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HUBBARD HISTORY CORNER: Victorian women swooned onto a fainting couch

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The Hubbard County Historical Museum has a fainting couch and corset on display.

The Victorian Age saw the last great heyday of the corset.

A lady’s ambition was to be married by the time she was 21 with a waist narrower than her age. In pursuit of this ideal, corsets were laced so tightly numbness in the legs and fainting were frequent occurrences, resulting in the fainting couch, popular in the early 1900s.

Another common theory was that they were used to remedy “female hysteria,” which was a common diagnosis exclusively for women.

Later on, the use of fainting couch as furniture for medication was further popularized by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and became an iconic tool in his practice.

The Hubbard County Historical Museum is located at 301 Court Ave. in Park Rapids. Hours are 10:30a.m. to 4:30p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is free.

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