I have always been interested in medical history and became particularly interested in the treatment of insanity a few years ago. When I discovered that a federal asylum in South Dakota had been constructed specifically for Native American patients, I had to start digging deeper. I was intrigued and horrified as I learned more about this asylum and the way insane patients–and Native Americans–were treated during the early 1900s. My research became a book VANISHED IN HIAWATHA: The Story of the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians, now available on Amazon.
I found so much more information about asylums and medical treatments from that era than I could include in my book. This blog covers information about asylums and the medical treatment of insanity from the 1800s until around 1934, when the Canton Asylum shut down. I use the language of the times, taken from letters, official documents, newspapers, and other sources. I also include interesting information about Native American history and customs, as well as other relevant aspects of my research.
The posts are not intended to be read in any particular order. You can choose to read them according to a particular category, in the order of their being posted, or at random. I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to contact me or leave a comment on any post.
(Photo of Asylum Courtesy of the South Dakota State Archives)