Author Archives: Bridget Keown

About Bridget Keown

A Massachusetts native, Bridget Keown received her BA from Smith College, and her MA in imperial and commonwealth history from King’s College London. She is currently a PhD candidate in world history at Northeastern University. Her work focuses on British and Irish women and war trauma during the First World War.

Gendered Treatments of Trauma during the First World War

“Patient has an anxious frightened and distressed expression . . . is unhappy and emotional . . . .” During the First World War, such descriptions were often used in case notes to describe patients with shell-shock. This particular description comes from the case notes of a woman named Margaret Müller, a Belgian refugee who was admitted to Colney Hatch Asylum in 1915. I found Müller’s case notes during my dissertation research, thanks to the help of the dedicated archivists at the London Metropolitan Archives.

Statement of Particulars: Women’s Experiences of Trauma in the First World War

The image of the “shell-shocked soldier” remains one of the most enduring of the First World War. His symptoms have become fundamental to understanding the war and the damage it inflicted on the human mind and spirit. Soldiers, however, were not the only war participants to suffer psychological trauma. Women—both on the battle front and the home front—exhibited symptoms of trauma directly related to their war experience, as evidenced by case notes, hospital records, pension files, and correspondence. It is their experiences that I wish to highlight in my AHA Today summer contest blog posts.