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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Doctors and Coroners

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  #1  
Old 11-06-2015, 05:20 AM
curious4 curious4 is offline
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Default Dr Isaac Baker Brown

I have come across a reference in the book "Bedlam, London and its Mad" by Catharine Arnold, to a doctor Isaac Baker Brown. It seems that in the mid 19th century he performed what is now called genital mutilation on many women, seeing it as a cure all for anything from mental illness and hysteria even to eye problems (!). He was eventually stopped when it was revealed that he had been "curing" women in mental hospitals, for which he lacked a licence. It seems that he was a friend of Forbes Winslow and both he and Sir William Gull contributed to a fund to help him when he became ill.

In true Victorian spirit much of his notes etc were apparently destroyed. This is what I have been able to find on the internet and it does give some insight into the Victorian attitude to the female body and sexuality.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Baker_Brown

https://uclhistoryofmedicine.wordpre...rown-part-1-3/
https://uclhistoryofmedicine.wordpress.com/2013/01/

http://www.academia.edu/13044061/Exp...ical_Discourse

It seems that doctors had finally accepted that mental illness was not caused by the womb travelling round the body - although if mine decided to go walkabout I'm sure it would unbalance me!

Best wishes
C4
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:39 AM
Pcdunn Pcdunn is offline
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Hello, C4,

You've found some good links here. I have always been struck by the hypocrisy of the Victorian age when it came to sexuality.
Appearances were all, and a man might frequent brothels, if he was discreet and had a wife waiting at home. Of course, she wasn't allowed the slightest license, and if she did slip-- God help her.
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:51 AM
curious4 curious4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pcdunn View Post
Hello, C4,

You've found some good links here. I have always been struck by the hypocrisy of the Victorian age when it came to sexuality.
Appearances were all, and a man might frequent brothels, if he was discreet and had a wife waiting at home. Of course, she wasn't allowed the slightest license, and if she did slip-- God help her.
Hello PcDunn

Yes, a really risky time for any independant woman! He performed this "op" on women who wanted a divorce as well. And without informing the women beforehand. It did cross my mind that the Victorian missionaries might have been responsible for introducing this to Africa and other places, but I think that might be pushing it a bit. It would be interesting to know when this practice started there though.

Best wishes
C4
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Old 11-06-2015, 06:58 AM
curious4 curious4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curious4 View Post
Hello PcDunn

Yes, a really risky time for any independant woman! He performed this "op" on women who wanted a divorce as well. And without informing the women beforehand. It did cross my mind that the Victorian missionaries might have been responsible for introducing this to Africa and other places, but I think that might be pushing it a bit. It would be interesting to know when this practice started there though.

Best wishes
C4
No, can't blame the missionaries, appears it goes back centuries.

C4
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Old 11-06-2015, 08:03 AM
curious4 curious4 is offline
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Hoping this thread won't be dismissed as in bad taste. I for one wasn't aware that genital mutilation by doctors existed in Victorian times.

C4
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Old 11-06-2015, 11:45 PM
Pcdunn Pcdunn is offline
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Default Perhaps this is girls-only territory?

Quote:
Originally Posted by curious4 View Post
Hoping this thread won't be dismissed as in bad taste. I for one wasn't aware that genital mutilation by doctors existed in Victorian times.

C4
I don't think it is in bad taste at all, C4. However, our majority of gentlemen posters may not feel up to discussing this subject.


Alas, I'd come across the atrocities performed on Victorian women years ago by stumbling over a scholarly article. I suspect if Brown had been experimenting on workhouse women, instead of hospital patients, no one would have minded about his not getting permission.
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