The Yellow Wall-paper

May 10, 2011

A traveling exhibition from the National Library of Medicine, The Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Yellow Wall-Paper” will occupy the lobby of Memorial Library until May 21, 2011. The exhibition examines how women’s entry into public and intellectual life had been restricted by theories, promulgated by medical professionals, of feminine weakness. Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wall-paper” (first published in 1892), remains a strong indictment of these particular medical and social conventions with a protagonist driven to madness by a prescribed “rest cure”.

The exhibition has inspired several related exhibits in campus libraries.

Descriptions of related exhibits follow below:

The William B. Cairns Collection of American Women Writers 1650–1940, located in the Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library (9th Floor), boasts a number of works by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Steenbock Library has a small complementary book display featuring material from its collection on both domestic science in the nineteenth century and the history of wallpaper. The exhibit is available for viewing outside of Room 240 through May 21.

Ebling Library for the Health Sciences has a book selection in its 2nd floor study area displaying modern books on mental health issues in women, including some titles on postpartum depression. It also features a reprint of “The Yellow Wall-Paper” and a bibliography of the selected titles. Books on similar subjects from the nineteenth and early twentieth century are available by contacting Micaela Sullivan-Fowler. The display is at Ebling until May 21.

For more information about the traveling exhibition in Memorial Library, visit its page on the National Library of Medicine Website.