Historical Collections is pleased to announce its newest Reflections exhibition, Sensitive Souls: Treatment for Neurasthenia. This exhibition will occupy the Library lobby from October 27 to December 5, 2008.
Sensitive Souls: Treatment for Neurasthenia explores a peculiar 19th century phenomenon, a condition that the medical community came to call neurasthenia. Afflicting the country’s privileged and well-to-do, this condition produced symptoms such as migraines, poor digestion, fatigue, depression, and even complete mental collapse.
The clinical and diagnostic profile for neurasthenia was first described in 1881 by neurologist George Miller Beard. Sensitive Souls: Treatment for Neurasthenia charts the therapies and treatments resulting from this diagnoses.
The exhibit will showcase emblems of such “therapies,” including a velvet chaise lounge, or “fainting couch,” (for rest) and a western riding saddle (for exercise). Also, samples of Moxie Nerve Food, a popular 19th century food lauded for imbibing individuals with vigor and strength, will be served. The accompanying Web exhibit showcases essays, images, and resources for future study.
Sensitive Souls: Treatment for Neurasthenia is an installment of Reflections on Health in Society and Culture, an exhibition series that presents art, essays, and cultural objects on topics in the social and cultural history of health and illness.
For More Information
Contact , Alvin V. & Nancy Baird Curator for Historical Collections, at (434) 924-0052.