Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Imbecility, see Idiocy

I have been researching in the Harmsworth Encyclopaedia of 1906 and I remembered the wonderful entries under Imbecility, Idiocy, Lunacy and Insanity. All terms that are not exactly PC in today’s modern world! The thing is, though, at some point we do come across these terms in historical documents such as the census. The incredible thing is though that as coarse as these terms may seem to us now, in the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth these terms had their own definitions and denoted different medical conditions. If read carefully these entries can help us understand what was meant by these terms and therefore have an idea of the modern equivalent term and therefore learn more about our ancestors and their lives (not that I’m suggesting my readers have any idiots for ancestors!!)

Under the term “Imbecility”, it simply says “see Idiocy” – hence the title of this blog post!

Idiocy page 1

Idiocy page 2

Lunacy page 1

Lunacy page 2

Insanity page 1

Insanity page 2

Insanity page 3

P.S. The images are huge but I thought it would be better that way so you can save them.

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