vintage, nostalgia and memories


December 8, 2016

28 Real Portrait Photos of "Hysterical Women" from the 1870s

For centuries, “hysteria” was widely used as a medial diagnosis for women who suffered from various psychological trauma. In the early days, it was believed to be connected to the womb, which was out of place or “wandering” from its proper place.

Later, hysteria was still tied to sexual function, or more specifically, dysfunction, and the “cure” was thought to be a doctor-administered “massage” of the genitals to stimulate orgasm.

In the 1800s, Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot, known as “the father of neurology,” became famous for his study of hysteria and its possible connection to epilepsy. He gave a series of lectures in the 1870s displaying his findings based on his observation of female patients at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, which included photographs of the various stages of their mental illness taken by Paul Regnard – photographs which have now become iconic in early medical photography.

The photos were later compiled into a book of his findings, Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière, compiled by two of his students, by Desiré Magloire Bourneville (1840-1909) and Paul-Marie-Léon Regnard (1850-1927).































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