Rewriting Elizabeth: A Life Lost (and Found) in the Annals of Bryce Mental Hospital

Elizabeth Glynn Griffitts’s is the story of an inconvenient woman conveniently named insane in the 1920s Deep South, sentenced to complete her life within the walls of an insane asylum that reflected in microcosm the fears and desires of the larger culture it occupied. Elizabeth Glynn, ca. 1905, in Cairo, Illinois, courtesy of Susan Dickson.

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Rewriting Elizabeth: A Life Lost (and Found) in the Annals of Bryce Mental Hospital

by Lindsay Byron
Southern Cultures, Vol. 20, No. 2: Summer 2014

"Her name was never to be spoken. Even upon the lips and within the hearts of her own children, remembrance was forbidden. Silence nearly erased her from history."

Her name was never to be spoken. Even upon the lips and within the hearts of her own children, remembrance was forbidden. Silence nearly erased her from history. For almost a century, Elizabeth Glynn Griffitts remained little more than a skeleton in the closet of a proud and prominent southern family, a woman, much like the “mad women” of novels and history, shut away and supposedly forgotten forever—until her granddaughters, armed with little more than a captivating photograph and whispered rumors, dedicated decades to the recovery of Elizabeth’s existence.