A blog about universal and accessible design

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Disability History collection at Brandeis

via Stephen Kuusisto:

Brandeis University has a current spotlight on their disability collections:

Brandeis University’s Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections Department houses a wide array of material from the Walter E. Fernald Developmental Center’s Samuel Gridley Howe Library. This collection includes several hundred books from scholars and experts in the fields of science, medicine, and disabilities; the papers of Irving Kenneth Zola and of Rosemary and Gunnar Dybwad; and thousands of pamphlets, case studies, and journals on topics ranging from what were then called feeble-mindedness and cretinism to eugenics and crime.

The material, which dates from the 1810s to the 1950s and is related primarily to North America and the United Kingdom, was compiled by the Howe Library from the school superintendent’s library as well as international libraries. It includes works from world-renowned doctors such as psychologists Alfred Binet and Edgar A. Doll, polymaths Francis Galton and his protégé Karl Pearson, Walter E. Fernald, Dorothea Dix (who championed for the rights of the indigent insane), Ellis Island medical officer Howard Knox, and eugenicists Charles B. Davenport and Henry H. Goddard, among hundreds of others. The Samuel G. Howe Library Collection’s academic scope is vast and will be of interest to historians of science and medicine, anthropologists, sociologists, and people with disabilities and their families.
What follows is a lengthy article that details the evolution of the Massachusetts School for Idiotic and Feebleminded Youth (later called the Walter E. Fernald State School), reflecting changing social and medical attitudes about mental illness and intellectual disability. Looks like an impressive collection.

See also: Online Disability History

1 comment:

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