Story: Mental health services

Woman patient, Seacliff

Woman patient, Seacliff

Frederic Truby King, the medical superintendent at Seacliff Lunatic Asylum near Dunedin, introduced the practice of photographing patients for pasting in their clinical files.  The idea caught on in other institutions.  Some patients were obviously well aware of how they were regarded by those outside the hospital. This 44-year-old married woman told King, 'I suppose you want a photograph of a madwoman. I'd better stick some straw in my hair and make faces.' (Quoted in Barbara Brookes, and Jane Thomson, eds, Unfortunate folk: essays on mental health treatment, 1863–1992. Dunedin: University of Otago Press, 2001, p. 157)

Using this item

Dunedin Regional Office, Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: DAHI/D264/19956/42:2397

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How to cite this page:

Warwick Brunton, 'Mental health services - Lunatic asylums, 1840s to 1900s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/29410/woman-patient-seacliff (accessed 18 November 2018)

Story by Warwick Brunton, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 21 Jun 2018