Clinical Histories Animate Muybridge and Dercum's Original Photographic Study of Neurologic Gait

In 1885, while working at the University of Pennsylvania, Eadweard Muybridge and Francis Dercum used nascent photographic technology to perform the first-ever motion picture study of neurologic patients. To date, our clinical understanding of the Muybridge-Dercum project has been limited to those clinical details included in a handful of contemporaneous publications by Dercum et al. In this study, recently rediscovered clinical notebooks from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s Dispensary for Nervous Diseases were reviewed and found to contain the original clinical records of 9 of Muybridge and Dercum’s photographic subjects. These records add new clinical insights into our understanding of this historic photographic study and revive the zeitgeist of a foundational period in the development of neurology as a medical subspecialty in the United States.

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