An Annotated Inventory of the Diana McCourt Collection, 1958, 1969-1982

Archives & Special Collections
College of Staten Island Library, CUNY
2800 Victory Blvd., 1L-216
Staten Island, NY 10314

2005 The College of Staten Island, CUNY

Finding Aid by Catherine N. Carson


Overview of the Collection

Collection No. :WSSM-7
Title:Diana McCourt Collection
Creator:Diana McCourt
Dates:1958, 1969-1982
Extent:⅓ Linear Foot
Abstract:Diana McCourt became involved in the efforts to expose and improve the conditions at Willowbrook State School after her daughter, Nina, was placed at the institution in 1971. She was involved as a parent organizer and advocate of the institution's closure, and remains involved in promoting individualized day and living options for people who need 24 hour support. She also worked for many years as a contractor, and co-founded Womanshare, a skills and service exchange program for women, in the early 1990's.

The collection contains materials related not only to these efforts but also to the hepatitis program and the lawsuits against New York State over Willowbrook and compliance with the 1975 consent order. The folders are arranged alphabetically.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Diana McCourt Collection, Archives & Special Collections, Department of the Library, College of Staten Island, CUNY, Staten Island, New York.


The collection was donated to the College of Staten Staten Island by Diana McCourt in May 2005.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Catherine N. Carson.

Return to the Table of Contents



Access to this record group is unrestricted.

Copyright Notice

The researcher assumes full responsibility for compliance with laws of copyright. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Coordinator of Archives & Special Collections.

Return to the Table of Contents

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms. Manuscipt collections are not included in the College of Staten Island's library catalog at this time.

Willowbrook State School

Return to the Table of Contents

Container Listing

Box# Folder# Title
1   Audiotapes, c.1972, 1975
            - There are two audiotapes. The first is a 1975 presentation of the consent decree by Bruce Ennis, Esq. The second is an undated tape labeled, “PAC Conference” that is probably from 1972 or 1973. PAC stands for Policy and Action Committee for the Handicapped.
1 1 Correspondence, 1971-1976
            - Various correspondence on Willowbrook and other related issues. A few items of the correspondence are by McCourt, other items are copies of correspondence by others.
1 2 Correspondence - Responses to the Dick Cavett Show, 1972
            - Diana McCourt appeared on the Dick Cavett Show in 1972. The folder contains five viewer responses to her appearance.
1 3 Handouts & Newsletters, c. 1972-1975
            - This includes several undated handouts that were probably distributed during 1972-1973. These handouts are related to the anticipated dismissal of Dr. Hammond, administrative problems and the conditions at Willowbrook. There are also handouts of a few news articles from the same period. There is also a copy of the July 1975 newsletter of the Benevolet Society for Retarded Children.
1 4 Hepatitis Program, 1958, 1969-1979
            - This folder contains correspondence, articles, newsclippings and other items about hepatitis and the hepatitis program at the Willowbrook State School. There are also some records related to the experience of McCourt's daughter, Nina, at the school.
1 5 Lawsuits – Willowbrook, 1975-1976
            - This folder contains various legal documents related to NYSARC & Parisi et al vs. Hugh Carey et al, 1975-1976. The consent judgement and related items can be found in the "Willowbrook Consent Decree" folder.
1 6 Lawsuits - Willowbrook, 1982
            - This folder contains various legal documents related to Judge Bartel’s ruling that the state was not in compliance with the Consent Order.
1 7 Lawsuits - Other, 1972-1980
            - This folder contains legal documents related to other lawsuits over the treatment of the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. The folder includes the memorandum of agreement for Wyatt vs. Stickney (Alabama), an appeal from The Little Neck Community Association et al. vs. WORC and an article entitled, "Institutions and the Right to Live in the Community: The Impact of the Pennhurst Case."
1 8 News Clippings, c. 1972-1973, 1978
            - Various clippings related to the Willowbrook State School. Archives & Special Collections did not keep clippings that duplicated clippings contained in the Willowbrook State School News Clippings Collection.
1 8.1 Photograph, c. 1972
            - Photograph of child at Willowbrook. Print uses a white bar to obscure the child’s face. A photograph of the same children from a different angle was published in the Village Voice.
1 9 Policy and Action Committee for the Handicapped (PAC), 1972-1973
            - Contains reports, correspondence and other materials related to the PAC’s activities. The four oversized newsletters from this folder have been removed and placed in a larger box.
Oversized   Policy and Action Committee for the Handicapped (PAC) - Newsletters, 1972-1973
1 10 Policy Memoranda - Due Process, 1976-1977
            - Policy memoranda covering due process procedures for transfers, demands for placement and appeals to developmental plans.
1 11 Testimony - New York State Legislature Committee for the Mental and Physical Handicapped, February 17, 1972
            - William Bronston’s testimony on Willowbrook as reprinted in Burton Blatt, Souls in Extremes. Boston: Allyms Bacon, 1973.
1 12 Willowbrook Consent Decree, 1975
            - This folder contains the 1975 Final Judgment and Order for NYSARC & Parisi et al vs. Hugh Carey et al. There are also a few related memoranda.

Return to the Table of Contents