Portraits of cases of rest treatment.

Playfair, W. S. (William Smoult), 1836-1903.

Description: 12 items.

Subject: rest cure, bed rest, neurasthenia.


• Located at CPP, call number: MSS 2/0001-01.

This portfolio is approximately dated to the year 1882. Contemporaneously, Playfair published The systematic treatment of nerve prostration and hysteria (Philadelphia: Lea, 1883 ) and he may have intended to reproduce this grouping of photographs in that work or at least to provide artist drawings of the photos. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia is the repository of the portfolio and, significantly, has it filed under author Silas Weir Mitchell as well as author Playfair. Mitchell introduced his popular rest cure for neurasthenia in 1871 with a book titled, Wear and tear; or, Hints for the overworked (Philadelphia: Lippincott) His cure was intended as much for the battle weary as it was for women in labor but unfortunately for Mitchell the book was later seized upon by feminists as a proof of an institutional prejudice.

Until I have an opportunity to view this portfolio, though, my conclusions of the Mitchell-Playfair connection are speculation.

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