I bought this dress years ago at a second hand store in Helsinki. It came with a little jacket that I really wanted, and since the owner of the shop wouldn't let me buy just the jacket, I was stuck with the dress too. It wasn't that I didn't like the dress, but I figured that it would be one of those "can-only-wear-with-a-tan" dresses that had accumulated into my wardrobe over the years.
For as long as I can remember being pale was something I really disliked. When I was younger I tried tanning old school style knowing what the risks were. I'd burn myself, then wait to see my skin peel off. More recently I tried self-tan lotions and sprays, only to be disgusted with the smell of the stuff, and the realisation that they always ended up looking orange on me. I have learned my lesson when it comes to sun exposure, and these days I protect myself with sun block more carefully than ever before. I have also come to realise that being pale isn't all that bad. I have decided to wear this dress, despite it making me look even paler than I already am. Sometimes you just have to give yourself the permission to say "f**k it". This is the skin I'm in, and so be it, and it is not going to stop me from wearing a dress I like.
I spent yesterday in Owego with Rose, and as you might be able to tell by the stuff I am wearing in the picture above, it was a lot colder than today. Owego has many cute small stores (we probably went into every single one), but instead of going for hand-crafted jewelry and antique porcelain, I ended up coming home with old books from a fantastic second hand bookshop called Riverow. I could have spent the entire day browsing through the old art and architecture books they had, as well as the section of antique prints and photos. I got stuck at the psychiatry shelf though, and spent my money on two wonderful additions to my research material.
Albert Deutch's The Mentally Ill in America was published in 1937, at the time when great hopes were lingering in the air in regard to insulin shock treatment. It is one of the first histories of the treatment of the mentally ill in the United States, and certainly the first whose author was not trained in psychiatry. In 1948 Deutch went on to publish The Shame of the States, which revealed the horrible conditions of state hospitals in the United States.
Clinical Lectures on Mental Diseases by T.S. Clouston was published in the United States in 1884. The author was the superintendent of the Edinburg Asylum for the Insane in Scotland. This American edition comes with US-specific information about the legislation and treatment of the mentally ill in each state. The book has chapters on issues such as epileptic insanity, insanity of masturbation, as well as on the mental diseases that threaten women due to menstruation, breast-feeding and giving birth. It features numerous case studies, treatment plans (among other things, diet of a dozen eggs and six pints of milk a day for melancholiacs) and advice to psychiatrists as to how to diagnose their patients.
The copy I bought used to belong to a doctor working at Ward's Island Insane Asylum in New York (now known as Manhattan Psychiatric Center) in the late 1880s.