“Letter Writing in the York Retreat, 1875–1910”

In the latest issue of Social History of Medicine, Louise Wannell examines the practice of psychiatric letter-writing at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century.

During this time, letter writing was an important part of asylum practice and a collection of incoming and outgoing letters remain in the Retreat archive. Using mainly incoming correspondence, this article will show how families and friends remained significantly involved in asylum life and patient care. It will investigate the practice of family letter writing, asking questions such as who wrote to the Retreat, how often and why. It will also look at what types of relationships families and friends constructed with doctors, proposing that they regarded them in a variety of ways, ranging from seeing them as employees to treating them as confidants.

Find the abstract here.

About Jeremy Burman

Jeremy Trevelyan Burman is a senior doctoral student in York University’s Department of Psychology, specializing in the history of developmental psychology and its theory (especially that pertaining to Jean Piaget). Prior to returning to academia, he was a producer at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.