Movement History of the Consumer/ Client/ Survivor/ Ex-patient/ Ex-Inmate/ User Community (Timeline Follows)

The history of the C/S/X Movement is important. It's important that people understand that ours is a civil rights movement and not just peer support. Both are important but I don't want peer supporters to get co-opted so it's important that they understand that we come from a place of oppression. In our White dominated society, Black folks are often not considered equal. In our male dominated society, women are often not considered equal. Children are often considered "chattel" and those inequalities are, the source of oppression. I think those inequities lead to trauma and abuse. I think we are often considered as "less than." It's those attitudes that lead to it somehow being socially acceptable for police to Taser us, for psychiatric staff to drug us, to seclude and restrain us, for the courts to civilly commit us for our thoughts, moods, feelings or emotions. Understanding our shared oppression and our place in the greater movement for civil rights is important. Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it."

The Timeline that follows the introductory sections includes overlapping pieces of history that are important or relevant to our C/S/X history. Included are pieces of the history of poverty, history of the Independent Living Movement for People with Disabilities, history of psychology and history of psychiatry, history of the Womens movement, history of the youth movement, history of the civil rights movement, history of the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bi, trans) movement, history of the labor movement including child labor, important pieces of medical history and political history, and other important pieces of note that impacted upon us and our rights. All entries represent important points of note in striving for and attaining the right to our bodies, the right to our selves, our rights as human beings and overcoming the oppression of treating us as less than fully equal.

1. Did you know that prior to 1960 it was common for physicians and psychologists at state hospitals to be assigned help-patients who acted as personal servants in charge of house cleaning, gardening, laundry, and cooking?

2. Did you know that in 1995-97 at least four major books on the history of mental health care in America were written and not one contains first hand accounts from ex-patients?

3. Did you know that the federal government established the fully segregated Canton Indian Insane Asylum in South Dakota in 1902 and that the town of Canton has since built the Hiawatha Municipal Golf Course around the graves of 121 former inmates?

4. Did you know that only one type of mental illness was thought to exist in American slaves? It was called Drapetomania and was defined as the inexplicable urge of a slave to run away!

5. Did you know that there are people who still remember what it was like to be a patient at a state hospital in the 1930's? They remember working on the hospital farms, the experience of malarial treatments, wet packs, metrazol shock, insulin coma therapy and how (or if) things changed with the introduction of Thorazine in the 1950's.

6. Did you know that Central State Hospital in Virginia was established in 1869 exclusively for colored insane?

History of Mental Illness and Early Treatment in a Nutshell (Timeline follows)

Early man widely believed that mental illness was the result of supernatural phenomena such as spiritual or demonic possession, sorcery, the evil eye, or an angry deity and so responded with equally mystical, and sometimes brutal, treatments. Trephining (also referred to as trepanning) first occurred in Neolithic (last phase of the stone age c9000-8000bc) times. During this procedure, a hole, or trephine, was chipped into the skull using crude stone instruments. It was believed that through this opening the evil spirit(s)--thought to be inhabiting ones head and causing their psychopathology--would be released and the individual would be cured. Some who underwent this procedure survived and may have lived for many years afterward as trephined skulls of primitive humans show signs of healing. Pressure on the brain may have also incidentally been relieved. This procedure endured through the centuries to treat various ailments such as skull fractures and migraines as well as mental illness, albeit with more sophisticated tools such as skull saws and drills developed solely for this purpose.

In ancient Mesopotamia, priest-doctors treated the mentally ill with magico-religious rituals as mental pathology was believed to mask demonic possession. Exorcisms, incantations, prayer, atonement, and other various mystical rituals were used to drive out the evil spirit. Other means attempted to appeal to the spirit with more human devices-- threats, bribery, punishment, and sometimes submission, were hoped to be an effective cure.

Hebrews believed that all illness was inflicted upon humans by God as punishment for committing sin, and even demons that were thought to cause some illnesses were attributed to Gods wrath. Yet, God was also seen as the ultimate healer and, generally, Hebrew physicians were priests who had special ways of appealing to the higher power in order to cure sickness. Along the same spiritual lines, ancient Persians attributed illness to demons and believed that good health could be achieved through proper precautions to prevent and protect one from diseases. These included adequate hygiene and purity of the mind and body achieved through good deeds and thoughts.

Ancient Egyptians seem to be the most forward-thinking in their treatment of mental illness as they recommended that those afflicted with mental pathology engage in recreational activities such as concerts, dances, and painting in order to relieve symptoms and achieve some sense of normalcy. The Egyptians were also very advanced in terms of medicine, surgery, and knowledge of the human body. Two papyri dating back to the sixteenth century BCE, the Edwin Smith papyrus and the Ebers papyrus, document early treatment of wounds, surgical operations, and identifies, very likely for the first time, the brain as the site of mental functions. These papyri also show that, despite innovative thinking about disease, magic and incantations were used to treat illnesses that were of unknown origin, often thought to be caused by supernatural forces such as demons or disgruntled divine beings. Ancient Egyptians also shared the early Greek belief that hysteria in women, now known as Conversion Disorder, was caused by a wandering uterus, and so used fumigation of the vagina to lure the organ back into proper position.

In all of these ancient civilizations, mental illness was attributed to some supernatural force, generally a displeased deity. Most illness, particularly mental illness, was thought to be afflicted upon an individual or group of peoples as punishment for their trespasses. In addition to the widespread use of exorcism and prayer, music was used a therapy to affect emotion, and the singing of charms and spells was performed in Babylonia, Assyria, the Mediterranean-Near East, and Egypt in hopes of achieving a cure.

Beliefs about mental illness and proper treatments were altered, and in some cases advanced, by early European thinkers. Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE, Greek physician Hippocrates denied the long-held belief that mental illness was caused by supernatural forces and instead proposed that it stemmed from natural occurrences in the human body, particularly pathology in the brain. Hippocrates, and later the Roman physician Galen, introduced the concept of the four essential fluids of the human bodyblood, phlegm, bile, and black bilethe combinations of which produced the unique personalities of individuals. Through the Middles Ages, mental illness was believed to result from an imbalance of these humors. In order to bring the body back into equilibrium, patients were given emetics, laxatives, and were bled using leeches or cupping. Specific purges included a concoction developed by Ptolemy called Hiera Logadii, which combined aloes, black hellebore, and colocynth and was believed to cleanse one of melancholy. Confectio Hamech was another laxative developed by the Arabs that contained myrobalans, rhubarb, and senna. Later, tobacco imported from America was popularly used to induce vomiting. Other treatments to affect the humors consisted of extracting blood from the forehead or tapping the cephalic, saphenous, and/or hemorroidal veins to draw corrupted humors away from the brain. In addition to purging and bloodletting (also known as phlebotomy), customized diets were recommended. For example, raving madmen were told to follow diets that were cooling and diluting, consisting of salad greens, barley water, and milk, and avoid wine and red meat.

Custody and care of the mentally ill were generally left to the individuals family, although some outside intervention occurred. The first mental hospital was established in 792 CE Baghdad and was soon followed by others in Aleppo and Damascusmass establishment of asylums and institutionalization took place much later, though. The mentally ill in the custody of family were widely abused and restrained, particularly in Christian Europe. Due to the shame and stigma attached to mental illness, many hid their mentally ill family members in cellars, caged them in pigpens, or put them under the control of servants. Others were abandoned by their families and left to a life of begging and vagrancy.

The social stigma attached to mental illness was, and to some extent still is, pronounced in countries that have strong ties to family honor and a reliance on marriages to create alliances and relieve families of burdensome daughters. In China, the mentally ill were concealed by their families for fear that the community would believe that the affliction was the result of immoral behavior by the individual and/or their relatives. The mentally ill were also thought to have bad fate that would negatively influence anyone who associated with the disturbed individual, scaring away potential suitors and leading to the idea that mental illness was contagious. Historically in Greece, a mentally ill [family] member implies a hereditary, disabling condition in the bloodline and threatens [the familys] identity as an honorable unit, therefore treatment of the mentally ill in these cultures meant a life of hidden confinement or abandonment by ones family. Mentally ill vagrants were left alone to wander the streets so long as they did not cause any social disorder. Those who were deemed dangerous or unmanageable, both in family homes or on the streets, were given over to police and thrown in jails or dungeons, sometimes for life. Particularly in Europe during the Middle Ages, beatings were administered to the mentally ill who acted out as punishment for the disturbances their behavior caused and as a means of teaching individuals out of their illnesses. Others who were considered nuisances were flogged out of town.

Through the Middle Ages and until the mass establishment of asylums, treatments for mental illness were offered by humanistic physicians, medical astrologers, apothecaries, and folk or traditional healers. Aside from secular exorcisms, prayers, charms, amulets, and other mystical treatments were available. In the 17th century, astral talismans were popular and were easily made using brass or tin emblems with astrological signs etched into them and cast at astrologically significant times. These were worn around the neck of the afflicted while they recited prayers. Also worn around the neck were scraps of Latin liturgy wrapped in paper, bundled with a leaf of mugwort or St. Johns Wort and tied with taffeta. Amulets were also used, supplemented by prayers and charms, to soothe troubled minds, prevent mystical infection, and protect against witches and evil spirits. Sedatives during the 17th century consisted of opium grains, unguents, and laudanum to ease the torment of mental illness.

Some treatment options existed beyond family custody and care, such as lodging the mentally ill in workhouses or checking them into general hospitals where they were frequently abandoned. The clergy also played a significant role in treating the mentally ill as medical practice was a natural extension of ministers duty to relieve the afflictions of their flocks. Private madhouses were established and run by members of the clergy to treat the mentally afflicted who could afford such care. Catholic nations regularly staffed mental health facilities with clergy, and most mentally ill individuals in Russia were housed in monasteries until asylums spread to this region of the world in the mid-1800s. To relieve mental illness, regular attendance in church had been recommended for years as well as pilgrimages to religious shrines. Priests often solaced mentally disturbed individuals by encouraging them to repent their sins and seek refuge in Gods mercy. Treatment in clergy-run facilities was a desirable alternative as the care was generally very humane, although these establishments could not treat the whole of the mentally ill population, especially as it seemed to grow in number.

In order to accommodate the burgeoning amount of mentally ill individuals, asylums were established around the world starting, most notably, from the sixteenth century onward. The first institution to open its doors in Europe is thought to be the Valencia mental hospital in Spain, in 1406. Although not much is known about the treatment patients received at this particular site, asylums were notorious for the deplorable living conditions and cruel abuse endured by those admitted. For many years, asylums were not facilities aimed at helping the mentally ill achieve any sense of normalcy or otherwise overcome their illnesses. Instead, asylums were merely reformed penal institutions where the mentally ill were abandoned by relatives or sentenced by the law and faced a life of inhumane treatment, all for the sake of lifting the burden off of ashamed families and preventing any possible disturbance in the community.

The majority of asylums were staffed by gravely untrained, unqualified individuals who treated mentally ill patients like animals. A case study describes a typical scene at La Bicetre, a hospital in Paris, starting with patients shackled to the wall in dark, cramped cells. Iron cuffs and collars permitted just enough movement to allow patients to feed themselves but not enough to lie down at night, so they were forced to sleep upright. Little attention was paid to the quality of the food or whether patients were adequately fed. There were no visitors to the cell except to deliver food, and the rooms were never cleaned. Patients had to make do with a little amount of straw to cover the cold floor and were forced to sit amongst their own waste that was also never cleaned up. These conditions were not all unique to La Bicetre, and this case study paints a fairly accurate picture of a typical scene in asylums around the world from approximately the 1500s to the mid-1800s, and in some places, the early 1900s.

The most infamous asylum was located in London, EnglandSaint Mary of Bethlehem. This monastery-turned-asylum began admitting the mentally ill in 1547 after Henry VIII announced its transformation. The institution soon earned the nickname Bedlam as its horrific conditions and practices were revealed. Violent patients were put on display like sideshow freaks for the public to peek at for the price of one penny; gentler patients were put out on the streets to beg for charity. It was customary in the middle ages until the 19th century in England and France to publicly display the insane through windows where their behaviors could be observed while they were chained to the walls of the asylum. In 17th century England, one penny was required for such a viewing and, according to one accounting, 400 hundred pounds was accumulated over the year which represented approximately 96,000 visits. It was not unusual for a family to take their children on a Sunday trip to see the insane in these facilities surrounding urban areas. At this time in history, madness or mental illness was not considered an illness; rather, it was thought that "madness borrowed its face from the mask of the beast," i.e., it was caused by sin and social deviance. According to a writing by St. Vincent DePaul: The principal end from which such persons have been removed here, out of the storms of the great world, and introduced into this solitude as pensioners, is entirely to keep them from the slavery of sin, from being eternally damned, and to give them means to rejoice in a perfect contentment in this world and in the next. By the end of the 18th century one out of every one hundred citizens of the city of Paris was confined in one or more of these institutions. It was not until after the Renaissance that mental illness was identified as an illness unique from other social deviancy, and thus began the segregation of persons with mental illness from others whom society thought undesirable.

Soon after the establishment of Bedlam, other countries began to follow suit and founded their own mental health facilities. San Hipolito was built in Mexico 1566 and claims the title of the first asylum in the Americas. La Maison de Chareton was the first mental facility in France, founded in 1641 in a suburb of Paris. Constructed in 1784, the Lunatics Tower in Vienna became a showplace. The elaborately decorated round tower contained square rooms in which the staff lived. The patients were housed in the spaces between the walls of the rooms and the wall of the tower and, like at Bedlam, were put on display for public amusement.

When staff did attempt to cure the patients, they followed the practices typical of the time periodpurging and bloodletting, the most common. Other treatments included dousing the patient in either hot or ice-cold water to shock their minds back into a normal state. The belief that patients needed to choose rationality over insanity led to techniques aiming to intimidate. Blistering, physical restraints, threats, and straitjackets were employed to achieve this end. Powerful drugs were also administered, for example, to a hysterical patient in order to exhaust them. Around the mid-1700s, the Dutch Dr. Boerhaave invented the gyrating chair that became a popular tool in Europe and the United States. This instrument was intended to shake up the blood and tissues of the body to restore equilibrium, but instead resulted in rendering the patient unconscious without any recorded successes.

Although cruel treatment in asylums surely felt to the patients as if it had been going on for ages, conditions began to improve in the mid-to- late 1800s as reforms were called for, and this shameful and unenlightened period was somewhat brief in relation to the span of world history. One of the earliest reforms occurred at an asylum in Devon, England. This facility had employed opium, leeches, and purges as cures for mental illness, but in the mid-1800s emphasized non-restraint methods to affect patients health.

One of the most significant asylum reforms was introduced by Philippe Pinel in Paris. During the year of 1792, Pinel took charge of La Bicetre to test his hypothesis that mentally ill patients would improve if they were treated with kindness and consideration. Filth, noise, and abuse were eliminated quickly after patients were unchained, provided with sunny rooms, allowed to exercise freely on the asylum grounds, and were no longer treated like animals.

The same reforms were undertaken around this time by an English Quaker, William Tuke. Founded in 1796, the York Retreat in York, England was run by Tuke and other Quakers who stressed the importance of treating all people with respect and compassion, even the mentally ill. In keeping faithful to this ideal, the York Retreat was a pleasant country house, modeled on a domestic lifestyle, that allowed patients to live, work, and rest in a warm and religious environment that emphasized mildness, reason, and humanity.

This humanitarian movement spread across the Atlantic to the United States in the early 1800s. Stemming largely from the work of Pinel and Tuke, moral management emerged in America as a wide-ranging method of treatment that focused on a patients social, individual, and occupational needs. Applied to asylum care, moral management focused on the mentally ill individuals spiritual and moral development as well as the rehabilitation of their personal character to lessen their mental ailments. These goals were sought through encouraging the patient to engage in manual labor and spiritual discussion, always accompanied by humane treatment.

Although moral management was highly effective, it largely failed to continue through the late 1800s for several reasons. First, ethnic prejudice created tension between staff and patients as immigration increased. The leaders of the moral management movement also failed to pass along their teachings, so there was a lack of replacements. Third, supporters of this movement did not realize that bigger hospitals differed from smaller ones in more ways than just size, leading to an overextension of hospital facilities. Biomedical advances also led to the demise of moral management as most believed that medicine would soon be the cure-all for physical as well as mental afflictions and, therefore, psychological and social help was not necessary. Lastly, the rise of a new movement called Mental Hygiene focused solely on the patients physical health and ignored their psychological disturbances. Although this new movement ended the effective reign of moral management and resulted in many patients becoming helpless and dependent, there were several humanitarian positives to Mental Hygiene.

Dorothea Dix was a schoolteacher forced to retire early due to her bouts of tuberculosis. Soon after she began teaching in a womens prison and learned of the horrific conditions of jails, almshouses, and particularly mental health facilities, Dix commenced a forty-year long campaign to reform asylums called the Mental Hygiene movement. Although this movement did not directly affect patients mental illnesses, it raised millions of dollars to build hospitals that were suitable for proper care and influenced twenty American states to respond to her pleas for change, resulting in greater physical comfort of the patients. Dix also managed to oversee the opening of two institutions in Canada and completely revamp the systems of mental health care in Scotland and several other countries.

Improvements in asylum care continued in America and Europe, although sub-par conditions persisted in numerous American and European institutions. Many countries around the world were also slow, or failed completely, to implement sufficient reforms. For example, asylums in Nigeria, Africa were not even established until 1906 after citizens started complaining about the disruptive behavior of mentally ill individuals that were left to roam the streets and wander from village to village. Until that year, the mentally ill were either sent to asylums in Sierra Leone or locked in the lunatic ward of local prisons. When asylums were finally established in Lagos and Abeokuta, the conditions were less than pleasant. Common complaints included dark, overcrowded cells, a lack of basic supplies, poor bathing facilities, and the use of chains to restrain patients. Very little treatment was offered to help the patients with their mental illnesses with the exception of minimal occupational therapy and agricultural work as well as the administration of sedatives to keep patients calm and under controla practice that was likely more beneficial to the staff than the afflicted.

Significant advances in psychological concepts after the mass establishment of asylums did not arise until the development of psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Examination of an earlier practice, Mesmerism, must be mentioned first though as it is commonly posited to have provided a foundation for later psychoanalytic techniques. Austrian physician Franz Mesmer believed that human bodies contained a magnetic fluid that was affected by the planets and determined ones health depending on its distribution. Mesmer concluded that all persons were capable of using their own magnetic forces to affect the magnetic fluid in others and considered himself to be powerful enough to cure illnesses with his animal magnetism. Mesmer gained a large following when he opened a clinic in Paris 1778 and started practicing his mesmerism. In order to affect cures, several patients at a time were seated around a tub containing various chemicals. Iron rods attached to the tub were applied to the afflicted parts of their body (as patients were generally hysterical and experiencing numbness or paralysis), after which Mesmer would emerge in light purple robe and circle around the room touching the patients either with his hand or with a wand. Although Mesmers techniques reportedly were effective, he was branded a fraud by his medical colleagues, and his cures were later believed to be the result of hypnotism, a psychoanalytic practice.

Between the years of 1888 and 1939, Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, published twenty-four volumes explaining his thoughts about personality and psychopathology called Psychoanalytic Theory. Freud believed that the human mind was structured in three divisionsthe id, the ego, and the superego. The id functioned unconsciously, driven by the two main primal desires for sex and aggression. The superego functioned both consciously and unconsciously, demanding that the individual deny the ids impulses and instead live a virtuous life, striving to meet societys ideals. The ego also functioned both consciously and unconsciously and was deemed the mediator between an individuals id and superego, always working to find a balance between what one desired and what society considered acceptable. The unconscious was thought to be the seat of psychopathology as it contained unacceptable desires and painful memories that had been repressed by the two higher functions as they would have been too unsettling to acknowledge. Freud believed that anxiety arose as these three parts of the human mind battled each other, resulting in mental illness and that if the individual could only reveal and address the content of their unconscious, then their mental ailments would be cured.

The resulting treatments created by Freud are known as psychoanalysis, or talking cures and began with hypnosis, a revised form of mesmerism. When this specific method did not prove to be effective, Freud turned to free association in which the patient was instructed to relax and share whatever thoughts came to mind, no matter how trivial or embarrassing they might have been. Freud believed that these thoughts would create a path that he could follow into the patients unconscious, where he could then retrieve years of repressed thoughts and feelings. The unconscious was also thought to be revealed through an individuals beliefs, habits, and even slips of the tongue and pen, which came to be known as Freudian slips. Dream analysis was another popular method of treatment promoted by Freud. Patients were asked to record their dreams, sometimes every morning in a journal kept bedside. The psychoanalyst would then study the manifest content of the dream, or what was remembered by the patient, and search for latent content, or the unconscious materials that were thought to be censored by the conscious mind and instead encoded as symbols. Although Freud provoked many critics who considered his ideas pseudo-science, psychoanalysis was a very popular method of treating mental illness from the early to mid 1900s.

Also in development and widespread use during this time were somatic treatments for mental illness such as electroconvulsive therapy, psychosurgery, and psychopharmacology. These treatments were based on the biological model of mental pathology that assumes mental illness is the result of a biochemical imbalance in the body and can be compared to physical diseases. Therefore, somatic treatments were designed to correct an individuals chemical imbalance in order to restore their mental health.

Electroconvulsive therapy has roots in methods designed to shock the body but without the aid of electricity. In 1933, Manfred Sakel reported his first experimental findings, testing the efficacy of insulin-shock treatment on schizophrenic patients in Berlin, Germany. Insulin was administered to the patient in a dose high enough to induce coma, and although the treatment seemed to be beneficial to individuals in the early stages of schizophrenia, it was not proven to be useful in advanced cases of schizophrenia. Sakels vague theoretical rationale for this specific method and the difficult regimen of care this treatment required also led to the abandonment of insulin-shock therapy.

Ladislaus Joseph von Meduna experimented with shock therapy and schizophrenia in Budapest, Hungary, also during the year 1933. Instead of insulin, Meduna injected patients with Metrazol, a less toxic synthetic preparation of camphor. This treatment was soon abandoned as it possessed a period of unpredictable length between injection and convulsions, giving the patient just enough time to become fearful and uncooperative. It also often produced convulsions that were so severe as to cause fractures.

Finally in 1938, Italian physicians Ugo Cerletti and Lucio Bini administered the first shock therapy using electricity to a schizophrenic patient and received successful results. This treatment soon became widespread and was used most often in America and Europe. There is some history of abuse associated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) though, that took place in mental institutions. Because the idea of an electrical current being passed through ones head is undoubtedly frightening, ECT was used to intimidate, control, and punish patients, some of whom were subjected to this treatment over a hundred times. Despite previous instances of abuse, this treatment is still used today, albeit with significant reforms. It is generally reserved only for the mentally ill who suffer from severe depression, especially of the variety accompanied by psychotic symptoms, and only as a last resort after the patient has not responded to any other treatments, including medication. Patients are also administered a general anesthetic and muscle relaxant prior to the treatment so that they do not suffer any discomfort and there is no danger of fractured bones. Electroconvulsive therapy is commonly performed on a patient three times a week until a dozen sessions are reached, although some patients may require more or less sessions to benefit. The only negative side effects reported are amnesia limited to the few hours before the session and disorientation; both disappear soon after ECT is stopped.

When electroconvulsive therapy was not effective, patients were sometimes forced to undergo psychosurgery, a practice that developed and was widely practiced in the 1930s to 1950s. It was in Portugal, 1935, that Egas Moniz performed the first lobotomy with the aid of a neurosurgeon, Almeida Lima; Walter Freeman was responsible for popularizing lobotomies in America. To execute this procedure, the patient was first shocked into a coma. The surgeon then hammered an instrument similar to an icepick through the top of each eye socket and severed the nerves connecting the frontal lobes to the emotion-controlling centers of the inner brain. The intended purpose of the lobotomy was to calm uncontrollably violent or emotional patients, and it did--at first--prove to be successful. Because of the preliminary positive results and the facts that it was easy, inexpensive, and the average time it took to complete the procedure was only about ten minutes, lobotomies quickly spread around the world as a popular practice for severely mentally ill patients who were resistant to other treatments. It was only after tens of thousands of patients worldwide had undergone this procedure during the following twenty years that people started to take notice of its undesirable side effects. Lobotomies generally produced personalities that were lethargic and immature. Aside from a twenty-five percent death rate, lobotomies also resulted in patients that were unable to control their impulses, were unnaturally calm and shallow, and/or exhibited a total absence of feeling. Not surprisingly, this practice was quickly abandoned with the introduction of psychoactive drugs.

Since the late 1800s, substances such as chloryl hydrate, bromides, and barbiturates were administered to the mentally ill in order to sedate them, yet they were ineffective in treating the basic symptoms of psychosis. It was not until Australian psychiatrist J.F.J Cade introduced the psychotropic drug Lithium in 1949 that psychopharmacology really took off. A series of successful anti-psychotic drugs were introduced in the 1950s that did not cure psychosis but were able to control its symptoms. Chlorpromazine (commonly known as Thorazine) was the first of the anti-psychotic medications, discovered in France, 1952. Valium became the worlds most prescribed tranquilizer in the 1960s, and Prozac, introduced in 1987, became the most prescribed antidepressant.

The introduction of psychopharmacology is arguably one of the most significant and successful contributions to mental illness treatment, although it did lead to a movement that has been devastating to mental health care systems around the world, especially in the United States. The advent of psychoactive drugs convinced many that all illnesses would soon be effectively managed with medication, leading to the deinstitutionalization movement that rapidly occurred starting in the 1960s. It was believed that numerous community-based facilities would be conveniently available to the mentally ill should they choose to seek it out, although this plan was never sufficiently realized. Instead, thousands of the mentally ill discharged from institutions were incapable of living independently, medicated or not, and became homeless as a result of inadequate housing and follow-up care. In the 1980s, it was estimated that one-third of all homeless individuals in America were considered severely mentally ill. Lack of support and guidance led to the incarceration of over 100,000 mentally ill individuals in America as well. A 1992 survey reported that 7.2 percent of the inmate population was overtly and seriously mentally ill; over one-fourth of that population was being detained without charges until beds became available in one of the countrys few remaining mental hospitals.

Psychotropic medication has additionally allowed individuals to avoid directly confronting their mental health issues, for example through counseling. Despite successful advances in therapy, such as Rogers Client-Centered Counseling and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, among many others, mentally ill individuals have found it easier to avoid the shame associated with mental illness in countries where psychopathology is profoundly stigmatized. For instance, since deinstitutionalization, community health centers, day-care facilities, short- and long-term residencies, vocational training programs, and mobile units have all been established in Greece, yet the majority of the mentally ill, aside from those suffering from severe psychosis, still treat themselves only with psychotropic medication as they find it easier to hide their mental ailments from their friends, family, and communities. Supernatural beliefs about mental illness persist in other countries around the world, motivating most individuals to consult traditional healers first to help restore their mental health before they seek out professional, medical assistance. Workers in Nigerian asylums claimed that individuals were often only admitted after traditional healers has exhausted all treatment possibilities, and even today this country is known for its ethnopsychiatry as its mental health facilities employ traditional healers and frequently incorporate their practices into more modern treatments. It is also common in several countries that mental health is a grossly misunderstood and ignored problem, leading to serious underdevelopment of mental health facilities. Some countries in the Arab world have the highest income per capita, yet all have mental health systems that are severely lacking, including Morocco, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, and more. Individuals in these countries also continue to hold supernatural beliefs about mental illness and feel ashamed due to stigma, so they often consult traditional healers first with physical complaints, which are more likely psychosomatic symptoms. China is another country whose mental health services are limited due to stigma and misunderstanding. Confucian ideals about social order allow no wiggle-room for mental illness. Those afflicted with psychopathology rush to traditional healers, seek out prescriptions for psychoactive medication, or are begrudgingly taken care of by family members; the mentally ill who become disruptive to society are likely to be incarcerated.

This article has examined the major developments in mental health care as well as some interesting details about mental illness treatments throughout world history. Perceptions of mental health have changed greatly since the earliest civilizations and will continue to change as more is learned about the minds of humankind. Although significant advances have been made in this field of study that greatly benefit many individuals suffering from psychopathology, there remains much room for improvement. It will likely be ages before the workings of the human mind will be fully understood, if this is indeed an attainable goal.


Some four thousand years ago, the ancient Egyptians did not differentiate between mental and physical illnesses; they believed that despite their manifestations, all diseases had physical causes. They thought the heart was responsible for mental symptoms. Hippocrates and the early Greeks believed as well that all illness resulted from a biological malfunction; in the case of depression, from an excess of black bile.

The ancients may have been off the mark as to specific causes, but their nonperjorative view of mental suffering and their search for medical causes were right on track.  Some of the earliest views of mental illness follow:

Early Egypt: During this time period mental illness was believed to be caused by loss of status or money.  The recommended treatment was to talk it out, and to turn to religion and faith.  Suicide was accepted at this time.

Job/Old Testament: Despair and cognition was the accepted cause of mental illness; faith the cure.

Homer: Homer believed that mental illness was caused by God's taking a mind away.  He offered no treatment.

Aeschylus: Demon possession was the theory of Aeschylus to explain Mental illness ; exorcism the cure.

Socrates: Socrates believed that mental illness was heaven-sent and not shameful in the least.  He believed it to be a blessing, and therefore no treatment was required.

Aristotle: Melancholia was the cause of mental illness according to Aristotle, and music was the cure.

Hippocrates: It was the belief of Hippocrates that both melancholia and natural medical causes contributed to mental illness.  He advised abstinence of various types, a natural vegetable diet and exercise as treatment.

Celsius: Celsus believed mental illness to be a form of madness to be treated with entertaining stories, diversion and persuasion therapy.

Galen: Psychic functions of the brain were considered by Galen to be the foremost cause of mental illness.  Treatment consisted of confrontation, humor and exercise.

As history progressed, however, the mind view of mental illness came to predominate, and with it the conviction that the victim was to blame. Possession by evil spirits, moral weakness, and other such explanations made a stigma of mental illness and placed the responsibility for a cure on the resulting outcasts themselves. The most apparently ill were chained to walls in institutions such as the infamous Bedlam, where the rest of society could forget they existed.

Conditions in these institutions were horrible.  Inmates as they were called were crowded into dark cells, sometimes sleeping five to a mattress on dank damp floors, chained in place.  There was no fresh air, no light, very little nutrition and they were whipped and beaten for misbehavior much like wild animals.  No differentiation was made between mentally ill and criminally insane; all were packed together.  Some women were committed at this time simply for the crime of attempting to leave their husband, or at their husband's insistence in order to gain control of her assets.

They were not recognized as sick people and were accused of having abandoned themselves to shameful and forbidden practices with the devil, sorcerers and other demons (unbelievably there are people who still believe this today).  The mentally ill were accused of having succumbed to spells, incantations and of having committed many sinful offences and crimes.  They were persecuted without mercy and many of them were burned at the stake.

The few doctors who tried to convince the authorities and general public that the insane were mentally ill, and sick people who needed attention and care were ridiculed.  Often they faced danger to their professional reputations and to their person as well.

During the 1700's many people were simply locked away by their families, perhaps for a lifetime.  Poorer individuals were jailed or placed in publicly funded almshouses.  They received basic car, but conditions were undeniably bad.

Institutional Care

During the 18th and 19th centuries, hospitals and asylums assumed the care of the mentally ill.  The first hospital to accept and treat mentally ill patients was the Pennsylvania Hospital founded by the Quakers in 1752.  Treatment there was the same as for other patientsĶclean surroundings, good care and nutrition, fresh air and lightĶin short the mentally ill were treated as human beings.

Asylums for the Mentally Ill

The word asylum means shelter or refuge.  One definition found in the 10th edition of Webster's Dictionary is an institution for the care of the destitute or sick and especially the insane.

The first actual mental asylum in America opened in 1769 under the guidance of Benjamin Rush, who became known as America's first psychiatrist.

Benjamin Rush, who became known as America's first psychiatrist was a professor at America's first psychiatric hospital in 1769.  This hospital, located in Williamsburg, Virginia was to be the only such institution in the country for fifty years.

Rush graduated from Princeton University at the age of fifteen, and studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh in his twenties.  Soon after he began to practice medicine he realized that his primary interest was in the treatment of the mentally ill.  He divided the mentally ill roughly into two groups; those who suffered general intellectual derangement and whose problems seemed only partial.

Rush disapproved completely of restraint of any kind, for long periods of time.  He outlawed the use of whips, chains and straitjackets and developed his own methods for keeping control.  Looking at some of his methods, we may feel he was quite harsh, but in his day his methods were considered exceedingly humane.

The tranquilizing chair seen above (National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD drawing) was a device intended to heal by lowering the pulse and relaxing the muscles.  It was designed to hold the head, body, arms and legs immobile for long periods of time and enable the patient to settle.

The gyrator, as its name suggests was a contraption similar to a spoke on a wheel.  The patient was strapped to the board head outward and the wheel was rotated at a high rate of speed, sending the blood racing to his head and supposedly relieving his congested brain.

The circulating swing worked similar to the gyrator with the patient bound in place in a sitting position.

Looking back it is obvious the treatments were still primitive, but a change had been made.

Nearly fifty years later America's second asylum was built near Philadelphia by the Quakers and was called The American Friends' Asylum.  This asylum, and others that followed embraced the teaching of Englishman William Tuke in providing moral treatment for its patients.  No chains were used and violent patients were separated from the others.

In 1841 Dorothy Dix, an American woman, appalled at the conditions in jails and mental institutions where the mentally ill were housed began a forty-year quest to champion the mentally ill.  Through her efforts more than thirty hospitals for indigent patients with mental illnesses were built.

By the mid 1800's many institutions were making the effort to truly help their residents, yet by today's standards their efforts were crude.

Real changes began to occur with the arrival of the twentieth century.  During World War 1 it was discovered that large numbers of soldiers were incapacitated by emotional problems and it was plain to see that not just a few, but many suffered from abnormal behavior.  It was reasoned that if trauma such as the war could cause such widespread symptoms, then it was reasonable to assume lesser trauma, perhaps occurring frequently could produce the same effect.

Mental illnesses began to be recognized as medical in origin and the classification as to type and symptoms proceeded.

In the 1940's and 50's medication was discovered that helped the severely mentally ill.  Great hope was placed in these drugs, but it was soon discovered they did not cure the illness, although they were quite successful at ameliorating some of the symptoms.  These medicines, the anti psychotics, are still in use today.    ECT and insulin therapy was also discovered, and went a long way to helping especially those in depression.  ECT, in a refined and safer mode is also practiced today.

Several serendipitous discoveries in the next several years nearly revolutionized the treatment of the mentally.  New medications were discovered to help in most cases of severe mental conditions, and more new ones are being found.

Lifelong institutionalization is rare as patients recover enough to be cared for in their own homes and communities.  Community help for the mentally ill has progressed enormously in the past even twenty years.

No, we still do not know the cause of the major mental illnesses, schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder (manic depression) or clinical depression but treatment is available.  Researchers continue to look at the genetics in an attempt to identify the cause.  Though it may not come in our time, it will for our children and their children.

The stigma of mental illness has not been eradicated, though the move to equate mental illness with physical illness has resulted in greater understanding on some fronts.  We still have a long way to go in this area.


10,000 BC

In prehistoric times there was, as far as historians can tell, no division between medicine, magic and religion. In the Stone Age there is evidence of trepanning the skull, and also that parts of the cut skull were used as amulets.  Study of cave drawings indicates that mesolithic people utilized a magical law relating to all human activities of the time, by which they made sense of the world. A cave painting in Ariege, France, shows a strange being with human feet and hands and antlers who has been identified as a 'psychiatrist (witch doctor)', but it is not clear how this identification has been made. Katherine Darton's Notes of the history of mental health care begins in 10,000 BC. She says "in prehistoric times there was, as far as historians can tell, no division between medicine, magic and religion." History of Mental Illness at the University of Derby begins some 10,000 years ago with trepanning - possibly to let evil spirits out, but this was before written records.

5,000 BC

Attempts to treat mental illness date back as early as 5000 BCE as evidenced by the discovery of trephined skulls in regions that were home to ancient world cultures

3,500 BC

The Disability Social History Project's Disability Social History Timeline begins in 3,500 BC with an account of the fitting of an artificial limb the Rig-Veda (sacred poem of India written in Sanskrit between 3500 and 1800 B.C.

3,100 BC

The Society of Laingian Studies' Timeline in the treatment of Madness begins in 3,100BC when "Menes, the founder of the 1st Dynasty writes The Secret Book of the Heart, describing 3 kinds of healers, the physician, the priest and the sorcerer".

2,850 BC

At Memphis, the temple of Imhotep, a great Egyptian healer who was deified, became a medical school where patients received sleep therapy, occupational therapy, excursions on the Nile, concerts, dances and painting. There were carefully worded malpractice laws and detailed clinical treatises; however psychiatric theory was largely magical, and successful treatments were attributed to amulets worn or to the patron god.

2,000 BC

In Mesopotamia, according to the code of Hammurabi preserved in Cuneiform clay tablets, priest-physicians dealt especially with mental disturbance which was attributed to demonic possession, whilst 'lay' physicians dealt solely with physical injury. This was the first known division between mental and physical symptoms. These priest-physicians, the Asu, used psychotherapy, and studied dreams that were regarded as showing the will of the gods. Every physician had his own god and every disease its own demon. Diseases and drugs were codified, and the doctor was responsible for his patient, whose life story was studied in a holistic approach.

The Talmud is full of psychological commentary.  Rabbi Hunah stated that good men have bad dreams, implying that dreams are a safety valve for wishes repressed by moral principles. Judaism also suggested that sickness and madness were punishments for sins. In the Old Testament, Saul suffered from suicidal depression, Nebuchadnezzar had a psychotic fear of being a wolf, and Ezekial was coprophagic (eating of feces or dung), while David feigned madness to escape from the King of Gath. One effect of Hebrew psychiatry was that the religion of one God caused a lot of magical ideas to be discarded. However, despite the caring of the Hebrews, and the building of a special hospital for mentally ill people, statements like, 'a wizard shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones' were to be used in an inhumane way for centuries. Deuteronomy names insanity as one of the many curses that God will inflict on those who do not obey Him: 'the Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart'. Saul's psychotic episodes were attributed to an evil spirit sent by the Lord, and treated with music therapy: 'And it came to pass, when the evil spirit was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.' Rabbi Asi in ancient Judea recommended that disturbed patients should talk freely about their worries.

900 BC

Ed Brown's annotated cases at Brown Medical School - archives begins with the feigned madness of David who became king of the Jews (9th century BC)

800 BC

The insanity defense, i.e., the forgiveness of criminal liability due to presence of a mental illness that impairs judgment or behavior, can be found in ancient Greek mythology. In the extensive myths concerning the demi-god Hercules, he is said later in his life to have killed his wife and three children due to a curse from the goddess Hera. Despite this massacre being witnessed by the town's people, he was nevertheless deemed to be nonculpable due to the mental confusion caused by the curse. That is, he was truly unaware that his acts were wrong and/or he was unable to conform his conduct to the law. This is precisely the formula of the modern "insanity defense." Accordingly, Hercules was found to be in need of care and treatment by his best friend, Amphitryon, and the townspeople, and he was given sympathetic counseling to prevent his own subsequent attempted suicide upon regaining his mental competency and realizing what he had done.

According to Homer, an eminent specialist, Melampus, pioneered the use of white hellebore for treating delusions, and Greek comedies frequently satirized the taking of the drug, which was considered a panacea. An eminent physician, Aesculapius, developed a form of sleep-therapy in luxurious surroundings, taking great care with patients' diet and exercise.  Aesculapian temples, named after him, were built in places of particular beauty or near springs with medicinal waters, and there patients with psychological problems could be cared for and encouraged to sleep, with the suggestion that Aeculapius would appear in their dreams to cure them.

735 BC

During the reign of Romulus in Rome, wife beating is accepted and condoned under The Laws of Chastisement. Under these laws, the husband has absolute rights to physically discipline his wife. Since by law, a husband is held liable for crimes committed by his wife, this law was designed to protect the husband from harm caused by the wife's actions. These laws permit the husband to beat his wife with a rod or switch as long as its circumference is no greater than the girth of the base of the man's right thumb, hence "The Rule of Thumb." The tradition of these laws is perpetuated in English Common Law and throughout most of Europe.

600 BC

In India, Buddha attributed human thoughts to our sensations and perceptions, which, he said, gradually and automatically combine into ideas.  In China, Confucius said, 'A man can command his principles; principles do not master the man', and 'learning undigested by thought is labor lost; thought unassisted by learning is perilous'. In Greece, either Solon or Thales (sources differ) gave the famous advice, 'Know thyself'.

Witch doctors in Africa could only qualify for their profession by first having undergone convulsions and sickness themselves and a thorough exposure of their dreams.

Nebuchadnezzar or Nabonidus (whichever), in the 6th century BC, is the earliest in Joan's mad monarchs series

430 BC

Hippocrates, called the Father of Medicine, who was born in 460BC at Kos wrote 76 treatises which are still considered to be the foundations of modern medicine and psychiatry. Hippocrates (460-377 BC), influenced by humoral theory, proposed a triad of mental disorders termed melancholia, mania and phrenitis (an acute mental disorder accompanied by fever). He also spoke of other disorders such as phobia, and is credited with being the first physician to reject supernatural or divine explanations of illness. He believed that disease was the product of environmental factors, diet and living habits, not a punishment inflicted by the gods, and that the appropriate treatment depended on which bodily fluid, or humour, had caused the problem. However, he also objected to speculation about the etiology of madness (for example that it was seated in the heart and diaphragm or "phren") and favoured instead close behavioural observation. He treats mental disorders as diseases to be understood in terms of disturbed physiology, rather than reflections of the displeasure of the gods or evidence of demonic possession, as they were often treated in Egyptian, Indian, Greek, and Roman writings. Hippocrates recommended that the treatment of mental illness should be conducted in an asylum, i.e., a secure and safe retreat from the chaos, pressures and impure environment of crowded urban centers rather than having persons with mental illness whipped in public, or incarcerated in dungeon-like buildings. Later, Greek medical writers set out treatments for mentally ill people that include quiet, occupation, and the use of drugs such as the purgative hellebore. Family members care for most people with mental illness in ancient times. He described melancholia, postpartum psychosis, mania, phobias and paranoia, and was called as a psychiatric witness in trials. Hippocrates also believed that thoughts and feelings occur in the brain, rather than the heart as was often thought, and classified personality in terms of the four humors fluids which in health were naturally equal in proportion (pepsis). When the four humors, blood, black bile, yellow bile and phlegm, were not in balance (dyscrasia, meaning bad mixture), a person would become sick and remain that way until the balance was somehow restored. Hippocratic therapy was directed towards restoring this balance. For instance, using citrus was thought to be beneficial when phlegm was overabundant. Hippocrates is credited with being the first physician to reject superstitions, legends and beliefs that credited supernatural or divine forces with causing illness. Hippocrates was credited by the disciples of Pythagoras of allying philosophy and medicine.  He separated the discipline of medicine from religion, believing and arguing that disease was not a punishment inflicted by the gods but rather the product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits. Indeed there is not a single mention of a mystical illness in the entirety of the Hippocratic Corpus. Hippocratic medicine was humble and passive. The therapeutic approach was based on the healing power of nature (vis medicatrix naturae in Latin). According to this doctrine, the body contains within itself the power to re-balance the four humors and heal itself (physis).  Hippocratic therapy focused on simply easing this natural process. To this end, Hippocrates believed rest and immobilization [were] of capital importance.  In general, the Hippocratic medicine was very kind to the patient; treatment was gentle, and emphasized keeping the patient clean and sterile. For example, only clean water or wine were ever used on wounds, though dry treatment was preferable. Soothing balms were sometimes employed. Hippocrates was reluctant to administer drugs and engage in specialized treatment that might prove to be wrongly chosen; generalized therapy followed a generalized diagnosis. However, potent drugs were used on certain occasions. This passive approach was very successful in treating relatively simple ailments such as broken bones which required traction to stretch the skeletal system and relieve pressure on the injured area.

400 BC

Plato, Greek student of Socrates, proposed a view of the soul (psyche) as a charioteer driving two horses, one noble, the other driven by base desires. Plato (427-347 BC) argued that there were two types of mental illness: "divinely inspired" mental illness that gave the person prophetic powers, and a second type that was caused by a physical disease. The charioteer struggles to balance their conflicting impulses.  This is similar to Freud's theory of the superego, ego and id. Plato also discussed the origin of dreams, as well as the nature of sexual sublimation. In The Laws Plato also describes the place where those who did not measure up to the Greek ideal should be set aside. This was the earliest known description of what were to later to be places of isolation, a model for both asylums as well as German Concentration Camps in World War II. In ancient Greece and Rome, madness was associated stereotypically with aimless wandering and violence. However, Socrates considered positive aspects including prophesying (a manic art); mystical initiations and rituals; poetic inspiration; and the madness of lovers. Now often seen as the very epitome of rational thought and as the founder of philosophy, Socrates freely admitted to experiencing what are now called "command hallucinations" (then called his daemon). Pythagoras also heard voices. Socrates (in Plato's The Republic) recommends that "the offspring of the inferior, or of the better when they chance to be deformed, will be put away in some mysterious, unknown place, as they should be"

384 BC

Aristotle (384-322 BC), who studied under Plato, abandoned the divinely caused mental illness theory, and proposed instead that all mental illness was caused by physical problems. Aristotle showed an awareness of the importance of genetic inheritance, and saw mental growth as a sequence of cause and effect: aspirations influence behavior and thus become causes. Aristotle saw actions, feelings and thoughts as a single unit. His awareness of the potential for change and his image of a self-actualized person accords with Erich Fromm's description. Aristotle, like Meyer, also believed in the concept of total reactions, rather than separating man's faculties. Aristotle said those "born deaf become senseless and incapable of reason." Arateus antedated modern concepts of mental disease as extensions of normal personality traits. The concept of personal will and ego and of emotional and rational behavior was defined by Pythagorus. Aristophanes' plays include classic Freudian free-association sessions, beginning 'come onto the couch'. It was Aristotle who not only defined the legal principle of informed consent which is essentially unchanged to this day, but also defined the two essential powers of a democratic government which are found in our own culture and law and underlie the two legal justifications for civil commitment of certain persons who are mentally ill. Aristotle, in his work the Nicomachean Ethics, essentially defined informed consent as a person's actions which are done with knowledge, rationality and without coercion.(4) Informed consent in modern law - whether it concerns medical consent, involuntary psychiatric commitment or medication, the ability to enter into marriage or a contract, or whether a confession was voluntarily given to the police, etc. - is still a matter of a person's ability to receive and absorb the relevant knowledge, intelligently evaluate the risk and benefits of the decision, and to be free from any coercion. These same three legal elements still form the basis of court decisions, statutes, and they were endorsed by the Report of President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and on Biomedical and Behavioral Research. In terms of the government's role in society, Aristotle postulated that the government has two basic powers: the police power to protect its citizens from danger and harm (known as the "police power"), and its parens patriae power (a later Latin term applied to this concept by Roman Law) to help those in need of parental-type care, i.e., sustenance, protection, nurturing, and education. In other words, under parens patriae power, it is the government's responsibility to act as the ultimate parent of all citizens of the country who have no immediate family or friends to help them in times of need. These two powers respectively underlie and justify the two traditional forms of involuntary civil commitment.

202 BC

At the end of the Punic Wars, the family structure changes giving women more freedoms, including property rights and the right to sue their husbands for unjustified beatings. 

110 BC

To elicit the state of mind of the mentally disturbed person, Cicero designed an interview format that contained the following items:

1. Nomen (clan/tribe, region, connections)

2. Natura (sex, nationality, family status age, physique)

3. Victus (education, association, habits/life-style)

4. Fortuna (rich/poor, free/slave, social class)

5. Habitus (appearance)

6. Affectio (passions, emotions, temperament)

7. Studium (interests)

8. Consilium (motivation)

9. Factum (working history)

10. Casus (significant life events)

11. Orationes (form and content of discourse)

This assessment tool was used throughout the Roman Empire, was still used by the Celtic monasteries in the following centuries and continued in use until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century (i.e for about 1600 years). Cicero rejected the concept of the four humors, saying that melancholia was caused, not by black bile, as Hippocrates had suggested, but by violent rage, fear and grief.

Through long contact with Greek culture, and their eventual conquest of Greece, the Romans absorbed many Greek (and other) ideas on medicine.[9] The humoral theory fell out of favor in some quarters. The Greek physician Asclepiades (c. 124 40 BC), who practiced in Rome, discarded it and advocated humane treatments, and had insane persons freed from confinement and treated them with natural therapy, such as diet and massages. Arateus (ca AD 30-90) argued that it is hard to pinpoint where a mental illness comes from. However, Galen (AD 129 ca. 200), practicing in Greece and Rome, revived humoral theory.[6] Galen, however, adopted a single symptom approach rather than broad diagnostic categories, for example studying separate states of sadness, excitement, confusion and memory loss.[7]

Playwrights such as Homer, Sophocles and Euripides described madmen driven insane by the Gods, imbalanced humors or circumstances. As well as the triad (of which mania was often used as an overarching term for insanity) there were a variable and overlapping range of terms for such things as delusion, eccentricity, frenzy, and lunacy. Physician Celsus argued that insanity is really present when a continuous dementia begins due to the mind being at the mercy of imaginings. He suggested that people must heal their own souls through philosophy and personal strength. He described common practices of dietetics, bloodletting, drugs, talking therapy, incubation in temples, exorcism, incantations and amulets, as well as restraints and "tortures" to restore rationality, including starvation, being terrified suddenly, agitation of the spirit, and stoning and beating. Most, however, did not receive medical treatment but stayed with family or wandered the streets, vulnerable to assault and derision. Accounts of delusions from the time included people who thought themselves to be famous actors or speakers, animals, inanimate objects, or one of the gods. Some were arrested for political reasons, such as Jesus ben Ananias who was eventually released as a madman after showing no concern for his own fate during torture. It has been argued that Jesus of Nazareth was widely considered a dangerous madman, due partly to antisocial and disruptive outbursts including physical aggression, grandiose and nonsensical claims, and terse responses to official questioning - and may have been mocked as a king and crucified for that reason.

40 BC

Asclepiades was a Greek doctor who practiced in Rome, using a form of physiotherapy designed to move the oppositely charged 'atoms' of which the human body was formed. He invented a swinging bed which had a relaxing effect on emotionally disturbed patients, found music helpful, and spoke out strongly against incarceration of mentally ill people. He disliked the term 'insanity', referring to 'passions of sensations', and differentiated between hallucinations and delusions. Asclepiades waged a strong campaign against bleeding, which in fact went on for another 1500 years.


In the last years before Christ the influence of enlightened views of the Roman doctors began to decline, and Cornelius Celsus (25BC-50AD) recommended starvation, fetters and flogging and anything 'which thoroughly agitates the spirit'.  He reinstated the idea that some illnesses were caused by the anger of the gods, and his words were used in the Middle Ages to justify the burning of witches.


The Roman, Aretaeus, an eclectic medical philosopher, established the fact that manic and depressive states occur in the same individual and that lucid intervals exist between manic and depressive episodes. He also understood that not everyone with mental illness is destined to suffer intellectual deterioration, a fact not adequately emphasized until the twentieth century, if then, and he was very concerned about the welfare of his patients, understanding the undesirability of treatments that patients find unacceptable. He abandoned terms relating to the four humors and gave clear descriptions of emotional states. The Romans tended to concentrate on pleasant physical therapies: warm baths, massage, diet, well-lighted and pleasant rooms, and music. They also used shocks by electric eels.


Galen, Greek physician, born AD 129 in Pergamum, in what is now Turkey. He died about AD 216. His massive writings on medicine included the theory of the humours or body fluids (like blood) whose preponderance had a marked affect on a person's health and personality. (i.e., melancholy). Galen (129-200) was an anatomist rather than a physician, and borrowed ideas from many sources. He dedicated many of his writings to a Creator, a fact that led to his having a far greater influence over the Christian world in later centuries than his work perhaps merited, and helped to retard the development of medicine.


Soranus of Ephesus lived in the second century A.D. in Rome, and was a physician of Greek extraction. His recommendations for treatment of mental illness were more advanced than some employed fifteen hundred years later. He belonged to the "methodist" school of physicians (related to the philosophers Heraclitus and Epicurus) believing that the human body is composed of atoms constantly in motion. He theorized that disease was caused by a disturbance or an irregularity of these atoms. In light of the recent revelation that much of schizophrenia might be caused by a disturbance to chromosome number six, Soranus' view was remarkably close to the latest findings on the possible causes of some mental illness. Follower of Asclepiades, Soranus of Ephesus, said that patients should be kept in light, airy conditions, should not be beaten, kept in the dark or given poppy to make them drowsy, and he stressed the importance of convalescence and aftercare. He also took social background and culture into account and insisted on the importance of the doctor-patient relationship. Although he described mental distress in terms of an organic disturbance he treated it by psychological methods, minimizing the use of drugs and other physical treatments. But he also suggested that mania should be treated with the alkaline waters of the town. These waters contained high levels of lithium salts. Lithium treatment was rediscovered for manic depression by John Cade, an Australian psychiatrist, in 1948. Soranus described two kinds of mental illness, mania and melancholy, which are what we now call schizophrenia and depression. Although the actual treatments of Soranus' time included confinement in a dark room, flogging, starvation diet, making a patient drunk, and inducing sleep with drugs and opium, he dismissed these treatments as futile and haphazard. Rather, Soranus recommended treatments that included patients be: kept in rooms with modest light and adequate warmth and always on the ground floor to prevent suicide attempts; put on a simple diet with regular exercise; and restrained only if necessary, and if so, with bonds made of wool or soft materials to prevent injury. He also recommended that to avoid unnecessary injury, the servants who restrained them should use their hands and not clubs or other instruments. Soranus thought that the patient should be engaged in intellectual activities not only for therapeutic purposes but to detect the progress of the illness; accordingly, patients should be encouraged to talk to philosophers to "banish their fear and sorrow."(


The Church fathers re-establish the husband's patriarchal authority and the patriarchal values of Roman and Jewish law. The Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, has his wife burned alive when she is no longer of use to him. 


Hospitals in Islamic History by Dr Hossam Arafa "The first known hospital in Islam was built in Damascus in 706AD". After 750 - Al-Fustat Hospital, Cairo, 872.


Rhazes (865-925), called 'the Persian Galen' (but 700 years later), was chief physician at Baghdad hospital where there was a psychiatric ward, and, because the Arabs had no fear of demons, patients were kindly treated. They used the writings of Galen and Aristotle to guide them, and appear to have made use of forms of behavior therapy.

Middle Ages (900 1300)

In Europe, squires and noblemen beat their wives as regularly as they beat their serfs; the peasants faithfully followed their lords' example. The Church sanctions the subjection of women. Priests advise abused wives to win their husbands' good will through increased devotion and obedience. The habit of looking upon women as a species apart, without the same feelings and capacity for suffering which men possess, becomes inbred during the Middle Ages. In a Medieval theological manual, a man is given permission to "castigate his wife and beat her for correctionĶ 


In Salerno University, Constantinus Africanus (1020-1087) a Jew who became a Christian, translated Hippocrates from Arabic into Latin. Once again the nervous system was examined and the brain seen as the seat of mental illness. Hydrotherapy was used.


Medieval laymen had more enlightened attitudes toward mental health problems than did professionals, for poetry and other literature present very realistic views of the subject. The poems Amadas (late 12th century), and also Tristan both indicate an understanding of the idea that emotional crises may result in severe emotional disorders and that they may be corrected by a realistic psychological approach. 1100 Date given for "an asylum exclusively for sufferers from mental diseases at Mets" (Metz, northern France) (Catholic Encyclopedia)



The original of the Magna Carta documents is signed and issued in Runnymede, England. The Charter, also called Magna Carta Libertatum, required King John of England to proclaim certain liberties, and accept that his will was not arbitrary, for example by explicitly accepting that no "freeman" (in the sense of non-serf) could be punished except through the law of the land, a right which is still in existence today. Magna Carta was the first document forced onto an English King by a group of his subjects, the feudal barons, in an attempt to limit his powers by law and protect their privileges. It was preceded and directly influenced by the Charter of Liberties in 1100, in which King Henry I had specified particular areas wherein his powers would be limited. The modern right of due process traces its lineage directly to the Magna Carta. In the Magna Carta of 1215, the king relinquished some of his sovereignty to the courts of law when government actions affected a citizen's liberty or property. The same principle is what basically underlies the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.


Bethlem Royal Hospital of London is a psychiatric hospital at Beckenham in the London Borough of Bromley. Although no longer in its original location and buildings, it is recognised as the world's first and oldest institution to specialize in the mentally ill. It has been variously known as St. Mary Bethlehem, Bethlem Hospital, Bethlehem Hospital and Bedlam. Bethlem has been a part of London since 1247, first as a priory for the sisters and brethren of the Order of the Star of Bethlehem, from where the building took its name. Its first site was in Bishopsgate (where Liverpool Street station now stands). In 1337 it became a hospital, and it admitted some mentally ill patients from 1357, but did not become a dedicated psychiatric hospital until later. Early sixteenth century maps show Bedlam, next to Bishopsgate, as a courtyard with a few stone buildings, a church and a garden. Conditions were consistently dreadful, and the care amounted to little more than restraint. There were 31 patients and the noise was so hideous, so great; that they are more able to drive a man that hath his wits rather out of them. Violent or dangerous patients were manacled and chained to the floor or wall. Some were allowed to leave, and licensed to beg. It was a Royal hospital, but controlled by the City of London after 1557, and managed by the Governors of Bridewell. Day to day management was in the hands of a Keeper, who received payment for each patient from their parish, livery company, or relatives. In 1598 an inspection showed neglect; the Great Vault (cesspit) badly needed emptying, and the kitchen drains needed replacing. There were 20 patients there, one of whom had been there over 25 years.


Pietro Albano (1250-1316) was burned to death by the Inquisition for minimizing spiritual principles in his attempt to unite Aristotle's thinking with the medical facts.


Al- Mansuri Hospital, Cairo opened. At some time, this had music therapy for its mental patients.


Dave Sheppard's Development of Mental Health Law and Practice begins in 1285 with a case that linked "the instigation of the devil" and being "frantic and mad"


De Praerogativa Regis, the Act giving the King (or, possibly, regulating and already established) custody of the lands of natural fools and wardship of the property of the insane, may have been drawn up between 1255 and 1290. This is part of feudal law relating to the idea that all land is by gift from the highest lord (in England, the King). Until the English civil war and interregnum, all land reverted to the king on the chief tenant's death, to be reclaimed by any lawful heir on payment of a fee. The King's Officers, throughout the country, who regulated these affairs were called "Escheators." Escheators also held the inquisitions to determine if a land holder was a lunatic or idiot.


Medieval laymen had more enlightened attitudes toward mental health problems than did professionals, for poetry and other literature present very realistic views of the subject.

It was not until the 14th century that people with mental health problems were considered witches and again became victims of persecution. The physical care of the insane was better in the early middle ages than it was during the 17th and 18th centuries. In the early days of the Bethlehem hospital (Bedlam), which began to care for people with mental health problems in the 12th century, patients were treated with concern, and were issued with arm badges to wear so that they could be returned to hospital if their symptoms should recur. Apparently vagrants sometimes counterfeited the badges so that they could be taken for former patients of Bethlem.

Ironically, witchhunts began at the dawn of the Renaissance (1300-1700), provoked at least in part by anxiety about the sexual activities of some monks and nuns. The Church needed to take action against this and the blame fell upon women who stirred men's passions and were therefore seen as agents of the devil. At the same time severe plague killed 50 per cent of the population in Europe, leading to a conviction among some groups that it was sent as punishment for sin. These groups therefore practiced self-flagellation and humiliation to relieve their guilt. In the 15th century the ideology of the mass movement of witch hunting was codified in the Malleus Maleficorum, a gruesome and pornographic book. It consisted of three main parts, the first a collection of arguments in support of the existence of witches and witchcraft, concluding that to doubt their existence was to be a heretic; the second describing witches and how they may be identified; the third concerned with their treatment. A lot of the information was about deviant behavior, much of it overtly sexual. This was at least partly due to the belief that insanity was caused by possession by the devil, and a devil possessed a witch by copulating with her. As the ultimate salvation of the immortal soul was more important than the comforts of the possessed body, physical punishments such as drowning and burning were used to make the body an intolerable refuge for the devil. The wide dissemination of this book was greatly facilitated by the development of printing, and it ran into 10 editions. Another obvious and kinder treatment for the supposed possession was exorcism which often succeeded.  

Some enlightened care was offered in monasteries. The Sisters of the Society of Hospitalers created hospitals offering good food, rest and calm, and a Franciscan monk, Bartholemew Anglicus in his book De Proprietatibis Rerum, prescribed music and occupation for depressed patients and sleep and gentle binding for frenzied patients. There was no hint of demonology.


The Christian church vacillates between support of wife beating and encouraging husbands to be more compassionate and using moderation in their punishments of their wives. A medieval Christian scholar, Friar Cherbubino of Siena, writes Rules of Marriage, in support of wife beating. 


Christine de Pizan writes in The Book of the City of Ladies about women's basic humanity and better education and treatment in marriage for women. She accuses men of cruelty and beating their wives. 


The first institution to open its doors in Europe is thought to be the Valencia mental hospital in Spain. Although not much is known about the treatment patients received at this particular site, asylums were notorious for the deplorable living conditions and cruel abuse endured by those admitted. For many years, asylums were not facilities aimed at helping the mentally ill achieve any sense of normalcy or otherwise overcome their illnesses. Instead, asylums were merely reformed penal institutions where the mentally ill were abandoned by relatives or sentenced by the law and faced a life of inhumane treatment, all for the sake of lifting the burden off of ashamed families and preventing any possible disturbance in the community.


Bernard of Siena suggests that his male parishioners "exercise a little restraint and treat their wives with as much mercy as they would their hens and pigs."


Margery Kempe tells a priest of her story of madness.


Malleus Maleficorum (The Witches Hammer) by two Dominican German monks, Johann Sprenger and Heinrich Kraemer backed by a Papal Bull became the witch-hunters bible.


Juan Luis Vives, born in Valencia in 1492, died in Bruges at the age of 48, respected by Erasmus, Henry VIII and St Thomas More. He put forward a concept of treatment for mental distress which we might do well to bear in mind today: Since there is nothing in the world more excellent than man, nor in man than his mind, particular attention should be given to the welfare of the mind; and it should be considered a highest service if we either restore the minds of others to sanity or keep them sane and rational ... One ought to feel great compassion for so great a disaster to the health of the human mind, and it is of utmost importance that the treatment be such that insanity be not nourished and increased, as may result from  mocking, exciting or irritating madmenĶ  Since he was also deeply committed to education for women, presumably he included everyone in this view.


The care of orphans was particularly commended to bishops and monasteries during the Middle Ages. Many orphanages practised some form of "binding-out" in which children, as soon as they were old enough, were given as apprentices to households to ensure their support and their learning an occupation. Common law maintaining the King's peace was administered by the Court of Common Pleas (England) dealing with civil cases between parties by ordering the fine of debts and seizure of the goods of outlaws. Following the Peasants' Revolt, British constables were authorised under a 1383 statute to collar vagabonds and force them to show their means of support; if they could not, the penalty was gaol. Under a 1494 statute, vagabonds could be sentenced to the stocks for three days and nights; in 1530, whipping was added. The assumption was that vagabonds were unlicenced beggars.


In the 16th century, while demonology and witch-hunts continued, there were again those who put forward more enlightened beliefs.

Civil commitment was largely unknown as a governmental policy until the 16th century, and its use was not reserved exclusively to persons who were mentally ill, but rather began as isolation of many persons considered "undesirable" by society. Mental illness was not differentiated from other conditions such as idleness, drunkenness, homelessness, etc., which society condemned or sought to correct by the power of the state. Thus, the 16th century is sometimes called the era of "The Great Confinement."

Lord Hale, an English Jurist, sets the tradition of non-recognition of marital rape. He states that when women married, they "gave themselves to their husbands" in contract, and could not withdraw that consent until they divorced. "The husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual matrimonial consent a [sic] contract with wife hath given herself in this kind unto her husband, which she cannot retract." This is the basis of the "contractual consent" theory. Lord Hale burned women at the stake as witches and has been characterized as a misogynist.

Abbe de Brantome raises the question, "but however great the authority of the husband may be, what sense is there for him to be allowed to kill his wife?"  

Early settlers in America base their laws on old English common-law that explicitly permits wife-beating for correctional purposes. However, the trend in the young states is towards declaring wife-beating illegal. One step towards that end is to allow the husband to whip his wife only with a switch no bigger than his thumb. 

During the reign of Ivan the Terrible in Russia, the State Church sanctions the oppression of women by issuing a Household Ordinance that describes when and how a man might most effectively beat his wife. He is allowed to kill a wife or serf for disciplinary purposes. A half a century later, many Russian women fight back. When they kill their husbands for all the injustices they have been forced to endure, their punishment is to be buried alive with only their heads above the ground, and left to die. It is not against the law for a husband to kill his wife. 

In England, "the Golden Age of the Rod" is used against women and children who are taught that it is their sacred duty to obey the man of the house. Violence against wives is encouraged throughout this time. 


Paracelsus, a contemporary of Vives, totally rejected demonology in dealing with mental distress. He saw it as a natural disease, writing, We must not forget to explain the origin of the diseases which deprive man of his reason, as we know from experience that they develop out of man's disposition. The present-day clergy of Europe attribute such diseases to ghostly beings and threefold spirits: we are not inclined to believe them.

Paracelsus (1493-1541) and another contemporary, Agrippa (1486-1535), disliked dangerous dispensing methods and complained of physicians recommended for their esoteric religions, splendid clothes and amulets. 'Simple and native medicines are quite neglected. Costly foreign remedies are preferred which latter are mixed in such enormous numbers that the action of one is counteracted by that of another'. But such ideas were treated with great suspicion by the religious community. Paracelsus claimed he learned all he knew from wise women women skilled in the use of herbal remedies who acted as community midwives and laid out the dead.

Agrippa's pupil Johann Weyer (b.1515) managed to bring a profound influence on the treatment of mental distress. Weyer emphasized that illnesses attributed to witches came from natural causes, and made the revolutionary demand that witches should themselves be sent to physicians for treatment. Weyer also considered the effects of drug-induced hallucinations, and provided clinical descriptions of auditory hallucinations and persecution mania. However his book, De Praestigiis Daemonum was proscribed by the Catholic church, and he himself was accused of being a sorcerer.


English Parliament registered the poor so that they could beg. The first poor law enacted a weekly collection of taxes to be distributed by the parishes in England.


In 1532, the Parliament of Paris decided to arrest beggars and force them to work in the sewers of the city while chained in pairs. Such forced labor was also imposed upon poor scholars, indigents, peasants driven from their farms, disbanded soldiers or deserters, unemployed workers, impoverished students and even the sick.


The most infamous asylum was located in London, EnglandSaint Mary of Bethlehem. This monastery-turned-asylum began admitting the mentally ill in 1547 after Henry VIII announced its transformation. The institution soon earned the nickname Bedlam as its horrific conditions and practices were revealed. Violent patients were put on display like sideshow freaks for the public to peek at for the price of one penny; gentler patients were put out on the streets to beg for charity




The national Church of Scotland set out a programme for spiritual reform, setting the principle of a school teacher for every parish church and free education. This was provided for by an Act of the Parliament of Scotland, passed in 1633, which introduced a tax to pay for this programme.




San Hipolito was built in Mexico 1566 and claims the title of the first asylum in the Americas.




In England, Elizabethan Poor laws started a tax to provide care for the poor which would put migrants to work as relief workers for the other poor




In England, by an act of Parliament of 1575, the government punished vagrants and confined the poor to institutes known as "houses of correction."




The British gave the poor materials to use to work from their homes and paid them by piece for what they got finished


In the 17th century there was a widespread belief that if mad people behaved like animals, they should be treated like animals.  People with mental health problems were often cared for privately.

Where an unmarried mother concealed the death of her baby, she was presumed guilty of infanticide unless she could prove that the baby was born dead (this requirement that the defendant prove her innocence was a reversal of the normal practice of requiring the prosecution to prove the defendant's guilt). Women were acquitted of this charge if they could demonstrate that they had prepared for the birth of the baby, for example by acquiring some kind of bedding. In 1678 children aged 10 were deemed able to engage in consensual sex.

Thomas Willis, a neuroanatomist and doctor, speaking of treatment of the mentally ill said, The primary object is naturally curative discipline, threats, fetters and blows are needed as much as medical treatment...Truly nothing is more necessary and more effective for the recovery of these people than forcing them to respect and fear intimidation. By this method, the mind, held back by restraint, is induced to give up its arrogance and wild ideas and it soon becomes meek and orderly. This is why maniacs often recover much sooner if they are treated with torture and torments in a hovel instead of with medicaments.

Native American shamans, or medicine men, summoned supernatural powers to treat the mentally ill, incorporating rituals of atonement and purification.


The Poor Law Act was made to counter the first poor laws, parish workers start to whither away. The Poor Law was the social security system operating in England and Wales from the 16th century until the establishment of the Welfare State in the 20th century. The Impotent poor was a classification of poverty used to refer to those poor considered deserving of poor relief; a vagrant was a person who could work, but preferred not to. The law did not distinguish between the impotent poor and the criminal, so both received the same punishments. The law provided for "the putting out of children to be apprentices".


The British started migrating to North America some started calling the states home, but Britain was still their country. No matter what at this point most of the new American's whether wealthy or poor had to work to survive, they all had to pitch in and do the growing of food and building of homes and the education of their children.

In Ireland, from 1367 to 1607, suppression of the Brehon Laws which enumerated the rights and responsibilities of fostered children, their birth-parents and foster-parents.[9] The Brehon Law concept of family was eroded and the Gaelic tradition of fosterage lost. It was ultimately replaced by the State controlled Poor Law system.


In 1606, by decree of the French Parliament, it was ordered that the beggars could be whipped in the public squares, branded on the shoulders, shorn and then driven from the city. Archers were posted at the city gates to prevent re-entry.


Patients of the notoriously harsh Bethlem Hospital banded together and sent a Petition of the Poor Distracted People in the House of Bedlam (concerned with conditions for inmates) to the House of Lords.


Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (1621) written from his own experience, noted the aggression that lies behind depression, and proposed a therapeutic program of exercise, music, drugs and diet, with a stress on the importance of discussing problems with a close friend, or, if one is not available, with a doctor.


The Privy Council set up a commission to administer the poor laws, to see that they were fairly enacted and people were supposedly being treated fairly.


In 1630, the King of England established a commission to assure vigorous enforcement of the "poor laws," which of course included persons with mental illness, but did not differentiate them from this population of persons in need of correction. Specifically, these laws applied to: all those who live in idleness and will not work for reasonable wages and who spend what they have in taverns.... For those with wives and children inquiry must be made whether they were married and the children baptized.


Anne Hutchinson (Womens and religious rights) is convicted of sedition and expelled from the Massachusetts colony for her religious ideas.


La Maison de Chareton was the first mental facility in France, founded in 1641 in a suburb of Paris.


The Society of Friends, better known as the Quakers, is founded in England. Quakers will make vital contributions to the abolitionist and suffrage movements in the United States. One Quaker woman, Mary Dyer, will be hanged in 1660 for preaching in Boston.


In relative terms, a major improvement and dramatic change of social attitude came with the decree in 1656 of King Louis XIII establishing the Hpital Gnral in Paris to help the poor, military invalids, and the sick. For the first time, this decree required the publicly chartered hospital to accept, lodge, and feed those who presented themselves. The director of the hospital had a lifetime appointment and city-wide jurisdiction, which was immune from review by courts or any other government body. The decree provided: They have all power of authority, of direction, of administration, of commerce, of police, of jurisdiction, of correction and punishment over all the poor of Paris, both within and without the Hpital Gnral.... The directors having for these purposes stakes, irons, prisons, and dungeons in said Hpital Gnral and the places hereto appertaining so much as they deem necessary. No appeal would be accepted from the regulations they establish within the said Hpital; and as for such regulations as intervene without, they would be executed according to their form and tenor, not withstanding opposition or whatsoever appeal made or to be made and without prejudice to these, and for which, notwithstanding all defense or suits for justice no distinction would be made. The purpose of the Hpital Gnral Act of Paris was to prevent "mendicancy [begging] and idleness as source of all disorders." When England's King Henry IV began the siege of Paris it had one hundred thousand inhabitants, 30,000 beggars with 6,000 residents in the Hpital Gnral. Despite the draconian nature of the Hpital Gnral of Paris, it was nevertheless an improvement over banishment and posting archers at the city gates or, in the words of Anatole Francois Thibauet: "The Law in its majestic equality, forbids all men to sleep under bridges, to beg in the street, and to steal bread - the rich as well as the poor." For the first time, there was a governmental obligation to take care of all the needy who "presented" themselves, the unemployed, the sick, etc., at the expense of the nation, albeit there was also an obligation upon the recipients of such care to work for their keep.


Rev. John Ashbourne was stabbed by a patient who had been cared for in his house. Ashbourne was renowned in Suffolk as a 'clerical mad-doctor', and after his death Ashbourne's wife and son, who unlike Ashbourne had received the Cambridge license to practice medicine from Trinity College, continued to run the 'mad-business' until at least 1686. This system of private treatment began with Helkiah Crooke, physician to James I and Bethlem Hospital who took patients into his own home for treatment. From boarding a single lunatic it was a short step to providing accommodation for numbers of patients, and thus setting up a private madhouse.


Two doctors set up madhouses in London in the 1670s. John Archer, one of Charles II's 'Physicians in Ordinary', and Thomas Allen, a physician at Bethlem Hospital who also ran a private asylum. Allen seems to have been a humanitarian scientist who prevented his colleagues from transfusing sheep's blood into a man, and also ordered the first postmortem recorded at the Bethlem Hospital. One of his patients was James Carkesse, a clerk in Samuel Pepys's office at the Admiralty. Treatment varied according to ability to pay. Elsewhere in the country a Mistress Miller  'mad for two years' was treated by diet, glysters (large syringes used for purging), leeches, fresh cyder drinks, warm herb baths, and applying animal organs such as 'warm lungs of lambs' to her shaven head.


In England, children aged 10 were deemed able to engage in consensual sex.


"Discipline, threats, fetters, and blows are needed as much as medical treatment.... Truly nothing is more necessary and more effective for the recovery of these people than forcing them to respect and fear intimidation. By this method, the mind, held back by restraint, is induced to give up its arrogance and wild ideas and it soon becomes meek & orderly. This is why maniacs often recover much sooner if they are treated with tortures & torments in a hovel instead of with medicaments." -Thomas Willis



Isaac Newtons "Principia Mathematica" set the stage for hundreds of years of scientific and technological discoveries. This was the beginning of new forms of transportation and electrical advances


Witchcraft and demonic possession were common explanations for mental illness. The Salem witchcraft trials sentenced nineteen people to hanging.


The poor had to wear certain colored badges to identify themselves. In England, a decree of 1697 created an appointed office of justice of the peace to establish houses of correction in various provinces and to collect taxes for their support. By the end of the 18th century in England there were 126 such facilities. Through the 17th century, persons with mental illness were not segregated in any way from persons who were poor, unemployment, physically ill or debilitated, merely idle or social deviant. The horrors of these hospitals were numerous and punitively based upon theories of illness and idleness. In this age, the view of mental illness was largely that of the "animalistic theory," i.e., those who were mentally ill were very similar to animals who did not feel pain, nor cold, nor severe punishment but rather thrived under such conditions. Indeed, many of the cells in which such persons were confined were built to resemble animal cages and the resident inmates, including women, were often crowded naked in these very tiny rooms.


The 18th century saw the development of new asylums built to house people with mental health problems separately from houses of correction and poor houses. One of these was the New Bethlem, seen to be so magnificent it was thought  'everyone might become half mad in order to lodge there'. (Palatial as it looked, it was built on a land-fill site and deteriorated rapidly.)  Whilst mental hospitals that followed New Bethlem were reasonably managed in London, the provincial institutions were often very poor. At Newcastle there were 'chains, iron bars, dungeon-like cells, many close, cold, dark holes, less comfortable than cow houses. There was no separation of the sexes, no classification, and for medical treatment the old exploded system of restraint and coercion.'


A German trial transcript documents lesbian violence. The women are on trial for lesbianism when domestic violence is revealed. The defendent, Catharina Linck, is sentenced to death. The codefendent, Catharina Muhlhahn, receives 3 years in jail and is then banished - not because she was the victim, but because she was "simple-minded.


The Poor Act established work houses.


Puritan clergyman, Cotton Mather (1663-1728), broke with superstition by advancing physical explanations for mental illnesses.


In England, a woman pregnant with a "bastard" was required to declare the fact and to name the father. In 1733, the putative father became responsible for maintaining his illegitimate child; failing to do so could result in gaol. The parish would then support the mother and child, until the father agreed to do so, whereupon he would reimburse the parish although this rarely happened. In 1744, a bastard took the 'settlement' of its mother (under the Poor Law, a person's place of origin or later established residence, being the Parish responsible for the person if destitute) regardless of where the child was actually born. Previously, a bastard took settlement from its place of birth. The mother was to be publicly whipped.


The London-Citizen Exceedingly Injured; or, a British Inquisition Displayd, in an Account of the Unparalleld Case of a Citizen of London, Bookseller to the Late Queen, Who Was in a Most Unjust and Arbitrary Manner Sent on the 23rd of March Last, 1738, by One Robert Wightman, a Mere Stranger, to a Private Madhouse. London: T. Cooper by Cruden, Alexander. 

The Foundling Hospital was established in London by the philanthropic sea captain Thomas Coram as a home for the "education and maintenance of exposed and deserted young children." Children were seldom taken after they were twelve months old. On reception they were sent to wet nurses in the countryside, where they stayed until they were about four or five years old. At sixteen girls were generally apprenticed as servants for four years; at fourteen, boys became apprentices in varying occupations for seven years.


Mr. Cruden Greatly Injured: An Account of a Trial between Mr. Alexander Cruden, Bookseller to the Late Queen, Plaintif, and Dr. Monro, Matthew Wright, John Oswald, and John Davis, Defendants; in the Court of the Common-Pleas in Westminster Hall July 17, 1739, on an Action of Trespass, Assault and Imprisonment:  the Said Mr. Cruden, Tho in His Right Senses, Having Been Unjustly Confined and Barbarously Used in the Said Matthew Wrights Private Madhouse at Bethnal-Green for Nine Weeks and Six Days, till He Made His Wonderful Escape May 31, 1738.  To Which is Added a Surprising Account of Several Other Persons, Who Have Been Mostly Unjustly Confined in Private Madhouses. London: A. Injured by Alexander Cruden

The first Almshouse (poor house) established in Boston


Benjamin Rush was born in Philadelphia. He was about 15 years old when he graduated from the College of New Jersey at Princeton and decided that his life career should be as a doctor. He is widely identified as the father of American psychiatry.


Bills of Enclosure forced many farmers off their lands which ended in high unemployment and riots, the relief taxes started growing out of control again


Around the mid-1700s, the Dutch Dr. Boerhaave invented the gyrating chair that became a popular tool in Europe and the United States. This instrument was intended to shake up the blood and tissues of the body to restore equilibrium, but instead resulted in rendering the patient unconscious without any recorded successes


First mental hospital in the United States, Pennsylvania University Hospital where a basement was reserved for people identified as mentally ill.


The Adventures of Alexander the Corrector, Wherein Is Given an Account of His Being Unjustly Sent to Chelsea, and of His Bad Usage during the Time of his Chelsea Campaign . . . with an Account of the Chelsea-Academies, or the Private Places for the Confinement of Such As Are Supposed to Be Deprived of the Exercise of Their Reason by Alexander Cruden.  


Benjamin Franklin introduced a form of ECT, for which the rich were expected to make a donation of sixpence, but the poor 'to be electrified gratis'.


William Battie (1703-1776) was a pioneer in the care of mental patients (from whose name the term 'batty' is derived), who helped raise the 'mad business' to a respectable medical specialty. He wrote Treatise on Madness in 1758, and was founding medical officer of St Luke's Hospital in London. He was part of a new school of thought, that institutionalizing patients in asylums was in itself therapeutic: their purpose in confining individuals was not just to protect them and society, but was in itself curative. He recognized that mental nurses needed special training, and wrote that madness is 'as manageable as many other distempers' and that its victims 'ought by no means to be abandoned, much less shut up in loathsome prisons as criminals or nuisances to the society'


Thomas Braidwood opened first school for the deaf in England.


Benjamin Rush gets his degree from the University of Edinburgh and returned to the United States to become the first professor of chemistry in the American colonies and later University of Pennsylvanias first professor of medicine. He was also one of the patriot plotters of the Revolution, a member of Congress, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Rush was named Physician General of the Continental Army. He came to the conclusion that heavy drinking was destroying the fighting ability of more American soldiers then British weapons ever would. He studied the effects of intemperance and decided its greatest cause was the false view the general public had of alcohol as a health tonic and medicinal cure all.


The earliest recorded mutual self-help societies of individuals with alcohol abuse problems are created by Native Americans.

New therapies at this time included water immersion: the greatest remedy is to throw the patient unwarily into the sea, and to keep him under water as long as he can possibly bear without being stifled. Another method was a special spinning stool which spun the patient round until he was dizzy. The spinning was supposed to rearrange the brain contents into the right positions. Another specialist created a novel form of drama therapy involving lion's dens and executions which was part of a concept of 'non-injurious torture'. Other doctors believed in horse-riding, and George Cheyne, who saw melancholia as a particularly English condition, advocated a milk, seed and vegetable diet. Even King George III was subjected to hot irons, enemas and emetics and was chained to his bed in a straitjacket.


The Boston Massacre took place between the British and the statesmen, there was growing frustrations against Britain by the states.


Pageant: James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw's life narrative


Three years before the Declaration of Independence was written, the first mental health hospital in U.S., named Eastern State Hospital, opens in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1773. 

Tranquilizer Chair - Benjamin Rush, the father of American psychiatry, theorized that insanity was caused by morbid qualities in the blood, leading him to conclude that as much as four-fifths of the blood in the body should be drawn away; Rush bled one patient 47 times, removing four gallons of blood over time. He also strapped patients horizontally to a board and spun them around at great speeds. He confined others in his Tranquilizer Chair' that completely immobilized every part of their body for long periods and blocked their sight with a bizarre wooden shroud, while they were doused in ice-cold water.

Dr. Benjamin Rush, of the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, begins pioneering efforts to improve mental health treatment leading him to be known as the Father of American Psychiatry. Dr. Rush also articulates the concept of alcoholism as a disease and is among the first individuals to prescribe abstinence from alcohol as the sole remedy. As part of his program to improve the care given mental patients admitted to the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, Dr. Rush struck at the hearsay, superstition, and ignorance surrounding mental illness. He introduced occupational therapy, amusements, and exercise for patients and saw to it that they had decent, clean quarters. The person most responsible for the early spread of moral treatment in the United States was Benjamin Rush (17451813), an eminent physician at Pennsylvania Hospital. He limited his practice to mental illness and developed innovative, humane approaches to treatment. He required that the hospital hire intelligent and sensitive attendants to work closely with patients, reading and talking to them and taking them on regular walks. He also suggested that it would be therapeutic for doctors to give small gifts to their patients every so often. However, Rush's treatment methods included bloodletting (bleeding), purging, hot and cold baths, mercury, and strapping patients to spinning boards and tranquilizer chairs.

In England a Bill passed the Commons on The Regulation of Private Madhouses, but it was thrown out by the Lords.

The Boston tea party shows Americas non compliance with the Kings rules.


One More Proof of the Iniquitous Abuse of Private Madhouses by Samuel Bruckshaw.  

In England it became essential to produce a medical certificate confirming insanity before non-pauper lunatics could be confined, but the rights of paupers were totally disregarded. For the wealthy there was still the far more human alternative of being the individual private patient of a doctor or clergyman.

The Case, Petition, and Address of Samuel Bruckshaw, who Suffered a Most Severe Imprisonment, for Very Near the Whole Year, Loaded with Irons, without Being Heard in his Defense, Nay Even without Being Accused, and at Last Denied an Appeal to a Jury.  Humbly Offered to the Perusal and Consideration of the Public by Samuel Bruckshaw.

On July 28, 1774, Franz Otto Mesmer, a Viennese doctor stumbled on what may have been a clue to mental illness. He was treating a twenty nine year old woman who suffered from severe episodes of convulsions (beginning with headache, and followed by delerium, vomiting, paroxysms of rage, then a partial paralysis).  On this day he tried something new, and brought to her bed three magnets, placing one over each leg and a third heart-shaped one on her stomach. She convulsedĶthen was amazingly free of pain! Following a few more treatments her attacks disappeared completelyĶthough they later returned and further treatment was required. For the most part Mesmer was judged a quack by his colleagues and accused of fraud. Mesmer's discovery that one man may possess enough power over another to relieve psychic illness led to the knowledge that, with help, man possesses the power within himself to heal himself. In effect, Mesmer mesmerized his patients and helped open the door to psychoanalysis.

The First Continental Congress met and the first shots at the American Revolution rang out.


The Battle of Bunker Hill, then Paul Revere's famous ride through the night which called to the statesmen that the British were coming and it was time to act.


Stephen Hopkins, a man with cerebral palsy, is one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Hopkins is known for saying "my hands may tremble, my heart does not."

Thomas Paine published his pamphlet called "Common Sense", The colonists wrote the Declaration of Independence that stated, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." They adopted a flag of their own.

During the second Continental Congress, Abigail Adams entreats her husband John to "remember the ladies" in the new code of laws he is writing.


American Founding Fathers wrote the Articles of Confederation


Austrian physician Franz Mesmer believed that human bodies contained a magnetic fluid that was affected by the planets and determined ones health depending on its distribution. Mesmer concluded that all persons were capable of using their own magnetic forces to affect the magnetic fluid in others and considered himself to be powerful enough to cure illnesses with his animal magnetism. Mesmer gained a large following when he opened a clinic in Paris 1778 and started practicing his mesmerism. In order to affect cures, several patients at a time were seated around a tub containing various chemicals. Iron rods attached to the tub were applied to the afflicted parts of their body (as patients were generally hysterical and experiencing numbness or paralysis), after which Mesmer would emerge in light purple robe and circle around the room touching the patients either with his hand or with a wand. Although Mesmers techniques reportedly were effective, he was branded a fraud by his medical colleagues, and his cures were later believed to be the result of hypnotism, a psychoanalytic practice


Benjamin Rush published his "Directions for Preserving the Health of Soldiers", where he refuted that liquor relieved fatigue, sustained hard labor, and protected a man against heat, cold, fevers, and other common diseases. When Rush retired he devoted himself to research of the mind and body. Rush was among the first to advance the theory that "mental" problems often could be traced to diseases of the body. He became convinced that heavy drinking was a medical, moral, and social evil, and the public needed to be educated about it.




In England, the Penitentiary Act, drafted by Prison reformer John Howard, introduced state prisons as an alternative to the death penalty or transportation. The prison population had risen after the US Declaration of Independence, because the American Colonies had been used as the destination for transported criminals. Howard's 1777 report had identified appalling conditions in most of the prisons he inspected. The Howard League for Penal Reform emerged as a result, publishing in 2006 the findings of an independent inquiry by Lord Carlile of Berriew QC into physical restraint, solitary confinement and forcible strip searching of children in prisons, secure training centres and local authority secure children's homes.



The Gilbert Act established poor houses and gave the poor the right to work and not just draw support.


Constructed in 1784, the Lunatics Tower in Vienna became a showplace. The elaborately decorated round tower contained square rooms in which the staff lived. The patients were housed in the spaces between the walls of the rooms and the wall of the tower and, like at Bedlam, were put on display for public amusement. When staff did attempt to cure the patients, they followed the practices typical of the time periodpurging and bloodletting, the most common. Other treatments included dousing the patient in either hot or ice-cold water to shock their minds back into a normal state. The belief that patients needed to choose rationality over insanity led to techniques aiming to intimidate: blistering, physical restraints, threats, and straitjackets were employed to achieve this end. Powerful drugs (chloryl hydrate, bromides, and barbiturates) were also administered, for example, to a hysterical patient in order to exhaust them.

After seeing a group of blind men being cruelly exhibited in a Paris sideshow, Valentin Valentin Hay, known as the "father and apostle of the blind," establishes the Institution for Blind Children to help make life for the blind more "tolerable." Huay also discovered that sightless persons could read texts printed with raised letters.

Benjamin Rush published his Inquiry into the "Effects of Spirituous Liquors on the Human Body and Mind", the first scientific attack against alcohol. He said alcohol had no nutritional value and instead of improving health it aggravated most diseases and caused many. It might be okay to consume an occasional beer or wine, but whiskey and rum caused a man to be stupid, loud, cruel, filthy, and obscene.


Under the Enlightened concern of Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo in Florence, Italian physician Vincenzo Chiarugi instituted humanitarian reforms. Between 1785 and 1788 he managed to outlaw chains as a means of restraint at the Santa Dorotea hospital, building on prior attempts made there since the 1750s. From 1788 at the newly renovated St. Bonifacio Hospital he did the same, and led the development of new rules establishing a more humane regime. 


The Constitution was drawn up, the Federalist Essays were written in support of the constitution and against those that did not believe in it.


The Constitution is ratified into law.


Work Houses were established so the poor could make clothing

The colony of New Jersey grants the vote to "all free inhabitants."


The Bill of Rights was amended to the U.S. Constitution. The first ten amendments were drawn up to limit governmental powers and protect the basic rights and liberties of individuals. The Bill of Rights includes the following basic ideas: 1. seperation of church and state 2. need for a regulated militia and right to bear arms 3. no quartering of soldiers 4. no unreasonable search and seizures 5. prohibits criminal charges without trial by jury of peers 6. right to a speedy public trial with an impartial jury 7. juries can be demanded for civil cases 8. no excessive bail or fines 9. these rights shall not infringe on rights of other people 10. powers given to the United States government and not prohibited to the states are reserved to the states or to the people


William Tuke (1732-1822), a Quaker tea merchant, founded the Retreat at York.  Tuke was the patriarch of a notable Quaker family from York, England. Tuke admired Pinel greatly and followed his ideas, providing an atmosphere of benevolence, comfort and sympathy for his patients. William Tuke's son Henry (1755-1814) and grandson Samuel (1784-1857) continued at York in the same humanitarian spirit.

In A Vindication of the Rights of Women, Mary Wollstonecraft seeks changes in the education for women and kinder treatment by husbands and lovers. 


According to psychiatric legend, French psychologist Phillip Pinel strikes the chains from mental patients held in the Bastille in France. Paris had two madhouses, the Bicetre and the Salpetriere.  Conditions were horrific!  Crying, screaming depressed men and women lived in damp dungeons without light or air in chains, guarded by convicts who treated them like wild beasts.

Phillipe Pinel writes Treatise on Insanity in which he develops a four-part medical classification for the major mental illnesses: melancholy, dementia, mania without delirium, and mania with delirium. Philip Pinel (1745-1826), the leading French psychiatrist of his day, was the first to say that the mentally deranged were diseased rather than sinful or immoral. In 1793, he removed the chains and restraints from the inmates at the Bicetre asylum, and later from those at Salpetriere. Along with the English reformer William Tuke, he originated the method of moral management, using gentle treatment and patience rather than physical abuse and chains on hospital patients. Pinel is credited with revolutionizing the Hospitals in France but in fact the humanitarian reforms were begun by Jean-Baptiste Pussin and his wife. Pussin had himself been a patient at the Bicetre, and it became the policy there to choose staff from among recovered or convalescing patients. Pinel described these people as best placed to understand the needs of the inmates as a result of what they themselves had experienced (Peer Support!). Pinel went on to Salpetriere where he carried out similar reforms, establishing a regime of study and medical care to replace the bloodletting, purging and ducking that had previously been used. Chiarugi in Italy as well as Tuke in England independently arrived at the same conclusions at the same time or earlier. The ex-patient Jean-Baptiste Pussin and his wife Margueritte, and the physician Philippe Pinel (17451826), are also recognized as the first instigators of more humane conditions in asylums. From the early 1780s, Pussin had been in charge of the mental hospital division of the La Bictre, an asylum in Paris for male patients. From the mid 1780s, Pinel was publishing articles on links between emotions, social conditions and insanity. In 1792 (formally recorded in 1793), Pinel became the chief physician at the Bicetre. Pussin showed Pinel how really knowing the patients meant they could be managed with sympathy and kindness as well as authority and control. In 1797, Pussin first freed patients of their chains and banned physical punishment, although straitjackets could be used instead. Patients were allowed to move freely about the hospital grounds, and eventually dark dungeons were replaced with sunny, well-ventilated rooms. Pussin and Pinel's approach was seen as remarkably successful and they later brought similar reforms to a mental hospital in Paris for female patients, La Salpetrire. Pinel's student and successor, Jean Esquirol (17721840), went on to help establish 10 new mental hospitals that operated on the same principles. There was an emphasis on the selection and supervision of attendants in order to establish a suitable setting to facilitate psychological work, and particularly on the employment of ex-patients as they were thought most likely to refrain from inhumane treatment while being able to stand up to pleading, menaces, or complaining. Pinel used the term traitement moral for the new approach. Moral in French had a mixed meaning of both psychological/emotional and moral. Before the Enlightenment, the mentally ill were treated in inhumane ways - such as being chained, beaten and starved. There seemed to be no effective treatment available. In 1793, Pinel challenged this idea when he removed the chains from patients at the Asylum de Bictre in Paris. He replaced purging, bleeding and blistering with simple humane psychological treatments such as separating patients and categorising them according to different disorders, along with observing and talking to patients. Before Pinel, 60% of the patients at Asylum de Bictre died of disease, suicide or other causes within their first 2 years of admission. Under Pinels supervision, this decreased to less than 20%. Pinel thought that those suffering from mental illness could be rehabilitated and released back into society. His theories on mental illness were the first to span both physiological and psychological explanations. He suggested that mental illness was the consequence of having too much social or psychological stress, or the result of either hereditary causes or damage to the body. He is credited as the first person to keep written case studies on patients, which concentrated on their long-term treatment. Pinel saw asylums as places for treatment and not places to hide the mentally ill. They were to be places where patients were seen as sick human beings deserving of dignity, compassion and medical treatment. Under Pinel, who lived from 1745 to 1826, the place of residence for the mentally ill was converted from a mad house into a hospital. His reforms were soon emulated all over Europe.

The US Congress passes fugitive slave laws


In England, the Speenhamland System, an amendment to the Poor Law, named after a meeting at the Pelican Inn in Speenhamland, Berkshire, where the local magistrates or squirearchy devised the system as a means to alleviate hardship caused by a spike in grain prices. Families were paid extra to top up wages to a set level, which varied according to the number of children and the price of bread. For example if bread was 1s 2d a loaf, the wages of a family with two children was topped up to 8s 6d. If bread rose to 1s 8d the wages were topped up to 11s 0d. The system aggravated the underlying causes of poverty, allowing employers (often farmers) to pay below subsistence wages, because the parish made up the difference to keep their workers alive. Low incomes remained unchanged and the poor rate contributors subsidised the farmers, so that landowners sought other means of dealing with the poor e.g. the workhouse. The Poor Law Commissioners' Report of 1834 called the Speenhamland System a "universal system of pauperism."


Address to Humanity, Containing a Letter to Dr. Thomas Monro; a Receipt to Make a Lunatic, and Seize his Estate and a Sketch of a True Smiling Hyena by William Belcher.

Founded in 1796, the York Retreat in York, England was run by William Tuke and other Quakers who stressed the importance of treating all people with respect and compassion, even the mentally ill. In keeping faithful to this ideal, the York Retreat was a pleasant country house, modeled on a domestic lifestyle, that allowed patients to live, work, and rest in a warm and religious environment that emphasized mildness, reason, and humanity.


Publication of The Rights of Infants by the revolutionary philosopher, Thomas Spence.


At the beginning of the nineteenth century a public outcry about conditions in asylums led to the setting up of a select committee 'to consider of provision being made for the better regulation of madhouses in England'. The report describes appalling conditions of inadequate clothing, cramped and crowded accommodation filthy with excrement on straw, with patients chained to the walls, and in one case, a surgeon who was known to be drunk and insane. As David Stafford-Clark wrote in Psychiatry Today, It may seem beyond belief that physicians could contemplate other human beings naked, cold, crusted with their own excrement, chained and starving in the dark on stone floors, without pity and without remorse.  But they could, and they did, and it is only by the exertions and the example of exceptional men that our own standards have been raised above this appalling state. Asylum staff spent much of their working life locked away with their patients. Husband and wife teams were a feature of asylum organization in the early 19th century, many sharing their home life with their patients. In Britain, one such couple was George and Catherine Jepson at the Retreat in York, and Dr. and Mrs. Ellis at the Hanwell Asylum. Patients who came under these humanitarian regimes were lucky; many more were kept in conditions where fear and cruelty prevailed.

In the first part of the 19th century, a lot of doctors, such as Conolly, Kirkbride, Bucknill, and Daniel Hack Tuke were proud to work in the new asylums. There was also a new endeavor to study insanity. Esquirol in France followed the lead given by Pinel in attempting a classification of mental disorder. A line of successors in France and later in Germany culminated in Emil Kraepelin (1855-1927), a student of Wundt's, who produced a systematic classification of mental disease which forms the basis of modern systems. This is an attempt at grouping by causes as well as by symptoms, and in Kraepelin's work can be seen the merging of two psychological traditions: the experimental and the medical. At the same time growth in populations of asylums mirrored growth in unemployment and poverty following social upheaval caused by industrial revolution. An English Quaker named William Tuke (17321819) independently led the development of a radical new type of institution in northern England, following the death of a fellow Quaker in a local asylum in 1790. In 1796, with the help of fellow Quakers and others, he founded the York Retreat, where eventually about 30 patients lived as part of a small community in a quiet country house and engaged in a combination of rest, talk, and manual work. Rejecting medical theories and techniques, the efforts of the York Retreat centered around minimizing restraints and cultivating rationality and moral strength. The entire Tuke family became known as some of the founders of moral treatment. They created a family-style ethos and patients performed chores to give them a sense of contribution. There was a daily routine of both work and leisure time. If patients behaved well, they were rewarded; if they behaved poorly, there was some minimal use of restraints or instilling of fear. The patients were told that treatment depended on their conduct. In this sense, the patient's moral autonomy was recognized. William Tuke's grandson, Samuel Tuke, published an influential work in the early 19th century on the methods of the retreat; Pinel's Treatise On Insanity had by then been published, and Samuel Tuke translated his term as moral treatment.

The 18th century saw the beginning of modern psychology as a separate discipline. The word psychology was used in the first half of the century to mean the secular philosophical analysis and interpretation of mental phenomena. In the latter half of the 19th century its reference shifted from a predominantly philosophic to a predominantly scientific study of mental phenomena. Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) is commonly regarded as the founder of scientific psychology. Although other people began experimental psychology earlier, Wundt had the first laboratory for teaching and research in the subject. Alexander Bain (1818-1903) was not an experimenter but wrote two very influential books, The Senses and the Intellect (1855) and The Emotions and the Will (1859). At the same time there were considerable influences from the growing understanding of the physiology of the nervous system.

One development of the late 18th century which had a significant influence on the development of psychological practice was Mesmerism. Franz Mesmer began by using magnets in the belief that they exercised some influence on the human body. He later abandoned this notion, but induced a number of phenomena which are now recognized as suggestion and hypnosis. Others in the 19th century took up mesmerism as an aid to medicine, and it was James Braid who attributed the phenomena to processes within the person, expectations arising from suggestion coupled with a narrowing of attention. An active school of hypnosis developed in Paris under the leadership of J.M. Charcot who established a notable neurological clinic at La Salpetriere. His work influenced Ribot who established a psychological laboratory under Beaunis and Binet.

Charcot teaching about hysteria with Blanche (Marie Wittman)

In the closing years of the 19th century several medical psychologists were developing psychogenic theories of the neuroses. Outstanding among them were Pierre Janet (1859-1949) and Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), a pupil and protg of Charcot. Janet's view was that the neurotic lacked sufficient mental energy to hold his psyche together in a state of integration; as a result parts of it functioned in disassociation from the rest. Freud's view by contrast was that there were diverse mental energies in conflict with one another. Early in the development of his theory he spoke of the sex instincts versus the moral instincts; later of libido versus ego, and finally of eros (life instincts) versus thanatos (death instincts). Freud also proposed three major components to the psyche (strangely translated from German into Latin rather than English by his translators): das Es (the It, or Id) symbolizing instinct or unconscious desire, das Ich (the I, or Ego) and das UberIch (the Upper-I, conscience or Superego). Freud's ideas are the basis for psychoanalytic theory. Although this began as a contribution to psychopathology, it quickly expanded into a more general theory. The interpretation of dreams, the explanation of slips of the tongue and of the pen, and an account of the psychic origins of art, religion and society began with Freud and have become part of everyday currency. Literature and literary criticism, art, morality and religion have all felt this influence.


There are only eight institutions for abused and neglected children in the U.S.


The Strange Effects of Faith with Remarkable Prophecies by Joanna Southcott  

Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard establishes the principles and methods used today in the education of the mentally disabled through his controversial work with Victor, the "wild boy of Aveyron."


Dorothea Dix, born April 4th in Hampden, Maine, whose devotion to the mentally ill led to widespread reforms in the U.S. and abroad.  She left home at 10, was teaching school by 14, and founded a Boston home for girls while still in her teens. She was one of the first Americans to argue that mentally ill people should not be treated as criminals and imprisoned, and she established the first hospitals dedicated to humane treatment of the insane. A Boston schoolteacher, Dorothea Dix (18021887), made humane care a public and a political concern in the US. In 1841 Dix visited a local prison to teach Sunday school and was shocked at the conditions for the inmates. She subsequently became very interested in prison conditions and later expanded her crusade to include the poor and mentally ill people all over the country. She spoke to many state legislatures about the horrible sights she had witnessed at the prisons and called for reform. Dix fought for new laws and greater government funding to improve the treatment of people with mental disorders from 1841 until 1881, and personally helped establish 32 state hospitals that were to offer moral treatment. Many asylums were built on the so-called Kirkbride Plan.

The Factory Acts were a series of Acts of the English Parliament passed to limit the number of hours worked by women and children, first in the textile industry, then later in all industries. The Factories Act 1802, sometimes also called the "Health and Morals of Apprentices Act,"


February 14, 1803 John Thomas Perceval, founder of the Alleged Lunatics Friend Society born (Gault, H. 2010, p.49). He died 1876.


The Philanthropic Society was incorporated by Act of Parliament, sanctioning its work with juvenile delinquents and began by opening homes where children were trained in cottage industries working under the instruction of skilled tradesmen. Remaining central in development of measures dealing with young offenders the Society is now the charity, Catch 22, formerly Rainer.


New Jersey women lose their vote, with the repeal sponsored by a politician who was nearly defeated by a female voting block ten years earlier.


Louis Braille is born at Coupvray, near Paris. At three years of age an accident deprived him of his sight, and in 1819 he was sent to the Paris Blind School.


Madness: Exhibiting a Singular Case of Insanity, and a No Less Remarkable Difference in Medical Opinion: Developing the Nature of Assailment, and the Manner of Working Events; with a Description of the Torture Experienced by Bomb-Bursting, Lobster-Cracking, and Lengthening the Brain by John Halsam (ed.)  


A Letter to Dr. R. D. Willis: to Which are Added, Copies of Three Other Letters: Published in the Hope of Rousing a Humane Nation to the Consideration of the Miseries Arising from Private Madhouses: with a Preliminary Address to Lord Erskine by Anne Mary Crowe.  


Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) became one of the earliest advocates of humane treatment for the mentally ill with the publication of Medical Inquiries and Observations Upon Diseases of the Mind, the first American textbook of psychiatry.

America is at war with Britian again


The Second Book of Wonders by Joanna Southcott.

Dr. Benjamin Rush became the head of the Connecticut Society for the Reformation of Morals; they had many of Americas most important citizens involved, men of wealth, political power and social prestige.  This helped the wealthy take advantage of the poor. As transportation changed and new technology came about the few wealthy land-owners and those in positions of leadership took advantage of this to grow a new industrial empire that took advantage of the poor. They created a large military and financial advantage over one sixth of humanity. This idea came to be viewed as the natural order of things, or the "White mans rule", which they did with a mix of naivete, compassion, and brutality. The Indians were the first people that the British oppressed and defeated, no matter the cost to civilization, calling them savages because the Indians were trying to defend themselves, their territory, their customs and their values. The Indians cherished nature more then the white man cherished wealth. Then came mass production. Before his death Rush predicted the day that everyone would shun rum and whiskey entirely as a matter of self-control and long and happy lives.  A Dr. Billy J. Clark read Rushs paper which he agreed with, and then rushed to his ministers house to proclaim they were becoming drunkards which started the temperance movement. Then another man, Reverend Lyman Beecher, who was taught by his parents that liquor was evil and drinking a sin, decided to get it out of the churches. Some Indians started to give up the fight to keep their land.


Early Life of William Cowper by Wiliam Cowper.  


The American School for the Deaf is founded in Hartford, Connecticut. This is the first school for disabled children anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.


Bethlehem Hospital by Urbane Metcalf. 

A cobbler, John Pounds, began to use his shop in Portsmouth as a base for educational activity for local poor children neglected by other institutions. Part of his concern was also to educate his disabled nephew. The Ragged School movement subsequently found powerful support in active philanthropists when public attention was aroused to the prevalence of juvenile delinquency by Thomas Guthrie in 1840. An estimated 300,000 children passed through the London Ragged Schools alone between the early 1840s and 1881.

After visiting Newgate Prison, Elizabeth Fry became particularly concerned at the conditions in which women prisoners and their children were held. Fry later presented evidence to the House of Commons in 1818, which led to the interior of Newgate being rebuilt with individual cells.


The first law was passed barring abortions after quickening.


Fiction or the Memories of Francis Barnett 2 vols. by Francis Barnett.  


The first poor house was established in New York

A decision by the Mississippi Supreme Court in Bradley v. State 2 Miss. (Walker) 156 (1824), allows a husband to administer only "moderate chastisement in cases of emergency.


A Description of the Crimes and Horrors in the Interior of Warburton's Private Mad-House at Hoxton, Commonly Called Whibmore House by John Mitford.


Part Second of the Crimes and Horrors of the Interior of Warburton's Private Mad-Houses at Hoxton and Bethnal Green and of These Establishments in General with Reasons for Their Total Abolition by John Mitford.  


Observations on the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Derangement. Founded on an Extensive Moral and Medical Practice in the Treatment of Lunatics. Together With the Particulars of the Sensations and Ideas of a Gentleman During Mental Alternation, Written by Himself During His Confinement.  by Paul Slade Knight.  


Fanny Wright brought German mental science into the schools as a way to bring about compliance. The 10 ideas behind this were 1) The removal of active literacy 2) Destroying and changing real history 3) Substituting Social Studies for other studies 4) The dilution of peoples understanding of economics; politics; and religion 5) The replacement of learning with physical education and counseling 6) Lack of drills 7) The forcing of both willing and unwilling students together 8) Longer school days with shop classes substituting other real learning experiences 9) Shifting from those with the most stake in a childs life to those with the least 10) Low levels of hostility against interpretations of meaning and lack of debate or discussion.

Author Frances Wright travels the United States on a paid lecture tour, perhaps the first ever by a woman. She attacks organized religion for the secondary place it assigns women, and advocates the empowerment of women through divorce and birth control.

The Parens Patriae laws or state laws over parents were instituted from the old English Kings law. Parents were on trial with their neighbors, they were being watched, and if not found suitable then children were removed and transferred to the parent substitute.

In England, a husband's absolute power of chastisement is abolished. 

Dr. John Fisher charters the first school for the blind in the United States upon his return from France where he observed advancements in the education of people who were blind.


Narrative of the Treatment Experienced by John Tempest, Esq., of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister at Law during Fourteen Months Solitary Confinement under a False Imputation of Lunacy by John Tempest  

The national underground railroad for slaves was started.

Congress wrote it into law that the Indians land no longer belonged to them and forced them onto settlements.

Christmas 1830 In Dublin, John Thomas Perveval was "unfortunately deprived of the use of reason". He was admitted to a private asylum (in England) in January 1831


Victor Cousin, French Philosopher, said public schooling would be good economic and social control for the new industrial proletariat, the class of industrial wage earners who, possessing neither capital nor production means, must earn their living by selling their labor.


James Abram Garfield (November 19, 1831 September 19, 1881) served as the 20th President of the United States, after completing nine consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

He was a strong opponent of slavery. Garfield was one of the founders of the Republican Party and in 1859 was elected to the Ohio legislature. On the outbreak of the American Civil War Garfield joined the Uni

on Army and was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel. He helped recruit the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry and commanded a brigade at Shiloh (April, 1862). After fighting at Chickamauga (September, 1863), Garfield was promoted to the rank of major general.

Garfield left the army after he was elected to the 38th Congress and over the next few years became a prominent member of the Radical Republicans. This group favoured the abolition of slavery and believed that freed slaves should have complete equality with white citizens.

Garfield opposed the policies of President Andrew Johnson and argued in Congress that Southern plantations should be taken from their owners and divided among the former slaves. He also attacked Johnson when he attempted to veto the extension of the Freeman's Bureau, the Civil Rights Bill and the Reconstruction Acts.

In November, 1867, the Judiciary Committee voted 5-4 that Andrew Johnson be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. The majority report contained a series of charges including pardoning traitors, profiting from the illegal disposal of railroads in Tennessee, defying Congress, denying the right to reconstruct the South and attempts to prevent the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Garfield supported Johnson's impeachment but was unhappy that his replacement would be Benjamin Wade. Garfield warned that Wade was "a man of violent passions, extreme opinions and narrow views who was surrounded by the worst and most violent elements in the Republican Party." Despite this objections, Garfield voted for impeachment. However, the 35 to 19 vote, was one short of the required two-thirds majority for conviction.

Garfield remained a member of Congress for seventeen years. During this time her served as chairman of the Banking Committee (1869-71) and in 1880 was asked to organize the campaign of John Sherman, who was attempting to become the Republican Party presidential candidate.

During the campaign Garfield was so impressive that he became one of the candidates and after 36 ballots defeated Ulysses S. Grant and James G. Blaine for the nomination. To preserve party unity, the conservative Chester Arthur, became the vice-presidential candidate.

The Democratic Party nominated Winfield S. Hancock, who like Garfield had been a senior officer during the American Civil War. It was a close election and Garfield won by 4,449,053 votes to 4,442,030.

In his inaugural speech Garfield returned to the issue that had first brought him into politics: "The elevation of the (black) race from slavery to the full rights of citizenship is the most important political change we have known since the adoption of the Constitution of 1787. It has liberated the master as well as the slave from a relation which wronged and enfeebled both."

Garfield attempted to select a Cabinet that would retain the unity of the Republican Party. However, Roscoe Conking, the leader of the Stalwart group, was unhappy with some of Garfield's choices and refused to serve in his administration.

On 2nd July, 1881, Garfield was waiting for a train in Washington with Robert Lincoln, his Secretary of War, when Charles J. Guiteau, shot him in the back. A supporter of Roscoe Conking, Guiteau, surrendered to the police with the words: "I am a Stalwart. Chester Arthur is now the president of the United States. After a four month struggle James Garfield died on 19th September, 1881 and Chester Arthur became president.

An American slave, Nat Turner, led the most successful slave rebellion in U.S. history. Being taught by his mother to fight slavery, he embraced religion and felt he was called upon by God to help others escape from slavery. Banding together with about 75 others, he killed the White man and family who owned him and went on for two days and nights to kill about 60 White people.  Eventually the state militia ended the revolt, and he was eventually hanged. This rebellion was critical and one of many acts by slaves to demand just treatment in the racially unjust civic society of the U.S. Though the rebellion led to harsher legislation against slaves (education, assembly, movement), it also put an end to the white Southern myth that slaves were content or too passive to revolt.


Using rooms in his father's house located in downtown Boston, Samuel Gridley Howe, the School's first director, begins teaching a handful of blind students. The Perkins School for the Blind in Boston admits its first two students, the sisters Sophia and Abbey Carter. This is the first time disabled students are able to attend school.

The New England Association of Farmers, Mechanics and Other Workingmen condemn child labor.


An Account of the Imprisonment and Sufferings of Robert Fuller, of Cambridge, Boston by Robert Fuller.

Enrollment grows at the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, and Thomas Perkins, vice president and School trustee, offers his larger home to the School to meet the growing demand for educational services for children who are blind.


Vermont Asylum for the Insane also known as Battleboro Retreat, founded. Anna Hunt Marsh (birth year unknown, died 1834) established the Vermont Asylum of the Insane in 1834. Marsh was born and raised in Hinsdale, New Hampshire. She was the widow of physician Perley Marsh. She is responsible for the creation of the Brattleboro Retreat, originally known as the Vermont Asylum for the Insane. She was the first woman credited with starting a hospital for the mentally ill. She was responsible for selecting the trustees before her death. A bad healing experience leading to the death of a member of her family has been suggested as an impetus to her idea of creating a humane care option. Her vision was a facility patterned on a Quaker concept called moral treatment. She didn't have much to do with Brattleboro until she died, but her influence is enormous. Upon her death, her will instructed heirs to build a mental hospital in Brattleboro. This was founded in 1834 with her $10,000 bequest. The Brattleboro Retreat grew in popularity and had success treating people with a combination of fresh air, exercise, good food, and other treatments for the insane. Large porches on the buildings allowed patients to sit and read, relax, and recover. As of 2006, the Brattleboro Retreat, now named Retreat Healthcare, is still in operation serving a wide variety of mental conditions. It is a 1000-acre (4 km) campus of many large buildings, a working farm, and lots of land to explore.

A Poor House tax was established that defined the poor on the basis of adults, children, old or non-able bodied adults. The workhouse system was set up in England and Wales under the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834, although many individual houses existed before this legislation. Inmates entered and left as they liked and would receive free food and accommodation. However, workhouse life was made as harsh and degrading as possible so that only the truly destitute would apply. Accounts of the terrible conditions in some workhouses include references to women who would not speak and children who refused to play.


The Transcendental movement in literature and philosophy was part of a general turn in U.S. literature to build national civic pride with a distinctly American literary identity, it was viewed as the beginning of an American Renaissance in literature. Transcendentalism was based on a belief in the unity of all creation, the natural goodness of people, and insight over logic for lifes truths. Transcendentalists were influential as leaders in reform movements for anarchy, socialism, and communism; suffrage for women; better conditions for workers; temperance; modifications of dress and diet; the rise of free religion; educational innovation; and other humanitarian causes.

Massachusetts creates the first state child labor law where children under 15 working in factories have to attend school for at least 3 months per year.


Laura Bridgman enrolls in the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston and becomes the first documented deafblind person to be educated. Years later, Bridgman teaches Perkins student Anne Sullivan how to communicate with a person who is deafblind.


Scenes in a Mad House Boston: Samuel N. Dickinson authored by John Barton Derby who spent time as an inmate of McLean Asylum for a brief period.

A Narrative of the Treatment Experienced by a Gentleman, During a State of Mental Derangement; Designed to Explain the Causes and the Nature of Insanity, and to Expose the Injudicious Conduct Pursued Towards Many Unfortunate Sufferers Under That Calamity. 2 vols. by John Percavel 1838 and 1840 (republished, with an introduction by Gregory Bateson, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1961).

In 1838 Charles Dickens Oliver Twist, Dickens' second novel, is the first in the English language to centre upon a child protagonist throughout. The book calls attention to various contemporary social evils, including the Poor Law, which required that poor people work in workhouses,[22] child labour and the recruitment of children as criminals. A later character, Jo in Bleak House, is portrayed as a street child, relentlessly pursued by a police inspector. 


Victoria Claflin, the sixth of ten children, was born in Homer, Ohio on September 23, 1838. When Victoria was a child the family was forced to leave Homer after her father, Reuben Claflin, was accused of an insurance fraud. She received very little education and spent most of her childhood with her family's travelling medicine show.

At the age of fifteen Victoria married Canning Woodhull. The foll

owing year she gave birth to Byron Woodhull. Over the next few years she earned a living by telling fortunes, selling patent medicines and performing a spiritualist act with her sister, Tennessee Claflin.

Canning Woodhull was an alcoholic and in 1864 she divorced him and two years later married Colonel James Blood. In 1868 Victoria Woodhull moved to New York City where she became friends with millionaire railroad magnate, Cornelius Vanderbilt. With Vanderbilt's backing, the enterprising sisters went into business as Wall Street's FIRST female stockbrokers. The sisters made a large amount of money and this enabled them to publish their own journal, Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly.

Woodhull's journal was used to promote women's suffrage and other radical causes such as the 8 hour work day, graduated income tax, and profit sharing. Woodhull also exposed fraudulent activities that were then rampant in the stock market. Woodhull became the leader of the International Working Men's Association (the First International) in New York City and in 1872 controversially became the FIRST person to publish The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.

In May 1872 Victoria Woodhull was nominated as the presidential candidate of the Equal Rights Party. (The FIRST female Presidentoal nominee.) Although laws prohibited women from voting, there was nothing stopping women from running for office. Woodhull suggested that Frederick Douglass should become her running partner but he declined the offer.

During the campaign Woodhull called for the "reform of political and social abuses; the emancipation of labor, and the enfranchisement of women". Woodhull also argued in favour of improved civil rights and the abolition of capital punishment. These policies gained her the support of socialists, trade unionists and women suffragists. However, conservative leaders of the American Woman Suffrage Association, such as Susan Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, were shocked by some of her more extreme ideas and supported Horace Greeley in the election.

Friends of President Ulysses Grant decided to attack Victoria Woodhull's character and she was accused of having affairs with married men. It was also alleged that Victoria's previous husband was an alcoholic and her sister, Utica Claflin, took drugs. Woodhull became convinced that Henry Ward Beecher was behind these stories and decided to fight back. She now published a story in the Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly that Beecher was having an affair with a married woman.

Woodhull was arrested and charged under the Comstock Act for sending obscene literature through the mail and was in prison on election day. (Woodhull's name did not appear on the ballot because she was one year short of the Constitutionally mandated age of thirty-five.) Over the next seven months Woodhull was arrested eight times and had to endure several trials for obscenity and libel. She was eventually acquitted of all charges but the legal bills forced her into bankruptcy.

In 1878 Woodhull moved to England. She continued to campaign for women's rights and in 1895 she established the Humanitarian newspaper.

Victoria Woodhull died on 9th June, 1927.


Sarah Grimk publishes "Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women." She and her sister Angelina will be active in both the suffrage and the abolitionist movements.


In England, under the Custody of Infants Act, custody of children under 7 years old was assigned to mothers.

Sixty-five students are enrolled at the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, and a still larger facility is needed. Thomas Perkins sells his house and donates the proceeds in order to move the School to a former hotel in South Boston. In honor of his generosity, the School is named for Perkins.


The Washingtonians, an organization with the central tenant that 'social camaraderie was sufficient to sustain sobriety,' enlist recovering alcoholics as missionaries to individuals with drinking disorders, thus pioneering the notion of service as a tool of self-help.

Dorothea Dix crusades for asylum reform.

Day nurseries began in Boston for low-income working wives and widows of merchant seamen. Day care "was founded as a social service to alleviate the child care problems of parents who had to work, and to prevent young children from suicidal acts from thinking of being unloved ."


In 1840 there were only eight asylums for the insane in the U.S. Dorothea Dixs crusading led to establishment or enlargement of 32 mental hospitals, and transfer of the mentally ill from poorhouses and jails.

In Mettray, north of the city of Tours, France a private reformatory, the Mettray Penal Colony, without walls, was opened by penal reformer Frdric-Auguste Demetz in 1840 for the rehabilitation of young males aged between 6 and 21. At that time children and teenagers were routinely imprisoned with adults. Boys who were mostly deprived, disadvantaged or adandoned children, many of whom had committed only Summary offences or petty crime, were housed. Their heads were shaved, they wore uniforms, and up to age 12 spent most of the day studying arithmetic, writing and reading. Older boys had one hour of classes, with the rest of the day spent working. Reformatory Schools were modelled on Mettray, and the Borstal system, established in 1905, separated adolescents from adult prisoners. In the twentieth century Mettray became the focus for Michel Foucault because of its various systems and expressions of power and led Foucault to suggest that Mettray began the descent into modern penal theories and their inherent power structures.

The first attempt to measure the extent of mental illness and mental retardation in the United States occurred with the U.S. Census of 1840. The census included the category insane and idiotic. The census used the single category of "idiocy/insanity."

Mercein vs. People said the moment a child is born it (owes allegiance to the government) of the country of its birth and is entitled to the protection of that government and the powers of parents pass from the parents to the government of the United States. 

Orester Brownson said, A system of education may as well be a religion established by law.

Labor yards were beginning to be established for the poor. 

Margaret Fuller was an acclaimed United States writer who pushed for civic awareness in womens rights and social reform. Fuller wrote influential book reviews and reports on social issues such as the treatment of women prisoners and the insane. Fuller's "Woman in the Nineteenth Century" is the earliest and most American exploration of women's role in society.  Overall, she emphasized that women should learn self-dependence because too often they are taught to depend on others (particularly men in marriage) for their well-being.

The World Anti-Slavery Convention is held in London. Abolitionists Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton attend, but they are barred from participating in the meeting. This snub leads them to decide to hold a women's rights convention when they return to America.


Dorothea Dix, a schoolteacher forced to retire due to her bouts of tuberculousis, begins her work on behalf of people with disabilities incarcerated in jails and poorhouses. She has all of them labeled as mentally ill rather than troubled or troublemakers. A Boston schoolteacher, Dorothea Dix (1802-1887), made humane care a public and a political concern in the United States. In 1841 Dix visited a local prison to teach Sunday school and was shocked at the conditions for the inmates. She subsequently became very interested in prison conditions and later expanded her crusade to include the poor and mentally ill people all over the country. She spoke to many state legislatures about the horrible sights (people were being housed in county jails, private homes and the basements of public buildings) she had witnessed at the prisons and called for reform. Dix fought for new laws and greater government funding to improve the treatment of people with mental disorders from 1841 until 1881, and personally helped establish 32 state hospitals that were to offer moral treatment. In the mid-nineteenth century Dorothea Lynde Dix was influential in changing conditions in institutions in New England, and in 1881 at 40th anniversary of the Medico-Psychological Association at University College, Daniel Tuke, the president, paid respect to her 'who has a claim to the gratitude of mankind for having consecrated the best years of her life to the fearless advocacy of the cause of the insane'. 

The Madhouse System by Richard Paternoster.  

The American Annals of the Deaf begins publication at the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut.


A Sketch of the Life of Elizabeth T. Stone, and of Her Persecution, with an Appendix of Her Treatment and Sufferings While in the Charleston McLean Asylum Where She was Confined Under the Pretence of Insanity. Boston: Author; Elizabeth Stone.

Scene in a Private Mad-House. Asylum Journal. 1(1): 1 by Anonymous

Charles Dickens visits the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston and enthusiastically praises Howe's work with Laura Bridgman in his book, American Notes. Years later, Kate Adams Keller reads Dickens' book and realizes there is hope that her six-year-old daughter, Helen - deafblind since age 19 months, can be educated.

Massachusetts limits children to working 10 hours per day. Several states follow suit, but do not consistently enforce their laws.


Remarks by Elizabeth T. Stone, upon the Statements Made by H.B. Skinner, in the Pulpit of the Hamilton Chapel, on Sunday Afternoon, 18th of June 1843, in Reference to What She Had Stated Concerning His Being Chaplain in the Charlestown McLean Asylum: and Also a Further Relation on Her Suffering While Confined in That Place for 16 months and 20 days.  Boston: Author; Elizabeth Stone.

There were approximately 24 hospitalstotaling only 2,561 bedsavailable for treating mental illness in the United States.

Horace Mann helped to clean the streets of beggars, vagrants, and gypsies through his efforts at journalism.

A call for popular education came from the authorities of industry, clergy professionals, and scientists in order to further this goal.


Founding of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). At a meeting in 1844 in Philadelphia, 13 superintendents and organizers of insane asylums and hospitals formed the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane (AMSAII), which later became the American Psychiatric Association in 1921. The Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane included among its tenets:

Ģ Insanity is a disease to which everyone is liable.

Ģ Properly and promptly treated, it is about as curable as most other serious diseases.

Ģ In the majority of cases it is better and more successfully treated in well-organized institutions than at home.

Ģ Overcrowding is an evil of serious magnitude.

Ģ The insane should never be kept in penal institutions.


June 12, 1844 Pageant: John Clare's The Nightingale


Alleged Lunatics' Friends Society organized by former mental patients in England.  This organization is seen as the forerunner of present day advocacy groups.  The group lasted until 1863. July 1, 1845, John Thomas Percevals petition presented to the House of Commons. July 7, 1845 the Alleged Lunatics Friend Society was formed. (Gault, H. 2010, p.190)

The Lunacy Act is passed concerning running good hospitals.


Earlier in the year, 5,000 women cotton mill workers in and around Pittsburgh go on strike for a 10-hour day and an end to child labor. Months into the strike, hundreds marched on the Blackstock Mill, one of the largest in the area. The women broke down the factory's gates and forcibly expelled the scabs, while the men who accompanied them kept the police at bay.

Sweden passes an Inheritance Law that gives women and men equal inheritance rights. 


The Great Irish Famines mark the destruction of potato crops and people become paupers by the droves and subsequently fled to America seeking opportunity.


The Lily of the West: On Human Nature, Education, the Mind, Insanity, with Ten Letters as a Sequel to the Alphabet; the Conquest of Man, Early Days; a Farewell to My Native Home, the Song of the Chieftain's Daughter, Tree of Liberty, and the Beauties of Nature and Art, by G. Grimes, an Inmate of the Lunatic Asylum of Tennessee. Nashville. Grimes, Green.

A Secret Worth Knowing: A Treatise on the Most Important Secret in the World: Simply to say, Insanity, by G. Grimes, an Inmate of the Lunatic Asylum of Tennessee. Nashville: Nashville Union, Grimes, Green.


Thirty-Two Years of the Life of an Adventurer New York: by Drake, John H.

A Secret Worth Knowing: A Treatise on Insanity, the Only Work of the Kind in the United States or, Perhaps in the Known World: Founded on General Observation and Truth, by G. Grimes, an Inmate of the Lunatic Asylum of Tennessee. New York: W. H. Graham. Grimes, Green.  

Best interest of the Child test, which is not suppose to be seen as unregulated, but governed as far as the case will admit, by fixed rules and principles.

In England, the Juvenile Offenders Act allowed children under the age of fourteen to be tried summarily before two magistrates, speeding up the process of trial for children, and removing it from the publicity of the higher courts. The age limit was raised to sixteen in 1850.


The first residential institution for people with mental retardation is founded by Samuel Gridley Howe at the Perkins Institution in Boston. During the next century, hundreds of thousands of developmentally disabled children and adults will be institutionalized, many for their entire lives. Samuel Gridley Howe told the Massachusetts legislature, There are at least a thousand persons of this class who not only contribute nothing to the common stock, but who are ravenous consumers, who are idle and often mischievous, and who are dead weight upon the prosperity of the state.

The Adoption Act passed and Psychological Parenthood was accepted. 

Russia fell to the socialist revolution or communism.

Illustrations of Insanity Furnished by the Letters and Writings of the Insane. American Journal of Insanity.  4: 290-308 by Anonymous.

Phineas Gage, a Vermont railwayman, was an affable person until an incident in 1848. The 25 year old was blasting the ground prior to laying train tracks. This technique involved putting explosive powder with a fuse into a hole, covering the hole with sand and lighting the fuse. Unfortunately, Gage accidentally tamped the powder into the hole before sand was poured in. When the powder was struck with the tamping rod, it ignited. The blast drove the rod through Gages head. The inch-thick shaft entered through his left cheekbone and left eye and exited through his skull. Gage survived the accident and within 2 months he could walk, talk and was generally aware of his surroundings. However, his once affable personality had been replaced by less desirable qualities and characteristics such as lying, excessive use of abusive language and non-dependability. He was no longer recognised as the same man: The equilibrium Ķ between his intellectual faculties and animal propensities seems to have been destroyed, according to Harlow, a physician from Boston, 1868. Gage eventually died from epilepsy 13 years after the incident and his skull was donated to medical research. Upon examination, it was found that the change in personality was a result of severe damage to the frontal lobes of the brain. Early theories concerning Gages sudden change in behaviour were not readily accepted. There was scepticism at the time about whether the brain could govern human behaviour. More recently, neurologists have returned to the case to ascertain the full extent of the damage to his brain. It appears that the frontal lobes necessary for language and motor function were unaffected whilst the underside of the frontal lobes were heavily damaged, causing the anti-social behaviour. This phenomenon has also been detected in present day cases of people suffering from tumours, accidents or neurosurgery. The case of Phineas Gage was the first to be publicised that demonstrated a biological basis for behaviour. It therefore became an early explanation for abnormal behaviour and mental illness - a seminal case in the detection and causes of medical illness.

In England, the Alleged Lunatics' Friend Society campaigned for sweeping reforms to the asylum system and abuses of the moral treatment approach. In the United States,

Three hundred people attend the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Among the attendees are Amelia Bloomer, Charlotte Woodward, and Frederick Douglas. Lucretia Mott's husband James presides. Stanton authors the Declaration of Sentiments, which sets the agenda for decades of women's activism. A larger meeting follows in Rochester.


Five Months in the New York State Lunatic Asylum, by an Inmate. Buffalo: L. Danforth by Anonymous

Mr. Dyce Sombre's Refutation of the Charge of Lunacy Brought Against Him in the Court of Chancer. Paris by Dvee Sombre.   


The Ohio Lunatic Asylum. The Journal of Psychological Medicine and Mental Pathology. 3:  456-90, by Anonymous.

The Massachusetts legislature grants property rights to women.

In the 1850s, Superintendent of Eastern State Lunatic Asylum in Virginia, John Minson Galt, II suggested a day-patient approach similar to the town of Geel (present-day Germany), where patients went into town and interacted with the community during the day and returned to the hospital at night to sleep. The Court of Directors rejected this proposal. The idea was a century ahead of its time and re-emerged as deinstitutionalization in the 1900s. However, Dr. Galt did carry out an experiment with deinstitutionalization in Williamsburg that lasted for a decade. Convalescing patients who behaved well and had good self-control (approximately half of the 280 patients at the time), had the freedom of the town at all times during the day. The townspeople were also encouraged to visit and socialize with patients still confined to the hospital grounds. Many of these changes were a part of a new era called "moral management," brought about due to a change in social perception of mental illness.

The first mandated reform schools, taught respect for authority, self-control, and discipline. They spoke of reform schools in phrases such as, Here is real home. They took the kids to reform schools and then adopted them out before parents could get them back.

In 1800 there were only eight institutions for abused and neglected children in the U.S. By 1850, there are ninety institutions for abused and neglected children in the U.S.

The number of children aged 15 years and younger in Irish Workhouses reaches its historic high, at 115,639.


In his article, Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race, Dr. Samuel Cartwright, a highly respected and widely published doctor from the University of Louisiana, discusses two diseases which he claims are unique to African Americans. One is his newly-discovered Drapetomania, a disease which causes slaves to run away; the other, Dysaethesia Aethiopica, a disease causing rascality in black people free and enslaved. Dysaethesia Aethiopica was a mental illness described by Dr. Cartwright that proposed a theory for the cause of laziness among slaves. Today, Dysaethesia Aethiopica is considered an example of scientific racism.

Sojourner Truth delivers her "Ain't I a Woman?" speech at a women's rights convention in Akron, Ohio.

The second National Woman's Rights Convention is held in Worcester, Massachusetts; celebrities new to the list of endorsers include educator Horace Mann, New York Tribune columnist Elizabeth Oakes Smith, and Reverend Harry Ward Beecher, one of the nation's most popular preachers. Lucretia Mott presides. Westminster Review publishes John Stuart Mill's article, "On the Enfranchisement of Women." Mill later admits that the piece is the work of his companion, Harriet Hardy Taylor.

Autobiography of the Rev. William Walford. London by William Walford.  

Astounding Disclosures! Three Years in a Mad House, by a Victim. A True Account of the Barbarous, Inhuman and Cruel Treatment of Isaac H. Hunt, in the Maine Insane Hospital, in the Years 1844, '45, '46 and '47, by Drs. Isaac Ray, James Bates, and Their Assistants and Attendants. Skowhegan: The Author. Hunt, Isaac H.

The Opal Volume 1.  New York: Utica State Lunatic Asylum. Edited by the Patients. The Opal (18511860) was a ten volume Journal produced by patients of Utica State Lunatic Asylum in New York, which has been viewed in part as an early liberation movement.

Massachusetts passed the first modern adoption law, recognizing adoption as a social and legal operation based on child welfare rather than adult interests. The Adoption of Children Act was an important turning point that directed judges to ensure that adoption decrees were fit and proper.  How this determination was to be made was left entirely to judicial discretion. 

Nathanial Hawthornes book, "The Scarlet Letter," came out. This was a moral book about an unwed mother trying to raise her child, cast out of society to live in the woods as punishment for her sins of moral impropriety; the surprise was the childs father was the priest.


Startling Facts from the Census, was published in the American Journal of Insanity.  It argued that slavery kept blacks well, because there was a higher incidence of insanity in Blacks in the North than the South.

Insanity Among the Colored Population of the Free States by Dr. Jarvis.  Jarvis writes to disabuse any readers mind of the information released in startling facts from the census.  Jarvis' investigation into the Census actually created what is now called the modern census as he found the statistics were largely unreliable.  

A Letter from a Patient. The Opal A monthly Periodical of the State Lunatic Asylum, Devoted to Usefulness.  2: 245-246. Anonymous. The Opal Volume 2.  New York: Utica State Lunatic Asylum. Edited by the Patients.

Astounding Disclosures! Three Years in a Mad House, by a Victim. Contains Also: A Short Account of Miss Elizabeth T. Stone in the McLean Asylum at Somerville, Mass. and a Short Account of the Burning of the Maine Asylum, Dec. 4th, 1850. Skowhegan: The Author: Hunt, Isaac H.

The first forced public education began in Massachusetts

Newspaper editor Clara Howard Nichols addresses the Vermont Senate on the topic of women's property rights, a major issue for the suffragists.

Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin is published.


Invention of the hypodermic syringe, its use to inject morphine to reduce pain rapidly became widespread during the Civil War.  

Dorothea Dix is credited for the creation of the first public mental hospital in Harrisburg Pennsylvania.  

Passages from the History of a Wasted Life. Boston: Benj. B. Mussey. Middle-Aged Man [pseud.].

The Opal Volume 3.  New York: Utica State Lunatic Asylum. Edited by the Patients.

Charles Loring Brace founded the Children's Aid Society to take in children living on the streets.

On the occasion of the World's Fair in New York City, suffragists hold a meeting in the Broadway Tabernacle. It will go down in history as "The Mob Convention," marred by "hissing, yelling, stamping, and all manner of unseemly interruptions."

The World's Temperance Convention is held, also in New York City. Women delegates, including Rev. Antoinette Brown and Susan B. Anthony, are not allowed to speak.


Dorthea Dix's diligent work in the 1840's for the humane treatment of people identified as mentally ill, convinces many states to construct special institutions for the mentally ill.  Legislation was passed at the federal level to provide aid to the states for these mental institutions.  President Franklin Pierce felt that it was the states responsibility to ensure the social welfare, not the federal government.  He vetoed the Indigent Insane Bill.  This was one example of the controversy of who has responsibility, state or federal government. This bill would have provided a grant of land for the relief and support of indigent, curable and incurable insane. Its passage by Congress was the culmination of more than six years of intense work by Dix and her allies in trying to provide asylums that would emphasize moral treatment approaches to mental illness. President Pierce, in his veto message, said, If Congress has the power to make provisions for the indigent insane, the whole field of public beneficence is thrown open to the care and culture of the federal government. I readily acknowledge the duty incumbent on us all to provide for those who, in the mysterious order of providence, are subject to want and to disease of body or mind, but I cannot find any authority in the Constitution that makes the federal government the great almoner of public charity throughout the United States.

A Chapter from Real Life. By a Recovered Patient. The Opal A monthly Periodical of the State Lunatic Asylum, Devoted to Usefulness. 4: 48-50. Anonymous. The Opal Volume 4.  New York: Utica State Lunatic Asylum. Edited by the Patients.

Letters of a Lunatic: A Brief Exposition of My University Life During the Years 1853-1854. New York: The Author. Adler, George J.

The New England Gallaudet Association of the Deaf is founded in Montpelier, Vermont.

The Massachusetts legislature grants property rights to women.

In 1854 Charles Loring Brace led the Children's Aid Society to start the Orphan Train with stops across the West, where they were adopted and often given work.

In Reformatory Schools in England, Mary Carpenter's research and lobbying contributed to the Youthful Offenders Act 1854 and the Reformatory Schools (Scotland) Act 1854. These enabled voluntary schools to be certified as efficient by the Inspector of Prisons, and allowed courts to send them convicted juvenile offenders under 16 for a period of 2 to 5 years, instead of prison. Parents were required to contribute to the cost. Carpenter's 1851 publication Reformatory Schools for the Children of the Perishing and Dangerous Classes and for Juvenile Offenders was the first to coin the term 'Dangerous Classes' with respect to the lower classes, and the perceived propensity to criminality, of poor people.


The first Federal facility, Government Hospital for the Insane opened in Washington, D.C. It was renamed St. Elizabeths Hospital in 1916.

Prominent suffragists Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell marry; they eliminate the vow of obedience from the ceremony and include a protest against unfair marriage laws.

Life in the Asylum. The Opal A monthly Periodical of the State Lunatic Asylum, Devoted to Usefulness. 5: 4-6. Anonymous, New York: Utica State Lunatic Asylum. Edited by the Patients.

Letters to the People on Health and Happiness.  New York: Harper and Brothers. Beecher, Catherine.

Two Years and Three Months in the New York Lunatic Asylum at Utica. Syracuse: Published by the Author. Davis, Phebe B.

Scenes from the Life of a Sufferer: Being the Narrative of a Residence in Morningside Asylum. Edinburgh. by Anonymous  


The Opal Volume 6 New York: Utica State Lunatic Asylum. Edited by the Patients.


The Opal Volume 7 New York: Utica State Lunatic Asylum. Edited by the Patients.

The Supreme Court rules on the Dred Scott case, deciding that Dred Scott was still a slave, even though he was in free territory. The court also declares that no African Americans were citizens of the United States, which also meant they could not sue in a federal court. This decision also denied the power of Congress to restrict slavery in any federal territory. The decision sharpened the national debate over slavery. James Buchanan is President.  He took office at a time of great division and uproar over slavery. The nation was headed toward civil war, and he could not avert it. Buchanan personally opposed slavery, but as a public official he felt bound to sustain it where sanctioned by law. What some considered vacillation was an expression of three fundamental convictions: (1) that only by compromise between the parts could a federal republic survive; (2) that citizens had to obey the law even when they thought it unjust; and (3) that questions of morality could not be settled by political action. Despite the secession movement, he succeeded in preventing hostilities between North and South, and he turned over to Lincoln a nation at peace with eight slave states still in the Union.

A Massachusetts court is the first to recognize the spousal rape exemption. The court in Commonwealth v. Fogerty, relies solely on Lord Hale's statement (1500's) in recognizing in dictum that marriage to the victim was a defense to rape. 

In England, the Industrial Schools Act 1857 allowed magistrates to send disorderly children to a residential industrial school, resolving the problems of juvenile delinquency by removing poor and neglected children from their home environment into a boarding school. An 1876 Act led to non-residential day schools of a similar kind. In 1986 Professor Sir Leon Radzinowitz noted the practice of Economic conscription, where, there was a network of 208 schools: 43 reformatories, 132 industrial schools, 21 day industrial schools and 12 truant schools by the eve of the First World War, alongside a negligible education system for the poor.


Henry Knight cut the ribbon on the first institution for Undesirables in Connecticut stating, Being consumers and not producers, they are a great pecuniary burden in the state.

The Opal Volume 8 New York: Utica State Lunatic Asylum. Edited by the Patients.


Charles Darwins Origin of Species led to a pessimistic feeling that insanity, instead of being concerned with the will and moral management was a hereditary incapacity, leading to reduced concern for the unfortunate, and a feeling that the mad ought to be locked up.

The Opal Volume 9 New York: Utica State Lunatic Asylum. Edited by the Patients.


The travels and experiences of Miss Phebe B. Davis, of Barnard, Windsor County, VT, being a sequel to her two years and three months in the N.Y. state lunatic asylum at Utica, N.Y. by  Davis, Phebe. B.

The Braille system was introduced to America and was taught with some success at the St. Louis School for the Blind.  Simon Pollak demonstrates the use of braille at the Missouri School for the Blind.

The Gaffaudet Guide and Deaf Mutes' Companion becomes the first publication in the United States aimed at a disabled readership.

By 1860, twenty states had laws limiting abortion

Seven Months in the Kingston Lunatic Asylum, and What I Saw There, by Ann Pratt.


The Civil War. Suffrage efforts nearly come to a complete halt as women put their enfranchisement aside and pitch in for the war effort.


The American Civil War (1861 - 1865) creates thousands of amputees, 30,000 amputations in the Union Army alone. The first amputee of the war was a young Confederate soldier in Churchville, Virginia.

Susan B. Anthony & Elizabeth Cady Stanton Could the dark secrets of those insane asylums be brought to light...we would be shocked to know the countless number of rebellious wives, sisters and daughters that are thus annually sacrificed to false customs and conventionalisms and barbarous laws made by men for women.

John Stuart Mill writes The Subjection of Women, but waits 8 years to publish it because he did not think the public was ready to accept his essay. He pleads for Parliament to reform the divorce laws to allow women to divorce on the grounds of violence and cruelty. 

During 1861, the Civil war that freed the slaves also gave Americans great lessons on how to produce things that our country had to have based on mass consumption even if the quality of them was often inferior. American Veterans worked to assist the newly freed slaves. Some slaves were considered mentally ill just for trying to run away. (Drapetomania)

Helen Adams Keller is born In Tuscumbia, Alabama.

The American Godhead: or, the Constitution of the United States Cast Down by Northern Slavery, or by the Power of Insane Hospitals. Boston: The Author: Stone, Elizabeth.

The Opal Volume 10, New York: Utica State Lunatic Asylum. Edited by the Patients.


Statement of Mrs. Lydia B. Denny, Wife of Reuben S. Denny, of Boston, in Regard to Her Alleged Insanity.  n.p. Denny, Lydia B.

The Veterans Reserve Corps is formed by the U.S. Army. After the war, many of its members join the Freedman's Bureau to work with recently emancipated slaves.

Congress passed the Homestead Act giving the Indians land to the settlers.

U.S. women take the places of men in factories, arsenals, bakeries, retail shops, and government offices as the military draft creates severe labor shortages




Mary Church was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on September23, 1863. Both her parents, Robert Church and Louisa Ayers, were both former slaves. Robert was the son of his white master, Charles Church.

During the Memphis race riots in 1866 Mary's father was shot in the head and left for dead. He survived the attack and eventually became a successful businessman. He speculated in the property market and was considered to be the wealthiest black man in the South.

Mary was an outstanding student and after graduating from Oberlin College, Ohio, in 1884, she taught at a black secondary school in Washington and at Wilberforce College in Ohio. Through her father, Mary met Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. She was especially close to Douglass and worked with him on several civil rights campaigns.

After a two year travelling and studying in France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and England (1888-1890), Mary returned to the United States where she married Robert Heberton Terrell, a lawyer who was later to become the first black municipal court judge in Washington.

In 1892 Church's friend, Tom Moss, a grocer from Memphis, was lynched by a white mob. Church and Frederick Douglass had a meeting with Benjamin Harrison concerning this case but the president was unwilling to make a public statement condemning lynching.

Church was an active member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and was particularly concerned about ensuring the organization continued to fight for black women getting the vote. With Josephine Ruffin she formed the Federation of Afro-American Women and in 1896 she co- founded the National Association of Colored Women with Harriet Tubman and became the first president of the newly formed association.

She said this about the National Association of Colored Women,

"Through the National Association of Colored Women, which was formed by the union of two large organizations in July, 1896, and which is now the only national body among colored women, much good has been done in the past, and more will be accomplished in the future, we hope."

In 1904 Church was invited to speak at the Berlin International Congress of Women. She was the only black woman at the conference and determined to make a good impression she created a sensation when she gave her speech in German, French and English.

During the First World War Church and her daughter, Phillis Terrell joined Alice Paul and Lucy Burns of the Congressional Union for Women Suffrage (CUWS) in picketing the White House. She was particularly upset when in one demonstration outside of the White House, leaders of the party asked the black suffragist, Ida Wells-Barnett, not to march with other members. It was feared that identification with black civil rights would lose the support of white women in the South. Despite pressure from people like Mary White Ovington, leaders of the CUWS refused to publicly state that she endorsed black female suffrage.

In 1909 Church joined with Mary White Ovington to form the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). The first meeting of the NAACP was held on 12th February, 1909. Early members included Josephine Ruffin, Jane Addams, Inez Milholland, William Du Bois, Charles Darrow, Charles Edward Russell, Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, and Ida Wells-Barnett.

Church wrote several books including her autobiography, A Colored Woman in a White World (1940). In the early 1950s she was involved in the struggle against segregation in public eating places in Washington. Mary Church Terrell died in Annapolis on 24th July, 1954.


The Monomaniac, or Shirley Hall Asylum. New York: James G. Gregory. Gilbert, William.

The U.S. Congress authorized the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind to confer college degrees, and President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill into law. Edward Miner Gallaudet was made president of the entire corporation, including the college. It was the first college in the world established for people with disabilities, and is now known as Gallaudet University. The enabling act giving the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and Dumb and Blind the authority to confer college degrees is signed by President Abraham Lincoln, making it the first college in the world expressly established for people with disabilities. A year later, the institution's blind students are transferred to the Maryland Institution at Baltimore, leaving the Columbia Institution with a student body made up entirely of deaf students.  The institution would eventually be renamed Gallaudet College, and then Gallaudet University.

The Exposure on Board the Atlantic and Pacific Car of the Emancipation for the Slaves of Old ColumbiaĶor, Christianity and Calvinism Compared, with an Appeal to the Government to Emancipate the Slaves of the Marriage of the Union.  Chicago: Author Packard, Elizabeth Parsons Ware.


Great Disclosure of Spiritual Wickedness!! In High Places with an Appeal to the Government to Protect the Inalienable Rights of Married Women. Boston: Author. Packard, Elizabeth Parsons Ware.

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated; he was focused on Civil Rights. 

The Freedmen's Bureau was formed. 

The Klu Klux Klan was formed. They believed in European white supremacy and enforced their beliefs with violence.


Alfred Meyer (1866-1950) believed in living medicine, seeing the patient in his own world. His wife became what was later called a social worker, visiting Meyer's patients to learn more about their home backgrounds. Rather than seeing disturbance as a result of brain pathology he saw it as a reaction or maladjustment involving the total person. He helped to change the hospital's approach from custody to active therapy, and stressed the importance of unhurried conversations with patients.

Marital Power Exemplified in Mrs. Packard's Trial and Self-Defense from the Charge of Insanity; or, Three Years Imprisonment for Religious Belief, by the Arbitrary Will of a Husband, with an Appeal to the Government to so Change the Laws as to Afford Legal Protection to Married Women. Hartford, CT: Case, Lockwood, Packard, Elizabeth Parsons Ware

The Eleventh National Women's Rights Convention, the first since the beginning of the Civil War, is held in New York City. Lucretia Mott presides over a merger between suffragists and the American Anti-Slavery Association: the new group is called the American Equal Rights Association.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty towards animals. Based in New York City since its inception in 1866, the organization's mission is "to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States." This organization was a partner in the creation of the American Humane Association in 1877 for the protection of children, pets and farm animals from abuse and neglect. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is formed. It predates the founding of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, established in 1875. Both predate any organization aimed at preventing cruelty to women. 


Life in a Lunatic Asylum: An Autobiographical Sketch. London by Anonymous.

Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, Clarina Nichols, and others travel to Kansas to agitate for women's suffrage. After months of campaigning, suffragists are defeated on the fall ballot.

A man in North Carolina is acquitted of giving his wife three licks with a switch about the size of one of his fingers, but smaller than his thumb. The reviewing appellate court later upheld the acquittal on the grounds that the court should "not interfere with family government in trifling cases." 

At the American Equal Rights Association annual meeting, opinions divide sharply on supporting the enfranchisement of black men before women.



Mrs. Elizabeth Packard, (1816-1897) one of North America's first ex-insane asylum inmate activists, confined from 1860-63 in Illinois State Hospital for the Insane in Jacksonville, Illinois, published the first of several books and pamphlets in which she detailed her forced commitment by her husband in the Jacksonville (Illinois) insane Asylum. Elizabeth Packard, founder of the Anti-Insane Asylum Society, published a series of books and pamphlets describing her experiences in the Illinois insane asylum to which her husband had had her committed. Elizabeth Packard was locked up in a state insane asylum in Illinois from 1860 - 1863 because she disagreed with some of her husband's religious views, had different ideas than he did about how to raise their children, and also because she opposed slavery while he was in favor of it. For daring to have such opinions, she spent three years confined as a madwoman.

In a series of publications and numerous public speeches, she recounted what happened to her and why laws and conditions in asylums needed to be changed. Some reports credit her years of work to getting 21-34 laws changed across the United States around these and related matters dealing with inmates' rights. She also visited asylum inmates in various states to offer her personal support. The American Bar Association, in a 1968 report, said that Elizabeth Packard was responsible for changes to commitment laws in Illinois, Iowa and Massachusetts and other states as well. She was crucial to raising public consciousness in North America about the treatment of asylum inmates during the second half of the nineteenth century.

Some publications by Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard:

*           Barbara Sapinsley, The Private War of Mrs. Packard. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

*           'Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard' in Women of the Asylum: Voices from behind the Walls, 1840-1945, edited by J. Geller and M. Harris. New York: Anchor Books, 1994: pages 58-68.

Before I entered an insane asylum and learned its hidden life from the standpoint of the patient, I had not supposed that the inmates were outlaws, in the sense that the law did not protect them in any of their inalienable rights. Elizabeth Packard

She also founded the Anti-Insane Asylum Society in Illinois in 1868 (which apparently never became a viable organization) based on her experience of commitment in an Illinois Asylum.  Her husband committed her because her religious beliefs were different than her, 

From: Psychiatric News December 7, 2001

Volume 36 Number 23

2001 American Psychiatric Association

p. 40

History Notes

Pioneer for Patients Rights

By Lucy Ozarin, M.D.

While Dorothea Dix was pleading with state legislators in the mid-19th century to establish asylums for the mentally ill, Elizabeth Packard was engaged in a nationwide campaign to protect to the inmates of those asylums.

Mrs. Packard, the wife of a Presbyterian clergyman in Monteno, Ill., and mother of six children, was summarily committed in 1860 to the asylum in Jacksonville, Ill. At that time, Illinois law stated that married women with infants who in judgment of the medical superintendents of the state asylums are evidently insane or distracted may be detained at the request of the husband or guardian without the evidence of insanity required in other cases.

Mrs. Packard remained in the asylum for three years. She claimed her husband put her there because her liberal theological views differed from his Calvinist theology. She finally obtained a hearing before the asylum trustees, who ordered the asylum superintendent to return her to her husband. He subsequently locked her up in their home.

Learning that her husband was planning to have her committed to the Northhampton asylum in her native Massachusetts, Mrs. Packard smuggled a note to a friend who obtained a writ of habeus corpus from a local judge, and a jury trial over the issue followed. She was declared sane and then moved to her fathers house in Massachusetts, where she began a campaign against what she termed excesses of the asylums.

She published three books, which had extensive circulation and sales. (Copies of the books are in the APA Library Rare Books Room.)

The title page of the first book, published in 1866, reads: Marital Power Exemplified in Mrs. Packards Trial and Self Deferral from the Charge of Insanity or Three Years Imprisonment for Religious Belief by the Arbitrary Will of a Husband with an Appeal to the Government to Change the Laws as to Afford Protection to Married Women.

The second book, which was published in 1868, was titled The Prisoners Hidden Life or Insane Asylums Unveiled as Demonstrated by the Investigating Committee of the Legislature of Illinois Together with Mrs. Packard Coadjutors Testimony.

The third book, which came out in 1869, Modern Persecution or Insane Asylums Unveiled, recounted the experiences of patients whom Mrs. Packard met while she was in the asylum.

Having succeeded in arousing considerable public interest, Mrs. Packard fought for laws that would protect womens rights regarding commitment, and she also championed a personal liberty bill, which the Illinois legislature passed in 1869. That law required a jury trial for before a person could be committed to an asylum, and it remained in effect for 25 years. Iowa enacted a similar law in 1872, and the Massachusetts legislature also took similar steps to safeguard the rights of patients.

Mrs. Packards campaign helped to mobilize sufficient public interest and support so that in 1880, a group of influential citizens and social reformers organized the National Society for the Protection of the Insane and the Prevention of Insanity. The society disbanded in 1886. Albert Deutsch, in his book The Mentally Ill in America, cites the unremitting antagonism of the National Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane (forerunner of the American Psychiatric Association) as helping bring about the demise of the organization.

A long, unsigned editorial in the October 1869 issue of the American Journal of Insanity (now the American Journal of Psychiatry), presumably written by the editor, Dr. John Gray, superintendent of the Utica (N.Y.) State Hospital, begins, For the last two or three years, the state of Illinois has been singularly under the influence of a handsome and talkative crazy woman and of a Legislature prompted by her to be crazy on at least one point, and an attractive person and a double-springed tongue gave force and persuasion to the direful romance of this fascinating woman, and she was successful enough, by her feminine arts, to bewitch a whole legislature.

Dr. Gray portrayed Mrs. Packard as a crazy but fascinating (sexy?) woman, but perhaps she was an early feminist seeking the rights of women in a male-dominated society. Whichever was the case, she was quite successful.


On June 18, 1860, Mrs. Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard was abducted on her husbands orders and taken to the insane asylum in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she spent the next three years. After she was released, she wrote profusely. In one volume, Modern Persecution or Insane Asylums Unveiled, she detailed her experiences during that time. For the first four months of my prison life, Dr. McFarland treated me himself, and caused me to be treated with all the respect of a hotel boarder, so far as lay in his power. As to medical treatment, I received none at all, either from himself, or his subordinates. And the same may be said with equal truth, of all the inmates. This is the general rule; those few cases where they receive any kind of medical treatment, are the exceptions. 0A little ale occasionally is the principal part of the medical treatment which these patients receive, unless his medical treatment consists in the laying on of hands, for this treatment is almost universally bestowed. But the manner in which this was practiced, varied very much in different cases. For the first four months the Doctor laid his hands very gently upon me, except that the pressure of my hand in his was sometimes quite perceptible, and sometimes, as I thought, longer continued than this healing process demanded! ĶBut after these four months he laid his hands upon me in a different manner, and as I then thought and still do think, far too violently. There was no mistaking the character of these gripsno duplicity after this period, rendered this modern mode of treatment of doubtful interpretation to me. [The eighth] ward was then considered the worst in the house, inasmuch as it then contained some of the most dangerous class of patients, even worse than the fifth in this respect, and in respect to filth and pollution it surpassed the fifth at that time. It is not possible for me to conceive of a more fetid smell, than the atmosphere of this hall exhaled. An occupant of this hall would inevitably become so completely saturated with this most offensive effluvia that the odor of the eighth ward patients could be distinctly recognized at a great distance, even in the open air. I could, in a few moments after the Doctor put me in among them, even taste this most fetid scent at the pit of my stomach. Even our food and drink were so contaminated with it, we could taste nothing else sometimes. It at first seemed to me, I must soon become nothing less than a heap of putrefaction. But I have found out that I can live, move, breathe, and have a being, where I once thought I could not! The patients were never washed all over, although they were the lowest, filthiest class of prisoners. They could not wait upon themselves any more than an infant, in many instances, and none took the trouble to wait upon them. The accumulation of this defilement about their persons, their beds, their rooms, and the unfragrant puddles of water through which they would delight to wade and wallow, rendered the exhalations in every part of the hall almost intolerable. One night I was aroused from my slumbers by the screams of a new patient who was entered in my hall. The welcome she received from her keepers, Miss Smith and Miss Bailey, so frightened her that she supposed they were going to kill her. Therefore, for screaming under these circumstances, they forced her into a screen-room and locked her up. Still fearing the worst, she continued to call for Help! Instead of attempting to soothe and quiet her fears, they simply commanded her to stop screaming. But failing to obey their order, they then seized her violently and dragged her to the bathroom, where they plunged her into the bathtub of cold water. This shock so convulsed her in agony that she now screamed louder than before. They then drowned her voice by strangulation, by holding her under the water until nearly dead. When she could speak, she plead in the most piteous tones for Help! Help! But all in vain. The only response was Will you scream any more? She promised she would not, but to make it a thorough subduing, they plunged her several times after she had made them this promise! My room was directly opposite with open ventilators over both doors, I could distinctly hear all. This is what they call giving the patient a good bath! But the bewildered, frightened stranger finds it hard to see the good part of it. The patient was then led, wet and shivering, to her room, and ordered to bed with the threat, If you halloo again, we shall give you another bath.


Similarly, in Massachusetts at about the same time, Elizabeth Stone, also committed by her husband, tried to rally public opinion to the cause of stopping the unjust incarceration of the insane.


Stanton and Anthony have a falling out with longtime ally Horace Greely, editor of the New York Tribune. As a result, Stanton and Anthony begin publishing The Revolution, a weekly newspaper devoted to suffrage and other progressive causes.


The Treaty of 1868 is negotiated between General Sherman and the Navajos. General Sherman insists that the Navajos select male leaders, thereby stripping women of their ability to participate in decision-making. The alien law destroys traditional relationships and concentrates power in the hands of male leaders. "Anglo" paternalism and patriarchy are introduced to Navajo men who learn several "traditions" including robbing women of economic and political power, and wife-beating. 

Two years and four months in a lunatic asylum: From August 20th, 1863 to December 20th, 1865. Saratoga Springs, NY: Van Benthuysen and Sons. Chase, Harim

Mrs. Olsens Narrative of her One Years Imprisonment at Jacksonville Insane Asylum.  Appended to The Prisoners Hidden Life or Insane Asylums Unveiled.  Elizabeth Packard.  Chicago: Author. Olsen, Sophie.

The Prisoners Hidden Life; or, Insane Asylums Unveiled. Chicago: Author. Packard, Elizabeth Parsons Ware.

The Massachusetts Board of State Charities began paying for children to board in private family homes.


Central State Hospital in Virginia was established in 1869 exclusively for colored insane.

The first wheelchair patent is registered with the U.S. Patent Office.

 The Life and Travels of Benjamin S. Snider: His Persecution, Fifteen Times a Prisoner. Washington: The Author, Snider, Benjamin S.

In 1869, an agent was appointed to visit children in their homes. This was the beginning of placing out, a movement to care for children in families rather than institutions.

Propaganda flourished; if a textbook printed it and a teacher said it then it must be fact!

The President gave an 8 hour work day to federal employees all other workers still worked 10-12 if they wanted to or not.

The territory of Wyoming is the first to grant unrestricted suffrage to women. Arguments over the Fifteenth Amendment lead to a split in the movement.

Stanton and Anthony form the National Woman Suffrage Association; it allows only female membership and advocates for woman suffrage above all other issues. Lucy Stone forms the American Woman Suffrage Association, which supports the Fifteenth Amendment and invites men to participate.

In 1869, Susan B. Anthony occasionally mentioned abortion. Susan B. Anthony opposed abortion, which at the time was an unsafe medical procedure for women, endangering their health and life. She blamed men, laws and the "double standard" for driving women to abortion because they had no other options. "When a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is a sign that, by education or circumstances, she has been greatly wronged."  She believed, as did many of the feminists of her era that only the achievement of womens equality and freedom would end the need for abortion.  Anthony used her anti-abortion writings as yet another argument for womens rights. Womans rights Crusaders began marching through towns singing temperance songs.

In one of the first such court rulings, the parents of Samuel Fletcher, Jr. are found guilty of child abuse. Fletcher, who was born blind, was locked into the cellar of his family's house for several days by his parents. Upon escaping he notified authorities and his parents were arrested. They were fined $300 in one of the first court rulings that recognized children's right to be protected by law against abuse and cruelty.


Jean Charcot worked with women and their hysteria for the first time.

Pierre Janet, a French medical psychologist, was the first to systemically explore and treat trauma memories that created hysteria (dissociation) symptoms. He believed these events were mentally "dissociated", set aside from ordinary processes of the mind, losing linkage to conscious thought.

Sylvia Fraser, incest survivor and author noted, 'we, as a society, prefer to believe infants lust after adults rather than parents initiate sexual contact with children'.


Lunatic Asylums: Their Use and Abuse. New York. Titus, Mrs. Ann H.

Narrative of a Pilgrim and Sojourner on Earth, from 1791 to the Present Year, 1870, by Louisa Perina Courtauld Clemens.

Offices of the London School Board by Bodley and Garner, 1872-76. Demolished 1929.

In England, Prior to the Elementary Education Act 1870 act, very few schools existed, other than those run by the Church. The National Education League was established to promote elementary education for all children, free from religious control. The Act first introduced and enforced compulsory school attendance between the ages of 5 and 12, with school boards set up to ensure that children attended school; although exemptions were made for illness and travelling distance. The London School Board was highly influential and launched a number of political careers. The Church/State ethical divide in schooling, persists into the present day.

Archie Meek, who first suggested a union of mental patients to Thomas Ritchie, was born about 1870

The first of 112 of Thomas John Barnardo's Homes was founded, with destitution as the criterion for qualification. The project was supported by the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury and the first Earl Cairns. The system of operation was broadly as follows: infants and younger girls and boys are chiefly "boarded out" in rural districts; girls above 14 years of age are sent to 'industrial training homes' to be taught useful domestic occupations; boys above 17 years old are first tested in labour homes and then placed in employment at home, sent to sea or emigrated; boys between 13 17 years old were trained for trades for which they may be mentally or physically fitted.

The American Woman Suffrage Association begins publishing the Woman's Journal, edited by Mary Livermore.

Esther Morris is appointed the justice of the peace of South Pass City, Wyoming: she is the first female government official.

The Fifteenth Amendment is ratified. Although its gender-neutral language appears to grant women the vote, women who go to the polls to test the amendment are turned away.

The Utah territory enfranchises women.


Alabama is the first state to rescind the legal right of men to beat their wives (Fulgrahm v. State) 3 Massachusetts also declares wife beating illegal. 

Behind Bars. Boston: Lee & Shepard. Lunt, Adeline T.P.


Clitoridectomies are performed in association with womens mental disorders.       

 My Outlawry, A Tale of Madhouse Life. London, by Louisa Lowe  

Report of a Case Heard in Queen's Bench, November 22nd, 1872, Charging the Commissioners in Lunacy with Concurring in the Improper Detention of a Falsely-Alleged Lunatic and Wrongfully Tampering with her Correspondence. London by Louisa Lowe.  

How an Old Woman Obtained Passive Writing and the Outcome Thereof. London, by Louisa Lowe 

A Nineteenth Century Adaptation of Old Inventions to the Repression of New Thoughts and Personal Liberty. London, by Louisa Lowe

Gagging in Madhouses as Practised by Government Servants in a Letter to the People, by one of the Gagged. London, by Louisa Lowe  

The New York State Charities Aid Association was organized. Charities were comprised mostly of upper class elite women.

A suffrage proposal before the Dakota Territory legislature loses by one vote.

The Lunacy Laws and Trade in Lunacy in a Correspondence with the Earl of Shaftesbury. London, by Louisa Lowe


Modern Persecution; or Insane Asylums Unveiled. Hartford: Author: Packard, Elizabeth Parsons Ware.

The Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles for Immoral Use it was part of a campaign for legislating public morality in the United States.  The Comstock Law was meant to stop trade in "obscene literature" and "immoral articles."  In reality, the Comstock Law targeted not only obscenity and "dirty books" but also birth control devices, abortion, and information on sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases.  The Comstock Law was widely used to prosecute those who distributed such information.


The Womans Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) the first national organization composed of community-based groups was founded and focused on the problems that alcohol caused families and society. The Women's Christian Temperance Union is founded by Annie Wittenmeyer of Iowa. Within a few years the WCTU will have 25,000 members, and under the leadership of Frances Willard, will provide important support to the suffrage movement.

In the case of Minor vs. Happersett
, the Supreme Court rules that the Fourteenth Amendment does not grant women the right to vote.

A referendum gives Michigan's male voters the chance to enfranchise women, but they vote against women's suffrage.

The "finger-switch" rule is disavowed when the Supreme Court of North Carolina rules that "the husband has no right to chastise his wife under any circumstances." The court goes on to say, "If no permanent injury has been inflicted, nor malice, cruelty nor dangerous violence shown by the husband, it is better to draw the curtain, shut out the public gaze and leave the parties to forget and forgive."

Opening its doors, the Athens Lunatic Asylum welcomed its first patient in 1874. This state-of-the-art mental hospital was based on the design of renowned architect Thomas Kirkbride and embraced the current societal trends toward institutionalizing the insane. The hospital began as a type of long- term care for those not easily accepted or able to function in society. The typical meaning of asylum at the time was a safe haven with little likelihood of departure. 

Ten Years and Ten Months in Lunatic Asylums in Different States. Hoosick Falls: The Author, Swan, Moses

Mary Ellen Wilson (18641956) or sometimes Mary Ellen McCormack was an American whose case of child abuse led to the creation of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. As an eight-year old, she was severely abused by her stepparents, Francis and Mary Connolly. Mary Ellen was born to Francis and Thomas Wilson of Hells Kitchen in New York City. Upon Thomas's death, Francis had to take a job and was no longer able to stay at home to raise her infant daughter. She boarded her daughter with a woman named Mary Score, a common practice at the time. When Francis Wilson's financial situation worsened, she began to miss her visitation dates with her daughter and was no longer able to make child care payments to Score. Score turned Mary Ellen, now almost two, into the New York City Department of Charities. The Department placed Mary Ellen under the care of Mary Connolly and Thomas McCormack. According to Mary Connolly's court testimony, Thomas McCormack, Mary Connolly's first husband, claimed to be Mary Ellen Wilson's biological father. The Department of Charities placed Mary Ellen into the McCormacks' care illegally, without the proper papers or receipts served. Thomas McCormack signed an "indenture" agreement upon retrieving Mary Ellen from the Department of Charities' care, but did not explain his or his wife's relationship with the child to Commissioner of Charities and Correction. The McCormacks were required to report the child's condition annually to the Department, but, according to Mary Connolly's later court testimony, this only occurred once or twice during Mary Ellen's stay. Mary Ellen Wilson was not allowed to go outside, except at night in her own yard, and was regularly beaten by her adopted parents. Police rescue the eight year old after the head of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals calls them on Mary Ellen's behalf. Mrs. Connelly was sentenced to jail for one year. That year the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was founded, the first organization of its kind. Shortly after Mary Ellen came into the McCormacks' care, Thomas McCormack died. Mary McCormack married Francis Connolly, moving together with Mary Ellen to an apartment on West 41st Street. It was at this address that neighbors first became aware of young Mary Ellen's mistreatment. When the Connollys moved to a new address, one of the concerned neighbors from their 41st Street apartment asked Etta Angell Wheeler, a Methodist missionary who worked in the area, to check in on the child. Wheeler, under the pretext of asking Mrs. Connolly's help in caring for Connolly's new neighbor, the chronically ill and home-bound Mary Smitt, gained access to the Connollys' apartment to see Mary Ellen's state for herself. When Ms. Wheeler saw evidence of physical abuse, malnourishment, and neglect in Mary Ellen's condition, Wheeler began to research legal options to redress and protect the young girl. After finding the local authorities reluctant to act upon the child cruelty laws currently in place, Wheeler turned to a local advocate for the animal humane movement and the founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Henry Bergh. With the help of neighbors' testimony, Wheeler and Burgh successfully removed Mary Ellen from the Connolly home and took Mary Connolly to trial. Elbridge Thomas Gerry of American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took her case to the New York State Supreme Court in 1874. She was now 10 years old. The deliberate cruelties and deprivations inflicted on Mary Ellen Wilson by her adopted parents included the following: regular and severe beatings; insufficient food; being forced to sleep on the floor; having no warm clothes to wear in cold weather; being frequently left alone inside a darkened, locked room; being forbidden to go outdoors, except at night in her own yard. The child testified in court regarding the abuse she had suffered, and afterward on April 10, 1874 she said: My father and mother are both dead. I dont know how old I am. I have no recollection of a time when I did not live with the Connollys. Mamma has been in the habit of whipping and beating me almost every day. She used to whip me with a twisted whipa raw hide. The whip always left a black and blue mark on my body. I have now the black and blue marks on my head which were made by mamma, and also a cut on the left side of my forehead which was made by a pair of scissors. She struck me with the scissors and cut me; I have no recollection of ever having been kissed by any onehave never been kissed by mamma. I have never been taken on my mamma's lap and caressed or petted. I never dared to speak to anybody, because if I did I would get whipped. I do not know for what I was whippedmamma never said anything to me when she whipped me. I do not want to go back to live with mamma, because she beats me so. I have no recollection ever being on the street in my life. Mrs. Connolly was sentenced to jail for one year. That year the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was founded, the first organization of its kind. In 1888 at age 24, Mary Ellen married Louis Schutt. They had two children together. Schutt had three children from his previous marriage, and they later adopted an orphaned girl. Mary Ellen died in 1956, at 92. Mary Ellens case history is considered crucial to the beginnings of Social Work as a profession.


The "Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children" was formed.

North Carolina General Assembly appropriated $10,000 to build a colored insane asylum

Michigan and Minnesota women win the right to vote in school elections.


A Mad World and Its Inhabitants. New York: Appleton by Chambers, Julius

Lunatic Asylums: and How I Became an Inmate of One. Chicago: Ottaway and Colbert, Metcalf, Ada.

Working Men's Party proposes banning the employment of children under the age of 14.


The roots of the Take Back the Night rallies were started by women to protest the fear and violence they felt from what was being done to them, the women held a candle and walked through the streets singing.

Am I a Lunatic? Or, Dr. Henry T. Helmbold's Exposure of his Personal Experience in the Lunatic Asylums of Europe and America. New York: Helmbold, Henry

Formation of the American Humane Association for the protection of children, pets and farm animals from abuse and neglect. The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and several Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals across the U.S. joined together to form the American Humane Association.


The History of My Orphanage, or the Outpourings of an Alleged Lunatic. London by Georgina Weldon. 

Joel W. Smith presents his Modified Braille to the American Association of Instructors of the Blind. The association rejects his system, continuing to endorse instead New York Point, which blind readers complain is more difficult to read and write. What follows is a War of the Dots in which blind advocates for the most part prefer Modified Braille, while sighted teachers and administrators, who control funds for transcribing, prefer New York Point. It was the first time the users of disability services wanted some thing different from the service providers and got together on it.

The Mystic Key; or The Asylum Secret Unlocked.  Hartford: Author, Packard, Elizabeth Parsons Ware.

A federal amendment to grant women the right to vote is introduced for the first time by Senator A.A. Sargeant of California.

The first International Woman's Rights Congress is held in Paris, France.

Francis Power Cobbe publishes Wife Torture in England. She denounces the treatment of wives in Liverpool's "Kicking District." She documents 6,000 of the most brutal assaults on women over a 3-year period who had been maimed, blinded, trampled, burned and murdered. Cobbe presents a theory that abuse continues because of the belief that a man's wife is his property. Her concerns are moved forward by male parliamentarians and the Matrimonial Causes Act is passed. The Act allows victims of violence to obtain a legal separation from the husband; entitles them custody of the children; and to retain earnings and property secured during the separation. Such a separation order can only be obtained if the husband has been convicted of aggravated assault and the court considers her in grave danger. 


Wilhelm Wundt established the first formal psychological laboratory at the University of Leipzig in Germany where he introduced a scientific approach to psychology and performed many experiments to measure peoples' reaction time. This event is considered the birth of psychology.

A Sketch of Psychiatry in Southern States. Presidential Address, American Medico-Psychological Association.Baltimore. Powell,T.O.

Behind the Scenes; Or, Life in an Insane Asylum. Chicago: Culver. Smith, Lydia Adeline Jackson Button; Hoyne and Co.

My Experience in a Lunatic Asylum, by a Sane Patient. London by Charles Herman Merivale  


The Eastern Asylum for the Colored Insane was opened with accommodations for four hundred and twenty patients.

The International Congress of   Educators of the Deaf, at a conference in Milan, Italy, calls for the suppression of sign languages and the firing of all deaf teachers at schools for the deaf. This triumph of oralism, is seen by deaf advocates as a direct attack upon their culture.

The National Convention of Deaf Mutes meets in Cincinnati, Ohio, the nucleus of what will become the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).  The first major issue taken on by the NAD is oralism and the suppression of American Sign Language.

A Blighted Life: A True Story. (orig. pub. 1880; reprinted, Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 1996) by Bulwer Rosina Lytton.

In England, following campaigning by the National Education League the Elementary Education Act 1880 made schooling compulsory until the age of ten and also established attendance officers to enforce attendance, so that parents who objected to compulsory education, arguing they needed children to earn a wage, could be fined for keeping their children out of school. School leaving age was raised with successive Acts from ten to age fourteen in 1918.

In England, the law is changed to allow a wife who had been habitually beaten by her husband to the point of "endangering her life" to separate from him, but cannot divorce him. 


At the 40th anniversary of the Medico-Psychological Association at University College, Daniel Hake Tuke, the president, paid respect to Dorthea Dix, 'who has a claim to the gratitude of mankind for having consecrated the best years of her life to the fearless advocacy of the cause of the insane.

Howe Press is established to emboss books, first in Boston Line Type and later in Braille, a new technology created by Louis Braille to help people who are blind read and write.

The first National Convention of the American Federation of Labor passes a resolution calling on states to ban children under 14 from all gainful employment.


Maryland is the first state to pass a law that makes wife-beating a crime, punishable by 40 lashes, or a year in jail. 

An Insight into an Insane Asylum. Louisville, KY: The Author, Camp, Joseph.

How I Escaped the Mad Doctors. London by Georgina Weldon.

Due to subversion by the liquor industry, the suffragists lose electoral battles in Nebraska and Indiana.


Sir Francis Galton in England coins the term eugenics, in his book Essays in Eugenics, to describe his pseudo-science of improving the stock of humanity. Galton speculated, The question was then forced upon me Could not the race of men be similarly improved? Could not the undesirables be got rid of and the desirables multiplied? Sir Frances Galtons Pseudo scientific theory was to improve the stock of people by preventing people with disabilities, people of color, Catholics, Jews, poor people, and other undesirables from having children. These people were refused by law to marry, they were sterilized against their will including children. The eugenics movement, taken up by Americans, leads to passage in the United States of laws to prevent people with various disabilities from moving to this country, marrying, or having children. In many instances, it leads to the institutionalization and forced sterilization of people with disabilities or poor people, including children. Eugenics campaigns against people of color and immigrants led to passage of Jim Crow laws in the South and legislation restricting immigration by southern and eastern Europeans, Asians, Africans, and Jews. The U.S. eugenics movement was a key inspiration for Nazi Germany's similar programs to segregate and sterilize mentally disabled people, and German scientists even traveled to California to study our program of forced sterilization.

William Edward Hartpole Lecky, (26 March 183822 October 1903), an Irish historian (father of positive atheism) said, "Once a system of reward and punishment is set up and widely broadcast rulers will never be seriously questioned".

Emil Kraepelin (circa 1886)

Mental illness is studied more scientifically as German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin distinguishes mental disorders. Kraepelin is sometimes referred to as the founder of modern scientific psychiatry, as well as of psychopharmacology and psychiatric genetics. Kraepelin believed the chief origin of psychiatric disease to be biological and genetic malfunction. Though subsequent research will disprove some of his findings, his fundamental distinction between manic-depressive psychosis and schizophrenia holds to this day. Kraepelin's major work, "Compendium der Psychiatrie", was first published in 1883. In it, he argued that psychiatry was a branch of medical science and should be investigated by observation and experimentation like the other natural sciences. He called for research into the physical causes of mental illness, and started to establish the foundations of the modern classification system for mental disorders. Kraepelin proposed that by studying case histories and identifying specific disorders, the progression of mental illness could be predicted, after taking into account individual differences in personality and patient age at the onset of disease. Kraepelin spoke out against the barbarous treatment that was prevalent in the psychiatric asylums of the time, and crusaded against alcohol, capital punishment and the imprisonment rather than treatment of the insane. Kraepelin postulated that there is a specific brain or other biological pathology underlying each of the major psychiatric disorders. As a colleague of Alois Alzheimer, and co-discoverer of Alzheimer's disease, it was his laboratory which discovered its pathologic basis. Kraepelin was confident that it would someday be possible to identify the pathologic basis of each of the major psychiatric disorders. Upon moving to become Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of Munich in 1903, Kraepelin increasingly wrote on social policy issues. He was a strong and influential proponent of eugenics and racial hygiene. His publications included a focus on alcoholism, crime, degeneration and hysteria. He was concerned to preserve and enhance the German people, the Volk, in the sense of nation or race. He appears to have held Lamarckian concepts of evolution, such that cultural deterioration could be inherited. He was a strong ally and promoter of the work of fellow psychiatrist Ernst Rudin to clarify the mechanisms of genetic inheritance as to make a so-called 'empirical genetic prognosis'. Martin Brune has pointed out that Kraepelin and Rudin also appear to have been ardent advocates of a self-domestication theory, a version of social darwinism which held that modern culture was not allowing people to be weeded out, resulting in more mental disorder and deterioration of the gene pool. Kraepelin saw a number of 'symptoms' of this, such as "weakening of viability and resistance, decreasing fertility, proletarianisation, and moral damage due to 'penning up people' [original 'Zusammenpferchung']". He also wrote that "the number of idiots, epileptics, psychopaths, criminals, prostitutes, and tramps who descend from alcoholic and syphilitic parents, and who transfer their inferiority to their offspring, is incalculable." He felt that "the well-known example of the Jews, with their strong disposition towards nervous and mental disorders, teaches us that their extraordinarily advanced domestication may eventually imprint clear marks on the race". Brune states that Kraepelin's nosological system was 'to a great deal, built on the degeneration paradigm'.

Phenothiazines developed as synthetic dyes.

A Checkered Life. Chicago: S. P. Rounds by Joyce, John A.

The Bastilles of England; or The Lunacy Laws at Work. London by Louisa Lowe.

The Memorial Scrapbook; A Combination of Precedents. Boston: Pennell, Lemira Clarissa.

Samuel Gompers leads the New York Labor Movement targets the end of child labor in cigar making by successfully sponsoring legislation that bans the practice in tenements, where thousands of young children work in the trade.

Women in the Washington territory are granted full voting rights. Prominent suffragists travel to Liverpool, where they form the International Council of Women. At this meeting, the leaders of the National and American associations work together, laying the foundation for a reconciliation between these two groups.


A Palace Prison; or, The Past and the Present. New York: Fords, Howard & Hulbert Anonymous.

There were 600 Alms houses in the United States; they started moving people from work houses to poor houses if they wanted to get relief.

 Another Section of the M.S.B. by L.C.P.

A Boomerang for a Swarm of B.B.B.s.  Boston: Pennell, Lemira Clarissa


Virginia established an asylum for the colored insane in Petersburg.

Englands Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 raises age of consent from 13 to 16, introduced measures intended to protect girls from sexual exploitation and criminalises male homosexual behaviour.

The Right Spirit. Buffalo, NY: Courier by Cottier, Lizzie D.

Prospectus of Hospital Revelations; How Opinions Vary. Pennell, Lemira Clarissa

Twenty-Five Years with the Insane.  Detroit:  John MacFarlane. Putnam, Daniel.

The Autobiography of Mark Rutherford. New York: Dodd, Mead. Rutherford, Mark.


Psychopathia Sexualis by German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing creates the terms sadism and masochism and thereby claims for psychiatry the right to determine the socially acceptable bounds of sexuality.  Krafft-Ebing and other psychiatrists spelled out what they considered to be normal, healthy sexuality and correspondingly postulated that practitioners of sadism or masochism were abnormal psychopaths or sexual deviants.  Despite any scientific evidence to support them, these claims became part of popular western culture.

A lower court in North Carolina, as a result of the 1874 North Carolina Supreme Court ruling, declares that a criminal indictment cannot be brought against a husband unless the battery is so great as to result in permanent injury, endanger life and limb, or be malicious beyond all reasonable bounds. 

From Under the Cloud or, Personal Reminiscences of Insanity. Cincinnati: Printed by Robert Clarke for the Author.         Agnew, Anna. This Red Book is Partly a Reprint of What Was Published in 1883, and Later. 

And Earlier Letters from Prominent Men. Instructions to Dr. Harlow from Springfield, His Letters from the Hospitals, and Much Else. Boston: n.p.. Pennell, Lemira Clarissa


Dorothea Dix dies.  She was an activist and reformist for improving the environments and conditions of lunatic asylums.  She is credited with the establishment of dozens of institutions.

Ten Days in a Madhouse; or, Nellie Blys Experience on Blackwells Island. Feigning Insanity in Order to Reveal Asylum Horrors. New York: Norman L. Munro by Bly, Nellie. (Elizabeth Cochrane). It was rare for a woman to hold a job in the 19th century. It was even rarer for one to work at as a newspaper reporter and rarer still to have that paper send her undercover, to expose the brutality and neglect within a New York mental institution. But in 1887, that's exactly what Nellie Bly did. Bly had herself involuntarily committed to the Blackwell's Island Insane Asylum for ten days. (She checked into a women's boarding facility, acted erratically, and then allowed the all-too-eager boarding house employees to call the loony bin). After gaining entrance to the facility, the 23-year-old reverted back to a normal, sane pattern of behavior and tried to get them to release her. Yet strange to say, the more sanely I talked and acted the crazier I was thought to be, she wrote in her series of articles for the New York World. Bly recounted stories of spoiled food, nurses who kept patients awake all night, ice cold baths, beatings and forced feedings. The articles aroused public outcry, brought on much needed political reform, and were so popular that Bly turned them into a book, called Ten Days in a Mad-House (which is still in print).

Life Among the Insane. North American Review. 144: 190-199 by Brinkle, Andrianna P.

Growing success in educating children who are blind leads Perkins to open the first kindergarten for the blind in the U.S. Director Michael Anagnos sends Perkins graduate Anne Sullivan to teach Helen Keller at her home in Alabama.

Anne Sullivan meets Helen Keller for the first time in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Helen Keller returns to the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston with her teacher Anne Sullivan, where they remain until 1893.

The Life Story of Sarah Victor. Cleveland: Williams Victor, Sarah M.

The Supreme Court strikes down the law that enfranchised women in the Washington territory. Meanwhile, Congress denies women in Utah their right to vote. Kansas women win the right to vote in municipal elections.

Rhode Island becomes the first eastern state to vote on a women's suffrage referendum, but it does not pass.


Hospital Revelations. Pennell, Lemira Clarissa

 Hospitals for the Insane. Viewed from the Standpoint of Personal Experience, by a Recovered Patient.  Alienist and Neurologist. 9: 51-57.  Rutz-Rees, Janet E.


An Explanation to the Public as to Why Mrs. Lemira Clarissa Pennell Was Confined in the Insane Hospital and the Portland Poor House. Augusta, Maine: n.p.. Pennell, Lemira Clarissa.

Hull House (Chicago) became one of the first organizations in the United States to provide after school programs for children and youth.

1890 to 1920

The percentage of the population considered feebleminded and condemned to institutional confinement, more then doubled. The Social Hygiene movement was to control the genetics of the people; this was complete medical policing.  They stopped the so called feeble minded from marrying to stop them from breeding.  Then they forcibly sterilized them. There had to be a mechanism in place to change the way that people thought and expressed themselves and behaved.

The National Education Association or NEA was a way to alter the nations economy, politics, social relationships, and future direction. 

States started opening up the idea of workers compensation it built into the ideal of the system of relief that those who worked and got hurt or disabled would need to be paid. Progressive activists push for the creation of state Worker's Compensation programs. By 1913, some 21 states have established some form of Worker's Compensation; the figure rises to 43 by 1919.


Pierre Janet wrote, "certain happenings would leave indelible and distressing memories - memories to which the sufferer was continually returning, and by which she was tormented by day and by night." Janet found that, though trauma memories were subconscious, they continued to influence current perceptions, behavior, and state of mind.


Dr. Gottlieb performed partial lobotomies on six patients of a psychiatric hospital in Switzerland. He drilled holes into their heads and extracted sections of their frontal lobes. One died after the operation, and another was found dead in a river 10 days after release.

New York passes The State Care Act that fosters state responsibility for mental health services.

The 1890 Lunacy Act was very different from the 1845 Lunacy Act, which was about running good hospitals; the 1890 Act was about locking people up. At the same time advances in general medical knowledge from strict attention to pathology and bacteriology led to a search for organic causes of mental distress, and the doctors in the asylums, instead of going out and playing cricket with patients, began to spend their time on research instead in the hope of finding the causes of the conditions they were treating, by for example dissecting the brains of deceased patients.

A Secret Institution. New York: Bryant Publishing Co. Lathrop, Clarissa Caldwell.

New Horrors by Pennell, Lemira Clarissa

North Carolina Supreme Court removes the last of the restrictions on a husband's liability and prohibits a husband from committing even a slight assault upon his wife. 

The National and American associations merge to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Stanton becomes the new organization's first president.


In Robert Burtons synopsis of the causes of melancholy he lists god, devil, witches and magicians.  

Frances Anasis Walker declared Anglo Saxons were committing racial suicide by inbreeding.

Madhouses of America. Cohoes: New York. Trull, William L.

In England, the practice of 'spiriting' i.e. kidnapping children for work in the Americas, had been sanctioned by the Privy Council since 1620, but the Custody of Children Act (the 'Barnardos Act) legalised the work of private emigration societies for removing poor children from workhouses, industrial schools, reformatories and private care facilities, to British colonies.


American Psychological Association (APA) founded.

The Yellow Wallpaper. New England Magazine. 5(5) 647-56. Gilman, Charlotte Perkins.

The Great Drama; or, the Millennial Harbinger. Hartford: Author; Packard, Elizabeth Parsons Ware.

The Democratic Party adopts a platform plank with recommendations to ban factory employment for children under 15.


Three Years in a Mad House. Chicago: Donohue, Henneberry Fleming, E. G.

As a result of the strategy of Carrie Chapman Catt, Colorado men make their state the second in which women have full voting rights.


National Deaf-Mute College is renamed Gallaudet College in honor of deaf education pioneer Thomas Gallaudet

William Wundt came up with the Psychological Review and trained 344 doctoral students.

The right to administer moderate chastisement is overruled in Mississippi in Harris v. State, 71 Miss. 462 (1894). 


The National American association formally condemns Stanton's Women's Bible, a critique of Christianity.

The New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage begins.

The Married Women's Property Act (in England) makes conviction for assault sufficient grounds for divorce. 


Dementia praecox is first diagnosed.

Freud presented "The Aetiology of Hysteria", a report of 18 case studies. "I therefore put forward the thesis that at the bottom of every case of hysteria there are one or more occurrences of premature sexual experience." It was a closely reasoned, compassionate document, but Freud anticipated false memory arguments because of his bold stand.

The Confessions of a Nervous Woman. Post Graduate Monthly. Journal of Medicine and Surgery. 11: 364-368. Anonymous.

The National American association hires Ida Husted Harper to launch an expensive suffrage campaign in California, which ultimately fails.

In Washington, D.C., black women's organizations converge under the umbrella of the National Association of Colored Women, headed by Margaret Murray Washington and Mary Church Terrell.

Catt organizes her second successful western campaign; Idaho enfranchises women because Catt manages to sever the suffrage issue from the eastern movement and prohibition.

Utah becomes a state, and Utah women regain the vote.


Dr. T.O. Powell reported that the Alabama facility had about three hundred and Ԩfty African-American patients. The facility maintained a colony of one hundred African-American men about two miles from the main facility.

After much uproar by his contemporaries, many implicated as perpetrators, Freud denounced his theory and viewed incestuous accounts as mere sexual fantasies. Although in private correspondence Freud cited "seduction by the father" as the "essential point" in hysteria, he no longer challenged the patriarchal social values. Incriminating daughters was better for his career. This shift from believing trauma dissociation to a theory of repression in which a person's fantasies and desires caused emotional conflict became the basis for therapy until the mid 1970's. Freud now declared, "It was hardly credible that perverted acts against children were so general" and concluded patients' accounts were figments of the imaginations based on their own sexual desires for their fathers.

The National American association begins publishing the National Suffrage Bulletin, edited by Catt.



Frances Mary Albrier was born on September 21, 1898

In 1938 Frances Mary Albrier became the first woman elected to the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee. She also founded the East Bay Womens Welfare Club whose goal was to get black teachers hired in the Berkeley schools. In 1939 she was the first woman elected to the Berkeley City Council where she led a five-year campaign to hire black teachers. This campaign saw success with the hiring of Ruth Acty in 1943. Albriers political involvement was driven by the reality that African Americans were taxpayers without any representation in the city government or the schools of Berkeley. That was the message I wanted to get over to them. In 1942 Frances Mary Albrier challenged racial and gender barriers in wartime Kaiser Shipyards in Richmond. She completed a welding course with twice the required hours because I felt I had to be better because I was a black woman, passed the welders test with flying colors, but her application was rejected by the Boilermakers Union in the shipyards because Kaiser had not yet set up an auxiliary [union] for Negroes. Bowing to Albriers threat of a lawsuit and pressure from the African American community, the Richmond union agreed to accept her dues and transfer them to an auxiliary in an Oakland shipyard.

Frances Mary Albrier became the first black woman to be hired at Shipyard Number Two in Richmond. Reporting to work outfitted in welders regalia, her presence amazed the black shipwrights. She explained, Well, I just happened to bust my way in here. Albrier remained in the forefront of the fight to end auxiliaries and saw success with the 1945 James v. Marinship decision that outlawed auxiliaries. Frances Mary Albrier continued the fight for equality and social justice throughout her life. She received numerous awards for her lifetime of service, including the NAACPs Fight for Freedom Award, and a citation from the California State Assembly for her outstanding record of achievements in public service.

Transactions of the Antiseptic Club. New York: E.B. Treat. Abrams, Albert.

A Madman's Musings: Being a Collection of Essays Written by a Patient During His Detention in a Private Madhouse. London by Anonymous.  

The New York School of Philanthropy was the first higher education program to train people who wanted to work in the field of charity, including child development and youth work, in the United States. It was established with a six-week summer program in 1898, and expanded to a full-year program in 1904.


William H. Baldwin wrote, "Know that it is a crime for any teacher, white or black, to educate the Negro for positions which are not open to him". It was possible to arrange ideas on a scale of races, classes, sexes, and historical stages grounded allegedly in God or Mother Nature itself.

In England, the Elementary Education (Defective and Epileptic Children) Act allowed school authorities to make arrangements for ascertaining which children, by reason of mental or physical defect, were incapable of receiving proper benefit from instruction in the ordinary schools.

Courts begin to show signs that they might hold husbands responsible and found guilty of marital rape. In 1899, a Louisiana court in State v. Dowell condemns a husband's participation in the rape of his wife by a third party. 

Professor Hieronymous (trans. from 1895 Norwegian ed.), London by Bertha Amalia Skram.

Experience of a Criminal by A. Telso.  

John Dewey becomes president of the American Psychological Association, openly advocates for children's rights, and later writes several books about progressive education that emphasize the necessity for children's rights in education and throughout democratic society. He is acknowledged as one of the heroes of the children's rights movement in the United States.

With Queen Victoria's ascension to the English throne, lawmakers begin enacting reforms regarding women. Wives can no longer be kept under lock and key, life-threatening beatings are considered grounds for divorce, and wives and daughters can not longer be sold into prostitution. 


Progressive activists push for the creation of state Workers' Compensation programs. By 1913, some 21 states have established some form of Worker's Compensation; the figure rises to 43 by 1919.

First institutions to treat addiction as a medical problem i.e. early treatment centers are created. There will be two major developments in psychology: Gestalt theory or a holistic approach, and behaviorism or stimulus-response theory. These two approaches begin to merge in the techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy which is increasingly practiced in the 21st Century. In the 20th century the search for organic causes and treatments for mental health problems, continued, spurred on by the successful identification and treatment of conditions such as phenylketonuria and thyroid conditions. The observation of changes in emotional state in people treated for other conditions for example the anti-depressant effect of iproniazid for tuberculosis began the continuing search for biochemical treatments for every kind of mental state.

The end of the 19th century and beginning of the twentieth, patients suffering from neurosyphilis were found to improve after infections, supposedly because the heat of the fever killed the infective agent that caused syphilis. So fever treatment was given, using first tuberculin injections and, later, infected blood from malaria patients. The malaria was treated with quinine. Later on, syphilis was treated with arsenic compounds, and then, from the 1940s, with penicillin, before this stage was reached, and neurosyphilis was no longer seen.

By 1900, through the efforts primarily of physicians, the American Medical Association, and legislators most abortions in the states stood as outlawed.

Early in the 20th century, the mental hygiene movement came into being, due largely to the efforts of Clifford Whittingham Beers in New England. A former mental patient, Beers shocked readers with a graphic account of hospital conditions depicted in his famous book, A Mind that Found Itself.

The inspection of immigrants at Ellis Island included screening to detect the mentally disturbed and retarded among the thousands of men, women, and children arriving daily. The high incidence of mental disorders found among the immigrants prompted public recognition of mental illness as a national health problem.

Other psychotic illnesses were, and of course still are, less easy to treat because their cause is not known. Sedatives, in the form of alkaloids such as morphine (an opium derivative), hyoscyamus (derived from the plant henbane, and from which hyoscine was derived), and chloral hydrate, which is still available as a sleeping drug today. Intravenous and intramuscular injections of morphine began in the mid-nineteenth century. Some cases of mania were treated with apomorphine mixed with hyoscine to make them vomit, which wore them out and hence had a calming effect. For a while bromide was fashionable, and this led to the development of deep sleep treatment. This involved inducing prolonged sleep, for days at a time, disturbing the patient every few hours just enough to give them some nourishment and toilet them. After the long period of sleep, patients would apparently wake with their psychotic symptoms resolved. Later it was also used for mood disorders, and people were thought to wake up in a state more amenable to psychotherapy. When bromide was deemed too toxic, it was replaced with barbiturates, the most popular of which was Veronal. Deep sleep treatment continued to be used until the 1960s by which time it was discredited, although it has been suggested more recently as a way of getting heroin addicts through cold turkey.

Other physical treatments used in the 20th century include insulin coma therapy in which patients were given insulin to induce a coma and convulsions, and then brought round with glucose injections. Camphor injections were also used to induce fits in the 1930s, and had been used to treat psychosis during the eighteenth century. Fits were also induced with drugs including metrazol.

Psychosurgery (lobotomy) was used in the mid-20th century with an enthusiasm verging on abandon, and an appalling level of technical crudeness. A refined version is still practiced on a small number of patients.

In the 1st World War the treatment of shell shock with talking therapies by psychiatrists such as William Rivers led eventually to treatment for what is now called post traumatic stress disorder, with debriefing for victims of traumatic incidents such as hostages, and eventually to the regular provision of counseling for survivors of traumatic incidents. But some soldiers were treated by people such as Lewis Yealland at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases, who used electric shock treatment - techniques that were nothing short of torture, but as effective in achieving their immediate goal as torture often is.

The approach to traumatic stress in the 2nd World War was a spur to the evolution of group therapy by people such as Wilfred Bion and Foulkes.


Sigmund Freud presented his concepts of psychoanalysis in a publication entitled The Interpretation of Dreams. The Interpretation of Dreams revolutionizes psychiatric theory and practice. He is the first to use the unconscious to treat psychiatric illness in patients by using 'psychoanalysis' - free association and interpretation of dreams. Freud, after studying with Jean Charcot at the Salpetrire in Paris, began to investigate the workings and inner depths of the mind as an alternative explanation for the increasing epidemic of hysteria in turn of the century Europe. This led Sigmund Freud to develop the technique of psychoanalysis in Vienna in the 1890s. Psychoanalysis was concerned primarily with understanding and treating mental disorders. For Freud the mind is active and complex with some mental processes operating unconsciously. Treatment of an individual could only be successful if the conflicts within the unconscious are acknowledged and then investigated in the conscious arena of therapy, thereby rendering the unconscious conscious. It is argued that Freuds book The Interpretation of Dreams is one of the most significant books of the twentieth century, representing both the birth and formation of modern Psychoanalysis. Discoveries and legacy: According to Freud, the unconscious mind is hidden, and various techniques are necessary in order to unearth its conflicts. These techniques as developed by Freud are: Free Association - The patient lets their mind wander, saying the first thing that comes into their head; Para praxes - Involuntary slips of the tongue or pen, commonly known as Freudian slips; Projective tests - Ambiguous images that the patient is required to describe or create a story about; Dream analysis - The patient is requested to revisit their dreams, as it is believed that they represent wish fulfillment of hidden desires. Freud believed that dreams represent the royal road to the unconscious

Inspection of immigrants at Ellis Island included screening to detect the mentally disturbed and retarded. The high incidence of mental disorders among immigrants prompted public recognition of mental illness as a national health problem.


The total number of societies in the United States for the protection of children, or children and animals, was 161.


Anthony retires as the president of the National American and, to the surprise of many, recommends Carrie Chapman Catt as her successor; Catt is elected.


Charles Woodruff explained intellectual superiority of northern European Christians with essay on civilization & brain development. July, American Journal of Insanity.  

The National Fraternal Society of the Deaf is founded by alumni at the Michigan School for the Deaf in Flint. It becomes the world's only fraternal life insurance company managed by deaf people. Through the first half of the century, it advocates for the rights of deaf people to purchase insurance and to obtain drivers' licenses. In 1903, business organizations brought their ideas into schools.

In education, William Beggley suggested teachers produce unquestioned obedience. Edward Thorndike installed the idea that the aim of teachers is to produce and prevent certain responses using year round schooling.  Pavlovian bells would move children from class to class on schedule, like tiny robots or machines.

Jane Addams founded the Juvenile Protective Association to advocate against racism, child labor and exploitation, drug abuse and child prostitution in Chicago and their effects on child development.


Helen Keller, the first deaf-blind person to matriculate at college, publishes her autobiography, The Story of My Life, in a serial 1903 form in Ladies' Home journal in the latter part of 1902, as a book in 1903.

Women from 10 nations meet in Washington, D.C. to plan an international effort for suffrage. Clara Barton is among the distinguished speakers.

New Hampshire's men vote down a women's suffrage referendum.

Inferno (trans. M. Sandbach), London by August Strindberg.  


Mary Harris "Mother" Jones organized children working in mills and mines in the "Children's Crusade," a march from Kensington, Pennsylvania to Oyster Bay, New York, the home of President Theodore Roosevelt with banners demanding "We want time to play!" and "We want to go to school!" Though the President refused to meet with the marchers, the incident brought the issue of child labor to the forefront of the public agenda.


The first racial science laboratory opened based on Eugenics, or survival of the fittest and death of the unfit. It stayed open for 35 years until Hitlers invasion of Poland; at that point it quietly shut down. The first requirement of Eugenics was to get all the kids in public schools so they could sort them out or give them proper medical treatment. Several children were given adenoidectomies without parental consent or knowledge.

Clitoridectomies performed in association with womens mental disorders.

Dissidents from the International Council of Women form the more aggressive International Women Suffrage Alliance.

Because Catt must attend to her dying husband, Rev. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw takes over as president of the National American.

The National Child Labor Committee is formed to abolish all child labor. World-renowned photographer Lewis Hine produced much of his work for the organization.

In England, the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act gave the NSPCC a statutory right to intervene in child protection cases.


Sigmund Freud's Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality describes the stages of sexual development and explains the effects of infantile sexuality on sexual dysfunction.

In Texas, Frazier v. State, a husband is convicted of assault with the intent to commit rape. The appellate court overturns the conviction by essentially restating Lord Hale's rule of immunity dating back to the 1500's. 

Hugo Munsterberg a psychologist attempts to create standardized testing for students. 

Beatrice Webb laid ground for the welfare state, when appointed to the British Royal Commission on the Poor Law she started a committee on employment.  She laid down the idea of cradle to grave social security, and mustered enough support to get it passed.

Bernard Sachs, author of A Treatise on the Nervous Diseases of Children recommends that masturbation in children be treated by cautery to the spine and to the genitals. Cauterize is to burn, sear or destroy tissue.  

Spiritual Adventures, London by Arthur Symons.

In England, A specialist juvenile offenders court was tried in Birmingham, and formally established in the Children Act 1908, along with juvenile courts. Borstals, a kind of youth prison, were established under the Prevention of Crime Act, with the aim of separating youths from adult prisoners.


Preventive legislation was needed to curb the increasing dependence on the drugs in patient medicines; the Federal Food and Drug Act of 1906 removed narcotics from those products.

Paul Montroe wrote the purpose of education is to supply teachers with the fundamentals of an everlasting faith as broad as human nature and as deep as the life of the race...weaknesses and extravagance are the results of sustained inbreeding.

Stanton's daughter, Harriot Stanton Blatch, returns from England and is appalled by the National American association's conservatism. She responds by forming the Equality League of Self Supporting Women, to reach out to the working class.

The Lunacy Law of the World: Being that of Each of the Forty-Eight States and Territories of the United States, with an Examination Thereof and Leading Cases Thereon; Together with that of the Six Great Powers of EuropeGreat Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia.  Roanoke Rapids, NC. by John Armstrong Chaloner.    


Eugenics takes hold in the USA. Eugenic Sterilization Law Spreads Like Wildfire. Indiana becomes the first state to enact a eugenic sterilization lawfor "confirmed idiots, imbeciles and rapists"in state institutions. The law spreads like wildfire and is enacted in 24 other states.

Frances Kellor was an adopted child born to a poor window washer immigrant given to two wealthy elite parents, as such she advocated for adoption. It would bring National Unity she said. The Governor of New York appointed her, to lead anti-strike movements against any who might rebel.

The first issue of the Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind is published.

The House of Quiet, by Arthur Christopher Benson.  


The word schizophreniawhich translates roughly as splitting of the mind and comes from the Greek roots schizein (ɦؑ, to split) and phrn, phren- (ܦőƑ, ܦő-, mind)was coined by Eugen Bleuler in 1908 and was intended to describe the separation of function between personality, thinking, memory, and perception. Bleuler described the main symptoms as 4 A's: flattened Affect, Autism, impaired Association of ideas and Ambivalence. Bleuler realized that the illness was not a dementia as some of his patients improved rather than deteriorated and hence proposed the term schizophrenia instead.

Clifford Whittingham Beers (1876-1943) publishes A Mind That Found Itself, an account of physical, emotional and sexual abuse he witnessed as a patient inside state and private mental institutions. This was the first published expose about mental institutions. The Mind That Found Itself, an account of his experience as a mental patient in a Connecticut mental institution which vividly describes the cruelty that was the norm of institutional care. This work promotes the founding of the mental hygiene movement in the United States. He had spent some time in a psychiatric hospital as a patient after throwing himself out of a fourth floor window believing he may have a brain tumor like his brother. He started the Clifford Beers Clinic in New Haven in 1913. It was the first outpatient mental health clinic in the United States. While Beers initially blamed psychiatrists for tolerating mistreatment of patients, and envisioned more ex-patient involvement in the movement, he was influenced by Adolf Meyer and the psychiatric establishment, and toned down his hostility as he needed their support for reforms. His reliance on rich donors and his need for approval from experts led him to hand over to psychiatrists the organization he helped establish. Adolf Meyer (September 13, 1866 in Niederweningen, near Zurich, Switzerland March 17, 1950), was a Swiss psychiatrist who rose to prominence as the president of the American Psychiatric Association and was one of the most influential figures in psychiatry in the first half of the twentieth century. His focus on collecting detailed case histories on patients is the most prominent of his contributions; along with his insistence that patients could best be understood through consideration of their life situations. Beers was one of the biggest supporters of the eugenics movement in America, which also flourished in Germany during the early part of the Twentieth Century. Since the postwar period, both the public and the scientific community has generally associated eugenics with Nazi abuses, which included enforced racial hygiene, human experimentation, and the extermination of undesired population groups. Developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century however, have raised many new questions and concerns about what exactly constitutes the meaning of eugenics and what its ethical and moral status is in the modern era.


The New York Public School System adopts Modified, or American Braille for use in its classes for blind children, after public hearings in which blind advocates call for abandoning New York Point.

Mary Church joined with Mary White Ovington to form the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). The first meeting was held on 12th February, 1909. Early members included Josephine Ruffin, Jane Addams, Inez Milholland, William Du Bois, Charles Darrow, Charles Edward Russell, Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, and Ida Wells-Barnett.

The first folding wheelchairs are introduced for people with mobility disabilities.

The National Committee for Mental Hygiene is founded by Clifford Beers in New York City.  This was the forerunner of the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) (now named Mental Health America (MHA)).

Sigmund Freud visited America and lectured on psychoanalysis at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Howard C. Hill published a textbook that showed on one page a cartoon of four hands symbolizing Law, Order, Science, and Trades interlocked to form a perfect swastika.

A factory inspector found that out of 500 children in 20 factories, 412 of them would rather return to work at the factory then go to the public school.

The Women's Trade Union League coordinates a large strike by 20,000 women workers in New York's garment district. Wealthy women support the strike with a boycott. Through strikes, working class women connect with suffrage movement.

Photograph shows half-length portrait of two girls wearing banners with slogan "ABOLISH CH[ILD] SLAVERY!!" in English and Yiddish ("()ע׮ ()ע׮ שקע׮(׾)", "Nider mit Kinder Schklawerii"), one carrying American flag; spectators stand nearby. Probably taken during May 1, 1909 labor parade in New York City.

On January 25, 1909 President Theodore Roosevelt hosted the first White House Conference on Children after a Washington, D.C. lawyer named James West suggested it. West had spent all of his life in institutions and was concerned about the state of affairs. The conferences were held every decade through the 1970s. The First White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children declared that poverty alone should not be grounds for removing children from families. When children required placement for other reasons, however, they were to be placed in family homes.

 A Man Remade: Or, Out of Delirium's Wonderland, by Charles Roman.

My Life as a Dissociated Personality, by B.C.A. (with an introduction by Morton Prince, MD).

The Maniac: A Realistic Study of Madness from the Maniac's Point of View, by E. Thelmer.   

Ellen Key publishes Century of the Child, an influential American book about children's rights.  


Emil Kraepelin first describes Alzheimer's Disease.

An eight year old newsie named Gurley. 18th & Washington Sts. Location: St. Louis, Missouri. May 1910

Leonard Ayres said the schools were full of retarded children that could not learn.

Emma Smith DeVoe organizes a grass-roots campaign in Washington State, where women win full enfranchisement.

Blatch's Equality League changes its name to the Women's Political Union.

Emulating the grassroots tactics of labor activists, they organize America's first large-scale suffrage parade, which is held in New York City.

In Englands Home Office, allegations in John Bull of abuse at a boys' reformatory, the Akbar Nautical Training School, Heswall, included accusations that that boys were gagged before being birched, that boys who were ill were caned as malingerers, and that punishments included boys being drenched with cold water or being made to stand up all night for a trivial misdemeanour. It was further alleged that boys had died as a result of such punishments. The Home Office investigation rejected the allegations, but found that there had been instances of "irregular punishments".

Globalization was the view, Norman Angel wrote "The Great Illusion", which argued that national economics were so interdependent, that war among the leaders would be destructive. A war itself would cease once they clearly understood the cost and benefits of war.

 Autopsychology of the Manic-Depressive,  Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases.  37:  606-20. by Eva Charlotte Reid.  

The Autobiography of a Neurasthenic, by M. A. Cleaves.  

Legally Dead: Experiences During Seventeen Weeks' Detention in a Private Asylum. London, By Marcia Hamilcar  


The state of Maryland opened its hospital for the colored insane near Crownsville, MD.

Eugen Bleuler, a Swiss psychiatrist, popularizes the term 'schizophrenia' in his book, Dementia Praecox or the Group of Schizophrenias. He writes that dementia praecox patients do not always develop dementia but instead, 'schizophrenia.' The cure for dementia praecox is said to be found in the restoration to consciousness of certain memories, and the illness is renamed schizophrenia.

The Public Education Association made of bankers, society women, corporation lawyers, and those with private funds funded the NEA. They thought they needed to start at preschool level or younger, because parents and teachers could not see the mental difficulties that children were having and could not provide counseling for them. Funding came about so that school would be the social and mental referral service. Their report said they must bend the student to the reality of society. Schools should be an instrument of social progress and a means of altering cultures.

Dr. Arnold Gesell founded the Juvenile Psycho Clinic (later the Clinic of Child Development) at Yale.

The first family court is created in Buffalo, NY. Professionals believe that domestic relations courts will better solve family problems in a setting of discussion and reconciliation engineered by social service intervention. This is the beginning of the systematic official diversion and exclusion of violence against wives from the criminal justice system. 

Congress passes a joint resolution (P.R. 45) authorizing the appointment of a federal commission to investigate the subject of workers' compensation and the liability of employers for financial compensation to disabled workers.

With little help from the National American, California women win full voting rights.


The Kaliikak Family by Henry H. Goddard was a best selling book. It proposed that disability was linked to immorality and alleged that both were tied to genetics. It advanced the agenda of the eugenics movement. The Threat of the Feeble Minded (pamphlet) created a climate of hysteria allowing for massive human rights abuses of people with disabilities, including institutionalization and forced sterilization.

Alaska's territorial legislature enfranchises women.

Abigail Scott Duniway dissuades National American members from involving themselves in Oregon's grassroots suffrage campaign; Oregon women win the vote.

Meanwhile, the Arizona territory becomes a state that includes women as voters. Kansas also enfranchises women.

Presidential candidates court the female vote for the first time. Democrat Woodrow Wilson wins the election.

Theodore Roosevelts platform suggested that common people step back and let experts make the decisions for them. Walter Lippman wrote "Public Opinion," which called on using severe restrictions of public debate. Common people traded their right to make challenges on important issues in order to have others take care of them. The upper echelon hid in private and made decisions for the masses. If you could not get to the source of the power, there was nothing you could do about it.

Japanese Americans owned 12,726 acres of farmland in California.

Congress created the U.S. Children's Bureau in the Department of Labor to investigate and report on all matters pertaining to the welfare of children and child life among all classes of people. Julia Lathrop was appointed as its first chief, the first woman to head a federal agency.

The Children's Bureau was formed by the U.S. Congress in response to the 1909 White House Conference on Children. For the first time child welfare focused on more than disadvantaged children, and became focused on all children.

Commercial maternity homes, and adoption ad investigations took place in Boston, New York, Baltimore, Chicago, and other cities.

 Eight and One-Half Years in Hell, by Cyrus S. Turner.  

Autobiography of Roosevelt's Adversary, by James Fullerton

Remembrances of a Religio-Maniac, Stratford-on-Avon, UK. by D. Davidson.

Thy Rod and Thy Staff, London by Arthor Christopher Benson.


Congress investigated corporate power and influence, the investigation found certain corporations had too much control over every thing including education and social services because they could buy what they wanted, good or bad, right or wrong, too bad for the common man. Nothing could or would to change that.

Workers in 21 states could get some benefits if they got hurt at work or disabled.

Suffragist Alice Paul organizes 8,000 women for a parade through Washington.  She becomes the leader of the Congressional Union (CU), a militant branch of the National American association.

Kate Gordon organizes the Southern States Woman Suffrage Conference, where suffragists plan to lobby state legislatures for laws that will enfranchise white women only.

Illinois grants women a new form of partial suffrage by allowing them to vote only in presidential elections.


The Harrison Act of was the first effort toward making it impossible for people with addictions to legally obtain drugs.

The first adult psychiatric clinic is directly linked to a family court in Chicago.

Psychoanalytic Review published 3 articles on blacks about their inability to work a job connected to mental disorders.

In 1914, Frances Kellor opened a clearinghouse to get her message out. She called it, The Division of Immigrant Education, and they forced children into compulsory schooling. The Federal Bureau of Education endorsed this system. Rioting broke out, but the media downplayed it.

Andrew Carnegie gained influence over the Federal Council of Churches by extending heavy subsidies to it.

World War I broke out stopping the globalization movement temporarily. World War I destabilized the Russian czarist regime, unleashing the Bolshevik revolution. Communism took hold of Russia, it was a revolutionary doctrine of brutality and economic waste for seventy-five years, and Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin were responsible for it. Communism took over the former Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea and others aligned with it. It helped Hitler rise to power, it was an authoritarian power that was for the wealthy and gave little to the poor, and it left Russia in debt. Yet, Russia was a threat to the United States, and there was a cold war against nuclear weapons eventually, the United States so called won. Yet, the war scared some people into going dry and pushing for prohibition, so legislators made the laws. Unregulated moon shiners cropped up everywhere, they and the bootleggers, had a good business going. After the war there was growth in the chemical industry, the Volstead Act made it legal to make denatured alcohol drinking this could do all kinds of things to a body because it was poisonous. The bad stuff when drank could make one blind or brain damaged. Chemical companies flourished as well as every illegal manner of this denatured alcohol, some of it deadly. Eventually, the doctors were able to write prescriptions for the non-denatured alcohol, they called this drinking alcohol "medicine" because they thought it made some people feel and live better. Rum and liquor came over on ships. Prohibition had become a scandal killing many innocent people, and bunches of people were getting scared of the law. Bribery and payoffs were common. Everyone started rebelling and drinking again, they had to have places to do it so the speak easy became a popular hang out; the law was paid off to stay away from them.  Night clubs opened almost everywhere, almost with immunity from the law, gangsters moved into high places of government, legitimate businesses, labor unions, employer associations, industrial racketeering, the protection rackets, blackmail and extortion; they also stepped up old crimes and killings. It was organized crime and the gangs had unbelievable power. The gangs used coercion, force, and criminal activities to keep the bootlegging going.

WWI-era psychiatrists observed that traumatized soldiers developed dissociative symptoms similar to female hysterics. But they saw the men's symptoms arising from trauma while women's symptoms were related to character, moral, and biological issues.

 Who's Looney Now? by John Armstrong Chaloner.  

The Senate votes on the "Susan B. Anthony" amendment, but it does not pass.

Nevada and Montana enfranchise women.

The CU alienates leaders of the National American association by campaigning against pro-suffrage Democrats in the congressional elections.


Compulsory mandated public schools opened in New York; there was no public knowledge, input, or debate about it. Frances Kellor changed her focus. It was easy to use children against their parents in this way. It was the civilian side of national defense, she said, called the National Security League. She was unable to keep up the fear and anger, because no one gave them any trouble really. 

The Child Welfare League of America was founded as the Bureau for Exchange of Information Among Child-Helping Organizations. The Bureau for Exchange of Information Among Child-Helping Organizations was founded and later renamed Child Welfare League of America in 1921.

In England, the teacher A.S.Neill wrote his first book in his Dominie series of semi-autobiographical novels, 'A Dominies Log'. This was the first of his writings to promote and advocate for children's rights in UK schools, especially the rights to play, to protection and to control their own learning. He went on to found what is now the oldest school based on children's rights, Summerhill (1921). The school and Neill's writings went on to influence schools and education systems around the world, including the UK.

Influential educator Abraham Flexner declared social work focused on children "hardly eligible" for professional status.

Anna Howard Shaw's tactical conservatism culminates in a loss of support from the National American members. She resigns and Catt replaces her as president.

My Last Drink, by Joseph H. Francis.  


Frances Kellor published Straight America to call for universal military service, mobilization, continuing build up, precisely engineered school curricula.

Callie Campbell, 11 years old, picks 75 to 125 pounds of cotton a day, and totes 50 pounds of it when sack gets full. "No, I don't like it very much." Potawotamie County, Oklahoma.

Congress passes the first federal child labor law to prohibit the movement of goods across state lines if minimum age laws are violated. This law was in effect until 1918 when it was declared unconstitutional in the landmark case Hammer v. Dagenhart.

Woodrow Wilson promises that the Democratic Party Platform will endorse suffrage. Meanwhile, the CU transforms itself into the National Woman's Party. Montana elects suffragist Jeanette Rankin to the House of Representatives.

In England, in the early years of the 20th century the National Service League had urged compulsory military training for all men aged between 18 and 30. After the outbreak of World War I some two million men enlisted voluntarily, some in Pals battalions, but mostly in regular regiments and corps. Enthusiasm diminished as casualties increased, and the Military Service Act of January 1916 introduced conscription. Boys from the age of 18 were liable to be called-up for service[39] Men of Class 1 (that is, 18 year olds), once enrolled, were given the option of returning home or remaining with the Colours and undergoing special training until they were 19.[40] At the start of 1914 the British Army had a reported strength of 710,000 men including reserves. By the end of the war almost 1 in 4 of the total male population of the UK had joined, over five million men, and almost half the infantry were 19 or younger. Conscription ceased with the termination of hostilities on 11 November 1918 and all conscripts were discharged, if they had not already been so, on 31 March 1920.


The Smith-Hughes Vocational Education Act became law.

Physiologic Shock Treatments using Malaria-Induced Fever began. The Austrian psychiatrist Julius von Wagner-Jauregg uses malaria-induced fever to cause remission in patients with slight or incomplete paralysis (also called dementia paralytica).

Alfred Adler establishes the school of individual psychology and becomes the first psychoanalyst to challenge Freud. He coins the terms 'lifestyle' and 'inferiority complex' in his book, Study of Organ Inferiority and Its Psychical Compensations.

Police begin arresting women who are picketing outside the White House. Some, including Paul and Lucy Burns, go on hunger strike while in jail; their militancy earns them sympathy from some quarters and disdain from others. The U.S. enters W.W.I. Under the leadership of Catt, the National American association aligns itself with the war effort in order to gain support for women's suffrage.

The Arkansas legislature grants women the right to vote in primary, but not general elections. The result of this partial suffrage is that white women win the vote, but black women do not.

Five midwestern states and Rhode Island grant women the right to vote in presidential elections only.

Bolsheviks give Soviet women full political power and legal equality and assure them access to all economic and cultural areas of Russian society. Legislation deals with the abolition of illegitimacy, the establishment of mother and child welfare centers, creation of day nurseries, the liberalization of abortion laws, and the simplification of marriage procedures.

Schools were under the control of the Education Trust Funds; this group consisted of Rockefeller, Carnegie, Harvard, Stanford, University of Chicago, and the NEA. 

Minnesota approved the first adoption law to seal all adoption records, from the past and there forward for many years. Minnesota passed first law mandating social investigation of all adoptions including home studies and providing for the confidentiality of adoption records.

A Committee on Statistics from what is now known as the American Psychiatric Association (APA), together with the National Commission on Mental Hygiene, developed a new guide for mental hospitals called the "Statistical Manual for the Use of Institutions for the Insane", which included 22 diagnoses. This is quite a change from the single category, "idiocy/insanity" in the 1840 Census.

A Diary of Human Days, by Mary MacLane  


The Smith-Sears Veterans Rehabilitation Act provided for the promotion of vocational rehabilitation and return to civil employment of disabled persons discharged from U.S. military. The Smith-Sears Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation Act establishes a federal vocational rehabilitation for disabled soldiers.

There are now 22 recognized categories of mental illness.

The American Psychoanalytic Association ruled that only individuals who have completed medical school and a psychiatric residency can become candidates for psychoanalytic training.

President Wilson issues a statement supporting a federal amendment to grant woman's suffrage.

Rankin opens debate in the House on a new suffrage amendment, which passes.

President Wilson addresses the Senate in support of the Nineteenth Amendment, but it fails to win the required 2/3 majority of Senate votes.

An NEA report decreed that specified behaviors, health, and vocational training were central goals of education. Frances Kellor wanted to break up the work groups as they became a threat to her organization. The easiest way to do this was to break up family life. She needed a reform, so she started the Inter-Racial Council. New programs fed on family interventions. A new Republic was here and school was to be its church. Carnegie and Rockefeller became benevolent donors to these schools. Social hereditary clubs started cropping up, some of the older members were blacklisted and blackballed; those without the current proper status and beliefs.

The War prompted the English government, through the Maternity and Child Welfare Act to direct funds towards infant welfare centres, and the Act encouraged local authorities to continue this work by introducing the principle of free ante-natal care and free medical care of under-fives. Most of the work was undertaken by volunteers, who were able to claim support for the resources they used. These measures taken together contributed to an astonishing decline in infant mortality in the first three decades of the 20th century.


Edgar Allen, a businessman in Elyria, Ohio, founds the Ohio Society for Crippled Children, which becomes the national Easter Seals organization. It serves as a model for many of today's charitable organizationsin its methods and, some activists say, in its exclusion of people from the community being helped.

In England, in the aftermath of the Great War social reformer Eglantyne Jebb and her sister Dorothy, who married Labour MP C.R. Buxton, documented the terrible misery in which the children of Central, Eastern and Southern Europe were plunged, and believing there was no such thing as an "enemy" child, founded the Save the children Fund in London to address their needs. The Save the Children International Union (SCIU) was founded in Geneva in 1920 with Save the Children and Swedish Rdda Barnen as leading members.[43] Jebb went on to draft the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in collaboration with Lady Blomfield.

Rusk State Penitentiary in Texas was turned into a hospital for the Negro insane.

Confessions of an Agoraphobic Victim.  American Journal of Psychology. 30: 295-299, by Vincent.

An Autobiography, by George Fox  

Michigan, Oklahoma, and South Dakota join the full suffrage states.

The National American association holds its convention in St. Louis, where Catt rallies to transform the association into the League of Women Voters.

For a third time, the House votes to enfranchise women. The Senate finally passes the Nineteenth Amendment, and suffragists begin their ratification campaign. American women win the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. 

Swedish women obtain the right to vote.

John Dewey, using Rockefellers money, said, the bulk of the population is biologically childlike and requires lifelong care, the government will use scientific control in the interest of the people, a new age of collectivism is spreading which will supplant private property, will require experimentation, and a large measure of forced cooperation of citizens, and enlargement of the government, and an increasing state of intervention, rights will be altered and abridged. The London Times reported on Carnegie and the United States. In the United States men were broadcasting Carnegies agenda, first aimed at mobilizing world public opinion and then at controlling the press, the church, the stage and cinema, the education system, the universities. They would have revise histories and textbooks to make them politically correct in order to make these things happen. They would add new books into the schools, particularly in the primary school. Meetings took place secretly; they agreed to take vigorous counter actions to anyone that opposed them. The schools bombarded students with multiculturalism that degraded and insulted other cultures. At the beginning of the twentieth century psychological insights were gathered from past epochs of magic, theology, philosophy, arts, warfare, rumor, and madness, they were collected and codified, and the conclusions sold to the leaders of political states, global corporations, and other powerful interests. Norman Woelfel wrote, It might be necessary for us to control our press as the Russian press is controlled and as the Nazi press is controlled. Harold Riggs wrote in his textbooks, Education must be used to condition the people to accept social plan the future of society. 

At least 43 states have workers compensation laws. 

The Russell Sage Foundation published the first professional child-placing manual

U.S. Children's Bureau set minimum standards for child-placing

Jessie Taft authored an early manifesto for therapeutic adoption, Relation of Personality Study to Child Placing.

The United States chooses to join the League of Nations.


The 18th Amendment, ratified in 1920, prohibits the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.

The Smith-Fess (Civilian) Vocational Rehabilitation Act provided for the promotion of vocational rehabilitation of persons disabled in industry. The Fess-Smith Civilian Vocational Rehabilitation Act is passed, creating a vocational rehabilitation program for disabled civilians. The United States Office of Vocational Rehabilitation was established. National Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1920 - Established state/federal system of rehabilitation services.

Harry Stack Sullivan's ward for schizophrenic patients at Sheppard-Pratt Hospital demonstrates the impact of a therapeutic milieu when patients are able to be returned to the community.

A Thousand Faces, by Florence S. Thompson and George W. Galvin.

The story of Opal the journal of an understanding heart. The Atlantic Monthly Press by Opal Whitley.

In the case of Hawk vs. Smith, anti-suffragists file suit against the Ohio legislature, but the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of Ohio's ratification process.

Despite the political subversion of anti-suffragists, particularly in Tennessee, three quarters of state legislatures ratify the Nineteenth Amendment on 26 August. American women win full voting rights.

In the UK, the National Society for Lunacy Law Reform was established in 1920 by angry ex-patients sick of their experiences and complaints being patronisingly discounted by the authorities who were using medical "window dressing" for essentially custodial and punitive practices.

Fitter Family Contests: When one considers the strong contribution of agricultural breeding to the eugenics movement, it is not difficult to see why eugenicists used state fairs as a venue for popular education. A majority of Americans were still living in rural areas during the first several decades of the 20th century, and fairs were major cultural events. Farmers brought their products of selective breeding fat pigs, speedy horses, and large pumpkins to the fair to be judged. Why not judge "human stock" to select the most eugenically fit family? This was exactly the concept behind Fitter Families for Future Firesides known simply as Fitter Families Contests. The contests were founded by Mary T. Watts and Florence Brown Sherbon two pioneers of the Baby Health Examination movement, which sprang from a "Better Baby" contest at the 1911 Iowa State Fair and spread to 40 states before World War I. The first Fitter Family Contest was held at the Kansas State Free Fair in 1920. With support from the American Eugenics Society's Committee on Popular Education, the contests were held at numerous fairs throughout the United States during the 1920s and up to the 1950s.

Henry Ford distributed his book, "The International Jew: Worlds Foremost Problem." Adolph Hitler had this book read to him. He came up with, "Mein Kampf," His own book about his life and Nazism. Ford was Hitlers hero, and Ford was in charge of the American Melting Pot.


The U.S. Veterans Bureau was established (later known as the Department of Veterans Affairs).

The American Foundation for the Blind is founded. The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), a non-profit organization recognized as Helen Keller's cause in the United States, is founded. Helen Keller becomes its principal fund raiser, (Robert Irwin becomes director of research, 1922 executive director in 1929.) Fundraising for the disabled started, the leader of this was Helen Keller who once had written about her that her teacher had to slap her in the face in order to be able to reach her the very first time so that she could be taught.

The Krondstadt Commune thought they should rebel against sweat labor. Henry Ford said, A great business is really too big to be human.

African American boy selling The Washington Daily News - sign on his hat reads, "Have you read The News? One cent" - headline reads "Millionaire tax rends G.O.P." Date 8 November 1921

The Child Welfare League of America is formally renamed and re-organized. The League adopted a Constitution that defined standard-setting as one of the organization's core purposes. Founded by C. C. Carstens to act as a federation of 70 child services organizations.

Margaret Sanger founds the American Birth Control League, which evolves into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.

In Sweden, marriage legislation gives women legal independence and equal rights as parents. 

As portrayed in his Dominie book, A Dominie Abroad (Herbert Jenkins, 1923), A.S.Neill founded what would become known as Summerhill School in Hellerau, a suburb of Dresden. It was part of an International school called the Neue Schule. Neill moved his school to Sonntagsberg in Austria. By 1923 Neill had moved to the town of Lyme Regis in the south of England, to a house called Summerhill where he began with 5 pupils. The school continued there until 1927, when it moved to the present site at Leiston in the county of Suffolk, taking the name of Summerhill with it The Secretary of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child wrote in support of the school when it faced closure from Government inspectors, that it 'surpasses all expectations' in its implementation of children's rights, particularly Article 12. Children's BBC made a four part drama called Summerhill based on its fight for survival against the government.


Marie Stopes opened the UK's first family planning clinic in London, the Mothers' Clinic, offering a free service to married women and gathering scientific data about contraception. The opening of the clinic created a major social impact on the 20th century, marking the start of a new era in fertility control by promising an opportunity for the modern world to break out of the Malthusian Trap. An admirer of Hitler's Nazism and a Eugenicist, Stopes' brand of Feminism sought selective breeding to achieve racial purity, sterilisation of those 'unfit for parenthood' and consigned the Rights of Children to the backwaters of the Pro/Anti Abortion debate.

The American Association of Social Workers is founded

The Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane (AMSAII) becomes the American Psychiatric Association.  

Georgia Warm Springs Foundation: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, an aristocrat from Hyde Park, N.Y., he had been both assistant secretary of the Navy and a candidate for vice-president by the time he contracted polio in 1921 at his familys summer home off the coast of Maine (Campobello). Left paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 39, he spent three years searching for any means possible to walk again. Frustrated, with his promising political future all but over, he was desperate when a letter from his friend, George Foster Peabody, arrived and told him of the improvement a young man with polio was showing by swimming in the warm, mineral-rich waters at his Georgia resort, the Meriwether Inn. Despite his familys objections, Roosevelt immediately left for Georgia. The success he enjoyed in the warm springs, being able to stand on his own and the ability to strengthen his withered leg and hip muscles, attracted local and eventually national publicity, and other downhearted polio survivors, seeking similar results, began arriving from all over the country. When their presence proved incompatible with the other paying customers, Roosevelt purchased the resort and turned it into what became a world-famous polio treatment center -- the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. By regaining his confidence and self-esteem, and through his new found appreciation for the problems of others, Roosevelt re-entered the political arena and successfully ran for Governor of New York in 1928. Four years later, with America in the midst of its worst financial collapse ever, he was a landslide winner for President and went on to be elected three more times before dying in Warm Springs on April 12, 1945.


Narcotic Drug Import and Export Act also called the Jones-Miller Act. Increased penalties and further restricted the import and export of opium and coca.  

In Ozawa v. U.S., The Supreme Court reaffirmed that Asian immigrants were not eligible for naturalization

The Experiences of an Asylum Patient, London, by Rachel Grant-Smith. Ex-patient Rachel Grant-Smith added to calls for reform of the system of neglect and abuse she had suffered by publishing "The Experiences of an Asylum Patient".


Daughters of Fire: SylviaEmilieOctavie (trans. from 1862 French ed.). London, by Gerard Labrunie  [Gerard De Nerval].  

From Harrow School to Herrison House Asylum, London, by Harald Hewitt.  

Racism was a truth of science, not just prejudice anymore! There were secret societies to weed out the un-American and the imbeciles. Boys as young as 10 years old called Yellow-Dogs would go look for these kinds of people and then tell on them. The American Protective League was one of these secret hunting agencies it had 1,200 units across America, all staffed by business and professional people, every one of them had the power of an official policemen.


The Commonwealth of Virginia passed a state law that allowed for sterilization (without consent) of individuals found to be, feebleminded, insane, depressed, mentally handicapped, epileptic and other. Alcoholics, criminals and drug addicts were also sterilized.

Heroin Act made the manufacture and possession of heroin illegal  

The Child Welfare Institute opened.

A French court rules that a husband does not have the right to beat his wife. Prior to this, the Napoleonic Code is dominant, suggesting that "Women, like walnut trees, should be beaten every day." 

Child Labor Amendment of 1924: Congress attempted to pass a constitutional amendment that would authorize a national child labor law; however, this measure was blocked by opposition within Congress and the bill was eventually dropped.


Harry Stack Sullivan (February 21, 1892, Norwich, New York January 14, 1949, Paris, France) was a U.S. psychiatrist whose work in psychoanalysis was based on direct and verifiable observation (versus the more abstract conceptions of the unconscious mind favored by Sigmund Freud and his disciples). Sullivan was the first to coin the term problems in living to describe the difficulties with self and others experienced by those with so-called mental illnesses. This phrase was later picked up and popularized by Thomas Szasz, whose work was a foundational resource for the antipsychiatry movement. Problems in living went on to become the movement's preferred way to refer to the manifestations of mental disturbances. Sullivan made his reputation based on his experimental treatment ward for schizophrenics at the Sheppard Pratt Hospital, between 1925-29. He employed specially trained ward attendants to work with the patients to provide them with the peer relationships (peer support!) he believed they'd missed out on during the latency period of development. Doctors, nurses and other authority figures were banned from the ward. He believed there was a homosexual element to latency age peer relationships and that a failure to go through this stage led to self-loathing, a withdrawal from the world in fantasy and psychosis, and a failure to move on to heterosexual adjustment. Thus the patients, who were all young male homosexuals as well as schizophrenics, in their positive interactions with the attendants, also young male homosexuals, would heal the wounds from missing male intimacy as pre-people. One patient, Jimmie, came to the ward at fifteen and later moved in with Sullivan and became his lover for many years. Jimmie was known to Sullivan's associates as his adopted son, a fiction whereby he could keep his sexual identity in the closet.

Clitoridectomies performed in association with womens mental disorders. 

Psychoanalysis develops a myth of female masochism into its conception of the normal female psychology. It is argued that women derive sexual gratification from the violence they experience. 

Cruelties in an Edinburgh Asylum, Edinburgh by William Simpson.  

Perkins School creates another "first" - the Hayes-Binet test, which reveals that the intelligence of the blind population is no different from the sighted.

The Confession of a Fool (trans. Ellie Scheussner), by August Strindberg.       


Emil Kraepelin (18561926) dies.  He is seen as being the founder of modern scientific psychiatry, psychopharmacology and psychiatric genetics.  

The TraitorBeing the Untampered with, Unrevised Account of the Trial and All that Led to it, by Harry K. Thaw  


On May 2, 1927 the U.S. Supreme Court, in Buck v. Bell (Carrie Buck, AKA Carrie Buck Detamore), rules that the forced sterilization of people with disabilities is not a violation of their constitutional rights. The Supreme Court rules in Buck v. Bell that the compulsory sterilization of mental defectives such as Carrie S. Buck, a young Virginia woman, is constitutional under "careful" state safeguards. Perhaps unbelievably, this ruling has never been overturned. In his opinion, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes writes: "(It) is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind...Three generations of imbeciles are enough." Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kindĶ.Three generations of imbeciles are enough. Justice Holmes equated sterilization to vaccination. Nationally, twenty-seven states began wholesale sterilization of undesirables. The decision removes the last restraints for eugenicists; advocating that people with disabilities be prohibited from having children. By the 1970s, some 60,000 disabled people are sterilized without consent.  This included people identified as having mental illness.

Psychiatry, a brand new profession came on the scene to help with school racial indoctrination as a proper governmental tool. Ralph Truit head of Child Guidance Clinics for the Psychiatric Association said that the schools should be the focus (source) for the attack. The idea of peer support gets started, but the U.S. Supreme Court agrees with the Eugenicist in Buck vs. Bell.

Franklin Roosevelt co-founds the Warm Springs Foundation at Warm Springs, Georgia. The Warm Springs facility for polio survivors becomes a model rehabilitation and peer counseling program.

Physiological Shock Treatments using Insulin Coma and Convulsions began.

Julius von Wagner-Jauregg using malaria-induced fever (see Physiologic Shock Treatments 1917) becomes the first psychiatrist to win the Nobel prize.

Bureau of Prohibition Created by an act of the same name. Replaced the Bureau of Internal Revenue with a new bureau under the Dept. of Treasury. This is the first organization responsible solely for the enforcement of drug and alcohol laws.

Philip Drinker and Louis Shaw develop the iron lung, a chamber that provides artificial respiration for polio patients being treated for respiratory muscle paralysis.

Reluctantly Told, by Jane Hillyer.

The Locomotive God, by W. E. Leonard.  


Exposure of the Asylum System, by M. J. Nolan  

Edward Bernays published two books, "Crystallizing Public Opinion" and "Propaganda." Adolph Hitler had both, along with Carnegies money; this led to Nazism and the rationale for the Jewish Holocaust. They used these books to argue that language could create new realities. Bernays promoted the idea of controlling the common people, this should happen from behind the scenes; hence, this demonstrated the need for invisible government. With the technical means invented and then developed which furthered public opinion there was a move towards regimentation. Hence, the idea that people could be governed, have their minds molded, tastes formed, and ideas suggested or implanted, largely by men never heard of or even seen. A small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses should, will, and do control the public. Conscious manipulations of organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in a democratic society. Those who manipulate this constitute an invisible government, which is the true ruling power in a country.

 Sanity for Sale: The Story of the Rise and Fall of William B. Ellis, by Himself, by William B. Ellis.

Sanity for Sale: The Story of American Life Since the Civil War, by William B. Ellis.


The establishment of two Federal Narcotics farms was authorized within the PHS (Public Health Service). The Lexington Hospital opened in 1935 and the Fort Worth Hospital in 1938. Both facilities participated in pioneering research on drug abuse, carried forward by the Addiction Research Center at Lexington, which later moved to Baltimore.

Seeing Eye establishes the first dog guide school for blind people in the United States.

Early in 1929, Afraid of being killed Al Capone had himself arrested and spent a year in jail to keep it from happening. He was quoted as saying, I want peace and I will live and let live. Im tired of gang murders and gang shootings. Its a tough life to live. You fear death every have no peace of mind...I am known all over the world as a millionaire gorilla.

The wets, those opposed to prohibition, started to rally in public.

Pick Up the Pieces, by Emerson D. Owens. [North 3-1].

Reminiscences of a Stay in a Mental Hospital. London, by Mary Riggall.

The Layman Looks at Doctors, by S.W. Pierce and J. T. (pseudonym).

WhenA Record of Transition, by J. L. Pole.  


Drugs, electro-convulsive therapy, and surgery are used to treat people with schizophrenia and others with persistent mental illnesses. Some are infected with malaria; others are treated with repeated insulin-induced comas. Others have parts of their brain removed surgically, an operation called a lobotomy, which is performed widely over the next two decades to treat schizophrenia, intractable depression, severe anxiety, and obsessions.


The Mental Treatment Act of 1930 introduced the category of voluntary patients and the notion of rehabilitation.

The U.S. Public Health Service established the Narcotics Division, later named Division of Mental Hygiene. The division brought together for the first time the threads of the mental health movementfrom research and treatment programs to combat drug addiction to the study of the causes, prevalence, and means of preventing and treating nervous and mental disease. Dr. Walter Treadway headed the division. He was succeeded by Dr. Lawrence Kolb who retained the post until his retirement in 1944 when Dr. Robert H. Felix took over.

Federal Bureau of Narcotics replaced the Bureau of Prohibition and moved the enforcement of drug laws from the Dept. of Treasury to the Dept. of Justice. Its first commissioner, the infamous Harry Anslinger, began actions to control cannabis in addition to opium and coca.  

In 1930, 1,200 experts met at the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection. They were concerned with in schools. 

Bad debts, shrunken trade, over stretched budgets, and a return to the Gold standard led to inflation, stabilization, and austerity throughout the 20s, but now the time had come to pay.  America fell into the Great Depression. Many people committed suicide over this particularly noticeable were the deaths of the affluent who lost so much as Wall Street crashed, banks crashed and investments became worthless.

 Wondering. The Impressions of an Inmate. Atlantic Monthly. 145: 669. by Anonymous.  

The Shutter of Snow, by E. H. Coleman.  

Confessions: A Study in Pathology, by Arthur Symons.  


The International Foundation for Mental Health Hygiene is founded by Clifford Beers.

Guilty but Insane: A Broadmoor Autobiography. London, by Wannack (pseudonym).

The Recovery of Myself: A Patients Experience in a Hospital for Mental Illness, by Marian King.

Sketches in the Life of John Clare (written by himself, first published with an introduction, notes and additions, by Edmund Blunden). London, by John Clare.

Sane in Asylum Walls. London, by James Scott.  

In 1931, Will Rogers said, What does a prohibition amount to, if your neighbors children are not eating?  Its food, not drink, that is our problem now. We were so afraid the poor people might drink-now we fixed it so they cant eat.

Repeal of Prohibition did not end the Depression, but it did add jobs and taxes to the economy.


Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the 32nd president of the United States and is re-elected for an unprecedented four terms before dying in office in April 1945. In August 1921, while vacationing at Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Roosevelt contracted an illness, believed to be polio, which resulted in total and permanent paralysis from the waist down. After becoming President, he helps found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (now known as the March of Dimes). His leadership in this organization is one reason he is commemorated on the dime.

The Tuskegee syphilis experiment (also known as the Tuskegee syphilis study or Public Health Service syphilis study) was an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in poor, rural black men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government. The Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, began the study in 1932. Investigators enrolled in the study a total of 600 impoverished, African-American sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama; 399 who had previously contracted syphilis before the study began, and 201 without the disease. For participating in the study, the men were given free medical care, meals, and free burial insurance. They were never told they had syphilis, nor were they ever treated for it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the men were told they were being treated for "bad blood," a local term used to describe several illnesses, including syphilis, anemia and fatigue. The 40-year study was controversial for reasons related to ethical standards; primarily because researchers knowingly failed to treat patients appropriately after the 1940s validation of penicillin as an effective cure for the disease they were studying. Revelation of study failures by a whistleblower led to major changes in U.S. law and regulation on the protection of participants in clinical studies. Now studies require informed consent (with exceptions possible for U.S. Federal agencies which can be kept secret by Executive Order), communication of diagnosis, and accurate reporting of test results. By 1947, penicillin had become the standard treatment for syphilis. Choices available to the doctors involved in the study might have included treating all syphilitic subjects and closing the study, or splitting off a control group for testing with penicillin. Instead, the Tuskegee scientists continued the study without treating any participants and withholding penicillin and information about it from the patients. In addition, scientists prevented participants from accessing syphilis treatment programs available to others in the area. The study continued, under numerous US Public Health Service supervisors, until 1972, when a leak to the press eventually resulted in its termination. The victims of the study included numerous men who died of syphilis, wives who contracted the disease, and children born with congenital syphilis.

The Treaty of London standardizes American and English Braille.

The Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act provided for young offenders, to be sent to an Approved School, put on probation, or put into the care of a "fit person". Courts could, in addition, sentence male juvenile offenders to be whipped with not more than six strokes of a birch rod by a constable".

The Disabled American Veterans was chartered by Congress to represent disabled veterans in their dealings with the federal government. 

Uniform State Narcotic Act encouraged states to pass uniform state laws matching the federal Narcotic Drug Import and Export Act. Suggested prohibiting cannabis use at the state level. By 1937 every state had passed laws prohibiting cannabis use.

Behind the Door of Delusion, by Inmate Ward Eight [Marion Woodson].

I Lost My Memory--The Case as the Patient Saw It. London, by Anonymous.       


The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, which meant that states once again had the right to enact laws regulating the sale and use of alcoholic beverages.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the first seriously physically disabled person ever to be elected as a head of government, is sworn into office as president of the United States. He continues his splendid deception, choosing to minimize his disability in response to the ableism of the electorate.

Manfred Sakel reported his first experimental findings, testing the efficacy of insulin-shock treatment on schizophrenic patients in Berlin, Germany. Insulin was administered to the patient in a dose high enough to induce coma, and although the treatment seemed to be beneficial to individuals in the early stages of schizophrenia, it was not proven to be useful in advanced cases of schizophrenia. Sakels vague theoretical rationale for this specific method and the difficult regimen of care this treatment required also led to the abandonment of insulin-shock therapy.


Ladislaus Joseph von Meduna experimented with shock therapy and schizophrenia in Budapest, Hungary, also during the year 1933. Instead of insulin, Meduna injected patients with Metrazol, a less toxic synthetic preparation of camphor. This treatment was soon abandoned as it possessed a period of unpredictable length between injection and convulsions, giving the patient just enough time to become fearful and uncooperative. It also often produced convulsions that were so severe as to cause fractures.


In England, The Children and Young Persons Act of 1932 broadened the powers of juvenile courts and introduced supervision orders for children at risk. The Children and Young Persons Act of 1933 provided for young offenders, to be sent to an Approved School, put on probation, or put into the care of a "fit person". Courts could, in addition, sentence male juvenile offenders to be whipped with not more than six strokes of a birch rod by a constable". The Act also introduced Remand Homes for youths temporarily held in custody, to await a court hearing. The Home Office maintained a team of inspectors who visited each institution from time to time. Offenders, as well as receiving academic tuition, were assigned to work groups for such activities as building and bricklaying, metalwork, carpentry and gardening. Many approved schools were known for strict discipline, and were essentially "open" institutions from which it was relatively easy to abscond. This allowed the authorities to claim that they were not "Reformatories", and set them apart from Borstal. The age of criminal responsibility was raised from 7 to 8, and no-one could be hanged for an offence committed under the age of 18. The Act consolidated most existing child protection legislation, enforcing strict punishments for anyone over 16 found to have neglected a child. Guidelines on the employment of school-age children were set, with a minimum age of 14 for full-time employment.


The day after the Reichstag fire, Hitler persuaded President Hindenburg to sign Article 48, an "emergency" decree authorizing Hitler to suspend civil rights, arrest, imprison, and execute suspicious persons (communists, socialists, and labor union leaders), and outlaw non-Nazi press. Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp, opened. Jews were barred from German civil service. Hitler obtained the right to revoke German citizenship for persons considered a threat or "undesirable" to the government.

The Third Reich's policy for euthanizing the mentally and physically disabled codenamed "Aktion T4" begins and continues into late 1945.

Mania, by Lawrence M. Jayson.

Dreams and Life (trans. from 1855 French ed.). London, by Gerard Labrunie  [Gerard De Nerval].   

Two Lives, by W. E. Leonard.


Physiologic Shock Treatments with Metrazol Convulsions began. Psychiatrists began to inject insulin to induce shock and temporary coma as a treatment for schizophrenia.

USDA develops phenothiazines as insecticide.

Elbert Cubberly a psychologist decided that it was not good for children to work; children should be in schools.

Geneticists thought intelligence ran in families, and was passed down from generation to generation. 

J.P. Morgan purported the revolution be stopped by infiltrating the underground and subsidizing it, this way the thinking could be known as it developed.  They could fatally compromise the opposition in this way.  Wirt was exposed for his scheme to prolong the Depression so government could become the source of long-term loans. William Wirt launched an attack upon Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs, charging that the New Deal threatened American individualism by attempting government planning of the economy. He wrote pamphlets, articles, and addresses on the economy, particularly regarding the manipulation of the dollar to solve the economic crisis. Finally, Wirt accused the New Deal of being infiltrated by communists designing the collapse of the American system. However, common people and small businesses shaken enough already allowed the government to dominate business and commerce in the future. Propaganda was becoming a science and a business that could silence labor with contracts.

The state of Iowa began administering mental tests to all children placed for adoption in hopes of preventing the unwitting adoption of retarded children (called feeble-minded at the time). This policy inspired nature-nurture studies at the Iowa Child Welfare Station that eventually served to challenge hereditarian orthodoxies and promote policies of early family placement.

John H. Wigmore's "Treatise on Evidence", one of the most famous legal texts ever published in the United States, established females, especially children, as not credible because they were predisposed to bring false accusations against men of good character. He cited reports of 2 girls, age 7 and 9. He omitted the evidence that one had gonorrhea and the other a vagina so inflamed no exam was possible.

 Magpie: The Autobiography of a Nymph Errant, by Lois Vidal.  


Bill W. and Dr. Bob found the self-help society known as Alcoholics Anonymous on June 10, 1935.

Sigmund Freud states in his Letter to an American Mother that, Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness.

It was in Portugal, 1935, that Egas Moniz performed the first lobotomy with the aid of a neurosurgeon, Almeida Lima.

The League of the Physically Handicapped is formed in New York City to protest discrimination against people with disabilities by federal relief programs. The group organizes sit-ins, picket lines, and demonstrations, and it travels to Washington, D.C., to protest and meet with officials of the Roosevelt administration. A group in New York City called the League for the Physically Handicapped formed to protest discrimination by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The league's 300 people -- most disabled by polio and cerebral palsy -- all had been turned down for WPA jobs. The Home Relief Bureau of New York City was supposed to forward their job requests to the WPA, but was stamping all their applications 'PH' for physically handicapped, as a signal to the WPA not to give these people jobs. Members of the league sat in at the Home Relief Bureau for nine days; and went to the WPA headquarters and held a weekend sit-in there. These actions eventually lead to the creation of 1500 jobs in New York City and they eventually generated a couple thousand jobs nationwide.

The Committee for the Study of Sex Variants is formed.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act, establishing a program of permanent assistance to adults with disabilities. Social Security of Act of 1935 - Established federal/state system of health services for crippled children; permanently authorized civilian rehabilitation program. Congress passes and President Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act. This established federally funded old-age benefits and funds grants to the states for assistance to blind individuals and disabled children. There were protests, picket lines, and sit-ins due to perceived discrimination toward others. The Act also extended existing vocational rehabilitation programs established by earlier legislation. The federal government first provided child welfare services with the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935 (49 Stat. 620). Under Title IV-B (Child Welfare Services Program) of the act, the Children's Bureau received funding for grants to states for the protection and care of homeless, dependent, and neglected children and children in danger of becoming delinquent.

The Social Security Act included provision for aid to dependent children, crippled children's programs, and child welfare, which eventually led to a dramatic expansion of foster care. The American Youth Congress issued The Declaration of the Rights of American Youth.

The National Labor Relations Act, NLRA, or Wagner Act (after its sponsor, New York Senator Robert F. Wagner) (Pub.L. 74-198, 49 Stat. 449, codified as amended at 29 U.S.C.  151169), is a 1935 United States federal law that limits the means with which employers may react to workers in the private sector who create labor unions (also known as trade unions), engage in collective bargaining, and take part in strikes and other forms of concerted activity in support of their demands. The Act does not apply to workers who are covered by the Railway Labor Act, agricultural employees, domestic employees, supervisors, federal, state or local government workers, independent contractors and some close relatives of individual employers. Under section 9(a) of the NLRA, federal courts have held that wildcat strikes are illegal, and that workers must formally request that the National Labor Relations Board end their association with their labor union if they feel that the union is not sufficiently supportive of them before they can legally go on strike.

Justine Wise Polier was appointed to head the Domestic Relations Court of Manhattan. She became an important early critic of matching in adoption. During much of the twentieth century, adoption relied upon the paradoxical theory that differences are managed best by denying their existence. According to the "matching" paradigm that has governed modern adoption, adults who acquire children born to others must look, feel, and behave as if they had given birth themselves. This included religious and racial "matching." Polier was born in Portland, Oregon to well known parents. Her father was Rabbi Stephen Wise, a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and leader of the liberal American Jewish Congress. Her mother, Louise Waterman Wise, was a gifted artist who started one of the countrys first specialized adoption agencies, the Free Synagogue Child Adoption Committee, in 1916. Her mothers determination to find homes for Jewish orphans at a time when adoption was still rare among Jews made a deep impression on the young Justine.

The American Youth Congress forms as one of the first youth-led, youth-focused organizations in the U.S. The same year the AYC issued The Declaration of the Rights of American Youth, which they were invited to read before a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

Man the Unknown, written by Nobel Prize winning Dr. Alexis Carrel, suggested the removal of criminals and the mentally ill by euthanasia, using institutions equipped with suitable gases. American eugenics may have reached its apotheosis in 1935 when Alexis Carrel, a physician at Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York, wrote that the mentally ill should be humanely and economically disposed of in small euthanistic institutions supplied with proper gases. The U.S. psychiatrists who embraced the program of compulsory sterilization directly influenced the doctors of the Third Reich, who would soon begin the mercy killings of mental patients.

Congress passed an act making aliens otherwise ineligible for citizenship eligible if (a) they had served in the U.S. armed forces between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918, and been honorably discharged, and (b) they were permanent residents of the United States. A small number of Issei (a Japanese term meaning, first to immigrate) obtained citizenship under this act before the deadline.

Nuremberg Laws ended German citizenship for Jews. Jewish doctors were forced to resign from private hospitals by Nuremberg Laws.

Mary McLeod Bethune organizes the National Council of Negro Women, a coalition of black women's groups that lobbies against job discrimination, racism, and sexism.

The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

My First Life; a Biography, by Brenda Dean Paul, Written By Herself.  London, by Brenda Dean Paul.   

Asylum, by William Seabrook.  

New Armor for Old, by William O'Sullivan Molony.  


Prefrontal Lobotomies were performed by the Portuguese physician and neurologist Antonio Egas Moniz.  His method involved drilling holes in patients' heads and destroying the tissue connecting the frontal lobes by injecting alcohol into them. Egas Moniz published an account of the first human frontal lobotomy. Between 1936 and the mid-1950s, an estimated twenty thousand of these surgical procedures were performed on American mental patients. The earliest form of brain surgery was called trepanning. It involved the hand drilling of a 2.5-5cm hole in the skull of a conscious patient. However barbaric this may appear, it did have some limited success as it often led to the alleviation of pressure on the brain. Out of 400 skulls investigated by one researcher, 250 indicated some form of recovery. Psychosurgery continued to be used in one form or another, with varying levels of success until it was completely revolutionised in the twentieth century. In 1936 Dr Moniz, a Portuguese neurologist, introduced the psychosurgical technique of lobotomy (the removal or severing of certain connections in the brain). Monizs first 20 patients survived the operation and the technique soon achieved a credible international reputation. Despite being shot in the leg by one of his patients, Moniz argued that the potential benefits of the operation outweighed the costs of the behavioral and personality changes that resulted from a lobotomy. In 1949, he received the Nobel Prize for developing this radical treatment of mental illness.

Passage of the Randolph Sheppard Act establishes a federal program for employing blind vendors at stands in the lobbies of federal office buildings. Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1938 - Authorized federal programs to employ people who are blind as vendors on federal property.

Psychosurgery Brutality

American psychiatrist Walter Freeman (center) developed the frontal lobotomy, a barbarous act which plunged an icepick-like instrument beneath the eyelid and, using a surgical mallet, drove it through the eye socket bone and into the brain. Movement of the instrument severed the fibers of the frontal brain lobes, causing irreversible brain damage. James Watts and Walter Freeman became the first American doctors to perform prefrontal lobotomy (by craniotomy in an operating room). Freeman was president of the American Association of Neuropathologists from 1944 to 1945 and president of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology from 1946 to 1947. Freeman performed nearly 2,500 lobotomies in 23 states, mostly based on scanty and flimsy evidence for its scientific basis, but more significantly he popularized the lobotomy. A neurologist without surgical training, he initially worked with several surgeons. Seeking a faster and less invasive way to perform the procedure, Freeman adopted Amarro Fiamberti's transorbital lobotomy and began to perfect it, initially by using ice picks hammered into each frontal lobe through the back of each eye socket (ice pick lobotomy). Freeman was able to perform these very quickly, outside of an operating room, and without a surgeon. For his first transorbital lobotomies, Freeman used an actual icepick from his kitchen. Later, he utilized an instrument created specifically for the operation called a leucotome. In 1948 Freeman developed a new technique which involved wrenching the leucotome in an upstroke after the initial insertion. This procedure placed great strain on the instrument and in one case resulted in the leucotome breaking off in the patient's skull. As a result, Freeman designed a new, stronger instrument, the orbitoclast. Freeman embarked on a national campaign in his van which he called his lobotomobile to demonstrate the procedure to doctors working at state-run institutions; Freeman would show off by icepicking both of a patient's eyesockets at one time - one with each hand. According to some, institutional care was hampered by lack of effective treatments and extreme overcrowding, and Freeman saw the transorbital lobotomy as an expedient tool to get large populations out of treatment and back into private life. The ice pick lobotomy was, according to Ole Enersen, performed by Freeman with a recklessness bordering on lunacy, touring the country like a travelling evangelist. In most cases, Enersen continued, this procedure was nothing more than a gross and unwarranted mutilation carried out by a self righteous zealot. Freeman's most notorious operation was on the ill-fated Rosemary Kennedy, who was permanently incapacitated by a lobotomy at age 23. Another of his patients, Howard Dully, has now written a book called My Lobotomy about his experiences with Freeman and his long recovery after the surgery he underwent at 12 years old. To execute this procedure, the patient was first shocked into a coma. The surgeon then hammered an instrument similar to an icepick through the top of each eye socket and severed the nerves connecting the frontal lobes to the emotion-controlling centers of the inner brain. The intended purpose of the lobotomy was to calm uncontrollably violent or emotional patients, and it did--at first--prove to be successful. Because of the preliminary positive results and the facts that it was easy, inexpensive, and the average time it took to complete the procedure was only about ten minutes, lobotomies quickly spread around the world as a popular practice for severely mentally ill patients who were resistant to other treatments. It was only after tens of thousands of patients worldwide had undergone this procedure during the following twenty years that people started to take notice of its undesirable side effects. Lobotomies generally produced personalities that were lethargic and immature. Aside from a twenty-five percent death rate, lobotomies also resulted in patients that were unable to control their impulses, were unnaturally calm and shallow, and/or exhibited a total absence of feeling (Butcher 620). Not surprisingly, this barbaric practice was quickly abandoned with the introduction of psychoactive drugs.

Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky (ed. Joan Accocella). New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, (orig. pub. 1936). Nijinsky, Vaslav.

The federal law prohibiting the dissemination of contraceptive information through the mail is modified and birth control information is no longer classified as obscene. Throughout the 1940s and 50s, birth control advocates are engaged in numerous legal suits.

In Russia, the reforms established by the Bolsheviks begin to crumble. The concept of marriage as a contract between two free and equal people is challenged and reversed. The Communist Party conducts a vigorous campaign to remind women of their place in the home, and the restoration of the "traditional family." 

The Exploration of the Inner World, by Anton T. Boisen.


Karen Horney, a German-born psychiatrist challenges Freud's theory of the castration complex in women and his theory that Oedipal complex and female sexuality influences neurosis. In The Neurotic Personality of Our Time, she argues that neurosis largely is determined by the society in which one lives.

Herbert A. Everest and Harry C. Jennings patent a design for a folding wheelchair with an X-frame that can be packed into a car trunk. They found Everest & Jennings (E & J), which eventually becomes the largest manufacturer of wheelchairs in the United States.

 J. Edgar Hoover declares War on the Sex Criminal!

Marijuana Tax Act made it federally illegal to buy, sell, barter, or give away cannabis without paying a transfer tax. This is the first federal law regulating the possession and sale of cannabis. Declared unconstitutional in 1969 in U.S. vs Timothy Leary.

Recovery, Inc. is a self-help mental health program based on the ground breaking work of founder and  neuropsychiatrist, Abraham A. Low, M.D.

Jews could obtain passports for travel outside of Germany only in special cases.

The First Child Welfare League of America initiative that distinguished minimum standards for permanent (adoptive) and temporary (foster) placements.

The emphasis was on girls as active participants in their abuse. They were depicted as from a lower class, morally defective, and inherently untrustworthy. (Bender and Blau)

Chronicles of Interdict No. 7807, by Anne Kirk.  

Searchlight, an Autobiography, by Augusta Catherine Fischer.  

Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh (ed. Irving Stone), by Vincent Van Gogh.

A Patient's Memoirs; The Rocket Buster, by G. C. Wegefarth.

A Mind Restored: The  Story of Jim Curran, by Elsa Krauch.  

A Mind Mislaid, by Henry Collins Brown.   

1935 -1936, by William Cary Sanger.  



Ectonustim 3 ECT machine with scalp electrodes, in use from 1958 to 1965. Cerletti was the first to use electro-convulsive shock therapy on humans - to treat schizophrenia.

Physiological Shock Treatments by electric shock therapy (EST), currently known as electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) is first used by Ugo Cerletti. Electrotherapy (applying electric current to the brain) was first used in American hospitals to treat mental illnesses in the 1940s. Italian physicians Ugo Cerletti and Lucio Bini administered the first shock therapy using electricity to a schizophrenic patient and received successful results. This treatment soon became widespread and was used most often in America and Europe. There is some history of abuse associated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) though, that took place in mental institutions. Because the idea of an electrical current being passed through ones head is undoubtedly frightening, ECT was used to intimidate, control, and punish patients, some of whom were subjected to this treatment over a hundred times. Despite previous instances of abuse, this treatment is still used today, albeit with significant reforms. It is generally reserved only for the mentally ill who suffer from severe depression, especially of the variety accompanied by psychotic symptoms, and only as a last resort after the patient has not responded to any other treatments, including medication. Patients are also administered a general anesthetic and muscle relaxant prior to the treatment so that they do not suffer any discomfort and there is no danger of fractured bones. Electroconvulsive therapy is commonly performed on a patient three times a week until a dozen sessions are reached, although some patients may require more or less sessions to benefit. The only negative side effects reported are amnesia limited to the few hours before the session and disorientation; both disappear soon after ECT is stopped. n the 1930s, Ugo Cerletti, an Italian psychiatrist was investigating the use of electricity as a technique to induce a seizure. After experimenting on dogs and observing the use of electricity to slaughter pigs, Cerletti tested ECT on a human patient. In 1938 a Milanese man, who was found mumbling incoherently in the railway station, was chosen to be the first recipient of this new cure. Electrodes were applied to both temples, a rubber tube was inserted between his teeth to stop him biting his tongue and the electricity was conducted between the electrodes. The patient's muscles jolted as he remained conscious throughout the operation, and he pleaded, 'Not again it is murderous'. Despite this, after ten treatments he spoke more coherently and Cerletti claimed that the patient was released 'in good condition and well oriented' and a year later had not relapsed. Although arguments about whether Electro Convulsive Therapy is therapy or cruelty persist, it is still used today, primarily as a last resort in the treatment of severe depression. Some psychiatrists state that it has proved the most effective treatment in many cases.

Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act revised and expanded the Pure Food and Drug Act to require more extensive labeling and safety testing of food products. Introduced safety standards and required that new drugs be shown to be safe before marketing.  

Wagner-O'Day Act of 1938 - Authorized federal purchases from workshops for people who are blind.

The Fair Labor Standards Act 1938 (abbreviated as FLSA; also referred to as the Wages and Hours Bill[) is a federal statute of the United States. The FLSA introduced a maximum 45-hour workweek, established a national minimum wage, guaranteed 'time-and-a-half' for overtime in certain jobs, and prohibited most employment of minors in "oppressive child labor," a term that is defined in the statute. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which includes limits on many forms of child labor. It applies to employees engaged in interstate commerce or employed by an enterprise engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce, unless the employer can claim an exemption from coverage. The FLSA was drafted in 1938 by senator Hugo Black. According to the Act, workers must be paid minimum wage and overtime pay must be 1 1/2 times regular pay. Children under the age of 18 cannot do certain dangerous jobs and children under the age of 16 cannot work. 700,000 workers were affected by the FLSA. This also helped combat child labor. Subsequent Amendments created protections against discrimination on the basis of sex, age, and migrant worker status. Passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act leads to an enormous increase in the number of sheltered workshop programs for blind workers. Although intended to provide training and job opportunities for blind and visually disabled workers, it often leads to exploitation of workers at sub-minimum wages in poor conditions. The Fair Labor Standards Act created sheltered workshops or sweatshops for the disabled. These sweatshop programs lead to exploitation and substandard wages working in poor conditions. These programs took advantage of the disabled for cheap labor and often in bad conditions. Sure, some people did get placed out, but many did not.


Childrens Home, 1938 by Edward G. Malindine

Judge August Hand lifted the federal ban on birth control, effectively ending use of the Comstock Law that targeted birth control information and devices.

Effective January 1, 1939 in Germany, all Jews are forced to carry special identification cards. German schools expelled all Jews. In November 1938, England passed Kindertransport. A few days after Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany, a delegation of British Jewish leaders appealed in person to the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, on the eve of a major Commons debate on refugees. They requested that the British government permit the temporary admission of Jewish children and teenagers who would later re-emigrate, among other measures. The Jewish community promised to pay guarantees for the refugee children. The Cabinet decided that the nation would accept unaccompanied children ranging from infants up to teenagers under the age of 17.

Congress establishes the House Committee on Un-American Activities to investigate Communist, Fascist, Nazi, and other organizations seen as subversive.

 They Said I was Mad. The Forum and Century. 100: 231-237, by Anonymous.  

The Witnesses, London, by Thomas Barcley Hennell.  


Amid the outbreak of World War II and a societal acceptance of eugenics, Germanys Adolph Hitler orders widespread mercy killing of the sick and disabled decreeing that patients with incurable medical illnesses be killed because they are 'biologically unfit.' Approximately 270,000 patients with mental illness are killed by physicians and medical personnel complying with the Nazi doctrine of racial purity. The Nazi euthanasia program was code-named Aktion T4 and was instituted to eliminate life unworthy of life. From 1939 till 1948 an estimated 400,000 German psychiatric prisoners were systematically murdered. The murders began with the so called "Aktion T4" that lasted from 1939 till 1941. Over all at least 275,000 (according to the Nuremberg Trials) were murdered in the time from 1939 till 1945, the end of the Nazi regime. But the killing in the German psychiatric prisons continued by systematic starvation till 1948/49, so another 25,000 victims have to be added to the number of victims given at the Nuremberg trials. "In view of the primitive simplicity of their minds, they (the masses) more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big." Adolph Hitler. Mein Kampf, Vol.1, Ch. 10, 1924 tr. Ralph Manheim, 1943

German Jews were restricted by curfew. The Wagner-Rogers bill (by Massachusetts Republican Congress member Edith Nourse Rogers and New York Democrat Senator Robert F. Wagner) died in Congress. Roosevelt refused to take a position on it. It would have admitted 20,000 additional Jewish refugee children under the age of 14 into the United States from Germany and Austria.

Lists of "dangerous" enemy aliens and citizens began to be compiled in various government departments, such as the FBI, special intelligence agencies of the Justice Department, the Office of Naval Intelligence, and the army's Military Intelligence Division.

In England, in April the Military Training Act sought to 'call up' boys from age 18 as 'militiamen', to distinguish them from the regular army. The intention was for conscripts to undergo six months basic training before being discharged into an active reserve, for subsequent recall to short training periods and an annual camp. Superseded by the National Service (Armed Forces) Act 1939 enacted immediately by Parliament on 3 September 1939 - the date of declaration of war on Germany. Liability to full-time conscription was enforced on all males between 18 and 41. By 1942, all male British subjects resident in Great Britain aged 1850 were liable to call-up, with only a few categories exempted, and female subjects aged 2029.Template:National Service (No 2) Act 1941

The Insanity Racket: A Story of One of the Worst Hell Holes in This Country, by Luther Osborne.  

The Capital's Siberia, by James Duffy.  


Carney Landis noted the prevalence of sexual abuse when comparing 142 psychiatric patients with 153 people in the general population.

After Mao Tse-Tung's Revolutionary Army has rid the villages of North China of enemy control, political workers call the women to the village square to testify to the crimes that had been committed against them. The women speak of their oppression, of being sold as concubines, of being raped and of being beaten. From these "speak bitterness" meetings, local women's associations are formed. In Women's Fate, Claudia Dreifus calls these meetings "the first consciousness-raising groups, the first known attempts to convert womenkind's private laments into public acts..."


908 patients were transferred from an institution for retarded and chronically ill patients in Schoenbrunn, Germany to the euthanasia installation at Eglfing-Haar to be gassed. A monument to the victims stands in the courtyard at Schoenbrunn.

The National Federation of the Blind is formed in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, by Jacobus Broek and other blind advocates. It advocates for white cane laws and input by blind people into programs for blind clients, among other reforms. The National Federation of the Blind formed to advocate for better conditions and input from the (blind) workers forced to work in the sweatshops.

The American Federation of the Physically Handicapped (later The American Federation of Disabilities) is founded by Paul Strachan as the nation's first cross-disability, national political organization. It pushes for an end to job discrimination and lobbies for passage of legislation calling for a National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week, among other initiatives.

The concept of a National Psychiatric Institute was born, but World War II intervened and the plan was not introduced before the Congress. The war demonstrated the tremendous toll taken by mental illness. More men received medical discharges from the Armed Forces for neuropsychiatric disorders than for any other reason more than 1 million Americans were rejected for military service for that reason.

Newdigate Owensby promotes pharmacological shock treatment for the treatment of homosexuality

Working mothers: 8.6 percent of mothers with children younger than 18 were in the work force.

Selective Service Medical Circular No. 1 recommends that doctors screen out homosexuals from military draftees

Sandor Rados A Critical Examination of the Concept of Bisexuality.

When the U.S. entered World War II, many attendants at public institutions were drafted, leaving a shortage of workers. Admissions to public institutions, however, continued to increase. Many institutions closed some of their colonies and placed more residents in each building to economize. Some institutions placed two residents to a bed and in hallways.

Borderland Minds, by Margaret Isabel Wilson  

They Call Them Camisoles, by W. Wilson.  

Criminal Complaints with Probable Causes (A True Account). Bound, circular letter by Percy L. King  

Insulin and I, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 10: 810-814, by Anonymous.

The Book of Margery Kempe (edited and introduced by Sanford Brown Meech and Hope Emily Allen). Oxford, by Margery Kempe.  

Asylum Piece, by Helen Woods Edmonds.  

The Bridge of Eternity, by Looney Lee Gary (pseudonym).  

 Postscript on a Benign Psychosis,  Psychiatry, 3:  527-34, by Elaine F. Kinder.


Hitler suspended the Aktion T4 program that killed nearly one hundred thousand people. Euthanasia continued through the use of drugs and starvation instead of gassings.

Rosemary Kennedy Institutionalized after Failed Lobotomy. John F. Kennedy's twenty-three year old sister Rosemary undergoes a prefrontal lobotomy as a "cure" for lifelong mild retardation and aggressive behavior that surfaces in late adolescence. The operation fails, resulting in total incapacity. To avoid scandal, Rosemary is moved permanently to the St. Coletta School for Exceptional Children in Wisconsin. Her sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, later founds the Special Olympics in Rosemary's honor. Rose Marie "Rosemary" Kennedy (September 13, 1918 January 7, 2005) was the third child and first daughter of Rose Elizabeth Kennedy ne Fitzgerald and Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr., born little more than a year after her brother, future U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Considered as either retarded or psychologically instable, she underwent a prefrontal lobotomy at age 23, which left her permanently incapacitated. Interpretations suggest she may have simply had an average IQ, about 80-90, in a family expecting high standards.

World War II started and with it came a classification system on a national level. In some places, those with low IQ scores could not vote.

In a letter to President Roosevelt, Representative John Dingell of Michigan suggests incarcerating 10,000 Hawaiian Japanese Americans as hostages to ensure "good behavior" on the part of Japan. Fifteen Japanese American businessmen and community leaders are picked up in an F.B.I. raid. A spokesman for the Central Japanese Association states: "We teach the fundamental principles of America and the high ideals of American democracy.  We want to live here in peace and harmony. Our people are 100% loyal to America."  Then Pearl Harbor was attacked. Local authorities and the F.B.I. began to round up the leadership of the Japanese American communities. Within 48 hours, 1,291 Issei are in custody. These men are held under no formal charges and family members are forbidden from seeing them. Most would spend the war years in enemy alien internment camps run by the Justice Department.

 Spinner's Lake. London, by Maude Harrison.  

The Triumph of Personal Thought and How I Became a Mason, by Jacob Alexson.  

California Justice: Is This Supposed to Be a Democracy? by Arthur Penn.  

Minds in the Mending. Atlantic Monthly: 168: 330-34 by Olivia Harlan.


467 Poisoned at Oregon State Hospital November 18, 1942

            One of the most tragic incidents in Salems history was the poisoning of nearly 500 patients and staff at the Oregon State Hospital, on the evening of November 18, 1942. Many who ate the scrambled eggs served for dinner that evening would later claim that they had tasted funny, some saying theyd been salty, others saying they tasted soapy. Within five minutes of consuming them, the diners began to sicken, experiencing violent stomach cramps, vomiting, leg cramps, and respiratory paralysis. Witnesses described patients crawling on the floor, unable to sit or stand. The lips of the stricken turned blue, and some vomited blood. The first death came within an hour; by midnight, there were 32; by 4 a.m., 40. Local doctors rushed to the hospital to help out staff doctors. The hospital morgue, outfitted for two to three bodies, was overwhelmed. Eventually 47 people would die; in all, 467 were sickened. Though five wards had been served the suspect eggs, all the deaths occurred in four; in the fifth, an attendant had tried the eggs, found them odd tasting, and ordered her charges not to eat them.

            Officials were baffled, and immediately focused on the frozen egg yolks which all the victims had been served, and which had come from federal surplus commodities. It was thought that the eggs might have spoiled due to improper storage, or even that they might have been deliberately poisoned by a patient who could have gotten a hold of a poison while on furlough. The biggest fear, however, was the fear of sabotage: with the country engaged in World War II, this possibility loomed large. Oregon Governor Charles Sprague ordered all state institutions to stop using the eggs. The federal government issued a similar order, and the Agriculture Department ordered an investigation into the handling of its frozen eggs.

            But the eggs were part of a 36,000-pound shipment which had been divided between schools, NYA projects and state institutions in Oregon and Washington, 30,000 pounds of which had already been consumed with no ill effects. State officials confirmed that the eggs had been properly stored, and the president of National Egg Products Inc. pointed out that eggs bad enough to kill would be so obviously spoiled that no one would eat them.

            The day after the poisoning, with dozens still ill, pathologists determined that the sickness and death had been caused by sodium flouride, an ingredient in cockroach poison; pathology reports showed large amounts of the compound in the stomachs of the dead victims. Five grams--the size of an aspirin--would have been fatal; some of the dead had eaten more sodium flouride than eggs. Cockroach poison was known to be available at the hospital, kept in a locked cellar room to which only regular kitchen employees had keys. State Police launched an investigation, and began interviewing staff and patients at the hospital.

            Finally, several days after the poisonings, two cooks at the hospital, A.B. McKillop and Mary OHare, admitted that they knew what had happened, that they had realized soon after the symptoms had struck, but had not come forward for fear of being charged. McKillop took responsibility, saying he had been the one to send a patient trusty, George Nosen, to the cellar to get dry milk powder for the scrambled eggs he was preparing. He had given Nosen his keys to the cellar, and Nosen returned with a tin half-full of powder, an estimated six pounds of which were mixed into the scrambled eggs at McKillops direction. When people had begun getting ill, he had questioned Nosen about where hed found the powder, and discovered he had brought roach poison.

            Despite McKillops insistence that OHare bore no responsibility for the poisoning, and over the objections of the State Police, who had determined that the poisoning was accidental, District Attorney M.B. Hayden ordered both cooks arrested. A grand jury declined to indict them; the patient George Nosen was never charged. Considered by many of his fellow patients to be a mass murderer, he became something of a pariah at the hospital where he spent the rest of his life. Two brief attempts at life outside the institution failed, and he died at the State Hospital 41 years later, after suffering a heart attack during a fight with another patient.

            Compiled and written by Kathleen Carlson Clements

            Bibliography: Capital Journal, November 19-December 1, 1942

Henry Viscardi begins his work as an American Red Cross volunteer, training 1944 disabled soldiers to use their prosthetic limbs. His work at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., draws the attention of Howard Rusk and Eleanor Roosevelt, who protest when Viscardi's program is terminated by the Red Cross and the military.

President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 that allows military authorities to exclude anyone from anywhere without trial or hearings. This order set the stage for the entire forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans. The Navy informed Japanese American residents of Terminal Island near Los Angeles Harbor that they must leave in 48 hours. They are the first to leave in mass. Idaho Governor Chase Clark told a congressional committee that the Japanese are welcome in Idaho only if they were in "concentration camps under military guard." Gen. John L. DeWitt issues Public Proclamation No. 1 which creates Military Areas Nos. 1 and 2.  Military Area No. 1 includes the western portion of California, Oregon and Washington, and part of Arizona while Military Area No. 2 includes the rest of the states. The proclamation hints that people might be excluded from Military Area No. 1. The president signs Executive Order 9102 establishing the War Relocation Authority (WRA) with Milton Eisenhower as director. It is allocated $5.5 million. The first advance groups of Japanese American "volunteers" arrive at Manzanar, CA. The WRA would take over on June 1 and transform it into a "relocation center."  The first Civilian Exclusion Order issued by the Army is issued for the Bainbridge Island area near Seattle. The forty-five families there are given one week to prepare. By the end of October, 108 exclusion orders were issued, and all Japanese Americans in Military Area No. 1 and the California portion of No. 2 were incarcerated. Minoru Yasui walks into a Portland police station at 11:20 pm to test the curfew regulations in court. Having "voluntarily resettled" in Denver, journalist James Omura writes a letter to a Washington law firm inquiring about retaining their services to seek legal action against the government for violations of civil and constitutional rights and seeking restitution for economic losses. He was unable to afford the $3,500 fee required to begin proceedings. Ichiro Shimoda, a Los Angeles gardener, is shot to death by guards while trying to escape from Fort Still (Oklahoma) internment camp, having already attempted suicide twice since being picked up. Largely organized by Quaker leader Clarence E. two Issei a California farmer and San Pedro fisherman are shot to death by camp guards at Lourdsburg, New Mexico enemy alien internment camp. The men had allegedly been trying to escape. It would later be reported, however, that upon their arrival to the camp, the men had been too ill to walk from the train station to the camp gate. A routine search for contraband at the Santa Anita "Assembly Center" turns into a "riot." Eager military personnel had become overzealous and abusive which, along with the failure of several attempts to reach the camp's internal security chief, triggers mass unrest, crowd formation, and the harassing of the searchers. Military police with tanks and machine guns quickly end the incident. The "overzealous" military personnel are later replaced. President Roosevelt calls the "relocation centers" "concentration camps" at a press conference.  The WRA had consistently denied that the term "concentration camps" accurately described the camps. An attack on a man widely perceived as an informer results in the arrest of two popular inmates at Poston. This incident soon mushrooms into a mass strike.

Institutions addressed their worker shortage by employing conscientious objectors. Records of their observations raised public awareness of the conditions of public institutions. In 1948, Albert Deutsch wrote Shame of the States, a photographic expos of New York's Letchworth Village. Originally designed to avoid the problems common to larger institutions, Letchworth was considered one of America's better institutions. Deutsch's expos, and other exposs of this time served to highlight the horrible conditions in all institutions. After decades of invisibility, persons living in public institutions were again the objects of attention.

The Eclipse of a Mind, by Alonzo Graves.  

No Hiding Place: An Autobiography, by William Seabrook.


Clifford Beers dies

Prelude to Sanity, by S. Greiner.  

Autobiography and A Ray of Darkness, Oxford, by Margiad Evans.  

This memo shows the letterhead of the We Are Not Alone Society (1947), one of the first patients groups in the modern era. It has a green ink note indicating how this patients support and rights group was started in 1943. It says, This is invaluable for the letterhead. It has 8 names. Mike Obolensky was a former Russian prince. Slava Orleans was his cousin. Mike and I were patients in Rockland State Hospital (now Rockland Psychiatric Center) at the same time. In the Spring or early summer of 1943 there was a meeting in the hospital of the group that formed WANA. Bill Wilson, founder & head of AA, was there and said a few words. We Are Not Alone (WANA), a mental patients' self-help group, is organized at the Rockland State Hospital in New York City. Their goal was to help others make the difficult transition from hospital to community. By the early 1950s WANA dissolved after it was taken over by mental health professionals who transformed it into Fountain House, a psychosocial rehabilitation service for people leaving state mental institutions. The founders of WANA found themselves pushed aside by professionals with money and influence, who made them "members" of the new organization Their efforts led to the establishment of Fountain House, a psychosocial rehabilitation service for people leaving state mental institutions.

Congress passes the Vocational Rehabilitation Amendments, known as the LaFollette-Barden Act, adding physical rehabilitation to the goals of federally funded vocational rehabilitation programs and providing funding for certain health care services. The LaFollette-Barden Vocational Rehabilitation Act became law in the U.S., and it added physical rehabilitation to the goals of federally funded vocational rehabilitation programs and provided funding for certain health care services.

The Kaiser Shipyards on Swan Island in Portland, Oregon opened the first company-owned child care facilities at the entrance to each of their facilities. Hoping to reduce the rate of absenteeism among working mothers, they were the world's largest child care centers and were in operation 24 hours a day. Featuring nurses and child-centered construction, the facilities also provided pre-cooked hot meals for the mothers to take home. Costs were shared by parents and the company. They operated for two years.

The United States Supreme Court rules on the Hirabayashi and Yasui cases, upholding the constitutionality of the curfew and exclusion orders. The realignment of Tule Lake as a camp for "dissenters" begins. After the loyalty questionnaire episode, "loyal" internees begin to depart to other camps. Five days later, "disloyal" internees from other camps begin to arrive at Tule Lake.


Howard Rusk is assigned to the U.S. Army Air Force Convalescent Center in Pawling, New York, where he begins a rehabilitation program for disabled airmen. First dubbed Rusk's folly by the medical establishment rehabilitation medicine becomes a new medical specialty.

Frederick A. Fay (September 12, 1944 - August 20, 2011) was an early leader in the disability rights movement in the United States. Through a combination of direct advocacy, grassroots organizing among the various disability rights communities, building cross-disability coalitions between disparate disability organizations, and using technology to connect otherwise isolated disability constituencies, Fay worked diligently to raise awareness and pass legislation advancing civil rights and independent living opportunities for people with disabilities across the United States. He won the 1997 Henry B. Betts Award for outstanding achievement in civil rights for Americans with disabilities. Fay was recognized for "flat-out advocacy" over several decades. He helped lead the nationwide efforts by disability advocates to secure passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

During World War II, it became evident that there were severe shortages of professional mental health personnel and that understanding of the causes, treatment, and prevention of mental illness lagged far behind other fields of medical science and public health. Dr. William Menninger, chief of Army neuropsychiatry and an outstanding leader of the profession, called for Federal action. A national mental health program was proposed, forming the foundation of the National Mental Health Act of 1946.

The new director of the Public Health Service Division of Mental Hygiene, Dr. Robert H. Felix, presented a proposal for a national mental health program to the Surgeon General of the U.S. This proposal was to form the basis of the National Mental Health Act of 1946.

Prince v. Massachusetts: The U.S. Supreme Court held that the government has broad authority to regulate the actions and treatment of children. Parental authority is not absolute and can be permissibly restricted if doing so is in the interests of a child's welfare. While children share many of the rights of adults, they face different potential harms from similar activities.

Nisei (second generation Japanese immigrants and the first generation born here) eligibility for the draft is restored. A Federal Grand Jury issues indictments against 63 Heart Mountain draft resistors. The 63 are found guilty and sentenced to jail terms on June 26. Forty-three Japanese American soldiers are arrested for refusing to participate in combat training at Fort McClellan, Alabama, as a protest of treatment of their families in U.S. camps. Eventually, 106 are arrested for their refusal. Twenty-one are convicted and serve prison time before being paroled. Shoichi James Okamoto is shot to death at Tule Lake by a guard after stopping a construction truck at the main gate for permission to pass. Private Bernard Goe, the guard, would be acquitted after being fined a dollar for "unauthorized use of government property" a bullet. Seven members of the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee are arrested, along with journalist James Omura. Their trial for "unlawful conspiracy to counsel, aid and abet violators of the draft" begins. All but Omura would eventually be found guilty. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team which included the Japanese rescued an American battalion which had been cut off and surrounded by the enemy. Eight hundred casualties are suffered by the 442nd to rescue 211 men. After this rescue, the 442nd is ordered to keep advancing in the forest; they would push ahead without relief or rest. The Supreme Court decides that Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu was indeed guilty of remaining in a military area contrary to the exclusion order. This case challenged the constitutionality of the entire exclusion process. Restrictions preventing resettlement on the West Coast are removed, although many exceptions continued to exist. The shed of the Doi family is burned and dynamited and shots are fired into their home. The family had been the first to return to California from Amache. Although several men are arrested and confess to the acts, all would be acquitted. Some 30 similar incidents would greet other Japanese Americans returning.

In 1939 the English government had considered raising school leaving age to 15, but this was delayed by the onset of World War Two. The Education Act succeeded in extending compulsory education to age 15, which took effect from 1947.

Brainstorm, by Carlton Brown.  

The Book of Margery Kempe, rendered into modern English by W. Butler-Bowdon, by Margery Kempe.  

The Lost Weekend, by C. Jackson.  


The Blinded Veterans Association  (BVA) is formed in Avon, Connecticut.

PL-176 became law in the U.S., and it declared the first week in October each year would be National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. In 1962 the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month (October) and changed the name to "National Disability Employment Awareness Month." President Harry Truman signs Public Law 176, a joint congressional resolution calling for the creation of an annual National Employ the Handicapped Week.

Boyce R. Williams is hired by the federal Office of Vocational Rehabilitation as Consultant for the Deaf, the Hard of Hearing, and the Speech Impaired. He begins close to four decades of work at OVR, designing and implementing educational and vocational programs for deaf Americans.

The surrender of Germany ends the war in Europe. The atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima. Three days later, a second bomb is dropped on Nagasaki. The war in the Pacific would end on August 14.

After the end of WWII, the world needed to be reconstructed with a new infrastructure and businesses. To help construct a new, peaceful global economy, a new international trading system was created and placed under U.S. political leadership, the World Bank.

A California statute states, "Any husband who willfully inflicts upon his wife corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition, and any person who willfully inflicts upon any child any cruel and inhumane corporal punishments or injury resulting in a traumatic condition, is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years or in the county jail for not more than 1 year." A San Jose Superior Court Judge, Eugene Premo, dismisses murder charges against a husband accused of murdering his wife. The judge rules that the California wife-abuse law discriminates on the basis of sex by only making mention of husbands, and is unconstitutional. 

Following dissolution of the League of Nations, the United Nations was founded on 24 October, but had already in 1943 begun operating UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration), a relief organization to combat famine and disease in liberated Europe. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) was also established with Julian Huxley as the first Director General, standing at the centre of the post-World War II revival of education. Huxley was a prominent member of the British Eugenics Society, and one of the liberal intellectual elite of the time who believed in birth control and 'voluntary' sterilization for the "virtual elimination of the few lowest and most degenerate types. Huxley's six-year term of office, defined in the Charter, was reduced to two years, and UNESCO's education program became a collaboration with the International Bureau of Education, of which Jean Piaget was Director from 1929 until 1968. Piaget had declared during the second world war in 1940: "The common wealth of all civilizations is the education of the child.

A Man Against Time: An Heroic Dream, by W. E. Leonard.  


President Harry S. Truman signs the National Mental Health Act of 1946 on July 3rd, creating for the first time in US history a significant amount of funding for psychiatric education and research and calling for the establishment of a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). National Institute of Mental Health was to conduct research into mind, brain, and behavior and thereby reduce mental illness. As a result of this law, NIMH will be formally established on April 15, 1949. NIMH existed under NIH until 1967 and its three-part mission was services, training and research.

President Harry S. Truman establishes the Presidents Commission on Civil Rights

The first meeting of the National Advisory Mental Health Council was held on August 15. Since no Federal funds were available, the Greentree Foundation awarded a grant of $15,000 to finance the meeting.

The National Mental Health Foundation is founded by conscientious objectors who served as attendants at state mental institutions rather than serving in the war during World War II. The Foundation exposed the abusive conditions at these facilities and became an impetus toward deinstitutionalization. It works to expose the abusive conditions at these facilities and becomes an early impetus in the push for deinstitutionalization.

Walter Freeman first performs a transorbital lobotomy on a live patient. This new form of psychosurgery was intended for use in State mental hospitals that often did not have the facilities for anesthesia, so Freeman suggested using electroconvulsive therapy to render the patient unconscious. (Jack, 2005)

Congress enacts the Hospital Survey and Construction Act, also known as the Hill-Burton Act, authorizing federal grants to the states for the construction of hospitals, public health centers, and health facilities for rehabilitation of people with disabilities.

The Cerebral Palsy Society of New York City is established by parents of children with cerebral palsy.  This is the first chapter of what will be come the United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Inc.

First They Came
First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the sick, the so-called incurables, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't mentally ill.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.
Modern translation of poem by Martin Niemoeller, 1946

Anna Freud, the youngest daughter of Sigmund Freud, publishes, The Psychoanalytic Treatment of Children, which introduces basic concepts in the theory and practice of child psychoanalysis

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team (including Nisei) is received on the White House lawn by President Truman. "You fought not only the enemy but you fought prejudice -- and you have won," remarks the president.

The first major step on behalf of children taken by the United Nations, was UNICEF's creation in 1946 co-founded by Maurice Pate and Ludwik Rajchman to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries devastated by World War II. Two years later, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly.

The Snake Pit, by Mary Jane Ward.  

Out of the Dark Ages. Womans Home Companion; 34-35, 91-92; August, by Mary Jane Ward.  

The Abrupt Self, by David Martens.  

My Way Back to Sanity, Ladies Home Journal. 63(10): 54-55, 242-250, by Jane Elliot.  

Autobiography of David (ed. Ernest Raymond). London, by David (pseudonym).


On July 1 the first mental health research grant (MH-1) was awarded to Dr. Winthrop N. Kellogg of Indiana University by the Division of Mental Hygiene. It was titled Basic Nature of the Learning Process.

The National Reporting Program on Patients in Mental Institutions was transferred from the U.S. Census Bureau to the Division of Mental Hygiene.

From 1947-51 Governor Luther Youngdahl (Republican; Minnesota) started development of community-based mental health services and humane treatment for people in state institutions.

The Nuremberg Trials convicted a number of psychiatrists who held key positions in Nazi regimes.  

Paralyzed Veterans of America  (PVA) is founded at the Birmingham Hospital in Van Nuys, California, by Fred Smead, Randall Updyke, and other delegates from Veterans Administration hospitals across the country.

The first meeting of the Presidents Committee on National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week is held in Washington, D.C.  Its publicity campaigns, coordinated by state and local committees, emphasize the competence of people with disabilities and use movie trailers, billboards, and radio and television ads to convince the public that its good business to hire the handicapped.

Harold Russell wins two Academy Awards for his role in The Best Year of Our Lives. Harold John Russell (January 14, 1914 - January 29, 2002) was a Canadian-American World War II veteran who became one of only two non-professional actors to win an Academy Award for acting (the other being Haing S. Ngor). Russell also holds the unique honor of being the only person to receive two Academy Awards for the same role. While an Army instructor, and training with the U.S. 13th Airborne Division stateside in 1944, a defective fuse detonated an explosive he was handling while making a training film. As a result, he lost both hands and was given two hooks to serve as hands. After his recovery, and while attending Boston University as a full-time student, Russell was featured in an Army film called Diary of a Sergeant about rehabilitating war veterans. When film director William Wyler saw the film on Russell, he cast him in The Best Years of Our Lives with Fredric March and Dana Andrews. Russell played the role of Homer Parrish, a sailor who lost both hands during the war. For his role as Parrish, Russell won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1947. Earlier in the ceremony, he was awarded an honorary Oscar for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans. The special award had been created because the Board of Governors very much wanted to salute Russell, a non-professional actor, but assumed he had little chance for a competitive win. It was the only time in Oscar history that the Academy has awarded two Oscars for the same performance. Russell authored two autobiographies, Victory in My Hands (1949) and The Best Years of My Life (1981).

Fountain House in NYC begins psychiatric rehabilitation for mentally ill persons.

The Supreme Court rules that states may regulate or outlaw liquor.

In England, after World War II the National Service Act 1947 and subsequent measures ordained peacetime conscription of all males aged 18 for a set period (originally 1 year, later two years) until National Service ceased in 1960, with final Demobilization in 1963. Post-1945 some 1,132,872 men were conscripted to serve the British Army on reaching the age of 18. About 125,000 served in an active theatre of operations, and were expected to fight guerrillas or cope with riots or civil war situations with minimal training in such combat situations as Korea, Malaya, Suez and Aden.

The first Freedom Rides were begun. Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States. The Freedom Riders were inspired by the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, led by civil rights activists Bayard Rustin and George Houser. Like the Freedom Rides of 1961, the Journey of Reconciliation was intended to test an earlier Supreme Court ruling that banned racial discrimination in interstate travel. Rustin and a few of the other riders, chiefly members of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), were arrested and sentenced to serve on a chain gang in North Carolina for violating local Jim Crow laws regarding segregated seating on public transportation.

These are my Sisters: An Insandectomy, by Lara Jefferson.  

The Kingdom of the Lost. London, by John Andrerw Howard Ogdon.

Between Us and the Dark, by Lenore McCall.  

If a Man Be Mad, by H. Maine.


The National Paraplegia Foundation is founded by members of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, as the civilian arm of their growing movement. Foundation chapters in many cities and states take a leading role in advocating for disability rights.

The disabled students' program at the University of Illinois at Galesburg is officially established. Founded and directed by Timothy Nugent, the program moves to the campus at Urbana-Champaign, where it becomes a prototype for disabled student programs and then independent living centers across the country.

We Are Not Alone (WANA), a mental patients' self-help group, is organized at the Rockland State Hospital in New York City.

Fountain House opens in New York City. This is the first of the clubhouse model, influenced by WANA. (We are not alone). Members of Fountain House supported one another by creating a community among people struggling with serious mental illness. This initiative laid the groundwork for the clubhouse model, which promotes the importance of meaningful work in people's lives, and which would serve as a model for psychiatric rehabilitation programs developed in the 1960s and 1970s.

Congress did not appropriate funds to implement the National Mental Health Act until fiscal year 1948.

The combined specialty of 'neuropsychiatry' was divided into 'neurology,' dealing with organic or physical diseases of the brain, and 'psychiatry' dealing with emotional and behavioral problems.

Collectiveness as opposed to individual mental health was a prominent theory. Psychiatry develops its role as social police. General G. Brock Chisholm, M.D., a Canadian psychiatrist and the First Secretary General of the United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO), presented a paper in 1946 entitled The Psychiatry of Enduring Peace and Social Progress at a US conference on mental health. This paper laid the blame for war and human conflict squarely at the feet of parents and Sunday schools teachers who -- from the beginning -- fed their children the "poisonous certainties" of the Bible. Two years later (1948), this message was published by the (now prestigious) magazine Psychiatry, and by his Communist friend, Alger Hiss, the Infamous Soviet spy and publisher of the socialist magazine, International Conciliation. Alger Hiss, the presiding Secretary General at the 1945 founding of the United Nations, wrote the Preface to Dr. Chisholm's paper. Hiss, then president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, added his own Preface which showed the involvement of the Rockefeller Foundation in the mental health movement. Earlier, another loyal friend had launched a new journal called Psychiatry, which would gain immense prestige by the end of the century. Its owner, US psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan, also published Chisholm's message. Dr. Sullivan and Dr. Chisholm had been working closely with the British Brigadier-General John Rawlings Rees. Dr. Rees had helped found the Tavistock Institute of Medical Psychology, the birthplace of the infamous Tavistock Institute for Human Relations. As military officers, all three had been involved in psychological research using their respective armies. All wanted to know how conflict, fear and psychological trauma could be used to manage large human populations. The three psychiatrists represented three nations -- the UK, USA and Canada. Together, they mapped the course for the world's mental health management system by the light of their own socialist vision of global conformity. Dr. Rees had envisioned a global NGO (non-governmental organization) that would network with political and civic leaders around the world. His leadership led to the birth of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) in 1948.

Supreme Court rules that no one can be stopped from owning land in the U.S.

Dr. Howard A. Rusk founds the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in New York City, where he develops techniques to improve the health of injured veterans from World War II. His theory focused on treating the emotional, psychological and social aspects of individuals with disabilities and later became the basis for modern rehabilitation medicine.

In England, the War landed more than a million children, evacuated from town centres, on to local councils with inadequate resources to care for them. Many were placed in foster homes and became emotionally disturbed, reacting by bed-wetting, stealing and running away. After the war, many children who had no families to return to, became 'nobody's children'. The Children Act 1948 finally brought together responsibility for children without adequate parents, formerly dealt with under the Poor Law, and responsibility for delinquent children in Remand Homes+, formerly under the aegis of Local Education Authorities, with the requirement for every County and County Borough to establish a Children's Committee and appoint a Children's Officer. This has been the basis on which social workers have acted on behalf of children ever since. Detention Centres, under the Prison Department of the Home Office, were later introduced for miscreants, designed to administer a "short sharp shock" to older teenagers through drilling, physical jerks, military-style discipline, and cold showers before dawn.


The first Annual Wheelchair Basketball Tournament is held in Galesburg, Illinois. Wheelchair basketball, and other sports, becomes an important part of disability lifestyle and culture over the next several decades.

Inside the Asylum. London, by John Vincent.   

The Stubborn Wood, by Emily Harvin (pseudonym).  

Views of a Nearsighted Cannoneer, by Seymour Krim.  


On April 15 the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) was established with the abolishment of the Division of Mental Hygiene. NIMH was one of the first four NIH (National Institute of Health) institutes.

Antonio Egas Muniz wins the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work on the lobotomy.

Phenothiazines shown to hinder rope-climbing abilities in rats.

The Australian psychiatrist John F. J. Cade introduces the use of lithium to treat psychosis. He shows that lithium quieted manic patients. Prior to this, drugs such as bromides and barbiturates had been used to quiet or sedate patients, but they were ineffective in treating the basic symptoms of those suffering from psychosis. Lithium will gain wide use in the mid-1960s to treat those with manic depression, now known as bipolar disorder. The FDA approved the drug in 1970.

Philip Ash, an American psychologist, published a study in which he had fifty-two mental patients examined by three psychiatrists, two of them, according to Ash, nationally known. All the psychiatrists reached the same diagnosis only twenty per cent of the time, and two were in agreement less than half the time. Ash concluded that there was a severe lack of fit between diagnostic labels and, as he put it, "the complexities of the biodynamics of mental structure"that is, what actually goes on in people's minds.

The first Annual Wheelchair Basketball Tournament is held in Galesburg, Illinois. Wheelchair basketball, and other sports, become an important part of disability lifestyle and culture over the next several decades. Very Special Sports for the disabled begins and the parent movement begins.

Timothy Nugent founds the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.

The National Foundation for Cerebral Palsy is chartered by representatives of various groups of parents of children with cerebral palsy. Renamed the United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Inc., in 1950, it becomes, together with the Association for Retarded Children, a major force in the parents' movement of the 1950s and thereafter.

D. O. Cauldwell first describes psychopathic transsexualism

The World Health Organization published the sixth revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) which included a section on mental disorders for the first time.

Max Otto argued that the new economy was to produce wants, called consumption. Great consumers are heroes to the machine. Nature not conspiracy drives business to control education. Contented people are dangerous because they will not jump at every command, they test what is required against principle, they will not sacrifice principle, or their family and they do not bow down to capitalism.  For our society to work we must constantly feel like some thing is wrong, or is missing, or be afraid.

The sit-in movement used the strategy of nonviolent resistance. As far back as 1942, the Congress of Racial Equality sponsored sit-ins in Chicago, as they did in St. Louis in 1949 to reverse policies of racial segregation in the Southern United States.

The World Next Door, by Fritz Peters.

A Doctor Regrets, Being the First Part of A Publisher Presents Himself, London, by Donald McIntosh Johnson.

The Third Strike, by Jerry Gray. 


First psychotropic drugs discovered contributing to the beginning of deinstitutionalization. By the mid-1950s, America had reached the peak of public-asylum psychiatry in the United States with more than 500,000 Americans residing in state-supported institutions. The average length of stay was measured in years; many patients expected to spend their entire lifetime in such institutional communities. Many factors led to the movement called deinstitutionalization: journalistic exposs; the introduction of chlorpromazine (Thorazine) into the United States, which initiated the psychopharmacologic revolution; Blue Cross-Blue Shield's decision to cover inpatient psychiatry in general hospitals; and President Eisenhower's major study of the care of the mentally ill population.

In England during the 1950s the tradition of caring for mentally ill people within large institutions came under intense criticism from both inside and outside the system. There was a growing realization that the structure and organization of mental hospitals was essentially pathogenic; innovators in care demonstrated that new therapeutic ideas could be introduced into the system with beneficial effects. Thomas Main at the Cassel Hospital, David Martin at Claybury and David Clark at Fulbourn were among the first to demonstrate that changing the organization of mental hospitals and adopting open-door policies could result in significant improvement in even the most institutionalized patients. David Clark in five years turned Fulbourn from a closed hospital to a completely open-door hospital. We got workshops going, halfway houses, we had Open Days, brought the public in, took patients out. We changed the place completely and much of what we did was a return to the principles of sound asylum management, known for a century. Fulbourn was much better in 1865 than in 1910. However these moves only allowed people out into the grounds; doctors still believed that their duty was to keep their patients in custody.

The second half of the 20th century saw the development of 'anti-psychiatry', whose main proponents were Ronald Laing and Thomas Szasz.  Laing's professional aim had been to 'complain against the denigration of experience and the dehumanization of the patient, but in doing so I wanted to bring them back into the ordinary human fold.' Laing believed that psychiatric medication could be helpful, and was among those practitioners who used LSD themselves in experiments to explore their own psyches, and also gave it to their patients with the aim of facilitating the psychotherapeutic process. Laing and his followers set up the Philadelphia Association, and also Kingsley Hall, an experimental therapeutic community whose most famous patient was Mary Barnes who was encouraged to regress into babyhood as a means of achieving her recovery from psychosis.

Szasz has described mental illness as a metaphorical illness because, the mind (whatever that is) is not an organ or part of the body.  Hence it cannot be diseased in the same sense as the body can. He takes the view that any psychiatric diagnosis is a license for coercion and the exercise of psychiatric power. 'If mental illness is not a disease why then treatment or indeed admission?' He also accepts that the corollary of this is that if patients have rights, they also have responsibilities, and should, for example accept responsibility for all their actions whatever their state of mind when they committed them. He has concluded that the only help that can be given to patients is through psychotherapy.

Psychotherapeutic treatment declined in the latter part of this century, partly because of a case brought in 1979 against a private psychiatric clinic in the US by a physician with a psychotic depression. The patient sued successfully on the grounds that he should have been treated with proven effective medication rather than spending seven months undergoing in-depth psychoanalysis, and the case left a strong impression that treating psychiatric illness with psychoanalysis constituted malpractice.

New perceptions of mental illness are beginning to develop, informed partly by people like Szasz and Laing, and partly by the growing perception of a need for sensitivity in dealing with people from other cultures whose mental distress may be expressed as a spiritual crisis in a way that has become almost unknown in Western culture.

At the end of the 20th century, rather than adopting either 'the medical model' or 'the social model' of mental illness, people working in the field of mental ill health are beginning to recognize that mental distress has many different causes, and many different disciplines and approaches have a part to play in treatment. Distress may be explained in terms of responses to circumstances, of brain chemistry, of genetics, and all are increasingly seen not to be mutually exclusive but to interact and play a part in mental health: life events almost certainly change brain chemistry for good as well as for ill, and many different treatments may be successful in different circumstances. But treatments that are experienced by the patient as torturous or punitive, however well-intentioned, are unlikely to be so successful in the long-term as those which are experienced as therapeutic. Current practitioners would do well to bear in mind the precepts of such people as Imhotep, Vives, Pussin, and Laing, alongside the latest neuropharmacological theories.

In the mid-1950s, the numbers of hospitalized mentally ill people in Europe and America peaks. In England and Wales, there were 7,000 patients in 1850, 120,000 in 1930, and nearly 150,000 in 1954. In the United States, the number peaks at 560,000 in 1955.

A new type of therapy, called behavior therapy, is developed, which holds that people with phobias can be trained to overcome them.

The civil rights, anti-war and black liberation movements challenge the country, laying a foundation for the feminist movement. 

Women being killed by abusive husbands is rarely recognized for what it is. Headlines often read "Husband Goes Berserk and Shoots Estranged Wife." 


Mary Switzer was appointed the Director of the U.S. Office of Vocational Rehabilitation where she emphasized independent living as a quality of life issue. 

Timothy Nugent founds the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.

The Association for Retarded Children of the United States (later renamed the Association for Retarded Citizens and then The Arc) is founded in Minneapolis by representatives of various state associations of parents of mentally retarded children. Parents of youth diagnosed with mental retardation found the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC). The association works to change the public's ideas about mental retardation. Its members educate parents and others, demonstrating that individuals with mental retardation have the ability to succeed in life. The ARC works to ensure that the estimated 7.2 million Americans with mental retardation and related developmental disabilities have the services and supports they need to grow, develop, and live in communities across the nation.

The National Foundation for Cerebral Palsy is chartered by representatives of various groups of parents of children with cerebral palsy. Renamed the United Cerebral Palsy Association, Inc., and in 1950, it becomes, together with the Association for Retarded Children, a major force in the parents' movement of the 1950s and thereafter.

Beginning of National Barrier-Free Standards. In the 1950s, disabled veterans and people with disabilities begin the barrier-free movement. The combined efforts of the Veterans Administration, The President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, and the National Easter Seals Society, among others, results in the development of national standards for "barrier-free" buildings.

Rhone Poulenc synthesizes chlorpromazine, a phenothiazine, for use as an anesthetic.

Beginning of Senator Joseph Macarthys hearings on communists in the government; purges of homosexuals from government.

A White House conference was presented by the National Institute of Mental Health. They said that kids were labeling each other as morons, imbeciles, and idiots and we were seeing the negative results of sustained inbreeding.

In Childhood and Society, Erik Erikson restates Freud's concepts of infantile sexuality and develops the concepts of 'adult identity,' and 'identity crisis.'

The Social Security Amendments of 1950 establish a federal-state program to aid the permanently and totally disabled (APTD). This is a limited prototype for later federal disability assistance programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance.

 The Other Side of the Bottle, by Dwight Anderson (with Page Cooper).   


The Boggs Act imposed mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of violating the Narcotic Drug Import and Export Act or the Marihuana Tax Act. These minimums were mostly repealed in 1970.

Howard Rusk opens the Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University Medical Center. Staff at the Institute, including people with disabilities, begin work on such innovations as electric typewriters, mouthsticks, and improved prosthetics, as adaptive aids for people with severe disabilities.

 Mattachine Society, the earliest homophile organization in the United States, founded in Los Angeles.

The current Perkins Brailler is designed and produced by David Abraham at Perkins Howe Press.

The Homosexual in America, by Edward Sagarin under the pseudonym Donald Webster Cory.

Fight against Fears, by Lucy Freeman.

Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl (trans. from 1950 French ed.), edited by Marguerite Sechehaye.  


The American Psychiatric Association (APA) publishes the first edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders. There are 112 mental disorders in its initial, 1952 edition. The first edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) groups the sexual deviations (including homosexuality) under the category of Sexual Deviation Personality Disorder (sociopathic personality disorders). World War II saw the large-scale involvement of US psychiatrists in the selection, processing, assessment and treatment of soldiers. This moved the focus away from mental institutions and traditional clinical perspectives. A committee that was headed by psychiatrist Brigadier General William C. Menninger developed a new classification scheme called Medical 203 that was issued in 1943 as a War Department Technical Bulletin under the auspices of the Office of the Surgeon General. The foreword to the DSM-I states the US Navy had itself made some minor revisions but "the Army established a much more sweeping revision, abandoning the basic outline of the Standard and attempting to express present day concepts of mental disturbance. This nomenclature eventually was adopted by all Armed Forces", and "assorted modifications of the Armed Forces nomenclature [were] introduced into many clinics and hospitals by psychiatrists returning from military duty." The Veterans Administration also adopted a slightly modified version of Medical 203. In 1949, the World Health Organization published the sixth revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) which included a section on mental disorders for the first time. The foreword to DSM-1 states this "categorized mental disorders in rubrics similar to those of the Armed Forces nomenclature." An APA Committee on Nomenclature and Statistics was empowered to develop a version specifically for use in the United States, to standardize the diverse and confused usage of different documents. In 1950 the APA committee undertook a review and consultation. It circulated an adaptation of Medical 203, the VA system and the Standard's Nomenclature, to approximately 10% of APA members. 46% replied, of which 93% approved, and after some further revisions (resulting in it being called DSM-I), the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was approved in 1951 and published in 1952. The structure and conceptual framework were the same as in Medical 203 and many passages of text identical. The manual was 130 pages long and listed 106 mental disorders. This included several categories of 'personality disturbance', generally distinguished from 'neurosis' (nervousness, 'egodystonic). This is a significant increase from the 22 disorders listed in the 1917 Statistical Manual.

The first conventional antipsychotic drug, Chlorpromazine, discovered in France, was introduced to treat patients with schizophrenia and other major mental disorders. Used to treat psychosis and delusion, in many cases, Thorazine alleviated symptoms of hallucinations, delusions, agitation and thought disorders. The French psychiatrists Jean Delay and Pierre Deniker report that chlorpromazine (Thorazine ) calms hospitalized chronic schizophrenic patients without causing clinically significant depression. The drug is called 'hibernotherapie' because patients became quiet, like animals in hibernation. The introduction of Neuroleptic drugs, including antipsychotics and major tranquillisers in the 1950s, often meant that there was less need for physical restraint. The worlds first antipsychotic drug chlorpromazine - used to treat schizophrenics, was, discovered by Laborit. A patient was sedated as well as experiencing a reduction in delusions and hallucinations. Neuroleptics are used mainly to treat schizophrenia but also other severe disorders including mania and amphetamine abuse. The most widely used group is the phenothiazines. They are used in the acute phase of schizophrenia when psychotic experiences are most intense and disturbing. Afterwards they can be used intermittently when the patient is unwell or stressed. One explanation of schizophrenia concerns an excess of the neurotransmitter Dopamine and most neuroleptics block the build up of dopamine in the brain. They are reported to be effective with 60% of patients. However, there are many side effects, some irreversible, such as muscular rigidity, uncontrolled fidgeting and uncontrolled spasms. More recent neuroleptics, introduced in 1990, are seen to be more effective and cause fewer side effects. They have revolutionised the treatment of schizophrenia, according to Comer, 1998.

George Jorgensen undergoes sex reassignment surgery in Denmark to become Christine Jorgensen

The President's Committee on National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week becomes the Presidents' Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped, a permanent organization reporting to the President and Congress.

Henry Vicardi takes out a personal loan to found Abilities, Inc., a jobs training and placement program for people with disabilities. Abilities, Inc. operated out of a garage in West Hempstead, and successfully demonstrated that people with disabilities could be productive contributors to society. Staffed primarily by disabled World War II veterans, Abilities, Inc. provided assembly and factory work for many defense contractors in the local area. The reputation of Abilities, Inc. grew to a point where contracts were awarded from industry giants such as Grumman, General Electric, IBM and the Department of Defense. For a time, Abilities was known as National Center for Disability Services (NCDS) but have since changed their name back to honor the original.

The Cardboard Giants, by Paul Hackett.  

Recovery from a Long Neurosis, Psychiatry 15: 161-177, by Anonymous (Mrs. F. H.).

Bars and Barricades, Being the Second Part of A Publisher Presents Himself. London, by Donald McIntosh Johnson.

Wisdom, Madness and Folly: The Philosophy of a Lunatic, by John Custance (pseudonym).   

How Thin the Veil: A Newspaperman's Story of His Own Mental Crackup and Recovery, by Jack Kerkoff.  


Mentally Impaired Used as Guniea Pigs. Clemens Benda, clinical director at the Fernald School in Waltham, Massachusetts, an institution for boys with mental retardation, invites 100 teenage students to participate in a "science club" in which they will be privy to special outings and extra snacks. In a letter requesting parental consent, Benda mentions an experiment in which "blood samples are taken after a special breakfast meal containing a certain amount of calcium," but makes no mention of the inclusion of radioactive substances that are fed to the boys in their oatmeal.

The (American) Presidents Committee on National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week became the Presidents Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped, a permanent organization reporting to the President and Congress.

BF Skinner publishes Science and Human Behavior, describing his theory of operant conditioning, an important concept in the development of behavior therapy.

The last of the Fitter Family contest (held at State Fairs since 1920) results were published in Eugenics magazines.

Ed Roberts, "father of the independent living movement," contracts polio.

Los Angeles County provided at-home attendant care to adults with polio as a cost-saving alternative to hospitalization.

The "Kinsey Report" became common knowledge world-wide. It was based on 4000 interviews with young, white, middle-class, educated women and revealed a large number of incest cases. It stated men frequently permitted themselves sexual liberties with children and went on to assure the public that children should not be upset and, if they were, it was the fault of the prudish parents and teachers, not the abuser. Although 89% of the women experiencing child sexual abuse reported fear and upset, the report advocated greater sexual license for men. It further stated men needed defense against persecution of malicious females. The report held the child responsible because of their interest in sexual activity and stated vaginal bleeding "did not appear to do any appreciable damage".

Hell's Cauldron, by Gerald Erasmus Wilcox [Thomas G. E. Wilkes].  

And Lo, the Star, by Margaret Atkins McGarr.  

To Hell and Back; The Story of an Alcoholic, by James E. Hummal [James H. Ellis].


First psychiatric drugs are created contributing to the beginning of deinstitutionalization. 

Chlorpromazine, marketed in the US as Thorazine, found to induce symptoms of Parkinsons disease.  Chlorpomazine (Thorazine) receives FDA approval.

Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1954 - Authorized innovation and expansion grants, and grants to colleges and universities for professional training.

Wagner-Peyser Act Amendments of 1954 - Required federal/state employment security offices to designate staff members to assist people with severe disabilities. Congress passes the Vocational Rehabilitation Amendments, authorizing federal grants to expand programs available to people with physical disabilities.  Mary Switzer, Director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, uses this authority to fund more than 100 university based rehabilitation related programs.

The U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, rules that separate schools for black and white children are inherently unequal and unconstitutional.  This pivotal decision becomes a catalyst for the African-American civil rights movement, which in turn becomes a major inspiration to the disability rights movement. In response, Mississippi and other places approve the creation of charter schools; privately funded and fully segregated.

B.F. Skinner brought the Skinner box theory of operant conditioning to American schools to condition and control childrens behavior. His own conditioned daughter committed suicide at the age of 21.

Social Security Act of 1935 was amended by PL 83-761 to include a freeze provision for workers who were forced by disability to leave the workforce. This protects their benefits when they retire by not counting the years between the time they cease working and their retirement, thus freezing their retirement benefits at their pre-disability level. Congress passed Title II of the Social Security Act, the Disability Income Program, and it was signed by President Eisenhower. The federal government began to become the great almoner of public charity, as Title II of the Social Security Act anticipated the important future titles, Title XVIII, Medicare; Title XIX, Medicaid; and Title XVI, the Supplemental Security Income Program. These three acts were passed in the 1960s and 1970s

Mary Switzer, Director of the U.S. Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, authorized funds for more than 100 university-based rehabilitation-related programs.

Congress investigated and found that although large corporations are a clear and dangerous threat to our liberty there is nothing they can do about it.

Ill Cry Tomorrow, by Lillian Roth with Mike Connolly and Gerald Frank.

This is Norman BrokenshireAn Unvarnished Self-Portrait, by Norman Brokenshire.

Long Journey; a Verbatim Report of a Case of Severe Psychosexual Infantilism, by Harold Kenneth Fink.  

Justice and Justices, by Basil Hubbard Pollitt.  

EpisodeA Record of Five Hundred Lost Days, by Peter W. Denzer.  

Adventure into the Unconscious. London, by John Custance (pseudonym).        


Congress authorizes the Mental Health Study Act. The Mental Health Study Act of 1955 called for an objective, thorough, nationwide analysis and reevaluation of the human and economic problems of mental health. The act furnished the basis for the historic study conducted by the Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health. The commission's final report, Action for Mental Health, provided the background for President John F. Kennedys special message to Congress on mental health.

Chlorpromazine said to induce symptoms similar to encephalitis lethargica.

Deinstitutionalization began with the US inpatient census peaking with 550,000 people institutionalized. The number of patients in mental hospitals began to decline reflecting the introduction of psychopharmacology in the treatment of mental illness.

The School name changes from Perkins Institution for the Blind to Perkins School for the Blind.

The Texas hospital for the Negro insane achieved notoriety when on April16, 1955, a group of African-American prisoners in the maximum-security unit rebelled and took over the hospital for five hours. The rebellion was led by nineteen-year-old Ben Riley, who articulated inmate demands for better counseling, organized exercise periods, an end to prisoner beatings, and that all inmates have the same rights enjoyed by the white inmates regarding meals, bathing and freedom of movement.

Pearl S. Buck, one of the most popular novelists and adoptive parents in the United States, accused social workers and religious institutions of sustaining a black market for adoptions and preventing the adoption of children in order to preserve their jobs.

At the Child Welfare League of America national conference on adoption in Chicago they announced that the era of special needs adoption had arrived. Congressional inquiry into interstate and black market adoptions, chaired by Senator Estes Kefauver (D-TN), suggested that poor adoption practices created juvenile delinquency.  A proposed federal law on black market adoptions was introduced by Senators Kefauver (D-TN) and Edward Thye (R-MN), but it never passed Congress. Bertha and Harry Holt adopted eight Korean War orphans after a special act of Congress allowed them to do so.  Pearl S. Buck accused social workers and religious institutions of sustaining the black market and preventing the adoption of children in order to preserve their jobs.  Adopt-A-Child was founded by the National Urban League and fourteen New York agencies to promote African-American adoptions.

Harold Wilke becomes the founder and first executive director of the Commission on Religion and Health within the United Church of Christ General Synod in New York.  In this capacity he works to open religious life and the ministry to women and people with disabilities.

National Association of Social Workers was founded, consolidating a number of other social work organizations.

Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), the first lesbian rights organization in the United States, founded in San Francisco. Although DOB originated as a social group, it later developed into a political organization to win basic acceptance for lesbians in the United States.


On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger for which she was arrested and jailed. Parks' action was not the first of its kind to impact the civil rights issue. Others had taken similar steps, including Lizzie Jennings in 1854, Homer Plessy in 1892, Irene Morgan in 1946, Sarah Louise Keys in 1955, and Claudette Colvin on the same bus system nine months before Parks, but Parks' civil disobedience had the effect of sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Parks' act of defiance became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement and Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including boycott leader Martin Luther King, Jr., helping to launch him to national prominence in the civil rights movement. At the time of her action, Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and had recently attended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee center for workers' rights and racial equality. Nonetheless, she took her action as a private citizen "tired of giving in". Although widely honored in later years for her action, she suffered for it, losing her job as a seamstress in a local department store.

S. Kirsan Weinberg published "Incest Behavior" documenting 203 cases reported by courts and social agencies in Chicago. There was no public response.

Voices Calling, by Lisa Wiley.

Fear Strikes Out: The Jim Piersall Story, by James Piersall and Albert Hirshberg.  

The Mind in Chains (Autobiography of a Schizophrenic), by William L. Moore.

Ward N-1, by John White.  


Social Security Amendments of 1956 - Established Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund and provided for payments to eligible workers who became disabled. Congress passes the Social Security Amendments of 1956, which creates a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program for disabled workers aged 50 to 64.

Congress appropriated $12 million for research in the clinical and basic aspects of psychopharmacology and the Psychopharmacology Service Center was established.

Helen Keller revisits Perkins to dedicate the Keller-Sullivan building in memory of her teacher, Anne Sullivan.

The number of consumers in mental hospitals began to decline reflecting the introduction of psychopharmacology in the treatment of mental illness.

The Health Amendments Act authorized the support of community services for the mentally ill, such as halfway houses, daycare, and aftercare under Title V.

Evelyn Hooker begins publishing research on the psychology of non-clinical homosexuals, based on work begun in the 1940's.

The American Medical Association formally recognizes alcoholism as a disease and the insurance industry begins to underwrite addiction treatment.

Narcotics Control Act also known as the Daniels Act. Further increased penalties and mandatory minimums for violations of existing drug laws.  

Schizophrenia, 1677: A Psychiatric Study of an Illustrated Autobiographical Record of Demoniacal Possession, by Christoph Haizmann (eds. Ida Macalpine and Richard Hunter).   

The Supreme Court bans segregated buses.

Accent on Living begins publication.

A Tale Told by a Lunatic. Dumfries, by Isabella Millar Norrison.


The first pharmacologic treatment for depression is reported with the work of Kuhn on the tricyclic antidepressant imipramine and of Loomer, Saunders and Kline on the monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor iproniazid.  

The first National wheelchair Games in the United States are held at Adelphi College in Garden City, New York.

Little People of American is founded in Reno, Nevada, to advocate on behalf of dwarfs or little people.

Gunnar Dybwad is named executive of the Association for Retarded Children.

British Wolfenden Commission recommends decriminalization of homosexuality.

Civil Rights Commission and a Division in Justice for Civil Rights were established.

President Eisenhower sends federal troops to allow colored children to go to public schools.

No Hiding Place, by Beth Day.  

Too Much, Too Soon, by Dianna Barrymore.  

The God Within, by Christina M. Valentine.  

The Plague of Psychiatry, by D. G. Simpson.

Selected Writings, by Gerard de. Nerval. (trans. Geoffrey Wagner).


National Defense Education Act of 1958 - Authorized federal assistance for preparation of teachers of children with disabilities.

C. Henry Kempe (Denver, Colorado) created one of the first Child Protection Teams to identify and treat child abuse.

Congress passes the Social security Amendments of 1958, extending Social Security Disability Insurance benefits to the dependents of disabled workers.

Gini Laurie becomes editor of the Toomeyville Gazette at the Toomey Pavilion Polio Rehabilitation Center.  Eventually renamed the Rehabilitation Gazette, this grassroots publication becomes an early voice for disability rights, independent living and cross-disability organizing, and it features articles by disabled writers on all aspects of the disability experience.

The American Federation of the Physically Handicapped is dissolved at a convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Participants organize the National Association of the Physically Handicapped, Inc. to take its place.

Congress passes PL 85-905, which authorized loan services for captioned films for the deaf, became law in the U.S.

Congress passes PL 85-926, which provided federal support for training teachers for children with mental retardation, became law in the U.S. Financial support was provided to colleges and universities under PL-85-926 for training personnel in leadership positions about teaching children with mental retardation. In 1963, this legislation was expanded to include grants for higher education teachers and researchers in a broader array of disabilities.

European Market Exchange system for international trading purposes began.

The Inside of the Cup. London, by A. Wingfield.

Mine Enemy Grows Older, by Alexander King.  

A Lawyer's Story In and Out of the World of Insanity, by Basil Hubbard Pollitt.  

Like a Lamb. London, by Ella Hales (pseudonym).

Operators and Things: The Inner Life of a Schizophrenic. London, by Barbara O'Brien (pseudonym).

The Lost Days of My life. London, by Jane Simpson.


First reports of permanent motor dysfunction linked to neuroleptics, later named tardive dyskinesia.

The UN General Assembly issued, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, covering children's rights, maternal protection, health, adequate food, shelter and education, was adopted by the General Assembly in 1959 as a milestone in the commitment of world governments to focus on the needs of children an issue once considered peripheral to development, but serving as a moral, rather than legally binding framework

Breakdown, by Robert G. Dahl.  

Beyond Shadows: A Minister and Mental Health, by Robert Frederick West.  

My Fight for Sanity. London, by Judith Kruger.  

The 1959 White House Conference on Children and Youth lead the way for UN Assembly to adopt Declaration of the Rights of the Child, endorsed in 1960 by Golden Anniversary White House Conference on Children and Youth.

The Taste of AshesAn Autobiography, by Bill Stern and Oscar Fraley.  

Cynicism and Realism of a Psychotic, by John L. Schmacher.  

Prodigal Shepherd, by Father Ralph Pfau.


Federal agencies devoted to addiction research are founded.  The American Medical Association formally recognizes alcoholism as a disease and the insurance industry begins to underwrite addiction treatment.

Conventional antipsychotic drugs, such as haloperidol, were first used to control outward (positive) symptoms of psychosis, bringing a significant measure of calm and order to previously noisy and chaotic psychiatric wards.

Lithium revolutionized the treatment of manic depression.

By making a coalition with Al-Anon programs, Rainbow Retreat (Phoenix, AZ) and Haven House (Pasadena, CA founded in 1964) are treating battered women married to alcoholic men. Between 1964 and 1972, Haven House shelters over 1,000 women and children.

The criminal justice system conceives of crisis intervention as a human program to aid police, courts, and victims. Arrest is inappropriate for solving the complex social and psychological problems demonstrated in these "family squabbles." Police officers become counselor and mediators trained in the skills of crisis intervention. Couples can then be referred to the appropriate social or psychiatric agency. By the time the battered women's movement develops, family courts and psychiatric and social work approaches reduce these criminal assaults to problems of individual or social pathology. The same would later apply to the growing mental patients movement.

In the mid-1960s, many seriously mentally ill people are removed from institutions. In the United States they are directed toward local mental health homes and facilities. The number of institutionalized mentally ill people in the United States will drop from a peak of 560,000 to just over 130,000 in 1980. Some of this deinstitutionalization is possible because of anti-psychotic drugs, which allow many psychotic patients to live more successfully and independently. However, many people suffering from mental illness become homeless because of inadequate housing and follow-up care.


Congress passes the Social Security Amendments of 1960, eliminating the restriction that disabled workers receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits must be aged 50 or older.

French physicians describe a potentially fatal toxic reaction to neuroleptics, later named neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

The (American) National Association for Down Syndrome (originally incorporated as the Mongoloid Development Council), the oldest Down Syndrome parent organization in the United States, was founded by Kathryn McGee, whose daughter Tricia had Down Syndrome.

Inclusion International founded and fights world-wide for human rights and social justice for people with intellectual disability and their families and is a close partner of the United Nations and its agencies.

A study by E. Morton Jellinek proposed the earliest version of the modern disease theory of alcoholism. 

Scientists at the American pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-LaRoche develop the benzodiazepines chlordiazepoxide (Librium )

The Food and Drug Administration approves birth control pills. Women now earn only 60 cents for every dollar earned by men, a decline since 1955. Women of color earn only 42 cents.

Kurt Freund uses pharmacological aversion therapy to 'cure' homosexuality.

The first Paralympic Games, under the auspices of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) are held in Rome, Italy.

Psychiatrist Marshall Schechter published a study claiming that adopted children were 100 times more likely than their non-adopted counterparts to show up in clinical populations. This sparked a vigorous debate about whether adoptive kinship was itself a risk factor for mental disturbance and illness and inspired a new round of studies into the psychopathology of adoption.

Freedom Riders violate white only rules for drinking fountains, waiting rooms, and restrooms.

Out of the Depths, by Anton T. Boisen.  

I Can't Forget, by Eloise Davenport.  

 Living with Schizophrenia. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 82, 218-222, by Norma McDonald.  

To Bedlam & Part Way Back, by Anne Sexton.  

In a Forest Dark, by Harry Feldman.  

The Harvard Psylocibin Project, conducted by Leary, T. and Alpert, R. concludes in 1962.


The American Council of the Blind is formally organized.

President Kennedy appoints a special President's Panel on Mental Retardation, to investigate the status of people with mental issues and develop programs and reforms for its improvement.

President John Kennedy establishes the President's Commission on the Status of Women and appoints Eleanor Roosevelt as chairwoman. Fifty parallel state commissions are eventually established. The report issued by the Commission in 1963 documents substantial discrimination against women in the workplace and makes specific recommendations for improvement, including fair hiring practices, paid maternity leave, and affordable child care. Birth control pills are approved for marketing in the United States.

The 17-year-old Fred Fay, less than a year after his devastating spinal cord injury, launches his disability advocacy career by co-founding "Opening Doors," a counseling and information center.

Stevie Wonder Discovered. Ronnie White (of The Miracles) discovers 11-year-old Steveland Judkins and arranges an audition with Motown CEO, Berry Gordy, who immediately signs the boy as "Little Stevie Wonder."

First Accessibility Standard Published. The American Standards Association, later known as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), publishes the first accessibility standard titled, Making Buildings Accessible to and Usable by the Physically Handicapped. Forty-nine states adapt accessibility legislation by 1973.The American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI) publishes American Standard Specifications for Making Buildings Accessible to, and Usable by, the Physically Handicapped (the A117.1 Barrier Free Standard). This landmark document, produced by the University of Illinois, becomes the basis for all subsequent architectural access codes.

A result of the Mental Health Study Act (1955), Action for Mental Health, the final report of the Joint Commission on Mental Health and Illness, was transmitted to Congress. A 10-volume series, it assessed mental health conditions and resources throughout the U.S. to arrive at a national program that would approach adequacy in meeting the individual needs of the mentally ill people of America.

In England, in 1961 Enoch Powell made his 'water tower' speech at a meeting of the National Association for Mental Health (not yet called Mind), announcing the proposed closure of the large psychiatric institutions with the development of care in the community. Edith Morgan (then a member of the Association's staff) commented,  'We all sat up, looked at each other and wondered what had happened. Because we'd been struggling for years to get the idea of community care and the eventual closure of mental hospitals on the map and here it was offered to us on a plate'.

Asylums: Essays on the social situation of mental patients and other inmates. New York: Anchor Books. Goffman, E. Another critic of the mental health establishment's approach, Goffman claims that most people in mental hospitals exhibit their psychotic symptoms and behavior as a direct result of being hospitalized.

The Myth of Mental Illness, by Thomas Szasz. Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz's book, The Myth of Mental Illness, argues that there is no such disease as schizophrenia.

Madness and Civilization, by Michel Foucault

Self and Others, Pelican Books. Laing, R.D.

Sweetheart, I Have Been to School, by Mary Noone (pseudonym).  

The Ha-Ha, by Jennifer Dawson.

Shock Treatment, by Winfred Van Atta.  

Faces in the Water, by Janet Frame.  

In the Forests of the Night. London. by S. Martel.  

Pencil ShavingsMemoirs. Cambridge, by Olive Higgins Prouty.


422,000 individuals were hospitalized for psychiatric care in the United States.

The President's Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped is renamed the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, reflecting its increased interest in employment issues affecting people with cognitive disabilities and mental illness.

The first child abuse reporting statutes were explored at a national conference sponsored by the federal Department of Health, federal Department of Education, and the Children's Bureau.

The 1962 Social Security Amendments (Public Law 87-543) required each state to make child welfare services available to all children. It further required states to provide coordination between child welfare services (under Title IV-B) and social services (under Title IV-A, or the Social Services program), which served families on welfare. The law also revised the definition of child welfare services to include the prevention and remedy of child abuse.

Ed Roberts sued to gain admission to the University of California. Ed Roberts Fights for Admission to University. Ed Roberts, a young man with polio, enrolls at the University of California, Berkeley. After his admission is rejected, he fights to get the decision overturned. Edward V. Roberts becomes the first severely disabled student at the University of California at Berkeley.  In 1970, he formed a group on campus called the Rolling Quads and one year after that, Ed and his associates established the nations first Center for Independent Living (CIL).  15 years after being told he was too disabled to work, Ed was appointed as the head of Vocational Rehabilitation for California, and established 9 CILs in the state in 1975.   Today there are over 300 CILs nationwide.  Ed is known as the father of the independent living movement.

California Mental Hygiene Department determines that chlorpromazine and other neuroleptics prolong hospitalization.


NIMH says education does not mean teaching students to know; it means teaching them to behave. There was a Governors conference call where funding of this was proposed, and they concluded that if parents resisted they should be forced into it.


James Meredith sued to become the first black person to attend the University of Mississippi.

President Kennedy orders an end to discrimination in public housing.

A Special Conference on child abuse, led by Katherine Oettinger, chief of the Children's Bureau of the Social Security Administration, generated proposals for new laws requiring doctors to notify law enforcement and most states adopted such legislation.

In New York, domestic violence cases are transferred from Criminal Court to Family Court where only civil procedures apply. The husband never faces the harsher penalties he would suffer if found guilty in Criminal Court for assaulting a stranger. 

Battered Child Syndrome not recognized by middle class, but recognized in lower class so poor children were rescued from bad, incompetent parents. There is no indication that the ancient ritual of child beating has been mitigated by modern theories of child raising. Parents continue to kick and punch their children, twist their arms, beat them with hammers or the buckle end of belts, burn them with cigarettes or electric irons, and scald them with whatever happens to be on the stove. Gathering documentation from 71 hospitals, a University of Colorado team headed by Pediatrician C. Henry Kempe found 302 battered-child cases in a single year; 33 of the children died, 85 suffered permanent brain damage. An accompanying Journal editorial predicts that when statistics on the battered-child syndrome are complete, It is likely that it will be found to be a more frequent cause of death than such well-recognized and thoroughly studied diseases as leukemia, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. In 1961 Dr. C. Henry Kempe, a pediatric radiologist, and his associates proposed the term battered child syndrome at a symposium on the problem of child abuse held under the auspices of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The term refers to the collection of injuries sustained by a child as a result of repeated mistreatment or beatings. The following year The Journal of the American Medical Association published the landmark article The Battered Child Syndrome (C. Henry Kempe et al., vol. 181, no. 17, July 7, 1962). The term battered child syndrome developed into maltreatment, encompassing not only physical assault but other forms of abuse, such as malnourishment, failure to thrive, medical neglect, and sexual and emotional abuse. Dr. Kempe had also proposed that physicians be required to report child abuse. According to the National Association of Counsel for Children, by 1967, after Dr. Kempe's findings had gained general acceptance among health and welfare workers and the public, forty-four states had passed legislation that required the reporting of child abuse to official agencies, and the remaining six states had voluntary reporting laws. This was one of the most rapidly accepted pieces of legislation in American history. Initially only doctors were required to report and then only in cases of serious physical injury or non-accidental injury. Today all the states have laws that require most professionals who serve children to report all forms of suspected abuse and either require or permit any citizen to report child abuse. One of the reasons for the lack of prosecution of early child abuse cases was the difficulty in determining whether a physical injury was a case of deliberate assault or an accident. In recent years, however, doctors of pediatric radiology have been able to determine the incidence of repeated child abuse through sophisticated developments in X-ray technology. These advances have allowed radiologists to see more clearly such things as subdural hematomas (blood clots around the brain resulting from blows to the head) and abnormal fractures. This brought about more recognition in the medical community of the widespread incidence of child abuse, along with growing public condemnation of abuse.

Counterculture author Ken Kesey's best-selling novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is based on his experiences working in the psychiatric ward of a Veterans' Administration hospital. Kesey is motivated by the premise that the patients he sees don't really have mental illnesses; they simply behave in ways a rigid society is unwilling to accept. In 1975, Kesey's book will be made into an influential movie starring Jack Nicholson as anti-authoritarian anti-hero Randle McMurphy.

Mental Hospital, by Morton M. Hunt.  

The World is a Wedding, by Bernard Kops.

Nothing to Lose. London, by Clare Marc Wallace.  


South Carolina passes the first statewide architectural access code.

Ed Roberts Initially Rejected by U.C. Berkeley. Ed Roberts, a young man with polio, enrolls at the University of California, Berkeley. After his admission is rejected, he fights to get the decision overturned, ultimately succeeding. Instead of a dormitory room, he lives in a converted wing of the Cowell Hospital, which can accommodate his 800 pound iron lung. medical clinic. John Hessler joins Ed Roberts at the University of California at Berkeley, other disabled students follow. Together they form the Rolling Quads to advocate for greater access on campus and in the surrounding community.

President John Kennedy, in a special address to Congress, calls for a reduction, over a number of years and by hundreds of thousands, (in the number) of persons confined to residential institutions, and he asks that methods be found to retain in and return to the community the mentally ill and mentally retarded, and there to restore and revitalize their lives through better health programs and strengthened educational and rehabilitation services.

Passage of the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act, an outgrowth of President Kennedys message, began a new era in Federal support for mental health services. Though not labeled such at the time, this is a call for deinstitutionalization and increased community services to substitute for custodial institutional care. Congress passes the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Health Centers Construction Act of 1963, authorizing federal grants for the construction of public and private nonprofit community mental health centers. The act sets aside money for developing State Developmental Disabilities Councils, Protection and Advocacy Systems, and University Centers. In 1984 it is renamed the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act Amendments of 1965 - Established grant program to cover initial staffing costs for community mental health centers. Passage of the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act provides the first federal money for developing a network of community-based mental health services. Advocates for deinstitutionalization believe that people with mental illness will voluntarily seek out treatment at these facilities if they need it, although in practice this will not always be the case.

President Kennedy signs Public Law 88-164, the Community Mental Health Centers Act to substitute comprehensive community care for custodial institutional care and it authorized funding for developmental research centers in university affiliated facilities and community facilities for people with mental retardation; it was the first federal law directed to help people with developmental disabilites. Though not labeled such at the time, this is a call for deinstitutionalization and increased community services. The federal CMHC program was based on a seed-money concept. Local communities applied for federal funds that declined over several years (initially five years and then eight). Alternative funds, especially third-party payments, were expected to replace the declining federal grant. These programs were intended to serve catchment areas of between 75,000 and 200,000 individuals and provide five essential services: inpatient services, outpatient services, day treatment, emergency services, and consultation and education services. The country was divided into 3,000 catchment areas, and the hope in the 1960s was that the entire country would be covered by the mid-1970s. That did not come to pass. The Community Mental Health Centers Act (PL 88-164) passed by the U.S. Congress, creating a federally funded community mental health system nationwide.  Services are facilities based and paid on a fee-for-service basis.

The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) has grown to 168 mental disorders in the DSM-II from the 112 mental disorders in its initial, 1952 edition.

Aaron T. Beck, one of the founders of cognitive behavioral therapy, published a paper on psychiatric diagnostic reliability. His review of nine different studies found rates of agreement between thirty-two and forty-two per cent. These were not encouraging numbers, given that diagnostic reliability isnt merely an academic issue: if psychiatrists cant agree on a patients condition, then they cant agree on the treatment of that condition, and, essentially, theres no relationship between diagnosis and cure. In addition, research depends on the doctors ability to form homogeneous subject groups. How can you test the effectiveness of a new drug to treat depression if you cant be sure that the person youre testing is suffering from that disorder?


Six-week NIMH collaborative study concludes that neuroleptics are safe and effective antischizophrenic drugs.

Scientists at the American pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-LaRoche develop the benzodiazepines diazepam (Valium )


In January, Ola Mae Quarterman-Clemons, an African-American woman, at the age of eighteen refused to sit on the back of the bus and spent the next thirty days in jail. She sat in the front seat of an Albany, Georgia bus, refused to move on the command of the driver, was arrested by a policeman and convicted in city court for using obscene language. The driver testified that she had told him: I paid my damn twenty cents, and I can sit where I want. Subsequently Miss Quarterman told a federal court, to which her case had gone on appeal, that she had used the word damn in relation to her twenty cents, not in relation to the driver. (Anywhere but in the Deep South a judge might have thought it incredible that she should be forced to defend her words by making such a distinction.) The city's counsel insisted her race had nothing to do with her arrest, and in cross-examination asked if it were not true that the cause of her arrest was her vulgar language. She replied softly, That's what they said.

Betty Friedan publishes her highly influential book The Feminine Mystique, which describes the dissatisfaction felt by middle-class American housewives with the narrow role imposed on them by society. It captures the discontent of a whole generation of middle class women who are struggling between aspirations for fulfillment and an ideology that assigns them to the home. The book becomes a best-seller and a seminal work of the womens liberation movement and galvanizes the modern women's rights movement.

The report issued by the President's Commission on the Status of Women documents discrimination against women in virtually every area of American life. It makes 24 specific recommendations, some surprisingly far-sighted (example: community property in marriages). 64,000 copies are sold in less than a year and talk of women's rights is again respectable.

Congress passes the Equal Pay Act, enacting the first federal law prohibiting sexual discrimination, making it illegal for employers to pay a woman less than what a man would receive for the same job.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development established as part of the National Institutes of Health.


U.S. Children's Bureau moved from Social Security Administration to Welfare Administration.


No Man Stands AloneThe True Story of Barney Ross, by Barney Ross.

And Always Tomorrow, by Sarah E. Lorenz.

I Was a Mental Statistic, by Edward X. Lane  

The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath.


The Civil Rights Act is passed prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin and creed. Later, gender was added as a protected class. While this act helps end discrimination against African Americans and women in the workplace, it does not make any provision for people with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities still lack opportunities to participate in and be contributing members of society, are denied access to employment, and are discriminated against based on disability. Congress passes and President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, and creed -- later, gender was added as a protected class. The Civil Rights Act outlaws discrimination on the basis of race in public accommodations and employment, as well as in federally assisted programs.  It will become a model for subsequent disability rights legislation. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars discrimination in employment on the basis of race and sex. At the same time it establishes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to investigate complaints and impose penalties.

Patsy Mink (D-HI) is the first Asian-American female elected to the U.S. Congress.

Neuroleptics found to impair learning in animals and humans.

M. P. Feldman and M. K. MacCulloch report on the use of electric shock aversion therapy in the treatment of homosexuality.

An article in the Archives of General Psychiatry written by Snell, Rosenwald, and Robey suggests that battered wives are like the wives of alcoholics, and that these wives have a masochistic need that their husbands' aggression fulfills. 

The Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health was issued and it documented that smoking cigarettes caused cancer and other serious diseases.

23 unmarried mothers per 1000 in mental hospitals. reason: pregnant.

I never promised you a rose garden. New York: Signet. Greenberg, J.

Sanity, Madness and the Family, by R.D. Laing & Aaron Esterson

Baudot Merged with TTY Communication. In California, deaf orthodontist Dr. James C. Marsters of Pasadena sends a teletype machine (TTY) to deaf scientist Robert Weitbrecht, asking him to find a way to attach the TTY to the telephone system. Weitbrecht modifies an acoustic coupler, giving birth to "Baudot," a code that is still used in TTY communication. Robert H. Weitbrecht invents the acoustic coupler, forerunner of the telephone modem, enabling teletypewriter messages to be sent via standard telephone lines. This invention makes possible the widespread use of teletypewriters for the deaf (TDD's, now called TTY's), offering deaf and hard-of-hearing people access to the telephone system.

Oral Deaf Education Labeled 'Failure. Congress issues the Babbidge Report on oral deaf education and concludes that it has been a "dismal failure." Many in the deaf community applaud this report, and look at it as a long-over due acknowledgment of the superiority of manual communication and education.

H. David Kirk published "Shared Fate: A Theory of Adoption and Mental Health", the first book to make adoption a serious issue in the sociological literature on family life and mental health.

While the U.S. worked with Japan to create the World Trade Organization, the Germans remained cut off.

Chastise Me with Scorpions, by Laura Rhodes and Lucy Freeman.  

Diary of a Paranoiac, by Edwin Mumford.

The Divided Self: The Healing of a Nervous Disorder. London, by Walter Steward Spencer [W. S. Stewart].  

God Gets in the Way of a Sailor, by H. G. Thach.

Truth Forever on the Scaffold: I Tried to Help My Country, by James Ross.

Episode: Report on the Accident Inside My Skull, by E. Hodgins.

Beyond All Reason. London, by Morag Coate.  

The White Shirts, by E. Field.  


Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 - Authorized federal aid to states and localities for educating deprived children, including children with disabilities. Federal Funds were authorized to do interventions and social workers, social agencies, and specialists all got involved. All could use the schoolhouse for anything they wanted to try and do and schools became non-consentual experimental hot beds.

Social Security Act Amendments of 1965 - Established Medicaid program for elderly people and for blind persons and other persons with disabilities. Medicare and Medicaid were established through passage of the Social Security Amendments of 1965, providing federally subsidized health care to disabled and elderly Americans covered by the Social Security program. These amendments changed the definition of disability under Social Security Disability Insurance program from of long continued and indefinite duration to expected to last for not less than 12 months. Medicaid Help for Low-Income and Disabled. Title XIX (19) of the Social Security Act creates a cooperative federal/state entitlement program, known as Medicaid, that pays medical costs for certain individuals with disabilities and families with low incomes.

During the mid-1960s NIMH launched an extensive attack on special mental health problems. Established were centers for child and family mental health, crime and delinquency, minority group mental health problems, schizophrenia, urban problems, and later, rape, aging, and technical assistance to victims of natural disasters.

The CMHC (Community Mental Health Center) Act Amendments of 1965, (P.L. 91-211), were enacted and included the following major provisions: Construction and staffing grants to centers were extended and facilities that served those with alcohol and substance abuse disorders were made eligible to receive these grants. Grants were provided to support the initiation and development of mental health services in poverty-stricken areas. A new program of grants was established to support further development of childrens services. The mental health centers staffing amendments authorized grants to help pay the salaries of professional and technical personnel in Community Mental Health Centers.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 became law in the U.S., and in addition to providing sweeping protections for minority voting rights (triggering riots), it allowed those with various disabilities to receive assistance "by a person of the voter's choice", as long as that person was not the disabled voter's boss or union agent.

Executive Order 11375 expands President Lyndon Johnson's affirmative action policy of 1965 to cover discrimination based on gender. As a result, federal agencies and contractors must take active measures to ensure that women as well as minorities enjoy the same educational and employment opportunities as white males.

Congress passes laws prohibiting discrimination against women in employment and requiring equal pay for equal work. The traditional marriage contract, however, remains legally intact in America. 

The Joint Commission on Mental Health of Children was established by Congress to recommend national action for child mental health.

One-year follow-up of NIMH collaborative study finds drug-treated patients more likely than placebo patients to be rehospitalized.

Vocational Rehabilitation Amendments of 1965 are passed, authorizing federal governments for the construction of rehabilitation centers, expanding existing vocational rehabilitation programs, and creating the National Commission on Architectural Barriers to Rehabilitation of the Handicapped.

The National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, was established by the U.S. Congress.

Bernard Bragg, a deaf actor and mime, stars in The Silent Man", a TV program in California. Bragg, a graduate of the Fanwood School for the Deaf in White Plains, New York was a co-founder of the National Theater of the Deaf and has toured America with his one-man show.

William C. Stokoe, Carl Croneberg, and Dorothy Casterline publish A Dictionary of American Sign Language on Linguistic Principles, establishing the legitimacy of American Sign Language and beginning the move away from oralism.

The Autism Society of America is founded by parents of children with autism in response to the lack of services, discrimination against children with autism, and the prevailing view of medical experts that autism is a result of poor parenting, as opposed to neurological disability.

Abe Fortas, a longtime proponent of children's and student rights, is appointed to the Supreme Court. Among many statements on behalf of children's rights, he wrote the majority opinion in Tinker v. Des Moines on behalf of children's right to free expression, along with In re Gault in support of children's right to due process. The Supreme Court took a distinctly different stance towards children's rights after he left in 1970.

Washington Mattachine Society adopts a resolution declaring that, homosexuality is not a sickness.

Bureau of Drug Abuse Control formed under the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Responsible for enforcing the Drug Abuse Control Amendment. Drug Abuse Control Amendment regulated, for the first time, the sale and possession of stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens. It restricted research into psychoactives such as LSD by requiring FDA approval.

In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court strikes down the one remaining state law prohibiting the use of contraceptives by married couples. Griswold v. Connecticut Supreme Court decision strikes down a state law that prohibited giving married people information, instruction, or medical advice on contraception.

Weeks v. Southern Bell marks a major triumph in the fight against restrictive labor laws and company regulations on the hours and conditions of women's work, opening many previously male-only jobs to females.

Madness and civilization: A history of insanity in the age of reason. New York, NY: Vintage Books, by Foucault, M.

President Lyndon Johnson declares war on poverty and moves to provide training, housing, education, health care, and social benefits for the poor.

Portrait of a Schizophrenic Nurse. London, by Clare Marc Wallace.

The Los Angeles County Bureau of Adoptions launched the first organized program of single parent adoptions in order to locate homes for hard-to-place children with special needs.

 Memoirs of an Amnesiac, by Oscar Levant.  

In Search of Sanity: The Journal of a Schizophrenic, by Gregory Stefan.

All the Hairs on My Head Hurt, by Dressler La Marr [Jinxy R. Howell].       

Spy Wife, by B. W. Powers and W. Diehl.  

Ward Seven: An Autobiographical Novel, by Valeriy Tarsis. (trans. from 1965 Russian ed.).


Dr. Robert Morgan: In summary, even one or two ECT treatments risk limbic damage in the brain leading to retarded speed, coordination, handwriting, concentration, attention span, memory, response flexibility, retention, and re-education. On the psychological side, fear of ECT has produced stress ulcers, renal disease, confusion, amnesic withdrawal, and resistance to re-educative or psychological therapy. The research thus indicated that ECT was a slower-acting lobotomy with the added complications of shock-induced terror.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act Amendments of 1966 - Created National Advisory Committee on Handicapped Children; created Bureau of Education for the Handicapped in U.S. Office of Education.

Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1966 - Established standards for employment of workers with disabilities, allowing for sub-minimum wages.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is founded by a group of feminists including Betty Friedan. The largest women's rights group in the U.S., NOW seeks to end sexual discrimination, especially in the workplace, by means of legislative lobbying, litigation, and public demonstrations. Fifty state Commissions on the Status of Women convene in Washington, D.C., to report on their findings.

Beating, as cruel and inhumane treatment, becomes grounds for divorce in New York, but the plaintiff must establish that a "sufficient" number of beatings have taken place.

A study in Chicago reveals that from September 1965 to March 1966, 46.1% of the major crimes perpetrated against women took place in the home. It also found that police response to domestic disturbance calls exceeded total response for murder, rape, aggravated assault, and other serious crimes.

Every state except Hawaii has passed child abuse report laws.

Despite the large population directly affected, alcohol abuse and alcoholism did not receive full recognition as a major public health problem until the mid-1960s. The National Center for Prevention and Control of Alcoholism was established as part of NIMH. Four years later it became a division on its way to institute status.

Frederick C. Schreiber becomes the executive secretary of the National Association of the Deaf.

President Johnson establishes the President's Committee on Mental Retardation.

Christmas in Purgatory by Burton Blatt and Fred Kaplan, is published, documenting the appalling conditions at state institutions for people with developmental disabilities.

A research program on drug abuse was inaugurated with the establishment of the Center for Studies of Narcotic and Drug Abuse within NIMH. Division status followed in 1968, with institute status in 1972.

In 1966, Malcolm X is assassinated. Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little, but changed his name in a symbolic attempt to remove a last name which was inherited from the system of slavery. Malcolm X was a pivotal African American leader for black rights. He argued for black pride through voluntary black separatism, because he believed that African Americans had received enough injustices from white society, and needed to separate to gain strength and solidarity. He converted to the Nation of Islam, and later talked about the need to unite across races. However, there came to be much dissension among the Nation of Islam, and many believe that Malcolm X was assassinated by men in the dissenting group. Other people argue that the FBI was behind his death.

Mishaps, Perhaps, by C. Solomon.  

Woman in Two Worlds; a Personal Story of Psychological Experience, by Wanda Martin.  

Crazy, by Jane Doe (pseudonym).


NIMH was separated from NIH and raised to bureau status in Public Health Services by a reorganization that became effective January 1. NIMHs Division of Clinical, Behavioral and Biological Research, within the Mental Health Intramural Research Program, comprising activities conducted in the Clinical Center and other NIH facilities, continued at NIH under an agreement for joint administration between NIH and NIMH.

Martin Luther King Jr. addressed the American Psychological Association convention in Washington, D.C, proposing the creation of The International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment.

The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, often abbreviated LPS, (Cal. Welf & Inst. Code, sec. 5000 et seq.) was signed into law by then-governor of California Ronald Reagan (although it only went into full effect on July 1, 1972.) The Act in effect ended all hospital commitments by the judiciary system in California, except in the case of criminal sentencing, e.g., convicted sexual offenders, and those who are "gravely disabled", defined as unable to obtain food, clothing, or housing [Conservatorship of Susan T., 8 Cal. 4th 1005 (1994)]. It did not, however, impede the right of voluntary commitment. It also expanded the evaluative power of psychiatrists and created provisions and criteria for holds. This Act set the precedent for modern mental health commitment procedures in the United States

On August 13, DHEW Secretary John W. Gardner transferred St. Elizabeths Hospital, the Federal Governments only civilian psychiatric hospital, to NIMH.

Elementary and Secondary Education Amendments of 1967 - Authorized regional resource centers; authorized centers and services for deaf-blind children.

Colorado becomes the first state to liberalize abortion laws.

In England, at the Court Lees Approved School, the Gibbens report into allegations of excessive punishment at the school prompted Home Secretary Roy Jenkins to announce its immediate closure, and the need to phase out corporal punishment in all Approved Schools. Under the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 responsibility for Approved Schools was devolved from the Home Office to local social services authorities, and they were renamed "Community Homes with Education".

The National Theatre of the Deaf is founded with a grant from the federal Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908  January 24, 1993) was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, serving from October 1967 until October 1991. Marshall was the Court's 96th justice and its first African-American justice. Before becoming a judge, Marshall was a lawyer who was best remembered for his high success rate in arguing before the Supreme Court and for the victory in Brown v. Board of Education. He argued more cases before the United States Supreme Court than anyone else in history.

In re Gault was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision which established that juveniles accused of crimes in a delinquency proceeding must be accorded many of the same due process rights as adults such as the right to timely notification of charges, the right to confront witnesses, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to counsel.

The Politics of Experience & The Bird of Paradise. Penguin Books, by Laing, R.D.

The American Woman and Alcohol, by P. Kent.  

Chicago Women's Liberation Group organizes, considered the first to use the term "liberation."

New York Radical Women is founded. The following year they begin a process of sharing life stories, which becomes known as "consciousness raising." Groups immediately take root coast-to-coast.

The state of Maine opens one of the first battered womens shelters in the United States.

California becomes the first state to re-legalize abortion.

Executive Order 11375 expands Executive Order 11246's non-discrimination measure to include women. Enforcement is not won until 1973, however.

Five Years in Mental Hospitals: An Autobiographical Essay, by Arthur Wellon.

By Reason of Insanity, by John Balt.  


Homophile activists protest against Dr. Charles Socarides at the American Medical Association meeting in San Francisco. Much of Socarides' career was devoted to studying how homosexuality develops and how it might be altered. He postulated that homosexuality was a neurotic adaptation, and that it could be 'treated.'

NIMH became a component of Public Health Services Health Services and Mental Health Administration (HSMHA).

In a drug withdrawal study, the NIMH finds that relapse rates rise in direct relation to dosage. The higher the dosage that patients are on before withdrawal, the higher the relapse rate.

Handicapped Children's Early Education Assistance Act of 1968 - Established grant program for preschool and early education of children with disabilities.

Vocational Education Act Amendments of 1968 - Required participating states to earmark 10 percent of basic vocational education allotment for youth with disabilities.

A new degree, Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) is authorized. In 1973 the practitioner-scholar model and the associated Psy.D. degree were recognized by the American Psychological Association at the Conference on Levels and Patterns of Professional Training in Psychology (The Vail Conference). The Practitioner-Scholar model followed the earlier scientist-practitioner model of doctoral training in psychology, which was created at the Boulder Conference on Graduate Education in Clinical Psychology in 1949. The Vail Model or practitioner-scholar model emphasizes clinical practice in training, while the Boulder Model emphasises research and scientific practice. Graduates of both training models are eligible for licensure in all states (licensing exams and renewal requirements are the same for both degrees).

The California legislature guaranteed that the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) would be the first rapid transit system in the U.S. to accommodate wheelchair users.

Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 - The Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 mandates the removal of what is perceived to be the most significant obstacle to employment for people with disabilitiesthe physical design of the buildings and facilities on the job. The act requires that all buildings designed, constructed, altered, or leased with federal funds to be made accessible. Required most buildings and facilities built, constructed, or altered with federal funds after 1969 to be accessible. The Architectural Barriers Act is passed, mandating that federally constructed buildings and facilities be accessible to people with physical disabilities. This act is generally considered to be the first ever federal disability rights legislation. Architectural Barriers Act: prohibits architectural barriers in all federally owned or leased buildings.

DSM-II, Although the APA was closely involved in the next significant revision of the mental disorder section of the ICD (version 8 in 1968), it decided to go ahead with a revision of the DSM. It was published in 1968, listed 182 disorders (increased from 106 in 1952), and was 134 pages long. It was quite similar to the DSM-I. The term reaction was dropped, but the term neurosis was retained. Both the DSM-I and the DSM-II reflected the predominant psychodynamic psychiatry, although they also included biological perspectives and concepts from Kraepelin's system of classification. Symptoms were not specified in detail for specific disorders. Many were seen as reflections of broad underlying conflicts or maladaptive reactions to life problems, rooted in a distinction between neurosis and psychosis (roughly, anxiety/depression broadly in touch with reality, or hallucinations/delusions appearing disconnected from reality). Sociological and biological knowledge was incorporated, in a model that did not emphasize a clear boundary between normality and abnormality. The idea that personality disorders did not involve emotional distress was discarded.


First International Special Olympics. Eunice Kennedy Shriver founds the Special Olympics in 1962 to provide athletic training and competition for persons with intellectual disabilities. The organization grows into an international program enabling more than one million young people and adults to participate in 23 Olympic-type sports events each year. The first International Special Olympics Games are held July 20th in Chicago, Illinois in 1968.

Bureau of Narcotics & Dangerous Drugs is created by executive order, under the Department of Justice, by merging the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and the Bureau of Drug Abuse Control.  

James Koener wrote, Who Controls American Education, after the Detroit Civil Riots. Koener said, It is not at all clear that fundamental decisions are better made by people with post graduate degrees, than by those with undergraduate degrees, or with no degrees at all

C. Henry Kempe and Ray E. Helfer, editors: The Battered Child. 1st edition, 1968. 2nd edition, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1974. 3rd edition, 1980. 5th edition by M. E. Helfer, R. Kempe, and R. Krugman, 1997. Publication of this book caused people to begin to become aware that parents and caregivers truly could and did physically abuse their children.

New York Radical Women garner media attention to the women's movement when they protest the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City.

The first national women's liberation conference is held in Chicago.

The Harris poll interviews 1,176 American adults in October. They find that 1/5 approve of slapping one's spouse on "appropriate occasions."

The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) is founded.

Federally Employed Woman is founded to end gender-based discrimination in civil service jobs. Within two decades, FEW has 200 chapters nationwide.

The Voice of the Women's Liberation Movement appears in Chicago, edited by Jo Freeman and others. By 1971, over 100 women's movement newsletters and newspapers are being published across the country.

National Welfare Rights organization if formed by activists such as Johnnie Tillmon and Etta Horm. They have 22,000 members by 1969, but are unable to survive as an organization past 1975.

Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) is first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

The EEOC rules that sex-segregated help wanted ads in newspapers are illegal. EEOC rules that unless employers can show a bona fide occupational qualification exists, sex-segregated help wanted newspaper ads are illegal. This ruling is upheld in 1973 by the Supreme Court, opening the way for women to apply for higher-paying jobs hitherto open only to men.

In Scotland, following publication of the Kilbrandon report in 1964, the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 set up the Scottish Childrens Hearings system and revolutionised juvenile justice in Scotland by removing children in trouble from the criminal courts. The institutional framework for supporting children and families established on the basis of the key recommendations of the report has been largely unchanged since it was introduced in 1971. Changes from the latest review, currently under way in 2008, are planned for implementation from 2010.

We Shall Overcome (WSO) founded and is a Norwegian NGO (non-governmental organization), run by and for users and survivors of psychiatry. WSO advocates for the human rights of users and survivors of psychiatry. The organisation is a member of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP).

A father's assault was considered benign, triggered by a child's need for affection. (Burton)

Martin Luther King, Jr. announces plans for a Poor Peoples Commission for employment for all.

Born To Trouble: Portrait of a Psychopath, by R. Lloyd.  

Tornado: My Experience with Mental Illness, by Hellen Moeller.

Half a Lifetime, by Alton Brea.

The Unimportance of Being Oscar, by Oscar Levant,  

Never Come Early, by Joseph J. Partyka  

More Mishaps, by C. Solomon.


The Stonewall Inn riots in New Yorks Greenwich Village ignites a radical gay rights movement.

National Institute of Mental Health Task Force on Homosexuality, headed by Evelyn Hooker, completes its Final Report; publication delayed until 1972.

Niels Erk Bank-Mikkelsen from Denmark and Bengt Nirje from Sweden introduce the concept of normalization to an American audience at a conference sponsored by the President's Committee on Mental Retardation, helping to provide the conceptual framework for deinstitutionalization. Their remarks, and those of others, are published in Changing Patterns in Services for the Mentally Retarded.

President Nixon created the Office of Child Development under the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) to coordinate and administer Head Start and U.S. Children's Bureau functions.

Insane Liberation Front (ILF) is organized by Howie The Harp (homeless advocate), Dorothy Weiner (union organizer) Tom Wittick (political activist/organizer) and about ten others in Portland, Oregon.  It is the first known, modern, organized, self-help, advocacy, ex-patient group that was dedicated to liberation from psychiatry. This marks the birth of the modern mental patients movement. Howie The Harp is the name to which he had his name legally changed so that hed have the same middle name as Winnie the Pooh and Ivan the Terrible. He learned to play harmonica from a fellow inmate once while locked up and found it to be a useful organizing tool and at times used it to support himself on the streets.


In 1969, in Portland, Oregon, our modern human rights movement was founded. Dorothy Weiner, a union activist and labor organizer put an ad in a local underground newspaper. Tom Wittick, a socialist political activist and organizer answered the ad. A shy young man who had just gotten out of Western State Hospital in Washington and was living in a half-way house was driven down to the meeting by his sister. That was Howie The Harp, a homeless organizer. These three laid the groundwork for all that was to become our modern movement.

They met regularly on Friday nights with a business meeting followed by social time. Sometimes they met in each others living rooms and sometimes theyd meet at a pizza house, the library or other gathering places. Theyd have anywhere from 8 to 80 people show up for the meetings. They named themselves the Insane Liberation Front. At one point they were offered support by Radical Therapists who were a group of psychologists from the Air Force who had served in Viet Nam. The Radical Therapists published a collection of papers from the time and this is the chapter written by the Insane Liberation Front in 1971. The Manifesto is modeled after the Ten Point Program of the Black Panther party written in 1966.

Insane Liberation Front

We, of Insane Liberation Front, are former mental patients and people whom society labels as insane. We are beginning to get together beginning to see that our problems are not individual, not due to personal inadequacies but are a result of living in an oppressive society. And were beginning to see that our so-called sickness is a personal rebellion or an internal revolt against this inhumane system. Insane Liberation will actively fight mental institutions and the brutalization they represent (e.g., involuntary confinement, electric shock, use of drugs, forced labor, beatings, and the constant affronts to our self-identity). Even in so-called progressive hospitals where many of the physical abuses do not occur, were still made to feel so low that our concepts of who we are, and our beliefs, are pushed down so far that we often end up accepting our jailers society. We will fight to free all people imprisoned in mental institutions.

Insane Liberation plans to establish neighborhood freak-out centers where people can get help from people who are undergoing or have undergone similar experiences. We believe that the only way people can be helped is through people helping each other people with hang-ups being totally open and sincere to each other. The majority of shrinks, on the other hand, set themselves up as all-knowing authorities and from their positions of power automatically assume that the so-called patient is sick and not the society.

We demand, with other liberation groups, an end to the capitalistic system with its racist, sexist oppression and with its competitive, antihuman standards. We believe in a socialist society based on cooperation.

Demands from Insane Manifesto

1.  We demand an end to the existence of mental institutions and all the oppression they represent (e.g., involuntary servitude, electroshock, use of drugs, and restrictions on freedom to communicate with the outside).

2.  We demand that all people imprisoned in mental hospitals be immediately freed.

3.  We demand the establishment of neighborhood freak-out centers, entirely controlled by the people who use them. A freak-out center is a place where people, if they feel they need help, can get it in a totally open atmosphere from people who are undergoing or have undergone similar experiences.

            I see the freak-out center as a place where there will be people who know where people freaking out are at because they have been there and they wont cut them off because they know how devastating that can be. The people that live and work there see themselves as no more sane than anyone that will come there. Everyone is insane and everyone freaks out. (Insane Liberation, Portland, Oregon.)

Insane Liberation plans to form freak-out centers immediately.

4.  We demand an end to mental commitments.

5.  We want an end to the practice of psychiatry. The whole science of psychiatry is based on the assumption that there is something wrong with the individual rather than with society. We see psychiatry as a tool to maintain the present system. Rebelling often means being immediately sent to a shrink because of emotional disturbance. We see that the majority of shrinks a) make money off our problems; b) see us as categories and objects. To them we are an anxiety neurosis or a paranoid reaction instead of a human being; c) foster dependency instead of independency by making us distrust ourselves and consequently look for answers in the all-knowing God, the psychiatrist.

            Many psychiatrists have already used their influences to discredit the revolutionary movement by calling it sick. We see that this will continue and get worse.

6.  We demand an end to economic discrimination against people who have undergone psychiatric treatment and we demand that all their records be destroyed.

7.  We want an end to sane chauvinism (intolerance toward people who appear strange and act differently) and that people be educated to fight against it.

8.  We demand with other liberation groups an end to the capitalistic system with its racist, sexist oppression and with its competitive, antihuman standards. We believe in a socialist society based on cooperation.

9.  We demand the right to the integrity of our bodies in all their functions, including the extremist of situations, suicide. We demand that all antisuicide laws be wiped

From The Radical Therapist; therapy means CHANGE not adjustment, The Radical Therapist Collective Produced by Jerome Agel, Ballantine Books, Inc., NY, September 1971, SBN# 345-02383-8-125


Silent News is founded by Julius and Harriet Wiggins as a newspaper for deaf people.

Chicago women set up "Jane," an abortion referral service. During four years of existence, it provides more than 11,000 women with safe and affordable abortions.

The Boston Women's Health Book Collective publishes the self-help manual Our Bodies, Ourselves: A Book by and for Women, incorporating medical information with personal experiences. Nearly 4 million copies sold as of 1997.

California adopts the nation's first "no fault" divorce law, allowing couples to divorce by mutual consent. California adopts a no-fault divorce law by which either partner can request and obtain a divorce without fear of being contested by the other party. Other states follow rapidly. By 1985 every state has adopted a similar law. Laws are also passed regarding the equal division of common property.

The killing of a wife, sister, or mother by a man upholding his "male honor" is made a serious offense in Italy.

In Bowe v. Colgate-Palmolive, the Supreme Court rules that women meeting the physical requirements can work in many jobs that had been for men only.

Crisis in Child Mental Health, the report of the Joint Commission on Mental Health of Children, was made public.

Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases describes how they attempted to reduce the aggressive behavior of a thirty-one year old schizophrenic woman by shocking her with a cattle prod whenever she made accusation of being persecuted and abused; made verbal threats, or committed aggressive acts.  

Dr. Herbert Modlin, managed a group of paranoid women back to feminine health; he helped them re-establish their relationships with their husbands. He decided that his paranoid patients needed strong male control, both within their marriages and within the hospital.

Aftershock, by Ellen Wolfe.  

My Testimony, by Anatoly Marchenko  

Fear No Evil, by John E. Leach.  

The Prison of My Mind, by Barbara Fields Benziger.  

Early 1970's

For the first time, Gaynor Lacey, a Welsh psychiatrist, and C. Janet Newman, a child psychiatrist, looked at children of traumatic events.

The first rape crisis center was established.

Feminism develops into two major branches, a women's rights feminism like NOW, and a women's liberation movement exemplified by socialist feminist and radical feminist groups. The women's liberation movement, by claiming that what goes on in the privacy of people's homes is deeply political, sets the stage for the battered women's movement. The emerging movement details the conditions of daily life that allow women to call themselves battered. Women's hotlines and crisis centers provide a context for battered women to speak out and seek help. The feminist movement emphasizes egalitarianism and participatory organizational models. In feminist shelters, women create a new morality that is in direct contrast to the competitive, male-dominated organizations and bureaucracies surrounding them. Women are inspired and sustained by their relationships with others, by knowing that their work is crucial and by the feminist process within the shelters. As shelters grow, structural questions arise. Some choose to work collectively, others organize around a hierarchial structure, while still others adopt modified collectives or hierarchies. As more and more shelters and programs receive welfare or Title XX monies, staff workers slowly start to call battered women "clients." Greater attention is given to individual counseling for women and less on group sharing, peer support and teaching battered women to advocate for one another. Social change is discouraged, and Title XX funding can be used only for services, not community education. Clashes between the movement and funding agencies which want programs to respond like other service organizations, sap much energy for serveral years.

References to male violence in the family are made in several women's liberation anthologies, such as Sisterhood is Powerful (1970) and Voices from Women's Liberation. Neither of these two anthologies contains articles on rape. The anti-rape movement emerges a couple of years later. 

Scotland and Iran make wife-beating illegal.

In Chicago, like many other cities, married battered women who leave their husbands are denied welfare due to their husbands' income.

Chicago Women Against Rape forms.

NOW organizes more than 300 local and state rape task forces.


The final report of President Carters Commission on Mental Health calls for attention to basic community supports for mental health consumers.  The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act consolidated drug laws and strengthened law enforcement; it also authorized the Controlled Substances Act classifying drugs based on medical value, harmfulness, and potential for abuse or addiction.  President Nixon identified drug abuse as public enemy number one in the United States and launched the war on drugs and crime. The initial National Household Survey on Drug Abuse is completed in 1971. By 1970 the womans movement, gay rights movement and the disabilities rights movement emerged. Throughout the 1970s, the CMHC program competed with many urgent domestic programs, both health-related and non-health-related. Richard Nixon tried to discontinue the program but was rebuffed by the Democratic Congress. Congress passed amendments that added more requirements for the mental health centers but did not appropriate the funds necessary either to pay for the newly required services or to cover even half of the country in the time frame initially envisioned. Required services included those for children, the elderly population, and chemically dependent persons as well as rehabilitation, housing, and preventive services.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) initiated rape reform legislation. Within ten years, all fifty states changed laws.

The National Institute of Mental Health was pressured to create a center for research on rape. Long and personal interviews were initiated for the first time since Freud and Janet, 100 years earlier. The interviews showed pervasive and epidemic sexual assaults on women and children.

For the first time, rape was established as a crime of violence. It was the first time for countering the view that rape fulfilled a woman's deepest desires.

"We will not be beaten" becomes the mantra of women across the country organizing to end domestic violence. A grassroots organizing effort begins, transforming public consciousness and women's lives. The common belief within the movement is that women face brutality from their husbands and indifference from social institutions.

The Richmond, CA police department is the first in the nation to make domestic crisis intervention training part of its in-service training, and the first to train all of its police officers. This program operates without federal or state funding. In contrast, Oakland police department has only four officers who are trained to "man family crisis cars" and become more psychologically sensitive to domestic violence. 

The family crisis intervention unit of Hayward, CA Police Department hires mental health professionals to accompany them on family crisis calls and to provide ongoing family counseling. The program, Project Outreach, uses unmarked police cars and operates from 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Fridays through Sundays. By 1976 all officers have been trained in domestic violence. Repeat calls decreased by 27% and total calls by 22%. 

In Tokyo, Japan a group of feminists is on the alert for situations where women are victimized by men. They march into the offices of the perpetrators wearing pink helmets, carrying placards that read "We will not condone the tyranny of the husband." If the man is there, they will shout at him through bullhorns for all to hear. If he is not there, they will demand that the company executives justify why they hired such a "heel." The group believes that the tactics work because the men loose face.

A pamphlet published by the American Humane Association stated, "The mother is the only possible agent of incest control within the family group".

The Women's Liberation Movement brought incest issues into awareness through discussions.

Normalization is introduced to the United States. Decentralization and deinstitutionalization begin. Lawsuits against institutions are filed. Federal funds are available for residential care (ICFIntermediate Care Facilities). The law and services recognize concepts such as: least restrictive environment, the developmental model, and behavior modification. The Self-Advocacy and Independent Living Movements are born.

In a review of the five largest studies of parent/child incest, a total of 424 cases, fathers were found to be the abusers 97% of the time.


Developmental Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction Amendments of 1970 - These Amendments contained the first legal definition of developmental disabilities. They also authorized grants for services and facilities for the rehabilitation of people with developmental disabilities and state DD Councils. Expanded services to individuals with epilepsy and cerebral palsy; authorized new state formula grant program; defined developmental disability in categorical terms; established state-level planning council. The Developmental Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction Amendments are passed.  They contain the first legal definition of developmental disabilities and authorize grants for services and facilities for the rehabilitation of people with developmental disabilities and state DD Councils.

Mass deinstitutionalization began. Patients and their families were left to their own resources due to lack of outpatient programs for rehabilitation and reintegration back into society.

Nursing home resident Max Starkloff founds Paraquad in St Louis.

Disabled in Action is founded in New York City by Judith Heumann, after her successful employment discrimination suit against the city's public school system.  With chapters in several other cities, it organizes demonstrations and files litigation on behalf of disability rights.

The Physically Disabled Students Program (PDSP) is founded by Ed Roberts, John Hessler, Hale Zukas, and others at the University of California at Berkeley. With its provisions for community living, political advocacy, and personal assistance services, it becomes the nucleus for the first Center for Independent Living, founded two years later in 1972.

Urban Mass Transportation Act Amendment of 1970 - Authorized grants to states and localities for accessible mass transportation. Congress passes the Urban Mass Transportation Assistance Act, declaring it a national policy that elderly and handicapped persons have the same right as other persons to utilize mass transportation facilities and services. Passage of the act has little impact, however, as the law contains no provision for enforcement. The Urban Mass Transportation Act became law, and it required all new American mass transit vehicles be equipped with wheelchair lifts. APTA delayed implementation for 20 years. Regulations were finally issued in 1990. It was twenty years, primarily because of machinations of the American Public Transit Association (APTA), before the part of the law requiring wheelchair lifts was implemented.

Educator and Disability Activist. Judy Heumann sues the New York City Board of Education when her application for a teaching license is denied. The stated reason is the same originally used to bar her from kindergartenthat her wheelchair is a fire hazard. The suit, settled out of court, launches Heumann's activism. Disabled in Action is founded in New York City by Judith Heumann, after her successful employment discrimination suit against the city's public school system. With chapters in several other cities, it organizes demonstrations and files litigation on behalf of disability rights.

In Schultz v. Wheaton Glass Co., a U.S. Court of Appeals rules that jobs held by men and women need to be "substantially equal" but not "identical" to fall under the protection of the Equal Pay Act. An employer cannot, for example, change the job titles of women workers in order to pay them less than men.

Betty Friedan organizes first Women's Equality Day, August 26, to mark the 50th anniversary of women's right to vote.

Sexual Politics, by Kate Millett, is published.

A study shows that police in Oakland, CA responded to more than 16,000 family disturbance calls during a six-month period.

The index of the Journal of Marriage and the Family includes a reference to "violence," claiming none existed from 1939 to present.

The Comision Feminil Mexicana Nacion is organized to promote Latina rights. Founders include Graciella Olivares, Gracia Molina Pick, Francisco Flores, and Yolanda Nava.

The North American Indian Women's Association is founded.

San Diego State College in California establishes the first official, integrated women's studies program.

Women's wages fall to 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. Although nonwhite women earn even less, the gap is closing between white women and women of color.

The Equal Rights Amendment is reintroduced into Congress.

Lutheran Church in America and the American Lutheran Church agree to ordain women; the Lutheran Church: Missouri Synod does not. Barbara Andrews becomes first woman ordained.

Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act consolidated drug laws and strengthened law enforcement it also authorized the Controlled Substance Act classifying drugs based on medical value, harmfulness, and potential for abuse and addiction. The Controlled Substance Act replaced the Drug Abuse Control Amendment and organized federally regulated drugs (including opiates, coca, cannabis, stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens) into five schedules with varying restrictions and penalties.  

President Nixon creates the Office of Minority Business Enterprise.

Formulated in the early 1960's by a mother dissatisfied with oral-based attempts to teach her deaf daughter, the Total Communication system gains grassroots support and becomes the foundation for a new approach to deaf education within public school systems.

The Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Act established the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism within NIMH.

Dr. Julius Axelrod, an NIMH researcher, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for research into the chemistry of nerve transmission for discoveries concerning the humoral transmitters in the nerve terminals and the mechanisms for their storage, release and inactivation. He found an enzyme that terminates the action of the nerve transmitter, noradrenaline.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves lithium to treat people diagnosed with manic-depression based upon NIMH research. The Australian psychiatrist John Cade had shown 20 years earlier (1949) that lithium quieted manic patients. This allegedly led to a savings of approximately $40 billion over the next couple of decades and a sharp drop of inpatient days and suicides.

Gay rights activists storm panels on homosexuality at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual convention in San Francisco.

In re Winship was a U.S. Supreme Court decision that held when a juvenile is charged with an act which would be a crime if committed by an adult, every element of the offense must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Adoptions reached their century-long statistical peak at approximately 175,000 per year. Almost 80 percent of the total were arranged by agencies.

The Ford Foundation works with the federal government to develop the National Commission on Resources for Youth, which produces reports, holds conferences and conducts an array of activities focused on promoting youth participation, youth voice, youth empowerment and community youth development across the United States.

Signed English, Seeing Essential English and SEE II methods are developed in order to create a manual code for English that can be used to supplement the Oral method. These sign systems are to be used simultaneously with speech to promote the development of English skills.

A few states make abortion available upon request of a woman and her doctor.

In the United Kingdom, having concluded that the historical causes for fixing 21 years as the age of majority were no longer relevant to contemporary society, the Latey Committee's recommendation was accepted, that the Age of majority, including voting age, should be reduced to 18 years.

First Christopher Street Liberation Day March in New York City commemorating the Stonewall riots.

Ed Roberts, "father of the independent living movement," contracts polio in 1953. In 1970, he and and his peers at Cowell (UC Berkeley Health Center) formed a group called the Rolling Quads. The Rolling Quads form the Disabled Students' Program on the U.C. Berkeley campus. He says "I'm tired of well meaning noncripples with their stereotypes of what I can and cannot do directing my life and my future. I want cripples to direct their own programs and to be able to train other cripples to direct new programs. This is the start of something big -- cripple power. "Ed Roberts formed a group on campus called the Rolling Quads and one year after that, Ed and his associates established the nations first Center for Independent Living (CIL).  15 years after being told he was too disabled to work, Ed was appointed as the head of Vocational Rehabilitation for California in, and established 9 CILs in the state in 1975.   Today there are over 300 CILs nationwide.  Ed is known as the father of the independent living movement.

Beginning in the 1970s, The Mental Patients Union (MPU) and Community Organization for Psychiatric Emergencies (COPE) established, evolving eventually into the Campaign Against Psychiatric Oppression (CAPO) in England.   

Power/knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings 1972-1977. Ed. C. Gordon. New York: Pantheon Books. Foucault, M.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Friere  

Psychiatry and Anti-Psychiatry, David Cooper  

Sojourn in a Palace for Peculiars, by Marty Roberts.  

The Other Caroline, by Mary Jane Ward.  

Mental. UK, by Robert Quentin Nelson.  


The National Center for Law and the Handicapped is founded at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, becoming the first legal advocacy center for people with disabilities in the United States.

Center for Independent Living founded. Ed Roberts and his associates establish a Center for Independent Living (CIL) in Berkeley, CA for the community at large. The center was originally in a roach-infested two-bedroom apartment until the Rehabilitation Administration gave them a $50,000 grant in 1972.

The Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938 is amended to bring people with disabilities other than blindness into the sheltered workshop system. This measure leads to the establishment, in coming years, of an enormous sheltered workshop system for people with cognitive and developmental disabilities.

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. Originally drafted by Alice Paul in 1923, the amendment reads: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." The amendment died in 1982 when it failed to achieve ratification by a minimum of 38 states.

Triformation Systems, which would later become Enabling Technologies, releases their first embosser, the BD 3. In the late seventies they came out with their popular LED 120 embosser.

People Not Psychiatry, People Need People, (PNP) A Loose pamphlet produced in Manchester, GB for Psychiatric Survivors movement   "We believe that every human being is a unique individual whose experience and life-style is valid. We reject the assumption that because a person's behavior varies from what is expected or demanded of him/her they are robbed of their full status as human beings by a process of psychiatric labeling. Further, we recognize that no human being can develop fully in isolation from others. The full potential of a human being can only be attained through the relationship of self to other, the meeting of Thou and I.

Burton Blatt creates Center on Human Policy at Syracuse University.

The American National Standard Institute, Inc. (ANSI) published American Standard Specifications for Making Buildings Accessible to, and Usable by, the Physically Handicapped (the A117.1 Barrier Free Standard). This landmark document, produced by the University of Illinois, became the basis for subsequent architectural access codes.

The Caption Center is founded at WGBH Public Television in Boston, and it begins providing captioned programming for deaf viewers.

Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act of 1971 - Extended purchase authority to workshops for people with severe disabilities in addition to blindness; retained through 1976 preference for workshops for people who are blind. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 is amended to bring people with disabilities other than blindness into the sheltered workshop system. This measure leads to the establishment, in coming years, of an enormous sheltered workshop system for people with cognitive and developmental disabilities.

In Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 334 F. Supp. 1257 (E.D. Pa. 1971) the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ruled that it was the obligation of the state of Pennsylvania to provide free public education to mentally retarded children, which it was not doing at that time. This decision struck down various state laws used to exclude disabled children from the public schools. Advocates cited this decision during public hearings that led to the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.

A group of 17 national health and mental health organizations sponsored a 2-day conference honoring the 25th anniversary of the enactment of the National Mental Health Act.

Madness Network News by David Richman and Sherry Hirsch begins publication in San Francisco (Oakland) and are soon joined by Leonard Roy Frank, Sally Zinman, Jenny Miller, Ted Chabasinski and others.

Leonard Roy Frank

Leonard Roy Frank, David Richman, Sherry Hirsch and others form the Network Against Psychiatric Assault (NAPA) in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.

Mental Patients Liberation Project (MPLP) founded by Howie The Harp (nee Howard Geld) in New York City

Mental Patients Liberation Front (MPLF) founded by two ex-patients in Boston (still in existence until around 2005 and sponsors the Ruby Rogers Advocacy and Drop-In Center). Printed at the New England Free Press, a 56-page document entitled Your Rights as a Mental Patient in Massachusetts.   

Mental Patients' Association in Vancouver, Canada begins operating drop-in centers and residences within months of it's founding

Center for the Study of Legal Authority and Mental Patient Status (also known as LAMP) begun in Berkeley by David Richman

Founding of Bonita House a halfway house in Berkeley, CA for persons who have been in psychiatric hospitals with c/s/x activist Sherry Hirsch as Executive Director.

Ms. Magazine is first published as a sample insert in New York magazine; 300,000 copies are sold out in 8 days. The first regular issue is published in July 1972. The magazine becomes the major forum for feminist voices, and cofounder and editor Gloria Steinem is launched as an icon of the modern feminist movement and becomes a leading journalist and media personality for the Second Wave.

Women's Advocates in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN is among the first groups to develop from a woman's consciousness raising group. The organization is built on a collective, rather than a hierarchical model - all the way to the Board of Directors which includes staff and ex-shelter residents. The group's first project is a legal information service in the County Legal Aid office started in March 1972.

The first battered women's shelter opens in the U.S., in Urbana, Illinois, founded by Cheryl Frank and Jacqueline Flenner. By 1979, more than 250 shelters are operating.

In Philadelphia, one of the first feminist self-help groups, Women in Transition, forms. They provide services for divorced or separated women, battered wives and single mothers. 

The Bay Area Women Against Rape forms in California to provide support to rape victims and combat their "criminal" treatment in the legal system. 

Approximately 1/3 of female homicide victims in California are killed by their husbands.

In Kansas City, MO, 40% of all homicides are cases of spouse killing. In almost 50% of the cases, police had been summoned five or more times within a two-year period before the homicide took place.

New York Radical Feminists holds a series of speakouts and a conference on rape and women's treatment by the criminal justice system. Susan Brownmiller's book, Against Our Will, is one result. Another: the establishment of rape crisis centers across the country.

Susan Griffin authors Rape - The All-American Crime. It breaks the silence of terror and shame, and articulates a theory that rape is an act of aggression. 

Erin Prizzey establishes an "advice center" in London where women and their children come together and meet their peers, escape loneliness and discuss mutual issues. This center develops into Chiswick Women's Aid, also known as the Battered Wives' center.

Copenhagen's first shelter, Kvindehuset (The Women's House), is opened by the Red Stockings, the Danish Women's Liberation organization.

For the first time in its 130 yrs, attorney Ruth Bader Ginsburg successfully uses the Fourteenth Amendment to overturn a sex-biased law in the Supreme Court case Reed v. Reed.

The non-partisan National Women's Political Caucus is founded to encourage women to run for public office.

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama hands down its first decision in Wyatt v. Stickney, ruling that people in residential state schools and institutions have a constitutional right to receive such individual treatment as (would) give them a realistic opportunity to be cured or to improve his or her mental condition. Disabled people can no longer simply be locked away in custodial institutions without treatment or education. This decision is a crucial victory in the struggle for deinstitutionalization.

The original Soteria House opened in 1971. A replication facility opened in 1974 in another suburban San Francisco Bay Area City. Despite the publication of consistently positive results the Soteria Project ended in 1983.

Annual APA meeting in Washington DC features first-ever panel of gay people speaking about Lifestyles of Non-Patient Homosexuals.

President Nixon identified drug abuse as public enemy number one in the United States and launched the war on drugs and crime.

Emotions Anonymous (Self-help, peer support organization), founded in St. Paul, Minnesota.   

Supreme Court rules against school segregation, striking down the doctrine of separate but equal.

The initial National Household Survey on Drug Abuse is completed.

The Radical Therapist, a journal begun in 1971 in North Dakota by Michael Glenn, David Bryan, Linda Bryan, Michael Galan and Sara Glenn, challenged the psychotherapy establishment in a number of ways, raising the slogan Therapy means change, not adjustment.  

The Manufacture of Madness. New York: Dell Publishing Co./Delta, Szasz, Thomas S.

Florence Fisher founded the Adoptees Liberty Movement Association, to abolish the existing practice of sealed records and to advocate for, opening of records to any adopted person over eighteen who wants, for any reason, to see them.

 Bird's Nest Soup, by Hanna Greally.

Beneath the Underdog, His World as Composed by Mingus,  by C. Mingus (editor N. King).  

A Question of Madness (trans. from 1971 Russian ed.), by Zhores Medvedev.

Bellevue Is a State of Mind, by Anne Barry.

A Time and a Time.  London. by S. Davys.

 Life on a Psychiatric Ward. Mind, by Anonympous.  

Secrets of the Trade: Notes on Madness, Creativity and Ideology, by J. K. Adams.

Confessions from the Malaga Madhouse: A Christmas Diary,  by Charlotte Painter.

A Leaf of Spring, by A. Yesenin-Volpin.  

Out of the Depths, by William J. Collins.  


The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, in Mills v. Board of Education, rules that the District of Columbia cannot exclude disabled children from the public schools; that every child, regardless of the type and severity of their disability, was entitled to a free public education. Similarly, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in PARC v. Pennsylvania, strikes down various state law used to exclude disabled children from the public schools.  These decisions will be cited by advocates during the public hearings leading to passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. PARC in particular sparks numerous other right-to-education lawsuits and inspires advocates to look to the courts for the expansion of disability rights.

The Houston Cooperative Living Residential Project is established in Houston, Texas, becoming a model, along with the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, for subsequent independent living programs.

Paralyzed Veterans of America, the National Paraplegia Foundation, and Richard Heddinger file suit to force the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to incorporate access into their design for a new, multibillion-dollar subway system in Washington, D.C. Their eventual victory becomes a landmark in the struggle for accessible public mass transit.

Wolf Wolfensberger et al. publish The Principle of Normalization in Human Services, expanding the theory of normalization and bringing it to a wider American audience.

Governor George C. Wallace of Alabama is paralyzed after being shot during a presidential campaign rally in Laurel, Maryland.

Program Captioning Introduced. The Caption Center at WGBH in Boston open captions "The French Chef" the country's first nationally broadcast captioned program. It airs on PBS. By 1980 Close Captioning is developed and the first show broadcast. Close Captioning hides the text from view unless the user has a decoding device. By 1993, the FCC requires that all newly manufactured televisions have the decoding chip. 

The parents of the 5,000 residents at the Willowbrook State School in Staten Island, New York, file suit (New York ARC v. Rockefeller) to end the appalling, inhumane living conditions at that institution where residents were abused and neglected. A television broadcast from the facility titled, "Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace," outrages the general public, which sees the inhumane treatment endured by people with developmental disabilities. This press exposure, together with the lawsuit and other advocacy, eventually moves thousands of people from the institution into community-based living arrangements. However, it took 3 years from the time the lawsuit documents were filed before the consent judgment was signed. In 1975, the consent judgment was signed, and it committed New York State to improve community placement for the now designated "Willowbrook Class." The Willowbrook State School was closed in 1987, and all but about 150 of the former Willowbrook residents were moved to group homes by 1992.

Social Security Amendments of 1972 - Extended Medicare coverage to individuals with disabilities; established Supplemental Security Income program for elderly people and for blind persons and other persons with disabilities.

Small Business Investment Act Amendments of 1972 - Established the Handicapped Assistance Loan Program to provide loans to nonprofit sheltered workshops and individuals with disabilities.

The Rehabilitation Act was passed by Congress and vetoed by President Richard Nixon.

Demonstrations are held by disabled activists in Washington, D.C., to protest the veto of what will become the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by President Richard M. Nixon. Among those organizing demonstrations in Washington and elsewhere are Disabled in Action, Paralyzed Veterans of America, the National Paraplegia Foundation, and other groups. Disabled in Action demonstrated in New York City, protesting Nixons veto of the Rehabilitation Act. Led by Judy Heumann, eighty activists staged a sit-in on Madison Avenue, stopping traffic. A flood of letters and protest calls were made.

The Drug Abuse Office and Treatment Act established a National Institute on Drug Abuse within NIMH.

Passage of the Social Security Amendments of 1972 creates the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The law relieves families of the financial responsibility of caring for their adult disabled children. It consolidates existing federal programs for people who are disabled but not eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance.

In Canada, the Mental Patients Association, started to publish In A Nutshell.

Judi Chamberlin, Howie the Harp, Sally Zinman, Su and Dennis Budd, and many others--staged acts of civil disobedience, such as chaining themselves to the gates of mental hospitals; forming a human chain at an early-1970's meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (30,000 members strong), preventing conference attendees from entering.

First Center for Independent Living (CIL) founded in Berkeley, California by Ed Roberts.  The particulars were hammered out for more than a year. The group was officially formed in 1972. A roach-infested two- bedroom apartment was found. Dollars were dug out of personal pockets, some benefit poker games were arranged, but not until July 1972 was the financial squeeze settled. The Rehabilitation Administration produced a grant for $50,000, enough to tide them over while other funds were secured. Generally recognized as the world's first independent living center, the CIL sparks the worldwide independent living movement.

Tardive dyskinesia is said to resemble Huntingtons disease, or postencephalitic brain damage.

The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is founded in Washington, D.C, to provide legal representation and to advocate for the rights of people with mental illness.

APA annual meeting sponsors panel--Psychiatry: Friend or Foe to Homosexuals: A Dialoguethat includes gay activists, gay sympathetic psychiatrists, and a disguised gay psychiatrist, Dr. H Anonymous (John Fryer, MD).

The Legal Action Center, with offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, is founded to advocate for the interests of people who are alcohol or drug dependent. Today, it also works on behalf of people with HIV/AIDS.

The Network Against Psychiatric Assault (NAPA) is organized in San Francisco.

Mental Patients Alliance of Central New York is established.  Carol Hayes-Collier is instrumental to the effort.

The Commonwealth of Virginia ceased its sterilization program (begun in 1924). 8,300 individuals never received justice regarding their non-consentual sterilizations.

In Jackson v. Indiana, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a person adjudicated incompetent could not be indefinitely committed.

In England, the Children Act of 1972 set the minimum school leaving age at 16. After the 1972 Act schools were provided with temporary buildings to house their new final year, known as ROSLA (Raising School Leaving Age) buildings and were delivered to schools as self assembly packs. Although not designed for long-term use, many schools continued using them.

The first emergency rape crisis hotline opens in June in Washington, D.C. By 1976 400 independent rape crisis centers operate nationwide offering counseling, self-defense classes, and support groups. Rape crisis workers established crisis lines, conducted education and training programs, created thousands of brochures, offered self defense classes, organized and marched in Take Back the Night events. These workers began their long journey to change the society. Coalition members advocated for legislative reform, insisted that police increase their arrest rates, demanded privacy for rape victims in emergency rooms and urged prosecutors to change plea negotiation procedures. This changed the fundamental ways in which men related to women. They had few resources. There was no formal education or professional training on anti-rape work. However, once survivors broke the silence, women devoted their minds, hearts, time and money to construct and sustain organizations that created the field of anti-rape work. These organizations changed practices in hospitals, police departments, the courts and within the field of psychiatry and others pitched in with funds, space and staff time. Several states attorneys and legal aid lawyers helped advocates sharpen their advocacy skills. Victims and their advocates created rape crisis centers with a definition and purpose different from traditional mental health or social services. With the goals of social change, equality between men and women, and the fundamental principle of victim-centered services, the anti-rape movement offered a new model for institutional change and individual healing.

The ERA finally passes in the US Senate, due in large part to the lobbying power of NOW. By the end of the year, however, only 22 of the 38 required states ratify it.

The Center for Women Policy Studies is founded to identify, analyze and propose solutions to problems related to the status of women.

Joyce N. Ruiz files suit against the police in Sacramento, CA charging that they had refused to enforce a court order against her estranged husband. The suit is designed to require the police to enforce the law, but the case was dismissed.

The San Jose Police Department is sued on behalf of Ruth Bunnell for wrongful death due to police negligence. Ruth called the police requesting assistance but was refused. Ruth's husband killed her. In the year prior to her death, she called the police 29 times complaining about the violent acts her ex-husband committed against her and her daughters.

In Kansas City, MO, police receive 46,137 domestic disturbance calls, 82% of the total calls for that year.

James Bannon, Commander of the Detroit police department, describes how 4,600 battered women's cases "disappeared" as they moved through the criminal justice system in Detroit. Only 300 cases went to trial.

Haven House, a shelter in Pasadena, CA, is the first to receive a government contract.

Rainbow Retreat, one of the earliest battered women's shelters, opens in Phoenix, AZ.

In February, Women's Advocates (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN) moves to a 1 bedroom apartment to offer minimal shelter services. In 1974, they expand and purchase a house.

Informal networks between women convey information, strategies, and support. Friendships among women from Carbondale, IL and Pittsburgh influence the founding of the Pittsburgh women's center. Pittsburgh's Women's Center South begins in the home of Ellen Berliner. A shelter opens in April 1974.

The July issue of Ms. Magazine reports in the "No Comment" section an ad for a bowling alley in Michigan, which reads, "Have some fun. Beat your wife tonight. Then celebrate with some good food and drink with your friends."

From 1968 to 1973, the crime of rape increased 62% nationwide.

Interval House, Toronto's first refuge house, opens.

Congress extends the Equal Pay Act to include executives, administrative and professional personnel.

Congress passes the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, giving the EEOC power to take legal action to enforce its rulings.

Ms. magazine begins regular publication, reaching a circulation of 350,000 within a year.

Barbara Jordan (D-TX) becomes first Black woman elected to Congress from a Southern state.

Sally Priesand becomes first U.S. woman ordained as a rabbi in Reform Judaism.

In Eisenstadt v. Baird the Supreme Court rules that the right to privacy includes an unmarried person's right to use contraceptives.

Title IX of the Education Amendments bans sex discrimination in schools. It states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." As a result of Title IX, the enrollment of women in athletics programs and professional schools increases dramatically.

National Association of Black Social Workers opposed transracial adoptions

Stanley v. Illinois substantially increased the rights of unwed fathers in adoption by requiring informed consent and proof of parental unfitness prior to termination of parental rights.

Will There Really Be a Morning? by Frances Farmer.  

Peter Buxtun (sometimes referred to as Peter Buxton) is a former employee of the United States Public Health Service who became known as the whistleblower responsible for ending the Tuskegee syphilis experiment. Buxtun, then a 27-year-old social worker and epidemiologist in San Francisco, was hired by the Public Health Service in December 1965 to interview patients with sexually transmitted diseases; in the course of his duties, he learned of the Tuskegee Experiment from co-workers. He later said"I didn't want to believe it. This was the Public Health Service. We didn't do things like that. In November 1966, he filed an official protest on ethical grounds with the Service's Division of Venereal Diseases; this was rejected on the grounds that the Experiment was not yet complete. He filed another protest in November 1968; again, his concerns were ruled irrelevant. In 1972, Buxtun leaked information on the Tuskegee Experiment to Jean Heller of the Washington Star. Heller's story exposing the Experiment was published on July 25, 1972; It became front-page news in the New York Times the following day. Senator Edward Kennedy called Congressional hearings, at which Buxtun and HEW officials testified and the Experiment was terminated shortly thereafter. Buxtun subsequently testified at the ensuing Congressional hearing.

 A Mingled Yarn, by Beulah Parker.

Red Square at Noon.  London, by N. Gorbanevskaya.

Saints and Strait Jackets: An Intimate View of Life in an Australian Psychiatric Hospital, By an Ex-Patient, by Barbara Heaslip.  

Women and Madness, by Phyllis Chesler.  

Twice Through the Lines: The Autobiography of Otto John, by John Otto.

Memoirs of a Mental Case, by Howard J. Etten.  

 Bound for Broadmoor. London, by Peter Thompson.  

Fragments from the Diary of a Madman. London, by Pawel Cienin.


NIMH temporarily rejoined NIH on July 1 with the abolishment of HSMHA.

On September 25 the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration (ADAMHA)--composed of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and NIMH--was established administratively by the DHEW Secretary as the successor organization to HSMHA. Each retained their three-part mission of services, training and research. They funded services through direct grants (categorical programs) to treatment providers.

A task force consisting of over 300 consultants, was established to review and analyze the 25-year history of federally sponsored research programs in mental health. Their report, Research in the Service of Mental Health, was issued in 1975.

The first Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression is held at the University of Detroit.  (held annually until 1985). This conference became an annual event and was held yearly for 13 years between 1973 and 1985. During that time, the Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression went through several name changes as the movement grew in scope, ending as the International Conference for Human Rights and Against Psychiatric Oppression. This conference attracted people from Canada, the Netherlands, and Britain. Throughout its history, this conference held yearly demonstrations at hospitals. Some of these demonstrations held vigils friends and neighbors who died in such places. During the life of the Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression, ex-patients and psychiatric inmates had no money to organize nationally, yet the drive for companionship and the support of peers drove people to hitchhike and otherwise to beg, borrow, and pool resources to get to the national conferences. The conferences were held in campgrounds and in university dormitories. They drew from 50 to 100 people a year. The expense of the conference itself was often funded by donations from those few ex-patients and psychiatric inmates who had a little money to spare. Many of the early conferences ran in the red. Professionals who supported ex-patients and psychiatric inmates' efforts to organize reported that they experienced negative consequences. Thomas Hertzberg, Ph.D. of Northville State Hospital in Detroit, Michigan went to a radical caucus of the American Psychological Association, where psychologists were talking about why it was that psychologists could hold national conferences to talk about consumers yet consumers were not going to conferences to talk about psychologists.  That radical caucus knew that there were many abuses in the mental health system to be talked about.  They also had heard that there were a few consumer groups organizing on a local level.  So, Tom set about to find these groups and to invite them to a planning meeting to be held in Detroit, Michigan to develop a national consumer conference.  Tom located Su and Dennis Budd, Howie The Harp, Louis Frydman, Ph.D. of Lawrence, Kansas and others. They met in a very nice hotel to plan what was to become known as the first Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression held in 1973. Many of the professionals that debated the ethics of assisting ex-patients and psychiatric inmates to organize and were punished severely for aiding the conference. For instance, it was reported that Dr. Tom Hertzberg was fired for bringing people together. Dr. Louis Frydman experienced negative consequences (he was sued for interfering with the doctor-patient relationship and threatened with loss of his tenure at the university where he worked), and later, many brave professionals who helped ex-patients and psychiatric inmates make contact with supportive persons or to independently manage ex-patient organizations simply disappeared from provider agencies. The ex-patient and psychiatric inmate movement was considered dangerous for mental health clients because of perceived misinformation in the movement publications and perceived unskilled techniques used in self-help and mutual support ex-patient and psychiatric inmate-run organizations.  Professionals believed they knew what was best and that mental patients should not question their authority.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA), spearheaded by Robert Spitzer, votes to remove homosexuality from the DSM, its list of mental illnesses in part due to the efforts of protests from the movements. Due to new clinical information and political pressure from the National Gay Task Force, the American Psychiatric Association changes the diagnosis of homosexuality from a disease to a condition that can be considered a disease only when subjectively disturbing to the individual. The Board of Trustees (BOT) of the APA approves the deletion of homosexuality from the DSM-II and substitutes a diagnosis of Sexual Orientation Disturbance In 1980, however, when the APA published a new Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM III) (Taskforce chaired by Robert Spitzer, M.D.), in place of homosexuality was a new diagnosis, Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood, also known as Sissy Boy Syndrome.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973 - Prohibited disability discrimination in federally assisted programs and activities and federal agencies; required affirmative action programs for people with disabilities by federal agencies and some federal contractors; established the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board to enforce the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968. Passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 marks the greatest achievement of the disability rights movement. Of particular interest, Title V, Sections 501, 503 and 504 prohibited discrimination in federal programs and services and all other programs or services receiving federal funds. Key language in the Rehabilitation Act, found in Section 504, states No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States, shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. The act -- particularly Title V and, especially, Section 504 for the first time, confronts discrimination against people with disabilities.  Section 504 prohibits programs receiving federal funds from discriminating against otherwise qualified handicapped individuals and sparks the formation of 504 workshops and numerous grassroots organizations. Disability rights activism seize on the act as a powerful tool and make the signing of regulations to implement Section 504 a top priority. Litigation arising out of Section 504 will generate such central disability rights concepts as reasonable modification, reasonable accommodation, and undue burden, which will form the framework for subsequent federal law, especially the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The (American) Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, established under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, enforced the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.

Handicapped parking stickers were introduced in Washington, D.C.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is created by executive order under the Dept. of Justice. Combined the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and several other law enforcement organizations.  

Marian Wright Edelman founds the Children's Defense Fund, a leading national organization that lobbies for children's rights and welfare.

In a report examining the status of children's rights in the United States, Hillary Clinton, then a lawyer, wrote that "children's rights" was a "slogan in need of a definition."

The first joint custody statute in the U.S. goes into effect in Indiana, allowing children the right to both parents after a divorce.

Peter Breggin, M.D. founds the Center for the Study of Psychiatry

Passage of the Federal-Aid Highway Act authorizes federal funds to provide for construction of curb cuts.

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities is organized to advocate for passage of what will become the Developmentally Disabled Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 1975 and the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.

New Threat to Blacks: Brain Surgery to Control BehaviorControversial Operations Are Coming Back As Violence Curbs. Ebony 1973, February, p.6372. Mason,B.J.

Pierce, Chester, M.D. Offensive Mechanisms in The Black Seventies, F.Barbour, ed., (Boston: Porter Sargent, 1970), 265-282 wrote about discrimination, commonly expressed in the multiple, small insults and indignities a labeled person suffers every day. Dr. Pierce, an African-American psychiatrist and author writing about racism, termed these small attacks "micro-aggressions." He also wrote that, Every child in America entering school at the age of five is mentally ill because he comes to school with certain allegiances to home, family, culture, and religion...It is up to you to make all these sick children well by creating the International child of the future.

The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision strikes down state laws that made abortion illegal. As a result of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court establishes a woman's right to safe and legal abortion, overriding the anti-abortion laws of many states.


On this day in 1973, in a highly publicized "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match, top women's player Billie Jean King, 29, beats Bobby Riggs, 55, a former No. 1 ranked men's player. Riggs, a self-proclaimed male chauvinist, had boasted that women were inferior, that they couldn't handle the pressure of the game and that even at his age he could beat any female player. The match was a huge media even

t, witnessed in person by over 30,000 spectators at the Houston Astrodome and by another 50 million TV viewers worldwide. King made a Cleopatra-style entrance on a gold litter carried by men dressed as ancient slaves, while Riggs arrived in a rickshaw pulled by female models. Legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell called the match, in which King beat Riggs 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. King's achievement not only helped legitimize women's professional tennis and female athletes, but it was seen as a victory for women's rights in general.

Between 1961 and 1979, Billie Jean King won a record 20 Wimbledon titles, 13 US titles, four French titles, and two Australian titles.

Off the court, Billie Jean King fought for equal prize money for men and women and in 1971 became the first female athlete to win over $100,000.

In 1974, Billie Jean King became the first president of the Women's Tennis Association. She headed up the first professional womens tour, the Virginia Slims, in the 1970s. She was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987 and served as captain of the United States Fed Cup team in the 1990s.

Billie Jean King was married to Lawrence King from 1965 to 1987. During the 1970s, she had an intimate relationship with her secretary, Marilyn Barnett, and became one of the first prominent American athletes to openly admit to having a gay relationship when it became public some 10 years later. With that admission, Billie Jean King lost almost all her commercial sponsors. In 2000 she was the coach of the US Womens tennis team. She was the first open lesbian to coach an Olympic team.

Billie Jean King started the Womens Sports Foundation and Womensports magazine. The Womens Sports Foundation has been instrumental in gaining access to sports for women and girls. The Womens Sports Foundation also is dedicated to fighting homophobia and discrimination in sports.

At 64, this lesbian icon is still at it and this week went to the conservative Muslim sheikdom of Qatar to promote gender equality in sport during the womens tennis tours year-end championships won Sunday by Venus Williams.

Billie Jean told the Associated Press that a shift toward gender parity in sport is a gradual process that requires respect for all cultures and religions: "Human rights is very important. But it is going to take generations to have a shift. Things do not happen quickly, but we have to start someplace."

Women have fewer opportunities than men in sports and other fields in Qatar, which sent an all-male team to the Beijing Olympics this year.

Venus has been one the few top players in recent years to take on some of the reponsibility and leadership in speaking out for equality in sports and has always given credit to King for leading the way.

Some Billie Jean King Facts & Trivia:

1 - In 1972, King became the first woman and the first tennis player to be named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of The Year.

2 - In 1990, Life magazine named her one of the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century."

3 - In 2000, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) awarded Billie Jean King the Capitol Award for service to the LGBT community.

4 - The Elton John song Philadelphia Freedom is a said to be a tribute to Billie Jean King

On August 12, 2009, King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama for her work advocating for the rights of women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community. "This is a chance for me and for the United States of America to say thank you to some of the finest citizens of this country and of all countries," President Obama said.

King currently resides in New York and Chicago with her partner, Ilana Kloss.


The National Black Feminist Organization is established.


9to5: National Association of Working Women, is founded by Karen Nussbaum in Boston. Nussbaum later becomes Director of the Women's Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor.


The Civil Service Commission eliminates height and weight requirements that have discriminated against women applying for police, park service, and fire fighting jobs.


The Office of Federal Contract Compliance issues guidelines prohibiting sex discrimination in employment by any federal contractor and requiring affirmative action to correct existing imbalances.


The U.S. military is integrated when the women-only branches are eliminated.


Of the several thousand domestic violence cases proceeding through the Bureau of Family Relations of the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, only 8 lead to a formal complaint and prosecution. 


Al-Anon members who are battered women organize a shelter in Harrisburg, PA.


In a suit brought by NOW, Pittsburgh Press v Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, the Supreme Court affirms the EEOC ruling against sex-segregated help wanted ads in newspapers. This opens the way for women to apply for jobs previously limited to men and offering better pay and advancement opportunities.


The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination in consumer credit practices on the basis of sex, race, marital status, religion, national origin, age, or receipt of public assistance. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act forbids sex discrimination in all consumer credit practices; extended to commercial credit in 1988.

Journey Out of Nowhere, by Nancy Covert Smith.

I Couldn't Catch the Bus Today: The True Story of a Nervous Breakdown That Became a Pilgrimage, by David Lazell.

Back to Earth, by Edwin E. Buzz Aldrin Jr. (with Wayne Warga).

Recovery, by John Berryman.

The Journal of Judith Beck Stein, by Judith Beck Stein.

A Guard Within. London, by Sarah Ferguson.

Madhouse, by Robert Goulet.  

Someone With Me: The Autobiography of William Kurelek, by William Kurelek (editor J. Maas).  

Lesbian Nation, by Jill Johnston.  

I Came to My Island: A Journey Through the Experience of Change, by Hanna Bauer.


ADAMHA was officially established on May 4 when President Nixon signed P.L. 93-282.

Boston researchers report that relapse rates were lower in pre-neuroleptic era, and that drug treated patients are more likely to be socially dependent.

In 1974 Congress passed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA; Public Law 93-247). The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act is passed by the U.S. Congress, creating the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect and other steps designed to increase children's rights and reduce child neglect and abuse. The law stated: [Child abuse and neglect refer to] the physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child under age eighteen, or the age specified by the child protection law of the state in question, by a person who is responsible for the child's welfare under circumstances which indicate the child's health or welfare is harmed or threatened thereby, as determined in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. This law created the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN), which developed standards for handling reports of child maltreatment. NCCAN also established a nationwide network of child protective services and served as a clearinghouse for information and research on child abuse and neglect. Since 1974 CAPTA has been amended a number of times.

In Corning Glass Works v. Brennan, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that employers cannot justify paying women lower wages because that is what they traditionally received under the "going market rate." A wage differential occurring "simply because men would not work at the low rates paid women" is unacceptable.

Alliance of Displaced Homemakers is founded by Tish Sommers and Laurie Shields to address issues of divorced and widowed homemakers seeking employment.

Little League agrees to include girls "in deference to a change in social climate," but creates a softball branch specifically for girls to draw them from baseball.

MANA, the Mexican-American Women's National Association, organizes as feminist activist organization. By 1990, MANA chapters operate 16 states with members in 36.

Out of a recognition of the lack of services for Latina Women and the absence of Latina controlled organizations, a multi-racial group of women in Boston's South End funds Casa Myrna Vazquez shelter. Later, after becoming a technical assistance center, Cassa Myrna Vazquez produces Doing Community Outreach to Third World Women.

Hundreds of colleges are offering women's studies courses; there are over 80 full programs in place. Additionally, 230 women's centers on college campuses provide support services for female students.

The term "battered women" is still not a part of the public's vocabulary. Writings on battered women are becoming less overtly hostile, but are still riddled with sexism.

Transition House in Boston is founded by two ex-battered women, Chris Womendez and Cherie Jimenez and two former members of Cell 16 (one of Boston's earliest radical feminist groups), Betsy Warrior and Lisa Leghorn. Womendez and Jimenez simply declare their home a shelter. With their foundation in the women's movement, the founders believe that battering is an integral part of women's oppression; women's liberation its solution. It continued to operate as a collective structure and maintain its grassroots principles. However, it gained little funding and eventually closed.

In San Francisco, 25% of all murders involve legally married or cohabitating mates.

In California, battered women are able to legally claim compensation for their injuries.

Haven House provides the country's first Children's Program.

Rainbow Retreat establishes an outpatient program to offer counseling to women not ready to leave.

Columbus, OH has a Night Prosecutor Program funded by the LEAA. The program offers 24-hour service focusing on pre-arrest diversion tactics. The purpose is to avoid costly arrest and persecution procedures. In the first year, only 2% of the 3,626 complaints result in criminal charges. The emphasis is on mediation to avoid prosecuting cases.

In Boston, police respond to 11,081 family disturbance calls, most involving physical violence. At the end of the first quarter of 1975, 5,589 such calls were received, half of the previous year's figure for that period. Boston City Hospital reports that 70% of the assault victims received in the ER were known to be women attacked in homes by husbands and lovers.

In Fairfax County, VA, considered one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, police report 4,073 family disturbance calls, and that approximately 30 assault warrants are sought each week. Domestic violence is not just a ghetto or lower-class issue.

According to the FBI, 132 police officers are killed in the nation. Twenty-nine of them, one out of five officers, is killed while responding to domestic disturbance calls.

As a result of women's groups' efforts, New York no longer requires a rape victim to give independent corroboration of the crime.

Through their newsletter, the Feminist Alliance Against Rape begins to fight for legal and institutional changes to help rape victims. It is the movement's sounding board and brings inspiration to hundreds of women working in isolated groups.

Eisaku Sato, former prime minister of Japan, is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Prior to his nomination, Sato's wife accused him publicly of beating her. Sato's popularity soars after his wife reveals that "Yes, he's a good husband, he only beats me once a week." Apparently, the committee did not consider wife-beating a breach of peace.

An Italian man is sentenced to two years in jail for raping his wife at gun point.

Britain holds Parliamentary Select Committee hearings on Violence in Marriage. Much of the testimony describes the roots of domestic violence as lying in individual inadequacy. This is the popular contemporary theory.

Interval House, a 3 bedroom flat in an old tenement property is established in Glasgow, Scotland. Edinburgh establishes 2 refuges. These organizations operate with feminist principles of self-help and non-hierarchical model.

Erin Prizzey authors the groundbreaking Scream Quietly or the Neighbors Will Hear, the first on the subject of battered wives. The British movement started four years before the U.S. movement and is known through Prizzey's work.

Time Magazine prints an article on Erin Prizzey's Chiswick Center. However, it is carried only in the European edition, suggesting that spousal battering is not of interest to Americans.

Rotterdam opens its first refuge with funds from the General Aid Office of the Netherlands. In 1975, 2 additional houses are obtained.

Elsie, a battered women's shelter in Australia, is formed when members of the women's Liberation squatted in 2 abandoned houses in the Glebe section of Sydney and refused to move out.

The Women's Educational Equity Act, drafted by Arlene Horowitz and introduced by Rep. Patsy Mink (D-HI), funds the development of nonsexist teaching materials and model programs that encourage full educational opportunities for females.

The Coalition for Labor Union Women is founded, uniting blue-collar women across occupational lines.

Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur determines it is illegal to force pregnant women to take maternity leave on the assumption they are incapable of working in their physical condition.

Ella Grasso becomes the first woman to win election as governor in her own right, in Connecticut.

The number of women in public office begins to rise. Women now hold 8% of state legislative seats and 16 seats in Congress. By 1986: 14.8% of legislative seats, and 24 seats in Congress. In 1997: 21% of legislative seats, 62 seats in Congress.

Transition House, Vancouver's first refuge house, opens in January 1974.

Through a series of Mujeres Pro-Raza Unida conferences, Texas Chicanas have organized a statewide network to promote Chicana awareness, political campaign strategies and organizing techniques.

The Disabled Women's Coalition was founded at the University of California, Berkeley, by Susan Sygall, Deborah Kaplan, Kitty Cone, C