Doctor Wildman

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Bellevue Hospital Ambulance, New York City, 1895.

If America rejected every idiot, insane person and pauper that wanted to come here, it would be a pretty boring country that turned away some of its best and most innovative thinkers. But that was the case in this story from the November 24, 1901 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, in which a colorful Italian nobleman apparently lost his mind and got booted from the country. An excerpt:

“Delli Edouardo Francio, a titled scion of a wealthy Neapolitan family was deported from this country yesterday on the steamship Fuerst Bismarck. Francio has been in the insane pavillion at Bellevue Hospital for the last three weeks and was adjudged insane by Doctors Fitch and Wildman. Being a non-resident of this country and having become a public charge, his case was brought to the notice of the Washington authorities. It was under an act of Congress passed March 4, 1891, designed to keep out of this country idiots, insane persons, paupers, people suffering from contagious diseases and others likely to become public charges within a year that Francio’s deportation took place.

Edouardo Francio is the real name of the man, the prefix Delli being an old Neapolitan title among the nobility of Italy. Francio is a handsome man of classic features and is an accomplished musician and baritone singer. He studied medicine in a college in Naples and after graduating neglected his profession and led a fast life. His father was very wealthy and a minister of customs in Naples. His uncle is in the Italian Chamber of Deputies and he has a brother, a colonel in the Italian Army.

Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York, 1901.

About a year ago Francio came to this country with an opera company and toured the States and Canada. While in Canada he is said to have caused a divorce suit and to have gone to the Pan-American Exposition with the divorcee. There he became a bankrupt and got into considerable trouble and left for this city to seek employment. After various unsuccessful attempts he finally secured work in a concert hall in 184 Sullivan street.

This place was also a sort of reproduction of an Italian village restaurant and it attracted many of that set of New Yorkers who seek foreign customs. Several of these people became acquainted with Francio and advanced him money. In this place he sang Italian and French operatic arias at a small salary.

About two months ago Francio’s mind became affected and he thought that his friends were persecuting him. He became violent and on November 1 he was taken to Bellevue Hospital. While in that institution many stylishly dressed women called on him. One handsome woman who called in a carriage advanced the information to Dr. Young of the young man’s identity. Through this source the Bellevue authorities notified the immigration authorities, and they in turn notified the Washington officials, who ordered his deportation.”

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