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Finding Dirk: Insanity in the 19th Century by Jill Morelli, CG (digital download)


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Do have an Aunt Mabel that disappears or who no one in the family talks about? Perhaps she was committed as insane. As the west was settled the disassociation of individuals from family members meant that home care for the insane was less of an option. The states assumed the responsibility of care, resulting in many state-run institutions established in the post-1850 era. This presentation will explore the history of treatment of the “insane” and how it changed. Using Dirk Jans Bode as our case study, confined to an asylum for 27 years in Illinois, we will compare the physical conditions of the confinement and types of diagnoses and various treatments and how they changed into the 20th century. The wealth of documentation in the public records will be identified and information from public and restricted sources will be compared. The process of obtaining the mental health records through the courts will be outlined.

48minutes, plus 4 pages of handouts. The recording is also included as part of themonthlyorannualmembership.
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