The Archives of Madness Tell Their Own Story of Genetics

What the archives of mental-health asylums reveal about the history of human heredity and the evolution of genetics

Aeon Magazine
Nov 16, 2018 · 15 min read
Elizabeth Tappenden in 1876, 38 years old, British, unknown asylum. From a glass negative. Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York/public domain

By Theodore M Porter | Edited by Marina Benjamin

People speak of genes and DNA nowadays as if they were as tangible as English peas and Ferris wheels…

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store