Our Reading List

We can’t hope to be as exhaustive as Whewell’s Ghost or The History Carnival, but all this talk of going back to school has us thinking in reading lists. Here’s some of what we’re looking at online this week.

If that last piece piques your interest, we have lots of 19th century medical journals already in the collection and more coming in all the time! Check out issues of the Philadelphia journal of the medical and physical sciences (1820), the New York journal of medicine (1856), the Maryland medical journal (1901), the American journal of the medical sciences (1827), or the New Yorker medizinische Monatsschrift (1891).

And, as always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

New to the MHL!

Have you checked out the latest items added to our collection? Here are a few highlights:

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Digital Highlights: Elizabeth Packard Ware, Asylum Activist

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Title page from Mrs. Packard’s first volume.

In 1860, Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard (see references in the Alabama Law Review and Project Muse) was committed to an Illinois insane asylum by her husband, with the assistance of a personal friend who was a physician. Packard claimed that she had been incarcerated unjustly and, after three years of work, managed to have herself released, having convinced the authorities of her sanity (the judge’s final decision in the case is said to have taken less than ten minutes to make!) Upon returning home, however, her husband sought to finish the job by isolating her in their house, boarding her up not unlike a character in Jane Eyre.

Accounts vary, but Packard herself said that her husband had institutionalized her because her religious beliefs differed from his and, as a clergyman, he was worried for his reputation and income if she continued to speak out.

During her first bout of institutionalization, Packard was eventually allowed writing materials by the asylum superintendent, Dr. Andrew McFarland. She composed at least one weighty volume while still in the asylum: The Great Drama: or, the Millenial Harbinger, which is a largely personal treatise on her own experiences and religious convictions. She divides American religous belief into two main camps: Christians and “Calvinists.” She identifies herself as the former and her husband, unambiguously referred to as her persecutor or jailor, as the latter.

Packard also wrote more specifically about the asylum system in Modern Persecution: or, insane asylums unveiled and The prisoners’ hidden life.

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!

Images from the Library

 

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From J.B. Sarlandière’s Mémoires sur l’electro-puncture, considérée comme moyen nouveau de traiter efficacement la goutte, les rheumatismes et les affections nerveuses, sur l’emploi du moxa japonaia en France : suivis d’un traité de l’acupuncture et du moxa, principaux moyens curatifs chez les peuples de la Chine, de la Corée et du Japon; ornés de figures japonaises (1825).

As always, for more from the Medical Heritage Library, please visit our full collection!