Historical Films Online from Wellcome Trust

I noticed via several Twitter announcements today that the Wellcome Trust has posted 218 of their historical films online on the Internet Archive website. AHP has previously posted about the Wellcome film collection when we highlighted their 1930 Pavlovian conditioning film that was available through their catalog. This is the only film among the 218 on Internet Archive listed under the keyword “Psychology” but is certainly not the only film in the set related to the history of psychology. A few of the highlights that caught my attention:

War Neuroses: Netley Hospital, 1917 (1918)

Shows the symptomatology of shell-shock in 18 British other rankers and its treatment by two leading R.A.M.C. neurologists in two British military hospitals towards the end of the First World War. Captions tell us the men’s names, rank, medical condition, details of their symptoms and how long it took to complete the cure, which in one case was in two and a half hours. Clinical features shown include a variety of ataxic and hysterical gaits hysterical paralyses, contractures and anaesthesias facial ties and spasms loss of knee and ankle-jerk reflexes paraplegia war hyperthyrodism amnesia word-blindness and word-deafness. Although there are no precise details of the kind of treatment given, apart from the description ‘cured and re-educated’ we do see a little physiotherapy and hypnotic suggestion in treatment, and of ‘cured’ men undertaking farm-work, drill and a mock battles entitled ‘Re-enacting the Battle of Seale Hayne / Convalescent war neurosis patients’. 5 segments.

Eletrodiagnostics on the healthy body: Part 2, Head and trunk

A demonstration of Faradic and Galvanic electric currents on individual muscles. 3 segments.

Osteoplastic craniotomy (1933)

A step by step account of this operative procedure to examine the patient’s brain for evidence of a tumour. A circle of skull is removed using specialised equipment, the brain examined, the bone flap replaced, and the patient is seen in bed at the end of the procedure. 4 segments.

Another nice feature of the films being available on Internet Archive is the option to embed the links – a handy tool for course websites!

[Although I ran across the link to this news via several different Tweets, my thanks are due to Rick Prelinger (@footage) whose tweet I saw first]

About Jennifer Bazar

Jennifer Bazar is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care. Her research focuses on the history of psychiatric institutionalization.