19th-century documents from the Peruvian asylum el Manicomio del Cercado (EAP1402)

Aims and objectives

This project aims to digitise the valuable yet damaged 19th-century collection of medical documentation from the Cercado asylum (Manicomio del Cercado), once located in central Lima and now hosted by the Larco Herrera mental hospital’s museum. The asylum’s archival documentation covers a period from 1859 to 1917, and consists of admission and administrative records, accountancy and correspondance. Besides this 4,000 page material, we hope to survey the hospital’s central archive in order to add clinical files to the project. We thus hope to contribute to enriching the history of psychiatry, which recent historiographical work has started to enlarge.

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As was initially planned, though with some delay due to the late reception of the funding by the hospital and to the delays in obtaining the technical supply necessary to the project, project 1402 has achieved the digitisation of a collection, organised into seven documentary series describing the administrative history of the Lima Asylum.

These series, which are dated from the end of the 19th century, are the result of the process of organising and classifying eight books and three medical files with approximately 4,500 text documents. These seven series have been organised as follows: 01 Book of General Expenses of the Lima Insane Asylum (1860-1874), 01 Book of the General Budget of the Lima Insane Asylum (1860 to 1874 and from 1885 to 1890), 02 Copying books of notes and reports and correspondence of the Lima Insane Asylum (1888 to 1920), 01 Statistical Book of the general movement of the Lima Insane Asylum (1888-1899), 02 books of the Women's Admission Registers of the Lima Insane Asylum (1859-1908 / 1915-1919), 01 book of the Men's Admission Registers of the Lima Insane Asylum (1915-1920).

On top of this first set of documentation digitised, we decided to include some additional documentation, since the photographic part of the work was going smoothly and finished ahead of scheduled timing. As a result, were digitised 3 Medical Records of patients of the Lima Insane Asylum where the administrative process for their admission to the hospital is documented.

We managed to establish some contractual links in regard to the project with two partnering institutions: the San Fernando medical faculty (UNMSM, Lima) and the Place of Memory (LUM, Lima), which have both agreed to host the digitised documentation.

The records copied by this project have been catalogued as: