David Oshinsky is the Director of the Division of Medical Humanities at NYU Langone Health and a Professor in the Department of History at NYU. His most recent book is Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital. (October 2018)
Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad and Criminal in 19th-Century New York
by Stacy Horn
Genetics in the Madhouse: The Unknown History of Human Heredity
by Theodore M. Porter
In 1939 the British physician Lionel Penrose published an article that described an inverse relationship between prisons and asylums—the so-called Penrose Hypothesis. Widely respected in medical circles for his pioneering work on Down syndrome and other hereditary disorders, Penrose was better known for applying mathematical formulas to nagging social issues.