Incoming Correspondence

Scope and Content

This series of incoming correspondence begins in 1796, with approximately 100,000 items surviving for the period up to 1905. Most of this correspondence is about patients. For later correspondence about patients, see RET 6/20 and also RET 6/19 and RET 6/21
Included are enquiries about places at the Retreat; letters sent with payments of patients' fees; letters enquiring about the progress of patients and sometimes letters describing the progress of patients after discharge. Also included are letters about subscriptions and donations to The Retreat. By the late 19th century there are also rather more letters about routine administrative business, supplies, maintenance and building programmes. See RET 1/5/5/5 for further correspondence on general matters. Letters are addressed to the Medical Superintendent or to the Secretary; occasionally letters of a more personal nature addressed to them are included. There are a few letters about staff or prospective staff
The quantity of material each year varies, from very small annual files at the beginning of the series, to 2-3 or more boxes each year by the mid to late 19th c. Material is arranged chronologically within boxes and files. There is no surviving correspondence for 1842, 1903 and 1904.
By 1870 there appear to be two parallel monthly series included in the annual total: some probably representing correspondence handled by the Secretary (and including routine letters sent with patients fees) and others probably handled by the Medical Superintendent, including letters about individual patients
There is much overlap between these loose items, and the bound volumes of incoming correspondence at RET 1/5/2, and researchers seeking letters relating to individual patients should check both places, as well as the material in RET 6 noted above
1842, 1903 and 1904 are missing

Alternative Form Available

Much of the Retreat Archive has been digitised with funding from the Wellcome Collection. Copies of digitised records can be viewed online where available by following links provided within the catalogue.

Additional Information