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J Fam Hist. 1994;19(2):177-93.

Women, families and the Provincial Hospital for the Insane, British Columbia, 1905-1915.

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Department of History, University of Toronto.


The article examines the role of the family in the lives of women in a turn-of-the-century psychiatric institution in British Columbia, Canada. The continued connection between institutionalized women and their families is highlighted. Evidence drawn from the psychiatric case files of 774 women patients at British Columbia's Provincial Hospital for the Insane show that families significantly influenced such factors of institutional life as the conditions of care, the timing of discharge and the possibility of readmission. Conclusions presented here underscore the negotiated and conflictual nature of asylum practice.

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