental Health Services, Essondale or Riverview. Some photos indicate the folder they were originally stored in and are labelled with an item number. These numbers likely relate to the organizational structure used by the Audio Visual Department and may correspond with the organization of other Mental Health Services photographs in the Archive’s holdings. It appears that when, or before, these photos were collected by the Riverview Historical Society they were removed from this organizational system and filed alphabetically by subject. The files are currently arranged alphabetically in two groups (one for each accession number).
- Large format photographs and albums. There are some large format prints and framed photos which were on display in the hospitals or Historical Society building. These photos are of patients and staff, including an early group photo of staff. These may be prints of older photos. There are also large scale prints of furniture sketches for the for the "Provincial Mental Hospital Mount Coquitlam", likely the Male Chronic Building.
Of the photo albums, three of them include similar photos of the interior and exterior of the Male Chronic Building, the first hospital built at Essondale, around its opening in 1913. The fourth album includes early portraits of patients labeled as having been diagnosed with Dementia Praecox, the original name given to Schizophrenia Kraepelin.
Negatives. Most negatives are stored in their original envelopes, unless they required rehousing. Envelopes contain images related to a specific topic and may be labelled with a title, date and four digit number. Negative envelopes are arranged chronologically by this number up to number 3160. Many envelope numbers are missing. Negatives in container 972114-0009 were transferred separately but appear to have numbers which fit into this numbering system. Some envelopes are unlabeled or are missing some information. Envelopes may also include some associated photographic prints.
Slides. Slides date from 1949 to the 1980s. They have been arranged into several groups based on the numbers written on individual slides. Slides are arranged chronologically by this number, or their date if they were not numbered. Note that there may be gaps in numbering. Slides in file boxes 3 and 4 have a variety of numbering systems, no numbers or only contain a date. They contain similar subject matter to A, B and P slides in the other file boxes. Numbers with A and B prefixes include images of institutions, staff and patients. Numbers with P prefixes document pathological images.
Architectural plans. Plans date from 1920 to the 1980s. They cover Crease Clinic, Valleyview and other buildings on the Riverview/Essondale site at various points in time. There is also a master list of the Provincial Mental Hospital cemetery.