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Wexler, H. (1966). Robert Palmer Knight—1902-1966. Bul. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 22:853-857.

(1966). Bulletin of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 22:853-857

Robert Palmer Knight—1902-1966

Henry Wexler, M.D.

Robert P. Knight, Medical Director of Austen Riggs Center, Inc., in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, died at home April 30, 1966. For eighteen months he had struggled heroically against the inroads of a lung cancer and at one point he, as well as his doctors, thought he had conquered the disease. It was bitter irony to learn that its disappearance had been merely deceptive as the malignant cells had found their way to the bone marrow from which nesting place they could not be eradicated.

From his obituary we learn that Dr. Knight, a dominant American figure in the world of psychoanalysis, was born in Urbana, Ohio, July 18, 1902, son of William James and Florence (Dempcy). He graduated from Oberlin College with election to Phi Beta Kappa, taught English for five years at Sandusky High School and Lake Forest Academy before deciding to pursue psychoanalysis as a vocation. He financed his own medical studies by managing apartment houses. He served his psychiatric residency at the Menninger Clinic where his unique gifts for dealing with patients and peers made his promotion unquestionable, and he continued there as staff member, Chief of Psychotherapy Service, and Chief of Staff until his appointment to Austen Riggs Center in 1947. Under his direction, therapy at the Center was first given its psychoanalytic orientation; to the Center he brought a half-dozen outstanding psychoanalysts and psychologists, and its work was viewed throughout the country as a frontier in psychiatric hospital management.

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