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Historic Psychiatry sub-collection

Portions of this material may be available on Kansas Memory


Agency Classification

Organizations/Corporations. Menninger Foundation Archives. Historic Psychiatry.


Date: 1644 - 1991 not inclusive

Level of Description: Sub-collection/group

Physical Description: Circa 84 cubic feet.

Unit ID: 224724

Descriptive Information

Abstract: This sub-collection of the Menninger Archives consists of small collections and individual items purchased by or donated to the Menninger Foundation Museum and Archives. While some of these items may have been purchased simply because of the autograph attached, the vast majority come from individuals who were significant in the fields of medicine, psychiatry or psychology, and reform. Even those items that come from individuals not associated with these fields tend to deal with one of these topics. The materials date from the mid-17th century at the earliest up to the 20th century and include both original documents and photocopies, as well as reference and secondary research material from later periods. Many of the papers are from the 18th and 19th centuries.

There are four series of general documents, including newspaper clippings, article reprints, letters, reports from state hospitals, and other materials without a unifying author or creator. The rest of the sub-collection is organized by author or collector and ranges anywhere from a single document case to more substantial collections--twenty cubic feet or more--from 20th century individuals such as Emil Oberholzer and Ugo Cerletti. Authors and subjects include Adolf Meyer; Anna and Sigmund Freud; Anton Boisen; Benjamin and Richard Rush; Clifford Beers; Dorothea Dix; E. E. Southard; Emil Oberholzer; Florence Nightingale; Francis T. Stribling; Frankwood Earl Williams; Harry Guntrip; Henry Havelock Ellis; Hermon Major; Kings George II, III, and IV of England; Leander Hamilton McCormick; Lucio Bini; Muriel Brown; Nina Ridenour; S. Weir Mitchell; Smith Ely Jeliffe; Ugo Cerletti; Walker Winslow; and William James.

Materials found in these groupings may be written in numerous European languages. Some sub-collections contain individual patient or other sensitive information and may therefore have restrictions placed upon them. Overall, this section of the Menninger Archives provides a variety of windows into the history of psychiatry, before such a term even existed and after it became a significant field of study in the medical professions.

Language note: English, German, French, Italian, Polish, Russian, Spanish.

Contents List

Items in this list may appear in the format Description (beginning year - ending year). Sometimes dates appear as part of the Description and the phrase [Date not given] appears in the date area.

Index Terms


  1. Medicine -- Europe -- History
  2. Medicine -- United States -- History
  3. Psychiatry -- Archival resources
  4. Psychiatry -- Europe -- History
  5. Psychiatry -- United States -- History
  6. Psychology -- Archival resources
  7. Psychology -- History
  8. Reformers -- History
  9. Social reformers -- History

Additional Information for Researchers

Ownership/Custodial Hist.: The majority of the sub-collections and individual items found in the Historic Psychiatry materials (otherwise known as Original Documents) were purchased by the Menninger Foundation as it was setting up its museum and archives in the late 1950s and 1960s, in conjunction with the move to the West Campus in Topeka, Kan. Many of these purchases were conducted through dealers. Other materials were donated by private individuals or other organizations throughout the decades following the foundation of the Menninger Archives. Some collections of papers from individuals were purchased or donated as individual or small sets of items over a period of time, while others were bought or given outright in a single instance.

The results displayed here have been compiled from a number of databases that may contain variations, inconsistencies, and inadvertent errors in the detailed information presented. For small collections and records series, only basic data is included at the present time. Other descriptions may be less complete than desired; however, we are working to improve them. For more information, please contact our reference staff.