Nineteenth-Century Disability:  Cultures & Contexts

Browse Items (13 total)

  • Collection: 1880 to 1901

TalkingGlove.png
In 1873 Alexander Graham Bell was employed to teach George Sanders, a five year-old congenitally deaf boy. As part of his instruction of Sanders, Bell used the ‘talking glove’ found in the 1680 book, Didascalocophus, or the Deaf and Dumb Man’s…

Arthur-kavanagh.jpg
The History of Sir Richard Calmady was something of a succès de scandale when it was published in 1901. The author, Lucas Malet, had already made her name with her bestselling novel, The Wages of Sin (1890), which dealt with the sexual double…

Incurables.jpg
Published in 1881 in The Graphic, a widely distributed British newspaper, the following anonymously authored article, entitled “The Royal Hospital for Incurables,” and the engravings accompanying it, offer a sense of the kind of care that the…

BlindTom2.png
Thomas Greene Wiggins, better known as “Blind Tom,” was an autistic savant with an encyclopedic memory. He is known for his mind-boggling ability to replicate music and other sounds after only one hearing. Wiggins was born into slavery in…

Agnew_RC_1889.jpg
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…

UglyFaceClub-1806Broadside.jpg
Ugly Clubs reflect changing notions of deformity through the long nineteenth century, before and beyond. Ugly Clubs arose from fictional forebears in early eighteenth-century satirical periodicals in Britain, including Ned Ward’s The Secret History…

Jekyll-mansfield.jpg
Robert Lois Stevenson’s “shilling-shocker” novella, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), has so thoroughly become a part of our cultural consciousness that, though not all people have read the tale, most are familiar with its title…

Amy_Levy.png
The second poem in Amy Levy’s second published collection attests to her longstanding interest in mental illness. As a fin-de-siècle poet, essayist, and novelist, Levy (1861-1889) was one of the most prominent female voices for the significance of…

merrick.jpg
The story of Joseph Carey Merrick began in 1862, when he was born to Mary Jane and Joseph Merrick of Leicester, but the story of the Elephant Man did not start until several years later. It was when he was a toddler that tumours first appeared on…

Audiphone_c1926_BeckerLibrary.jpeg
On September 1879, Richard Silas Rhodes (1842-1902), president of a publishing company in Chicago, received a patent for his “Audiphone for the Deaf” his various improvements to the device. (U.S. Patent No. 319,828). Rhodes had conductive hearing…
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