AHP readers may be interested in a new piece in Journal of the History of the Neurosciences: “Illustrating insanity: Allan McLane Hamilton, Types of Insanity, and physiognomy in late nineteenth-century American medicine,” by Sebastian C. Galbo Icon & Keith C. Mages. Abstract:
This article examines the divisive reception history of American psychiatrist and neurologist Alexander McLane Hamilton’s physiognomy publication, Types of Insanity (1883). By analyzing 23 book reviews published in late-nineteenth-century medical journals, the authors present a bibliographic case study that traces the mixed professional reactions to Hamilton’s work, thus revealing the fraught nature of physiognomy in the American medical community. In effect, the authors argue that the interprofessional disagreements that emerged among journal reviewers indicate the nascent efforts of psychiatrists and neurologists to oppose physiognomy in the interest of professionalization. By extension, the authors emphasize the historical value of book reviews and reception literature. Often overlooked as ephemera, book reviews register the shifting ideologies, temperaments, and attitudes of an era’s readership.