HOSPITALS

&

MEDICINE

IN THE

1850s

 

Insane asylums in the 1850's were popular. Doctors considered the insane to be disorganized individuals that needed to be in an organized society, i.e. an asylum. Asylums were believed to be for city people that were disorganized in their mind and therefore could not live in society. To cure this, they were sent to an asylum where their life there was organized and structured. Furthermore, these asylums were not in the city, but in the country for relaxation and easement of the mind. One problem with this theory was money. Financially, it was hard to implement this. Hospitals of today were not seen until after the civil war, and then they were basically for soldiers. Midwives were still seen, but they were quickly being ousted by doctors. The medicinal ads below illustrate some of the "remedies" that were being sold during the 1850's. One such ad illustrates opium as the "poor child's nurse." A movement, tied in with temperance, developed in the 1850's against opium. Exercise and health were considered good for the well being of the body, as can be seen below with the exercise instructions and illustrations.

 INSANE ASYLUM

 MEDICINAL ADS

EXCERCISE & HEALTH

 

INSANE ASYLUM:


LUNATIC ASYLUM ON BLACWELL'S ISLAND,1859.

COURTESY OF HARPER'S WEEKLY

 

MEDICINAL ADS:

 
APOTHECARY AD, 1852.

 
MIDWIFE AD, 1854.


BRACES AD, 1854.

 
ARTIFICIAL LIMBS AD, 1851.

 
ENEMA AD, 1854.

 
PILLS AD, 1859.

COURTESY OF HARPER'S WEEKLY


OPIUM, 1859.

COURTESY OF HARPER'S WEEKLY

 

EXERCISE & HEALTH:


"PROPER AND IMPROPER POSITION TO LIE IN BED," in Jane Taylor, Woulds't Know Thyself (New York, 1858). This illustration appears in a health manual, advocating sleeping in a prone position rather than being propped up on two pillows and a huge bolster. (Nylander, ill. 79)

 

 

 

COURTESY OF WORCESTER HISTORICAL MUSEUM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CALISTHENICS, 1857

COURTESY OF HARPER'S WEEKLY

REOURCES UTILIZED:

CITY OF WORCESTER. CITY DIRECTORY, 1851.

CITY OF WORCESTER. CITY DIRECTORY, 1852.

CITY OF WORCESTER. CITY DIRECTORY, 1854.

NYLANDER, JANE C. OUR OWN SNUG FIRESIDE. NEW HAVEN: YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1994.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Florence Nightingale: Distinuished Women of Past and Present

Florence Nightingale Museum Web Site

The International Network for the History of Hospitals

Princeton University Press: The History of Science and Medicine, Philosophy of Science

 

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