Démence Précoce Catatonique Dermographisme. L Trepsat, 1893. From ‘Nouvelle Iconographie de la Salpêtrière’, 1904. During the second hald of the 19th century, the belief spread that the phenomenon of dermatographism (or ‘dermographism’, or ‘skin writing’) was linked to hysteria and other mental or nervous disorders. Here a female patient at the Salpêtrière hospital in Paris has had her diagnosis ‘Démence précoce’ (dementia praecox) ‘written’ on her back.
The Marlboro State Psychiatric Hospital was opened in 1931 in Marlboro, New jersey. 1979, 131 patients fell ill due to food poisoning. 4 of those patients died. One woman, who escaped unnoticed for 48 hours froze to death nearby. And, one man was kept tied to his bed for 80 hours over the span of 5 days and died from blood clots due to the tight restraints. Over 940 patients died the graves marked with numbers, not names.
Words embroidered in the 1960's by an unidentified Afro-American woman, hospitalized over 30 years. Now in the Glore Psychiatric Museum in St Joseph MO. Link goes to a nursing-school study of the piece and what is known about the maker.
From the book On the Writing of the Insane (1870) by G. Mackenzie Bacon, medical superintendant at an asylum (now Fulbourn Hospital) located near Cambridge, England. The pictures are the product of a “respectable artisan of considerable intelligence [who] was sent to the Cambridgeshire Asylum after being nearly three years in a melancholy mood”. Bacon describes how the unnamed patient, for the two years he was committed, spent “much of his time writing"