"His brain was wrong, his mind astray": Families and the language of insanity in New South Wales, Queensland, and New Zealand, 1880s-1910
Coleborne, C. (2006). "His brain was wrong, his mind astray": Families and the language of insanity in New South Wales, Queensland, and New Zealand, 1880s-1910. Journal of Family History. 31(1), 45-65.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/435
Family and friends made descriptions of the behavior of individuals at the time of their committal to institutions for the insane in Australasian colonies, including Gladesville Hospital for the Insane, Sydney, New South Wales; Goodna Hospital for the Insane, near Brisbane in Queensland; and the Auckland Mental Hospital in New Zealand's North Island, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These lay descriptions of insanity, gleaned from those close to patients by doctors during initial interviews at the stage of asylum committal, eventually became marginal notes in clinical patient cases. This article seeks to understand this interplay between lay descriptions by family and friends and the asylum's use of these descriptions in its profiling and diagnosis of patients. It argues that patient case notes should be reexamined as rich sources of information about families, households, and, most importantly, the language used by ordinary people to describe mental states.
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal of Family History, 31(1), (2006), © SAGE Publications Ltd at the Journal of Family History page: http://jfh.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/