In the Archives



Science and Reform at the Villejuif Asylum, Paris 1896-1914

The Villejuif asylum near Paris was home to an energetic movement for scientific innovation and institutional reform in the two decades before World War I. Yet patient prognoses remained dismal. Through detailed analyses of the work of Drs. Auguste Marie and Edouard Toulouse in the hospital wards, laboratories, library, and art museum, I explore how the failure to improve outcomes for patients shaped ideas about the nature of insanity.

Related publications:

Elizabeth Nelson, “Timeknots: Science and Reform at a French Asylum circa 1900” (Doctoral Dissertation in History, Indiana University, Bloomington, 2015).

Elizabeth Nelson, “Running in Circles: A Return to an Old Idea about Asylum Reform,” Proceedings of the Western Society for French History, Vol. 42 (2014), pp. 115-125.


DDU Review

Patient Newsletters from Central State Hospital, Indianapolis 1988-1994

Newsletters produced by patients as part of a therapeutic program were permeated with hopes and anxieties about Central State Hospital’s impending closure in 1994. Close readings of the newsletters, coupled with analysis of the institution’s legal, financial, and ethical collapse, permits a patient-centric analysis of the process of deinstitutionalization (with Emily Beckman and Modupe Labode).