Athens Mental Health Center Collections – OHIO University Libraries


Athens Lunatic AsylumTitle: Administration Building, State Insane Hospital, Athens, O.  Postcard.  Late nineteenth century.


The Athens Mental Health Center was a mental health institution operational in Athens, Ohio from 1874 until 1993. Originally called the Athens Lunatic Asylum, it has also been known as the Athens Hospital for the Insane, Athens Asylum for the Insane, the Athens State Hospital, the Southeastern Ohio Mental Health Center, the Athens Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center, and the Athens Mental Health and Developmental Center.

The Ohio University Libraries holds a range of collections and resources relating to the Athens Mental Health Center and its history.


Manuscript Collections

Athens Mental Health Center Records, 1874-1976 (MSS 263)

The Athens Mental Health Center records span from 1874 to 1976 and document the activities of this hospital. The records include patient Inquest of Lunacy records (only from 1874-1911), employee records, payroll packets and disbursement journals; audit reports from the Ohio Department of Mental Health; photographs; and administrative office files including annual reports, newsletters, correspondence, training manuals and financial statements. Some parts of this collection are restricted by Ohio state law. More information on accessing patient records can be found on our Athens Mental Health Center Policies page.


Auxiliary of the Athens Mental Health Center Records, 1955-1983 (MSS43)

This relatively small collection provides an incomplete record of the activities and membership of the Auxiliary of the Athens Mental Health Center for the period 1955 through it dissolution in 1983. The records are organized into the following series: Series I: Auxiliary Organization Records, Series II: Financial Records, Series III: Special Projects and Publicity, Series IV: Executive Board Records, and Series V: Correspondence.


Collection on The Ridges, 1988-1991 (MSS264)

The collection on The Ridges spans from 1988 to 1991 and documents Ohio University’s actions to acquire and use the land and buildings that formerly housed the mental health center. The records include the advisory committee meeting minutes, notes, reports and research; research papers on the history of The Ridges; blueprints; newspaper clippings; use and development proposals; and guidelines for planning The Ridges.


Digital Archives

The Libraries’ Digital Archives also includes a large Athens Mental Health Center Collection, which draws heavily from the Athens Mental Health Center Records manuscript collection.



The 1900 [videorecording]: Voices from the Athens Asylum.  Produced by WOUB Center for Public Media.  Athens, OH, 2013.


For more information, please contact Special Collections Librarian for manuscripts Stacey Lavender at