Dr. Richard Kahn to deliver talk ‘Madness & Mayhem in Maine: the Parkman-Portland Parley & a Mass. Murder’
ROCKLAND — Dr. Richard Kahn’s talk at the Rockland Public Library on Tuesday, November 13 at 6:30 p.m. will explore a chapter of Jeremiah Barker’s unpublished manuscript, Diseases of the District of Maine, written between 1797-1820.
Madness and insanity is the topic of Chapter one of this manuscript and the fifty-five page chapter was found separate from the other eight and was bound with several offprints on the care of the mentally ill written by Dr. George Parkman, one of America’s early alienists (19th century term for psychiatrist).With the “orphan chapter” is the following letter to Barker dated 25 November 1819:
“Sir. If your History of diseases is to present anything on the subject of insanity, I should be gratified by the loan of that part of your M.S. which shall be returned without delay. Respectfully, George Parkman”
After studying under Pinel & Esquirol in France in 1811, George Parkman returned to Boston. Parkman wrote on and advocated for the care of mentally ill people; his enthusiastic encouragement would in part bring about the establishment of the McLean Asylum in 1818.
The talk title’s “Mass. Murder” refers to Parkman’s death at the hands of Harvard’s professor of chemistry in 1849. Kahn will discuss casebooks, letters, cited contemporary literature, and the Portland-Parkman link to explore the medical and moral treatment of the mentally ill in the District of Maine from the 1770s to the 1820s.
The illustrated talk, sponsored by Friends of Rockland Public Library, will take place in the Community Room and is free and open to the public. The Library is located at 80 Union St. For more information please call (207) 594-0310.