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Bernard Glueck Papers 1903-1972
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Collection Scope and Content Note


Correspondence, anonymized patient case histories, lecture notes and presentations, subject files, and writings document the professional life of psychiatrist and criminal mental health expert Bernard Glueck. Best known for establishing a psychiatric clinic within New York's Sing Sing Prison, these papers primarily document Glueck's institution-building administrative activities, the exploration of prison inmate mental health and the criminal mind (both the effects of incarceration on mental health and the psychiatric make-up of criminals), his teaching work, and as an expert witness in the Leopold and Loeb murder trial.

Series 1, Biographical (1903-1972), contains official documents, certifications, passports, resumes, bibliographies, and correspondence providing a summary of Dr. Glueck's personal and professional life (1903-1972). The papers offer insights into his early life in America before completing his medical education and the odd question of his actual birthdate. Correspondence covers the period from his formal retirement from private practice in 1947 until he suffered a stroke in 1965 when his career concluded. These letters complement correspondence from his work with the Veterans Administration in the Clinical Work series and the University of North Carolina held in the Teaching series. It is mostly concerned with family issues, publishers, and lectures given at conferences and for organizations such as the Commonwealth Fund and the New York School of Social Work. Clippings (1924-1965) collected by Dr. Glueck cover a range of topics central to his interests, including the Leopold and Loeb case, insulin shock therapy, juvenile offenders and prison reform, public mental health initiatives, and the doctor's own career.

Series 2, Clinical Work (1908-1964) parallels and often overlaps information held in the Teaching series. Dr. Glueck maintained a career as a psychiatrist while also teaching at various institutions. His first professional work, with St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. as a senior assistant physician (1908-1916), is described only through correspondence. His sabbatical to study with Drs. Krapelin and Ziehan in Germany in 1911 and his work as examiner of immigrants at Ellis Island (1912-1913) are tangentially addressed. The topic most well documented from this era is the motivations and process for the establishment of the Sing Sing Psychiatric clinic, which Dr. Glueck left St. Elizabeth's Hospital to found in July, 1916.

His two years' work at Sing Sing (1916-1918) is extensively described through seven folders of correspondence. It begins with his transition to the prison, correspondence with the warden Thomas Mott Osborne, preparations for opening the clinic and hiring staff. Most frequent correspondents are other mental health or prison-related institutions such as the Thomas W. Salmon and the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, Westchester County Corrections, St. Elizabeth's Hospital and Dr. W. A. White, William Healy and the Judge Baker Foundation, as well as the New York School of Philanthropy and Columbia University relating to courses taught by Dr. Glueck.

While at Sing Sing, Dr. Glueck also assisted in the creation of the Westchester Children's Clinic of the Department of Child Welfare. This endeavor is described through collected correspondence with Dr. Francis Shockley and case histories. A Westchester Clinic subject file holds several reports submitted by the Clinic. Additional material includes case histories of prison inmates, details of the clinic's activities, and examples of patient evaluation forms. His research into the character development of criminals is further elucidated in his publications of the period, found in the Writings series.

The Sing Sing correspondence concludes with much attention to Thomas W. Salmon's efforts to convince Dr. Glueck to join the Army Medical Department and assist him in establishing psychiatric treatment services for soldiers. The collection barely describes this work beyond some letters in the Biographical series and a psychiatric hospital unit organization plan.

His work with patients from 1918 to the establishment of Stony Lodge in 1928 lacks documentation in this collection. A number of case histories from the early 1920s, which were used for teaching purposes, are the most substantial contributions to this era.

Similarly, Stony Lodge case records describe patients treated with insulin shock therapy, something not undertaken by the clinic until 1936, leaving the period from 1928 through 1935 undocumented. Correspondence (1929-1945) concentrates on Dr. Glueck's lecturing and professional activities with outside organizations such as the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, Child Study Association of America, and New York School of Social Work, as well as publishers and mental health organizations. Very little correspondence addresses clinic activities, though there are some few notes and data from this era about insulin shock therapy. Most notable among them is a notebook kept by Dr. Glueck when he visited Dr. Manfred Sakel's Vienna clinic in 1936 to learn about insulin shock therapy technique.

Dr. Glueck continued working after his retirement from Stony Lodge in 1947. His work as Chair of the Postgraduate Center for Psychotherapy, Inc. in 1952-1953 is only hinted at in some seminar transcripts from 1951. He also worked part time as a psychiatrist on the staff of the mental hygiene clinic at the Veterans Administration (1950-1956) in Montrose, New York, and Washington, D.C. Some slight correspondence is augmented by transcripts of staff development meeting which used veteran case histories to teach therapeutic techniques (1955-1956).

The last non-teaching professional work documented in the collection is his work as a consultant with the North Carolina Hospitals Board of Control (1959-1964). Correspondence covers his duties visiting and evaluating the psychiatric programs at North Carolina's state hospitals. A board-produced report on mental illness hospitalization in North Carolina completes this activity's material.

Series 3, Leopold and Loeb Case (1924-1955), consists of notes, psychiatric reports, and court transcripts from the Leopold and Loeb trial. Probably because of his national reputation for research into the influences contributing to the criminal mind and the role played by childhood development along with his longstanding professional relationship with Dr. William Alanson White, Dr. Glueck interviewed and evaluated Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb in order to testify for the defense before sentence was imposed on the two murderers. Dr. White, with William Healy, Karl Bowman and H. S. Hulbert, also evaluated the defendants. Included here are the final evaluations submitted by Glueck, White, Healy, and Bowman and Hulbert, along with preliminary examination notes taken by Dr. Glueck and Dr. Healy.

Series 4, Lectures/Teaching (c.1918-c.1963) constitutes the largest portion of the collection. Dr. Glueck began lecturing about the psychology and development of criminals to assist social work at Columbia University and the New York School of Philanthropy while he was still working at Sing Sing. Very few lectures and supporting information exist from this 1917-1918 work. Close to 300 complete and partial lectures, however, substantiate his activities from 1919-1915 at Columbia University, the New School for Social Research and, primarily, at the Bureau of Child Guidance of the New York School of Social Work. These social work training classes address the basic principles of psychology, child development, and psychotherapy.

While conducting Stony Lodge, Dr. Glueck continued teaching although documentation fails to identify at which specific institution except for a series of lectures given at the New School for Social Research in 1937-1938. This smaller set of lectures continues with developmental psychology and criminology but also addresses shock treatment for schizophrenia, which was an interest of Dr. Glueck's during the 1930s. For the last half of the 1940s he taught similar courses at the New York College of Medicine which is reflected in another small set of lectures.

After his formal retirement from Stony Lodge and some work with the Veterans Administration, Dr. Glueck taught as clinical professor of psychiatry at the North Carolina School of Medicine (1956-1963). About 50 lectures represent the topics he taught.

Series 5, Speeches (1917-c.1965) were given at meetings, conferences, and to various charitable social organizations simultaneous with his teaching and clinical work. Topically they cover much the same ground as his teaching but on a slightly less technical level.

Series 6, Subject Files (c.1914-1963), pertain mainly to mental health organizations with which Dr. Glueck was affiliated. A few files focus on persons significant in his career, such as William A. White, Manfred Sakel, Thomas W. Salmon, and his brother, Sheldon Glueck. Some few additional files provide guidelines Dr. Glueck used in patient and immigrant evaluations and also documentation for some topics he researched for writing projects.

Series 7, Writings (1911-c.1965) are divided between articles and translations which were published and articles whose publication and date is uncertain. Dr. Glueck's writings closely parallel his professional interests as they evolved throughout his career. His wrote about psychopathies while working at St. Elizabeth's hospital, then segued to immigrants' mental conditions while at Ellis Island. Much of his output thereafter about criminality, psychoanalysis, and childhood development was informed from patients at Sing Sing prison and in social work, though he wrote about insulin shock therapy conducted at Stony Lodge in the 1930s. In addition to his own original writing, Dr. Glueck translated eight German psychological works (1908-1937) into English.

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