Resource Week 12

In “A Ritual for being Born Twice”: Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’ by Marjorie G. Perloff and Sylvia Plath explains the experience and reasoning for Plath’s mental breakdown. ‘The Bell Jar’ was significant because it dealt with her nervous breakdown and her attempted suicide. The article also explains this particular poem’s popularity because of the deep rooted emotion one feels when reading it. Suicide is still an issue today and fits into the mental illness of American institutions. Many famous people were housed at McLean and they were still able to create art. The article can be found at the following link:

Moview Review of Changeling

Changeling begins with Christine Collins, a single mom with a nine-year-old son named Walter in 1928. Christine is called into work and has to leave Walter at home. When she returns home she finds Walter is missing. There is no sign of Walter and Christine calls the LAPD. Twenty-four hours later the report is filed and the story makes headlines. Five months later Captain J.J. Jones of the LAPD tells Christine that her son has been found. She claims he’s not her son. The LAPD convince Christine to take the boy home. Christine still denies the boy and is secretly put into the psychiatric ward by Jones. Due to a crime she was able to get out of the asylum and release other women. A gruesome event had taken place and reveals where Walter may be.

Christine Collins reminds me of Elizabeth Packard because they both worked hard for their cause and impacted asylum reform. Pastor Briegleb relates to the reformers of the asylum like Dorothea Dix. He worked so hard to reveal the corruptions of the LAPD. In the scenes where Christine was committed into the asylum it showed the horrible treatments patients faced. Christine was given nasty food, medicine, a tiny cold room, cold bath, and was almost given shock therapy. I found that the scenes supported life in an asylum. She was described as hysterical, dislocated from reality, and delusional. There are also scenes when Christine is told she is not a proper mother. This all goes back to the idea of womanhood and the idea that women were seen as wild and wanting to be free from duties. Christine represents women of the asylum and women wrongly accused due to a patriarchal society. Changeling fits into the mental institution’s culture because it reveals the hardships of being a female patient and corruption of the time.

Resource Post Week 11

In Judith Cook’s Who “Mothers” the Chronically Mentally Ill, includes the study of how treatment for the mentally ill became deinstitutionalized and is still becoming more that way. After reading Grob this week I was interested in the Feminist Therapy and this article supports that theory by suggesting that mothers should be supported with their decisions for caring for their children even if they have a mental illness. While feminism does not force women in the “motherhood” role, it does support mothers who want that lifestyle and support their capability to care for their children no matter what illness. This perspective also supports and egalitarian society and how that could be helpful to the child/patient’s illness with a balanced environment. The article can be located at the following link:

Resource Week 10

In this article, Integration and Inclusion-A Troubling Nexus: Race, Disability, and Education, the authors discuss how segregation, not just by color have affected American children but also segregation of disabilities whether it be blindness, cerebral palsy and even children who are said to be “retarded.” However, they also discuss the view of skin color as a disability and a form of disease. As we discussed Schizophrenia was seen as a disease prominent in African Americans and this article just provides more evidence to how race affected the societal stereotypes of disease. The article can be found at the following link:

Week Nine Resource

The Great Drama or Millennial Harbinger, was written by Elizabeth Packard in 1878. Elizabeth wrote several books on her accounts including this one. She strategically based her written works to make her goal for societal change. I will be using this piece in my research project on her. Her writings are what separated her from other women in the asylum. To take a look at this text please see the following link:

Resource Week 8

Since we are discussing Freud this week, I found an article by Diane Hunter called  Hysteria, Psychoanalysis, and Feminism: The Case of Anna O. This article deals with Freud and how he incorporated Anna (Bertha) into his study of hysteria even though he had never met her. It also brings the idea of hysteria into a broader perception of mental illness and Feminism. The article can be found at the following link:

Review for Carla Yanni’s The Architecture of Madness

In Carla Yanni’s book on asylum architecture, The Architecture of Madness: Insane Asylums in the United States, gives an extensive look at the effect culture, psychiatry, and treatment played a key role in the y-building of insane asylums. Yanni argues that architecture was a pushing factor in curing the mentally-ill. The book shows the role psychiatry played in the building process of asylums and wellness of the patients. Yanni claims that the buildings represented the different values and during this era. I assume that she means the era of experimentation and misunderstanding of what was best for the patients. Yanni is effective in handling the progression of asylum architecture because she gives the process and different examples of the mental hospitals. I thought at times it was all over the place and was grouped in an odd manor. Though at times it was all over the place her tie in to the likeness of prisons, colleges, and medical hospitals was helpful and insightful.  A quote that stood out to me in her book was on page 15 and it says, “Both as an institution and as a type of architecture, the asylum mediates between a person and his or her society. The asylum and its architecture regulated life, limited interaction, controlled activity.” This statement sums up the whole argument of Yanni on how important architecture was to the workers, families, and patients in the overall picture of society.

The pictures that Yanni uses are very helpful because you can get a sense or idea of what the rooms and building of asylums entailed. While the pictures are useful for referencing a certain architectural plan there are not any pictures of the patients actually using the rooms. However, Yanni uses credible scholarly sources by notable mental institution historians. While her evidence is credible there was a true lack from the voices of the patients themselves. Basically it was the work of other historians just jumbled together at times.  Yanni’s historiography includes secondary sources we read in class such as The Art of Asylum Keeping by Nancy Tomes and Madness and Civilization by Foucault. She uses Tomes praise of Kirkbride to portray the role he played in architecture, especially ventilation, of early asylum buildings.  Foucault focusses on the “great confinement” and had a skim view of asylums. He was very angry and looked at asylums through a tiny lens. She uses Foucault to portray the lack of knowledge historians had and to show the true beginning and misunderstanding of asylum history. Overall, I enjoyed the book. Yanni gave much background information and set the stage for readers to understand the depth and process of asylum building. I would recommend the book but I do wish it had been organized differently and used more patients’ voices to show the importance of architecture in asylums.


Resource for Week 7

Barry Edginton’s The Design of Moral Architecture at The York Retreat, discusses how important architecture was for the ideal of Moral Treatment. I believe this article goes well with our reading for this week because Britain’s asylum architecture for the York Retreat eventually influenced America’s mental hospitals. The author focusses on the founder of the York Retreat, William Tuke, and the role the architect, John Bevans played in the building and the shift towards moral treatment. Their wish was not only to act as a moral treatment but also to provide it in the physical sense. This article can be found at the following link:

Resource for Week 6

After reading the first half of the book I was interested in looking more at how minstrels affected American society and culture in general. The following link discusses minstrels in the nineteenth-century and what they consisted of. The article also discusses how Mark Twain became familiar with minstrels and how they spread through America by entertainment and schooling.

Elizabeth Packard, Proposal and Annotated Bibliography

Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard was an average woman in nineteenth century America. She married Theophilus Packard in 1839, and together they had begun raising their children in Illinois. However, due to their conflicted religious beliefs, Elizabeth and her husband began to have tensions. Theophilus Packard had his wife taken away to the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois in 1860.  She would remain in the asylum for three years; all the while she faced the hardships of being perceived as insane. Once Elizabeth was discharged she became an activist for asylum rights as well as active in reforming marriage law. She was able to write about her experiences in the asylum and produced multiple books on reforming mental institutions and women’s rights. The American asylum reform would not have been the same without Packard’s influence and personal account reflections.

Packard’s attribution to this field of American psychiatry is very critical because of her experience. She was committed without acting and did not go in the asylum with a prior agenda such as other famous reformers such as Nellie Bly and Dorothea Dix. To truly reflect Packard’s influence and contribution I propose to create a web-based project, more specifically a blog, which will be dedicated to her life in and out of the asylum. I will section off the blog strategically by using her accounts and even diary entries by her son along with an abundance of background sources. The investigation and trial in the state of Illinois will also play as a major theme to contribute to Packard’s life.  I will use her accounts, such as The Great Drama, or, The Millennial Harbinger, and Modern persecution, or Insane asylums unveiled, as demonstrated by the report of the Investigating committee of the legislature of Illinois to prove the affect she had on not only the state of Illinois but also the United States. There are many secondary source materials on the life of Elizabeth Packard that support the need for the study of her story. It is my contention that Elizabeth Packard influenced the asylum reform, marriage, and the American law through her experience in the mental hospital. There are articles, books on asylums in general, and even a play about her life. Women and Madness by Phyllis Chesler elaborates on Packard’s influence of the effect of mental institutions and feminism while Gerald Grob’s The Mad Among Us: A History of the Care of America’s Mentally Ill provides information on the political and campaigning influence of Packard.


Appelbaum, Paul S., and Kathleen N. Kemp. “The Evolution of Commitment Law in the Nineteenth Century: A Reinterpretation.” Law and Human Behavior 6 (1982): 343-354.     Accessed September 20, 2013.

I will use this piece to reflect the influence that Packard had on marriage laws. Her husband was very cruel to her and she fought to help other women who went or were going through the same thing as her.


Berry, Dawn Bradley. The 50 Most Influential Women in American Law. Los Angeles: Lowell      House, 1996.

This compilation of women’s works on powerful ideas of law mentions Elizabeth Packard and the role she played in American Society.


Carlisle, Linda V. Elizabeth Packard: A Noble Fight. Urbana: University of Illinois, 2010.

The author discusses Packard’s trial and the other hardships she faced with her husband, Theophilus Packard.


Chesler, Phyllis. Women And Madness. New York: Palgrave Macmillian, 2005.

Chesler’s book focusses on how women got into the asylum in the nineteenth century. She examines the lives’ of several women who were committed to the insane asylum. In this piece Chesler describes the importance of Packard and compares her experiences to the other women.


Cullen-Dupont, Kathryn ed., American Women Activist’ Writings: An Anthology, 1637-2002.  New York: Cooper Square Press, 2002.  

This book looks at women’s activists from 1637-2002. The series goes into depth about American women’s lives and the writings that made their influences widespread and possible. Elizabeth Packard’s excerpt from Marital Power Exemplified: Mrs. Packard’s Trial is used to show the struggle of Packard and the asylum.


Deutsch, Albert. The Mentally Ill in America: A History of Their Care and Treatment From Colonial Times. New York: Columbia University Press, 1946.

Deutsch’s book discusses in general the history of mental institutions in America. He discusses important characters such as Benjamin Rush and Dorothea Dix. He also presents Elizabeth Packard’s story as a crusade and her cause to improve the asylum conditions. The book puts Packard’s experience into the broader perspective of the history of mental institutions in America.


Gamewell, Lynn and Nancy Tomes. Madness in America: Cultural and Medical Perceptions of  Mental Illness before 1914. New York: Cornwell University Press, 1995.

Madness in America discusses madness and the asylum in early America and the asylum in the antebellum period. It discusses the role of religion and moral treatment and also shows how traditions and culture affect what sanity means to different societies. Packard is mentioned in the patient accounts and is seen as a critical point for asylum reform.


Geller, Jeffrey L., and Maxine Harris. Women of the Asylum: Voices from behind the Walls,  1840-1945. New York: Anchor, 1994.

This is a compilation of women’s first-hand accounts from the asylum. Two decades of women are represented and also explains the ideal of “True Womanhood.”


Grob, Gerald, N. Mental Illness and American Society, 1875-1940. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983.

Grob’s piece discusses Packard and how she transformed psychiatry in America. Grob focusses on issues of the asylum from 1875-1940. He brings to light how the mental hospital gradually changed and went through stages of reform and movements.


Grob, Gerald, N. The Mad Among Us: A History of the Care of America’s Mentally Ill. New York: A Division of Macmillan, Inc. 1994.

In this book Grob discusses how Packard affected subordination of women as well as the asylum reform. Grob writes about the ways in which America reacted towards the mentally ill as opposed to the mentally ill themselves.


Lunbeck, Elizabeth. The Psychiatric Persuasion: Knowledge, Gender, and Power in Modern America. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.

Lunbeck uses Packard as an example to tie in how scrutiny in the psychiatric system began. This book has a more modern take on mental illness but draws examples from early America.


Mann, Emily. Mrs. Packard: Inspired by a True Story. New York: Theatre Communications Group, 2009.

A playwright, Emily Mann, portrays Mrs. Packard’s story on stage and shows perceptions of her being passionate about her ordeal.


Packard, E.P.W. The great drama, or, The millennial harbinger. Hartford:  The authoress, 1878-  1879.

Packard discusses her struggles and compares her religious beliefs to her husband. She also addresses the marital rights that a woman should have in the marriage. She gives many religious parallels involving her ordeal and investigation.


Packard, Elizabeth P. W. Marital Power Exemplified in Mrs. Packard’s Trial and Self-Defense from the Charge of Insanity; or Three Years’ Imprisonment for Religious Belief, by the   Arbitrary Will of a Husband, with an Appeal to the Government to so Change the Laws as to Afford Legal Protection to Married Women. Hartford: Case, Lockwood &   Company, 1866.

In this work by Packard I will use her accounts of the trial and her beliefs and struggles for a balanced marital power.


Packard, E.P.W. Modern persecution, or Insane asylums unveiled, as demonstrated by the report   of the Investigating committee of the legislature of Illinois. Hartford: Case, Lockwood, and Brainard, 1875.

This primary source by Packard introduces her detailed experiences before, during, and after her imprisonment in the Illinois insane asylum. She also provides letters that were sent between her and her husband.


Packard, E.P.W. , and Sophia N.B. Olsen. The Prisoner’s Hidden Life Or Insane Asylums  Unveiled as Demonstrated by the Report of the Investigating Committee of the    Legislature of Illinois, Together with Mrs. Packard’s Coadjutor’s Testimony. Chicago: A.B. Case, 1868.

This primary source by Packard discusses the hardships she faced in the asylum and shows the investigation she proposed.


Reiss, Benjamin. Theaters of Madness: Insane Asylums & Nineteenth-Century American Culture. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Reiss discusses the encounters and culture of the asylums in the nineteenth century. He adds how important the Packard Laws were especially for influencing marriage relationships. Reiss also mentions the horrifying scenes Packard saw and how she wanted to make it better.


Sophia, letter to the editor, Brooklyn Daily Eagle: 1841-1902. August 31, 1872.

This letter to the editor in the state of Illinois shows some of the public’s view on insane asylums and the reform that was influenced by Elizabeth Packard.


Sapinsley, Barbara. The Private War of Mrs. Packard. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

This secondary sources describes Elizabeth Packard’s injustice and her kidnapping by her husband and doctors.


Wenegrat, Brant. Illness and Power: Women’s Mental Disorders and the Battle between the  Sexes. New York: New York University Press, 1995.

Wenegrat proposes the question as to if mental illness really existed in all cases. He discusses how it was used for power in the nineteenth century, especially with the power struggle between the husband and the wife.