The Private War of Mrs. Packard

Barbara Sapinsley, Author, Eric T. Carlson, M., Foreword by Paragon House Publishers $19.95 (220p) ISBN 978-1-55778-330-1
In 1861, when Elizabeth Packard dared to question the Calvinistic extremism of her husband, Theophilus, a minister in Illinois, he had her committed to an insane asylum. After a lengthy, publicized trial, Elizabeth was pronounced sane and began an arduous, national battle to effect changes in treatment of the mentally ill and in the rights of women. In this first biography of an overlooked pioneering feminist, Elizabeth, who never divorced her abusive husband, and who retained the love of her children, remains an enigmatic figure. Sapinsley, a freelance writer, who examined family journals and medical records to reconstruct the life of a woman who attempted to make a difference, fails to convey the temper of the times against which readers might appreciate Elizabeth's audacity. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
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