Nineteenth-Century Disability:  Cultures & Contexts

1880 to 1901

Items in the 1880 to 1901 Collection

'The Blind Beggar'

He stands, a patient figure, where the crowd Heaves to and fro; a sound is in his ears As of a vexed sea roaring, and he hears In darkness, as a dead man in his shroud. Patient he stands, with age and sorrow bowed, And holds a piteous hat of ancient…

Animal Locomotion
In 1887, Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904), the American photographer, published Animal Locomotion: An Electro-Photographic Investigation of Consecutive Phases of Animal Movement, an eleven-volume collection of photographs of instantaneous or…

Talking Books

Books .—Books may be read by the charitably-inclined professional reader, or by such readers especially employed for that purpose, and the record of such book used in the asylums of the blind, hospitals, the sick-chamber, or even with great profit…

The Audiphone

The mute will feel the influence of the sound on his hand in the instructor's throat, imitate it in his own throat, will hear the speaker's voice on the Audiphone and will be aided in imitating the speaker by seeing his lips, and will also hear his…

Joseph Carey Merrick, ‘The Elephant Man’ <br />
Autobiographical pamphlet<br />

“I first saw the light on the 5th of August, 1860, I was born in Lee Street, Wharf Street, Leicester. The deformity which I am now exhibiting was caused by my mother being frightened by an Elephant; my mother was going along the street when a…

A Minor Poet

Was ever Hell conceived By mortal brain, by brain Divine devised, Darker, more fraught with torment, than the world For such as I? A creature maimed and marr’d From very birth. A blot, a blur, a note All out of tune in this world’s instrument. A…

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

“All at once, I saw two figures: one a little man who was stumping along eastward at a good walk, and the other a girl of maybe eight or ten who was running as hard as she was able down a cross street. Well, sir, the two ran into one another…

Ugly Clubs

(Reprinted from a London newspaper, October 7, 1887) The “Ugly Clubs,” of which particulars are to be met in “Hone’s Every-Day Book,” and like compilations, have a somewhat apocryphal air; but at last documentary evidence of the…

Royal Condescension
In 1890, a 36” x 24” painting depicting Queen Victoria communicating with a deaf woman in front of a cozy hearth, was exhibited at the Edinburgh Exhibition. Titled “Royal Condescension,” this was the second of a series painted by the amateur…

Blind Tom

Tom was born blind, and, learning nothing from sight, manifested in his early infancy so entire a want of intellect as to induce the belief that he was idiotic as well as blind. His imbecility and helplessness secured for him the sympathy and care of…

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