Monday, December 28, 2009

On December 28

On this day in ...
... 1816, Elizabeth Parsons Ware was born. Twenty-three years later, "at her parents' insistence," she married, and as Elizabeth Packard (left) gave birth to 6 children. But after she began questioning her husband's beliefs on matters of religion, child rearing, family finances, and slavery, he had her committed to a state mental asylum. It released 3 years later; in response, her husband confined her to a boarded-up room in the house, prompting the filing of a petition for writ of habeas corpus. In the 1864 trial of Packard v. Packard -- recently treated in a book, a play, and a law review article -- jurors found her sane after just 7 minutes of deliberation. Subsequently the founder of the Anti-Insane Asylum Society and advocate for reform of the mental health system, Packard died in 1897.

(Prior December 28 posts are here and here.)

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