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A Historical Perspective

  • Ellen Dwyer

Abstract

In September of 1888, a 36-year-old woman was brought to the New York State Lunatic Asylum at Utica by her father. According to the doctors who signed her commitment papers, she was greatly excited and used improper language. Her brother reported that 6 years earlier her husband had run off to Canada after embezzling some money. After he remarried, the patient became involved with a married man who used a ladder to her window to visit her almost every night. When her family discovered this liaison and attempted to cut it off, she responded with anger, threatening family members and pretending to attempt suicide through a drug overdose. At this point, the family brought her to the asylum, where she was diagnosed as a nymphomaniac. While there, she wrote numerous letters of complaint to friends and to asylum physicians. After a frantic letter to her father about the horrors of life in a madhouse, in which she promised never to see her lover again, her father came to take her home.

Keywords

Annual Report Historical Perspective Female Physician Female Reproductive System Moral Mania 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen Dwyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forensic StudiesIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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