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Brill, A. A. (12 October 1874–02 March 1948), psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, was born Abraham Arden Brill in Kanczuga, Galicia, in the Austro-Hungarian empire, the son of Philip Brill, a noncommissioned commissary officer, and Esther Seitelbach. His parents were pious and provincial Jews with traditional expectations for their son. Brill found these stifling and at fifteen he fled to the United States, arriving destitute and alone in 1889. With fierce ambition and through hard work Brill rose out of the Lower East Side ghetto in New York City where he worked at diverse, petty jobs to fulfill his father’s wish that he become both an educated man and a doctor. Although Brill could not afford to complete his course work at the City College of New York, where he had started his studies at night, he managed to educate himself in several languages, in the classics, and in philosophy, accomplishments in which he took pride throughout his life. He finally received a Ph.B. from New York University in 1901 and a medical degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1903. In many ways, however, his real education in his destined métier had not yet begun....

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Bucke, Richard Maurice (18 March 1837–19 February 1902), psychiatrist and biographer, was born in Methwold, County of Norfolk, England, the son of Reverend Horatio Walpole Bucke, a Church of England curate and a direct descendant of Sir Robert Walpole, the renowned prime minister of England. (His mother’s name has been recorded as Clarissa Andrews, but that cannot be confirmed.) Within a year of his birth, Bucke’s parents emigrated to Upper Canada, settling on a farm near London, Ontario. His father, a classical scholar and linguist, brought to Canada a library of five or six thousand books in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Bucke and his six siblings received their schooling at home....

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Earle, Pliny (31 December 1809–17 May 1892), psychiatrist and asylum superintendent, was born in Leicester, Massachusetts, the son of Pliny Earle, a manufacturer and farmer, and Patience Buffum. Raised in a lenient but devout Quaker household, Earle first attended the Leicester Academy and then a Quaker boarding school in Providence, Rhode Island. Between 1829 and 1835 he taught at the latter and served briefly as its principal. In 1835 he entered the University of Pennsylvania as a medical student and received an M.D. in 1837. His thesis dealt with the treatment of insanity, a subject with which he had become familiar through visits with ...

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Flint, Austin (28 March 1836–22 September 1915), physiologist, forensic psychiatrist, and specialist in mental disorders, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, the son of Austin Flint, a prominent physician, and Anne Skillings. Early in Flint’s life, his family resided briefly in Boston, and in 1836 they relocated to Buffalo, New York, where Flint obtained his early education. In subsequent years the father’s highly peripatetic professional career took the family to numerous other cities, such as Chicago, Louisville, New Orleans, and New York City....

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Gray, John Purdue (06 August 1825–29 November 1886), physician, alienist, and asylum superintendent, was born in Half Moon, Pennsylvania, the son of Peter D. Gray, a Methodist minister and farmer, and Elizabeth Purdue. He received his early education at Bellefonte Academy and Dickinson College, from which he graduated with an A.M. in 1846. He studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1849 and immediately becoming resident physician at Blockley Hospital in Philadelphia....