Literature of Prescription

The Waring Historical Library at the Medical University of South Carolina will host the national traveling exhibit Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Yellow Wallpaper” from August 26 – October 2, 2012. In addition to the exhibit, they will offer several collateral events, including a book club discussion, film screening, panel discussion, and lecture. SC Humanities supported this project with a Mini Grant in July 2012.

The exhibit Literature of Prescription is a national traveling exhibit from the National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health that examines the relationship between science and society. In the late 19th Century, Charlotte Perkins Gilman was discouraged from pursuing a career to preserve her health, and her evocative short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” was an indictment of this idea, of the medical profession, and of the social conventions of that era that restricted women’s creative opportunities. The curator of the exhibit, Manon Parry, calls the short story, “…one of the founding texts of American feminism,” and it has remained very popular over the years.

In addition to presenting the exhibit, the Medical University of South Carolina will offer a series of public programs to involve the community in discussion about history, literature, culture, and medicine. An opening reception will take place on the campus on Wednesday, August 29, and Medical University of South Carolina’s Humanities Committee Book Club will meet to discuss the short story and screen the 2011 movie The Yellow Wallpaper on Wednesday, September 12. A lecture about Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Yellow Wallpaper” from noted Gilman scholar Jane Thrailkill of the University of North Carolina will take place along with a closing reception on Thursday, October 4.

The Waring Historical Library is a special collections and rare book library for the Medical University of South Carolina. It is located at 175 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425. More information about the Waring Historical Library can be found here: For more information about the exhibit and accompanying programs please contact Susan Hoffius at 843-792-2288.

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. SC Humanities programs and initiatives are balanced, reflecting sensitivity to the diversity of ideas, encourage open dialogue, demonstrate integrity and are ethical in operations.