Corruption Exposed in Body-Snatching Business, 1825

The anatomist overtaken by the watch carrying off Miss W-ts in a hamper

In Britain, body-snatching was a cloak-and-dagger business. It also was corrupt. When her husband was arrested, tried, and executed for crimes associated with body-snatching, Ann Millard sought revenge. To her mind, local officials were complicit in the theft of bodies and their subsequent sale to anatomists. So were the medical schools where bodies often arrived in the middle of the night without explanation. While her husband was persecuted, Ann Millard argued, so-called respectable gentlemen were left to continue the trade: buying and selling human bodies.

For more on Ann Millard and her predicament, see this Lancet article by Ruth Richardson about a recent exhibition on the theme (link). Also, compare Millard’s account and other sources on the resurrection men, such as James Blake Bailey’s 1896 The Diary of a resurrectionist, 1811-1812,  to which are added an account of the resurrection men in London and a short history of the passing of the Anatomy Act (London: Swan Sonnenschein) (link).

Citation

Ann Millard. 1825. An account of the circumstances attending the imprisonment and death of the late William Millard, formerly Superintendent of the Theatre of Anatomy of St. Thomas’s Hospital, Southwark (London: Ann Millard), 64 pp.

This is a complete scan of the 1825 edition.

Ann Millard’s account

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Ann Millard. 1825. An account of the circumstances attending the imprisonment and death of the late William Millard.
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