Throughout much of the nineteenth century, a husband, father, or other male authority figure could—and did—have a woman declared insane as easily as getting two doctors to sign the certificate, and they didn’t even have to see the patient. A man’s testimony was enough to get a female relative locked up in secret indefinitely. Some women suffered from “puerperal insanity,” but others were imprisoned in an asylum for no greater cause than disagreement with established norms.

Throughout much of the nineteenth century, a husband, father, or other male authority figure could—and did—have a woman declared insane as easily as getting two doctors to sign the certificate, and they didn’t even have to see the patient. A man’s testimony was enough to get a female relative locked up in secret indefinitely. Some women suffered from “puerperal insanity,” but others were imprisoned in an asylum for no greater cause than disagreement with established norms.

THE ASYLUM. In a back ward at the asylum, not open to the public, there are a number of these people. Don't ask the staff about this, as every one of the psychiatrists will deny these patients exist.

THE ASYLUM. In a back ward at the asylum, not open to the public, there are a number of these people. Don't ask the staff about this, as every one of the psychiatrists will deny these patients exist.

Unhealthy, lack attention. From: A Pictorial Report  on Mental Institutions in Pennsylvania, 1946

Unhealthy, lack attention. From: A Pictorial Report on Mental Institutions in Pennsylvania, 1946

Washington, D.C., circa 1921. "Foundling Hospital, playroom." Tots at the Washington Asylum for Foundlings, 1715 15th Street N.W., with their benefactor Lt. George Pickett 3rd.

Washington, D.C., circa 1921. "Foundling Hospital, playroom." Tots at the Washington Asylum for Foundlings, 1715 15th Street N.W., with their benefactor Lt. George Pickett 3rd.

Straitjacket with Webbed Trousers - Cream Canvas, circa 1900. Used to restrain patients in a mental health hospital in Victoria Austalia.

Straitjacket with Webbed Trousers - Cream Canvas, circa 1900. Used to restrain patients in a mental health hospital in Victoria Austalia.

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