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Holzman, P.S. (1994). Karl A. Menninger (1893 - 1990). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:149-152.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:149-152

Karl A. Menninger (1893 - 1990)

Philip S. Holzman

Karl Menninger, one of the most influential figures in American psychiatry and once president of the American Psychoanalytic Association, died of abdominal cancer on 18 July 1990, four days short of his 97th birthday.

Karl Menninger was a leading pioneer of American psychiatry when that discipline was trying to find its way in American medicine. In the course of that effort, he founded the world-renowned Menninger Clinic; joined the effort to disseminate psychoanalysis in America; reformed the custodial care of chronic psychotic patients; championed the rights of children, women, and Native Americans; set up the world's largest training centre for psychiatric training (The Menninger School of Psychiatry, which in the years after World War II trained classes of over 100 psychiatric residents); established a psychoanalytic training institute in the heartland of the United States; campaigned for prison reform; and spurred the movement for innovative child care, firstly with The Southard School—a treatment centre for psychiatrically-disturbed children—and later with 'The Villages'—a set of communal residences for children who have been, in some way, abandoned.

Karl Menninger was born in Topeka, Kansas, on 22 July 1893, the eldest of three sons of Charles Frederick Menninger, a homeopathic physician, and his forceful, resolute wife, Flo, a teacher. Religion played a prominent part in their household. Karl was always studious and his physical awkwardness, which kept him from the athletic activities that often draw young people together, left him isolated.

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