Suggested Readings on the History of Mental Health

Our recent posts on mental health records have generated many comments and questions. While Grace continues on her journey to obtain records (keep watching for more posts), the following items in the Newberry collection provide background information and insights into the historical care and treatment of the mentally ill.

  • Deutsch, Albert. The Mentally Ill In America: A History Of Their Care And Treatment From Colonial Times. Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1937. This book traces the history of the care and treatment of the mentally ill in America, and treats the mental hygiene movement, changing concepts in mental defect, insanity and the criminal law, and our commitment laws. Call # I 3083 .227
  • Geller, Jeffrey L.Harris, Maxine., eds. Women Of The Asylum: Voices From Behind The Walls, 1840-1945. New York : Anchor Books, 1994. Includes bibliographical references. The stories of 26 women who were incarcerated against their will, often by male family members, for holding views or behaving in ways that deviated from the norms of their day. Call # RC451.4.W6 W6567 1994
  • McCandless, Peter. Moonlight, Magnolias & Madness: Insanity In South Carolina From The Colonial Period To The Progressive Era. Chapel Hill : University Of North Carolina Press, 1996. Includes bibliographical references and index. Moonlight is a social history that examines the perceptions and treatment of the mentally ill in South Carolina over two centuries, showing how policies and attitudes changed dramatically from the colonial era to the early twentieth century. Call # RC445.S58 M33 1996
  • Mehr, Joseph. An Illustrated History Of Illinois Public Mental Health Services: 1847 To 2000. Victoria, B.C. : Trafford, 2002. Heavily illustrated with over 600 photographs depicting the daily activities of patients, their living conditions, their institutional and occupational assignments, and their leisure activities. Bibliographical references included. Call # folio RA790.65.I4 M43 2002
  • Penney, Darby.Stastny, Peter. The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases From A State Hospital Attic. New York : Bellevue Literary Press, 2008. Includes bibliographical references and index. Willard State Hospital, a 120-plus-year-old mental institution in New York was closed down in 1995. The attic was filled with 427 suitcases belonging to former patients. The book profiles 10 individuals whose suitcase contents proved intriguing. Call # RC445.N7 W614 2008

Genealogists might enjoy Annie’s Ghosts, Steve Luxemberg’s story of his search for the aunt whose existance his mother had always hidden. You can read more about this fascinating story on his website.

Comments

Thanks for sharing. What a pleasrue to read!

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