The archive of the Institute of Charity Hermandad de Dolores holds the history of the association from 1815 to the present. These enrich our understanding of Chilean charity institutions, as well as beneficence and medicine of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The archive of the Institute of Charity Hermandad de Dolores consists of a series of 345 manuscripts that run through the history of the Institution since 1815. The Institute, which is the oldest of its kind in Chile, provides free medical services in the city of Santiago. The manuscripts reflect fundamental aspects of Chilean history, especially in medicine, female participation, diseases, poverty, death rates and the practices of charity.
The manuscripts are dispersed in different rooms of the Institute, where they are susceptible to deterioration and accidents. Moreover, they are stored in close proximity to medications and highly corrosive chemicals, which are harmful to the paper. The Institution is undergoing a change in administration, which makes the future of the documents uncertain.
Part of an enhancement initiative started in 2017, the project digitised, recorded and preserved 100 volumes dating from the first half of the 20th century and the full archive, comprising 400 volumes, is catalogued. The documents were reorganised and stored in acid-free boxes, where they will be protected. The project created a website linked to the Universidad de los Andes, where all the material are accessible to the public.