ABOUT THIS BOOK
In 1881, Joseph Camp, an elderly and self-trained Methodist minister from TalladegaCounty in eastern Alabama, was brought by his family to BryceHospital, an insane asylum in Tuscaloosa, where he remained for over five months. Camp, misled by relatives concerning the purpose of the trip, was shocked and angered at his loss of freedom and his treatment in the hospital. After his release, he composed an account of his stay and published it at his own expense, providing a rare glimpse of 19th century mental health care from a patient’s viewpoint. Camp’s account reveals his naive trust in others, but also a sharp and retentive memory. Camp is remarkably accurate in his account of the details of his treatment and the operation and staff of the hospital, although his emotional assessments reflect his unhappiness with his situation. Adding to the importance of Camp’s account is the fact that in the 19th century Bryce was considered a remarkably humane institution focused on recovery. Camp provides a glimpse into how treatment for the insane felt to the recipient.