Augustine

Iconographie photographique de la Salpétrière service de M. Charcot. I- III, (Paris, 1876-80)
Author: BOURNEVILLE, Désiré Magloire (1840-1909) Artist: Paul Regnard

This photographic documentation of hysteria and epilepsy at the Salpétrière hospital in Paris, was edited by Bourneville, who was Charcot’s assistant at the Salpétrière 1870-79. This series of 120 photographs taken by Paul Regnard is one of the most remarkable illustrated works in the nineteenth century medical literature. In 1870 Charcot started to study a large number of women patients with convulsions. Some were epileptics, others were hysterics, who had learned to imitate epileptic attacks. Charcot strove to discover means of distinguishing hysterical and epileptic convulsions. The most extensively photographed case among the 120 plates is the charming Augustine, a fifteen year old girl, who was admitted to the Salpétrière for attacks of severe hysteria. She became the star model for a whole concept of hysteria and figures prominently when she is photographed during her attacks.

Wunderkammer is a gallery of unique medical art from the Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library.