Being someone who infamously lacks patience, especially when I have deadlines approaching, I decided to call Pilgrim State Hospital to find out the status of my request for release of records for Negro League legends Sol White and Dick Redding, both of whom died in NYS psychiatric hospitals in the mid-20th century.
I postal mailed formal requests for said release of records about a month ago and was subsequently told that all further communication with the matter would be made via postal mail. Right. Like I have the patience for that.
So today I called the Pilgrim records department — which houses historical records for the two Long Island hospitals at which Sol and Dick were committed — and asked about the status of my requests. I was told by an administrator that, basically, it could take a while. Why? Because, he said, it’s basically out of his hands at this point and on the desks of bureaucrats in “different offices,” most of which are in Albany, the capitol of New York. He said, “Any hold up in the the process will be a hold up in the whole system.”
That system apparently includes a “group of people” who make such decisions about the release of this type of files. He said there is currently a “backlog in information requests” and that my request is “a strange case because [the request] is not being made by family members or other genealogical researchers.”
Other than that, he acknowledged that he’s basically out of the look at this point and that I’m at the mercy of the glorious, tangled, inefficient bureaucracy known as the New York State government. Yippee.
While all this is pending, I PROMISE I’ll have a big post tomorrow about more details of Cannonball Dick Redding’s last years and the developments that took place in his family immediately following his death. In my quest to find any sort of living descendant of his, I’ve come across some very peculiar and seemingly conflicting records about the subject. So come back tomorrow if you can.