In 1888 a sixteen-year-old Bristol schoolgirl died from anorexia nervosa, the first known reported death from the modern disorder Up to ten months prior to her death, Miss K.R.had been a plump, healthy-looking girl who was eager to attract the notice of her friends. For no apparent cause, she stopped eating. She was admitted to the Cottage Hospital where she was fed pulverized food every four hours. She resorted to every conceivable trick to avoid swallowing it. Her physician advised, without success, that her family, particularly her mother, be kept away. Miss K.R. died weighing forty-nine pounds.

Adapted fromFasting Girlsby Joan Jacobs Brumberg.

© Kathryn Sylva & Robin Lasser