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Madness in the Archive

The Archive presents a wealth of publicly accessible writing and imagery on the origins and development of Canadian psychiatry, and on the experience of ‘mental illness’ or ‘madness’ in this country from the 1800s to the present day.

Our collections currently include an exhibit on mental health history in British Columbia (including the story of the Colquitz Mental Home for ‘criminally insane’ men on Vancouver Island); a chronicle of psychiatric history in Québec based on the fonds of l'Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec; an anthology of 19th- and early 20th-century annual reports, commentaries, personal accounts and other documents drawn from the digital collections of Canadiana.org; and a link to the Phoenix Rising collection, an archive of this important activist and human rights periodical curated by the Psychiatric Survivor Archives of Toronto.

The website will serve as a storehouse of original materials from research projects, archival studies, on-line searches, media collections, photographic exhibits, video profiles, survivor histories and oral histories.  We offer students, researchers and the public an unique opportunity to engage first-hand with madness history in a dynamic virtual forum. As the collection continues to build, visitors will be able to access and compare materials originating from a range of sites around the country.

The History of Madness team envisions the Archive as a permanent repository of knowledge about Canadians’ diverse encounters with madness and psychiatry, past and present.

By making these collections readily available, the Archive will advance research, education, public understanding, activism and heritage preservation in this deeply conflicted, if endlessly fascinating, arena of human experience.

Use the left hand menu to visit one of the collections in our Archive.

For further information about the Archive contact:

Robert Menzies, Simon Fraser University: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it