ONTARIO-L Archives

Archiver > ONTARIO > 2003-06 > 1055910128

Subject: Re: [ONT] St. Andrews' Ward
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 00:22:08 -0400

Doug and Shari

Your time frames might be too early, but
have you tried looking through newspapers
of the day to see if this Dr. Gunn did any
advertising? While I was looking for some
obits in a Rhode Island paper, I came across advertisements
for Dr. Zambarano who was looking for patients
with TB symptoms. He was treating them at
a place called Wallum Lake, which became a
TB Sanitarium. Today it is called the Zambarano

Doug -

You've probably already done this, but I found
a description of monomania

monomania \mon-uh-MAY-nee-uh; -nyuh\, noun:
1. Pathological obsession with a single subject or idea.
2. Excessive concentration of interest upon one particular subject or

monomania" -- an archaic disorder coined by the French psychologist
Jean Etienne Dominique Esquirol in 1838 that is not listed in the
current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
the standard psychiatric reference.


Madness as Monomania
The successful creator and the successful destroyer resemble
one another in their single-minded determination to achieve
their goal. Nineteenth-century French alienists medicalized
single-mindedness by calling it "monomania." According to the
Oxford English Dictionary, the term, first used in 1823, refers to
"A form of insanity in which the patient is irrational on one subject
only"; it is also used to identify "An exaggerated enthusiasm for
or devotion to one subject; a craze."

Of course none of these can tell you what the subject of his
fixation might have been. The poor man could have been an
alcoholic, a drug addict, or a schizophrenic, but he could also
have been fervently religious, or he might have been a genius
fixated on solving some problem which was beyond the scope of
his peers.

If you do a google search for monomania and "mental illness"
there are a ton of sites which mention it.


On Tue, 17 Jun 2003 14:23:22 -0400 "Doug Porteous"
<> writes:
> Hello Shari,
> The Ontario Archives have some records, including admission books
> and annual
> reports of the asylums (and prisons, for that matter). My own
> great-great-grandfather was a patient at the "Toronto Insane Asylum"
> between
> 1870 and his death in 1898. Archives staff had to review their files
> for any
> material that might fall within the 100-year "privacy rule" before
> letting
> me review their holdings.
> I'm hoping another list member will add to this, since I know that
> information about medical doctors is also available, but I'm fuzzy
> on the
> details. Seems to me the Ontario Medical Association is on nearby
> College
> Street...
> I am still trying to "retroactively diagnose" my gg-grandfather's
> condition,
> based on an admissions book entry by a "witty" registrar!
> ("monomania",
> "perpetual motion", "Dr. Gunn is not prepared to say whether he may
> be
> benefitted. This Gunn fires less loudly than Dr. Shaver...").
> I found this reference to a Dr. Stephen Lett via a Google search:
> "1883: Homewood Retreat in Guelph Ont. is [sic] named Dr. Stephen
> Lett, as
> its first Superintendent. Lett specializes in the gradual withdrawal
> treatment of addiction such as alcoholism and opium neurosis."
> HTH.
> --Doug
> Doug Porteous
> http://www.novateq.ca/genealogy/
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [mailto:]
> Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2003 1:26 PM
> To:
> Subject: [ONT] St. Andrews' Ward
> Does anyone happen to know where one could find the records from Dr.
> Stephen
> Lett? My great great grandfather was under his care (? maybe he
> worked
> there???). Would one of the area hospitals have them buried away
> somewhere?
> (the
> years needed were bet. 1875-1886). I know this was in the St.
> Andrews Ward
> section
> of Toronto. What happens to old medical records?
> Thanks,
> Shari

The best thing to hit the internet in years - Juno SpeedBand!
Surf the web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER!
Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today!

This thread: