Kankakee, IL – Married to Madness: Elizabeth Packard’s Mental Health Crusade


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Kankakee, IL – The narrative of Elizabeth Packard, whose unjust commitment to an asylum by her own husband sparked a fervent crusade for reform, will be the focal point of an evocative presentation at the Kankakee County Museum on April 20, 2024. 

Titled “The Woman Who Would Not Be Silenced,” the event will shine a light on the distressing reality of 19th-century laws that left married women vulnerable to institutionalization without due cause. 

Historian Laura Keyes, armed with a Master’s in Library Studies, will guide the audience through Packard’s resilient fight to reclaim her voice and alter the course of mental health care and women’s rights.

The museum, anticipating high attendance, will be closed to other visitors during the presentation, underscoring the community’s engagement with Packard’s legacy. As ticket sales approach closure, the public’s haste to secure seats underscores the enduring relevance of Packard’s story in contemporary dialogues on civil liberties and social justice. 

This session not only promises to recount a vital historical episode but also aims to honor the legacy of a woman whose personal plight led to nationwide legal reforms.


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