Between 1842 and 1890, 23 American women published 33 memoirs of their experiences as patients in insane asylums. Through these memoirs, in a time inhospitable to them as public speakers, these 23 women enacted one of the first mental health patient’s rights movements. The memoirs are long out of print, and accessing them has involved effort and time commitment: over four years’ time, they were collected from research libraries, online databases, historical societies, medical libraries, and the Library of Congress.

Browse the Insane Asylum memoirs, 1842-1890 Collections