Rebecca Wynter (academic)

Rebecca Wynter

Rebecca Wynter (BA (Joint Hons) MPhil PhD FHEA FRHistS) is a historian of medicine and of Quakers. Her research and publications centre on the history of psychiatry, mental health, neurosurgery, the Friends Ambulance Unit, and First World War medicine and disability. Place, space, material culture and reform are key themes of her work. She has worked with museums, developing and co-curating exhibitions, and with Quakers and volunteers on public history projects. Rebecca has been Reviews Editor, and is an incoming Editor of the learned journal, Quaker Studies.


PhD Modern History (University of Birmingham); MPhil History, Film and Television (University of Birmingham); BA Joint Hons, History and History of Art (Staffordshire University).

Teaching and Supervision

Rebecca has a wide range of teaching experience, teaching History to A-Level students, to undergraduates and postgraduates, to Erasmus and medical students, and to adult learners.

She is happy to supervise in the following areas: psychiatry, mental health, and mental healthcare; Quakers and nonconformity in war, medicine and aid work; First World War medicine and medical humanitarianism; complaints and whistleblowing; prisons and workhouses.

Current Research

Rebecca continues to work on Quakers in the First World War, and on the Friends Ambulance Unit across the twentieth century and in their international medical and relief work. She has recently completed a major five-year project, ‘Forged by Fire: Burns Injury and Identity in Britain, c.1800-2000’, with colleagues at the University of Birmingham and Leeds Beckett University (Jonathan Reinarz, Shane Ewen and Aaron Andrews). She is currently researching the history of aversion and conversion therapy, and is developing projects around the emergency services, especially the police.


2022   Anniversaries, Memory and Mental Health in International Historical Perspective: Faith in Reform, co-edited and introduction with Rob Ellis and Jennifer Wallis (London: Palgrave Macmillan).

2020   A Quaker Conscientious Objector: The prison letters of Wilfrid Littleboy, 1917-1919, edited and introduction with Pink Dandelion (Bath: Handheld Press).

2014   Complaints, Controversies and Grievances in Medicine: Historical and Social Science Perspectives, edited and introduction with Jonathan Reinarz (London: Routledge).

 Journal Articles          

2021   ‘Ambition, ‘Failure’ and the Laboratory: Birmingham as a Centre of Twentieth-Century British Scientific Psychiatry’, British Journal for the History of Science, 54 (1), pp. 19-40.

2017   ‘Historical contexts to communicating mental health’ (with Leonard Smith), Medical Humanities, 43 (2), 73-80.

2016   ‘Conscription, Conscience and Controversy: the Friends’ Ambulance Unit and the ‘Middle Course’ in the First World War’, Quaker Studies, 21 (2), 213-33.

2015    ‘Pictures of Peter Pan: Institutions, Local Definitions of ‘Mental Deficiency’, and the Filtering of Children in Early Twentieth-Century England’, Family and Community History, 18 (2), 122-38.

2011    ‘‘Good in all respects’: appearance and dress at Staffordshire County Lunatic Asylum, 1818-1854’, History of Psychiatry, 22 (1), 40-57.


2022    ‘Photographic Memories: Historians, Family History, Mental Health and the Ethics of Sharing’, in Anna Lavis and Karin Eli (eds), Matters of the Mind: Mental Health and Material Culture (London: Routledge). In review.

2022 “Go anywhere, do anything’: The Friends Ambulance Unit, 1914–1959’, Rhiannon Grant and C. Wess Daniels (eds), The Quaker World (London: Routledge). In review.

2021   ‘Mind/Brain’ (with Stephen Casper), in Jonathan Reinarz (ed.), A Cultural History of Medicine, Volume IV: The Age of Empire, 1800-1920 (London: Bloomsbury), 177-200.

2015    “Horrible dens of deception’: Thomas Bakewell, Thomas Mulock and Anti-Asylum Sentiments, c.1815-1858’, in Tom Knowles and Serena Trowbridge (eds), Insanity and the Lunatic Asylum in the Nineteenth Century (London: Pickering & Chatto), 11-28.

2014    ‘The Spirit of Medicine: The use of alcohol in nineteenth-century medical practice’ (with Jonathan Reinarz), in Susanne Schmid and Barbara Schmidt-Haberkamp (eds), Drink in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: Consumers, Cross-Currents, Conviviality (London: Pickering & Chatto), 121-41.

Special Issues

2017   ‘Communicating Mental Health’, Medical Humanities, 43 (2), edited with Leonard Smith.

2016   ‘Quaker Responses to the First World War’, Quaker Studies, 21 (2), edited with Pink Dandelion.

Other Key Publications         

2020   ‘Body and Mind: Are we adequately prepared for the toll this pandemic will take on mental health?’, with Rob Ellis and Rob Light, History Today (October 2020), 90-93.

2016   Guest Editorial, ‘History, Reappraisal, Transmission’, in Pink Dandelion and Rebecca Wynter (eds), ‘Quaker Responses to the First World War’, Quaker Studies, 21 (2), 135-39.

2014   ‘What’s in a Name? Shifting Definitions of Epilepsy and its Care, c.1870-1914’, Wellcome History, 21-23.

Book reviews for Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Quaker Studies, Urban History, Friends Historical Society, History of Psychiatry, and Social History of Medicine.

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