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Money, Marriage, and MadnessThe Life of Anna Ott$
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Kim E. Nielsen

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043147

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043147.001.0001

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Anna Ott, Insane Asylum Inmate

Anna Ott, Insane Asylum Inmate

(p.62) 6. Anna Ott, Insane Asylum Inmate
Money, Marriage, and Madness

Kim E. Nielsen

University of Illinois Press

In May 1873, George Ott admitted Anna to the Wisconsin State Hospital for the Insane. The prescriptive results of her stigmatized medical diagnosis included and went beyond institutionalization to include the legal processes of guardianship and divorce. The forceful combination of legal and medical authority kept her at the Mendota Asylum while George divorced her and until her death in 1893. This chapter analyses the messy array of historical forces whirling around Ott’s institutionalization to complicate the ableist pathologization of her life and the power of diagnosis. It explores methodologies and questions historians should consider while using medical case files.

Keywords:   Wisconsin State Hospital for the Insane, institutionalization, ableism, mania, restraints, Elizabeth Packard, delusions, divorce, legal incompetency, diagnosis

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