JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
At the end of the 19th century it was recognized that international data collected on mental illness would be highly useful. Unfortunately there was no real possibility of applying a series of great common denominators to the vast majority of mental illnesses--the classification of mental diseases lacked general consensus and clarity for not understanding the pathology of the disease, therefore having to fall back on classification according to symptology, which is open to interpretation, and individual experience, and occasional faith, with the apparent mental conditions judged by exterior behavior and appearance. This pamphlet below is the sum of the efforts of international institutions to come up with a plan for this classification that might make disparate data more refined and so more useful to communities around the world. It seems as though this was done with a simplicity that was also useful, as there was a common language to describe those conditions that are marked for classification.
Full text can be viewed of Yale's copy, here:https://archive.org/details/39002086346195.med.yale.edu
Clark Bell. Report on Classification of Mental Diseases as a basis of international statistics of the insane, made to the Belgian Society of Mental Medicine. 23x15cm, 14pp. Wrappers. Provenance: Library of Congress Smithsonian Deposit (received in 1886) from Dr. Bell (with a tiny 1.5cm embossed stamp bearing his name and address at top-center front page). I suspect that this is a separate printing of this article that appeared the Medico-Legal Journal, volume 4, 1886, as it has the same exact appearance--Bell was also the editor of that journal.
And the classifications, which appeared on the last two pages of the document: