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Mental Health in Historical Perspective
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Healthy Minds in the Twentieth Century

In and Beyond the Asylum

Editors: Taylor, Steven J., Brumby, Alice (Eds.)

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  • Shows how conceptualisations of modernity in the twentieth century were linked with maintaining individual and collective mental health
  • Looks beyond the walls of the asylum to the new spaces and centres offered for mental health treatment and support
  • This open access book contributes to the growing body of work on the twentieth-century history of psychiatry
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-27275-3
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on
Hardcover 29,12 €
price for Spain (gross)
Softcover 29,12 €
price for Spain (gross)
About this book

This open access edited collection contributes a new dimension to the study of mental health and psychiatry in the twentieth century. It takes the present literature beyond the ‘asylum and after’ paradigm to explore the multitude of spaces that have been permeated by concerns about mental well-being and illness. The chapters in this volume consciously attempt to break down institutional walls and consider mental health through the lenses of institutions, policy, nomenclature, art, lived experience, and popular culture. The book adopts an international scope covering the historical experiences of Britain, Ireland, and North America. In accordance with this broad approach, contributions to the volume span academic fields such as history, arts, literary studies, sociology, and psychology, mirroring the diversity of the subject matter. 

This book is available open access under a CC BY 4.0 license at

About the authors

Steven J. Taylor is a Wellcome Trust ISSF Early Career Fellow in the History of Poverty and Medicine at the University of Leicester, UK. His research explores ideas and constructions of childhood health, lay and professional diagnoses, ability and disability, and institutional care. His first monograph, Beyond the Asylum: Child Insanity in England, 1845-1907, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2017.  

Alice Brumby is a Lecturer at York St John University, UK. Her research interests focus upon twentieth century mental health care and the role of the community, families and patients in accessing care and treatment. She has published work in First World War Studies and History Today amongst other publications.


“A fresh examination of mental health and illness that moves well beyond the tired dichotomy of triumph or travesty to present nuanced case studies of care. The well-researched chapters reflect sensitivity to social context, evolving nomenclature, and policies that addressed treatment, destigmatization, and prevention, through education, the arts, and popular media, thereby extending the concept of psychiatric care from individuals to populations.” (Jacalyn Duffin, Professor Emerita, Queen's University, Canada)

Table of contents (12 chapters)

Table of contents (12 chapters)
  • Introduction to Healthy Minds: Mental Health Practice and Perception in the Twentieth Century

    Pages 1-16

    Taylor, Steven J. (et al.)

  • ‘The Holy War Against Alcohol’: Alcoholism, Medicine and Psychiatry in Ireland, c. 1890–1921

    Pages 17-52

    Mauger, Alice

  • Social Stigma, Stress and Enforced Transition in Specialist Epilepsy Services 1905–1965

    Pages 53-72

    Hewitt, Rachel

  • Planning for the Future: Special Education and the Creation of ‘Healthy Minds’

    Pages 73-93

    Taylor, Steven J.

  • Healthy Minds and Intellectual Disability

    Pages 95-111

    Walmsley, Jan

Buy this book

  • ISBN 978-3-030-27275-3
  • This book is an open access book, you can download it for free on
Hardcover 29,12 €
price for Spain (gross)
Softcover 29,12 €
price for Spain (gross)

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Healthy Minds in the Twentieth Century
Book Subtitle
In and Beyond the Asylum
  • Steven J. Taylor
  • Alice Brumby
Series Title
Mental Health in Historical Perspective
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
Hardcover ISBN
Softcover ISBN
Series ISSN
Edition Number
Number of Pages
XIII, 274
Number of Illustrations
1 b/w illustrations, 4 illustrations in colour