Nineteenth-Century Disability:  Cultures & Contexts

Browse Items (12 total)

  • Collection: 1860 to 1880

tactilemap.jpg
Printed tactile, or relief, maps began to be published during the early nineteenth century and were used to teach the sighted and the blind geography. Initially used in Europe, they were introduced into the United States by American educators who…

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Pedro Velasquez’s gripping 1851 Illustrated Memoir of an Expedition into Central America chronicles the enterprising Hammond expedition that absconded with a pair of native children after discovering Iximaya, a fabled city hidden in deep in the…

Palmer page 27.jpg
In 1846, B.F. Palmer filed the first patent for an artificial leg in the United States. His product, characterized by its smoothly articulated knee, ankle, and toe joints, as well as its elegant and lifelike appearance, was an immediate success. It…

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A Noble Life (1866) is Dinah Mulock Craik’s second novel to feature a disabled protagonist. It resembles her earlier novel, Olive (1850) in representing disability as a spiritually uplifting and morally improving experience, which renders the…

Ear Phonautograph.jpg
As disability theorists such as Douglas Baynton, Jonathan Rée, Lennard J. Davis, Jennifer Esmail, and Jan Branson and Don Miller explain, in both America and England in the mid-nineteenth century, attitudes toward sign language shifted: whereas in…

cropped illustration from The Pillars of the House.jpg
One of Charlotte M. Yonge’s last great family sagas, The Pillars of the House (1873) prominently features disability. Several of the thirteen orphaned Underwood siblings experience disability or chronic illness: Felix, the eldest, struggles against…

ElizabethGilbert.jpg
When Dinah Mulock Craik, the author of John Halifax, Gentleman and The Little Lame Prince, wrote her essay, ‘Blind’, about the Association for Promoting the General Welfare of the Blind, in 1861, she was engaging in an active discussion…

Mr. Wegg.jpg
Our Mutual Friend, first published in serial form from 1864–1865, is a novel that literalises George Henry Lewes’s observation that Charles Dickens’s characters are wooden puppets that are brought to life by incident (“Realism and the Art of…

little lame prince.jpg
Dinah Mulock Craik’s Victorian fairytale The Little Lame Prince and His Travelling Cloak (1874) tells the story of Prince Dolor, whose legs are disabled after a nurse drops him at his christening. Following the death of his father, the king of…

san remo harbour.jpg
Invalidism may seem to limit mobility, confining one to the four walls of the sickroom. But, for those who were well enough and wealthy enough, the Victorians actually made an industry of travelling for the sake of one’s health. Thus, far from…
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