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Bryce, Peter (05 March 1834–14 August 1892), psychiatrist and mental hospital superintendent, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, the son of Peter Bryce and Martha Smith. His father died before Bryce had finished preparatory school. In 1852 Bryce enrolled at the Citadel in South Carolina, from which he graduated with distinction in 1855. In 1857 he entered the medical school of the University of New York (now New York University), from which he graduated in 1859. As was common in medical schools of that era, there were no courses that prepared him for a career in mental health care. In the summer following his graduation, however, he traveled to Europe, where he toured psychiatric hospitals. After his return to the United States, he served briefly at a psychiatric hospital in Trenton, New Jersey; shortly thereafter he returned to Columbia, where he took a position as assistant physician at the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum....

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Pliny Earle. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109935).

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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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Felix, Robert Hanna (29 May 1904–31 March 1990), psychiatrist and public health official, was born in Downs, Kansas, the son of Tasso Oliver Felix, a physician, and Neva Lee Trusdle. He matriculated at the University of Colorado in 1923 and received his A.B. and M.D. in 1926 and 1930, respectively. After completing his internship at Colorado General Hospital in 1931, he received a Commonwealth Fund fellowship in psychiatry and spent the next two years in residency at the Colorado Psychopathic Hospital in Denver....

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John P. Gray. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B013530).

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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....

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Hurd, Henry Mills (03 May 1843–19 July 1927), psychiatrist and hospital administrator, was born in Union City, Michigan, the son of Theodore C. Hurd, a physician, and Ellen Hammond. Hurd’s father died at age thirty-nine, leaving three small sons. His mother married his father’s younger brother, also a physician, who moved the family to Galesburg, Illinois. There Hurd attended school and, at the age of fourteen, entered Knox College, a small liberal arts college known for its antislavery sentiments. Wanting to experience a larger school, Hurd spent the next two years at the University of Michigan, where he was taught philosophy by President ...

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Nichols, Charles Henry (19 October 1820–16 December 1889), psychiatrist and mental hospital administrator, was born and raised in Vassalboro, Maine, the only son of Caleb Nichols and Eunice Kelly, farmers. His parents were prominent Quakers. Nichols was educated at the public schools and academy of the town and at the Friends’ School in Providence, Rhode Island. There his tutor was ...

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White, William Alanson (24 January 1870–07 March 1937), psychiatrist and mental hospital administrator, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Harriet Augusta Hawley and Alanson White, a businessman. By family tradition the Whites traced their ancestry to the Mayflower, and because the family summered in Massachusetts, White considered himself as much a New Englander as a New Yorker, attributing “a very definite streak of hyperconscientiousness” to his Puritanical roots. White also regarded himself psychologically as an only child because his only sibling, a brother, was ten years older....

Article

Woodward, Samuel Bayard (10 June 1787–03 January 1850), psychiatrist and asylum superintendent, was born in Torringford, Connecticut, the son of Samuel Woodward, a prominent physician, and Polly Griswold. Raised in a devoutly religious household, Woodward was influenced by the Second Great Awakening and a Protestantism stripped of its Calvinist pessimism. In Woodward’s eyes the perfectibility of humanity was within reach; as free moral agents, human beings had the capacity to eliminate individual and social evils. The prerequisite for progress was knowledge of the natural laws that governed the physical world. Woodward’s interest in the study of medicine may have developed because, in the early nineteenth century, this profession closely linked moral and physical concerns. After an apprenticeship in his father’s office, he received a diploma from the Connecticut State Medical Society in 1809. In 1810 he opened a general practice in Wethersfield. By the 1820s he had become a leading figure in the state’s medical establishment, serving as secretary of the State Medical Society and examiner at the Yale Medical School, which awarded him an honorary M.D. in 1822. In 1815 he married Maria Porter, with whom he had eleven children....