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Psychiatry Resources: History

Worcester Psychiatry/Worcester Firsts

Famous Firsts - Famous Folks - Famous for pioneering people and events in U.S. psychiatric history

 

City Website

Destination Worcester

Worcestermass.org

Worcester Hospitals

Worcester City Hospital - Founded 1871.  Closed in 1991.  Now home to the Family Health Center of Worcester and Community Healthlink.

Memorial Hospital - Founded in 1871 as the Washburn Dispensary.  Endowed through a bequest by Worcester industrialist Ichabod Washburn in memory of his wife and daughter.  Moved to current location and began accepting inpatients in 1888.  First merged with Hahnemann Hospital and Holden Hospital to become the Medical Center of Central Massachusetts.  Then, merged with University Hospital in 1998 to become U Mass Memorial Medical Center and to form a closer academic tie with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  Today, U Mass Memorial also includes Clinton Hospital in Clinton, Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster and Fitchburg,  Marlborough Hospital in Marlborough, and Wing Memorial Hospital in Palmer.

Hahnemann Hospital - Founded in 1896.  Also merged to become part of U Mass Memorial Medical Center.

Fairlawn Hospital -Founded in 1921 as a general inpatient hospital.  Became a rehabilitation specialty hospital in 1987.

St. Vincent Hospital - Founded in 1893 by the Sisters of Providence.  Now part of Worcester Medical Center in downtown.

U Mass Medical Center (University Hospital) - Created in 1974 as the academic teaching partner of the new U Mass Medical School on the brand-new medical school campus.  In 1998, the U Mass Medical Center merged with the Medical Center of Central Massachusetts (Memorial and Hahnemann Hospitals) to become the U Mass memorial Medical Center.

Belmont Hospital - Founded in 1896 as an isolation hospital/sanatorium.  Closed and demolished in 1970's to make way for Christopher Heights Assisted Living Facility.

Worcester State Hospital - Founded in 1833 as the "State Lunatic Asylum" on Summer Street.  Moved to Bloomingdale campus in mid 1870's.  Bryan Building added in 1950's.  Original "Kirkbride" Hospital burned in 1991.  New hospital facility currently under construction.

About This Page

This page prepared in collaboration with Dr. Sheldon Benjamin and the History of Psychiatry Academic Interest Group, Len Levin and Dr. Patricia Bazmore co-chairs.

For additional information on the history of psychiatry in Worcester and the Worcester State Hospital, consult these resources, all available in the Lamar Soutter Library:

 

            Enoch Callaway. Asylum: a Mid-Century Madhouse and Its Lessons About Our Mentally Ill Today (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007.

            Jeffrey L. Geller and Maxine Harris, Women of the Asylum (New York: Anchor Books, 1994).          

            Gerald N. Grob, The State and the Mentally Ill: A History of Worcester State Hospital (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1966).

            Gerald N. Grob, The Mad Among Us: A History of the Care of America’s Mentally Ill (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1994).

            Joseph P. Morrissey, Howard H. Goldman, Lorraine V. Klerman, ed., The Enduring Asylum: Cycles of Institutional Reform at Worcester State Hospital (New York: Grune and Stratton, 1980.)

             Christopher Payne and Oliver W. Sacks.  Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009).

 

          

Webster Lake

Worcester County is home to the longest geographical place name in North America: Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagogg- chaubunagungamaugg - say that five times fast!  Legend has always maintained that it means "You fish on your side, I fish on my side and nobody fish in the middle".  But the true translation from the Nipmuc language is more like "Neutral Fishing Place".   

(phot from: http://websterlakeassociation.org/htmlpages/about.html)

Worcester Famous Firsts (1673-1900)

1673 - First "English" settlement.  Nipmuc Native Americans called the area "Quinsigamond" meaning "fishing place for pickerel".

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(photo from http://www.becker.edu/pages/816.asp)

1722 - Worcester, named after city of same name in England, became a town in 1722.

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1833 - "State Lunatic Asylum" opened.  Dr. Samuel B. Woodward became the first superintendent.

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(photo from http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia)

1840 - Monkey Wrench invented by Loring Coes of the Coes Knife Company.

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1844 - Association of Medical Superintendents of Asylums for the Insane founded.  Samuel B. Woodward becomes first president.  This organizations goes on to become the American Psychiatric Association.

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(photo from http://www.virtualmuseum.ca)

1847 - Esther Howland establishes first Valentine Card company in the U.S.

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1848 - Worcester becomes a city on February 29th.  So is the city 163 years-old or only 39??

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(photo from http://www.preservationworcester.org)

1850 - The National Women's Rights Convention, the first national woman's suffrage meeting, was held in Worcester's Brinley Hall. 

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(photo from http://www.worcesterma.gov)

1854 - Elm Park is established as one of the first three public parks in the U.S. (along with parks in New York City and Hartford, CT).

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(photo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calliope_%28music%29)

1855 - Joshua C. Stoddard patents the "Steam Trumpet" or Calliope.

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(photo from (photo from http://webexpedition18.com/articles/7-beautiful-vintage-envelopeletterscrapbook-photoshop-tutorials/)

1856 - Russell Howes invents the first envelope folding machine.

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1877 - Worcester State Hospital relocates to new Bloomingdale Campus.  Superintendent Merrick Bemis visualizes a "cottage hospital" inspired by European practice but is overruled in favor of a "Kirkbride Style" hospital which was the U.S. standard.

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1880 - John Lee Richmond, playing for the Worcester Ruby Legs, pitches first perfect game in professional baseball against the Cleveland Blues.  Richmond goes on to be become a physician practicing in Ohio.

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(photo from http://www.medicalarchives.jhmi.edu/sgml/meyera.html)

1895 - Swiss-born psychobiologist Adolf Meyer begins seven year tenure at Worcester State Hospital and Clark University. He was famous for collecting intricate social histories on his patients in order to determine possible social and environmental etiologies to mental illness.

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1899 - Marshall "Major" Taylor, bicycle racer, is the frist African-American to achieve world championship status in any sport

Medical Heritage Library

Electronic copies of old and rare medical books.  Includes nearly 300 books from the Lamar Soutter Library's "Rare Books Room".

History of UMMS Published in Open Access eBook!

Ellen's book - cover

 

 

The University of Massachusetts Medical School, A History: Integrating Primary Care and Biomedical Research, by Ellen S. More, head of the Office of Medical History and Archives of the UMass Medical School Lamar Soutter Library, and Professor of Psychiatry, has been published as an open access eBook through eScholarship@UMMS.

Worcester Famous Firsts (1900-present)

(photo from: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1907/)

1907 - Albert Abraham Michelson of Clark University is the first U.S. scientist to receive the Nobel Prize in physics for his work of measurements of the speed of light.

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(photo from: http://www.clarku.edu/micro/freudcentennial/freud/index.cfm)

1909 - Sigmund Freud delivers his only U.S. lectures at Clark University.  Also in attendance are Carl Jung, A.A. Brill, Ernest Jones and Sandor Ferenczi.  While many sources say that "Freud visited Worcester State Hospital" at this time, there is no record or evidence of any such visit.

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1925 - Dr. William Bryan, Superintendent of Worcester State Hospital and Rev. Anton Boisen, a former patient, began the first Clinical Pastoral Education program in the U.S.

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(photo from: http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/ABSTRACTS/GPN-2002-000132.html)

1926 - Clark University professor Robert Goddard launches first liquid-fueled rocket in nearby Auburn.

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(photo from: (photo from: http://www.austinpost.org/content/free-contraceptive-pills)

1960 - The FDA approves the use of first oral contraceptive pill, developed by Drs. Gregory Pincus and Ming-Chueh Chang at the Worcester Foundation for Expiramental Biology, now part of UMMS.

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1962 - The University of Massachusetts establishes a new public medical school. In 1965, the U Mass Board of Trustees votes to locate the new school in Worcester.

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(photo from: http://grin.hq.nasa.gov/ABSTRACTS/GPN-2002-000132.html)

1963 - Harvey Ball, a freelance artist working for the State Mutual Life Assurance Company, creates the "Smiley Face".

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2006 - Craig Mello, PhD, UMMS Professor in the Department of Cell Biology, wins the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work in RNA Interference.

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(photo from the Fall River Herald News http://www.heraldnews.com/topstories/x1356109033/OUR-VIEW-Stepping-into-the-future-of-mental-health-care)

2012 - New Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital opens, replacing services from the former Worcester State Hospital and Westborough State Hospital. 

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(photo from Deborah Packard, Preservation Worcester)

2015 - The 19th century clock tower, centerpiece of the orginal Worcester State Administration Building, has been rebuilt in front of the new hospital upon the foorprint of the old, becoming a monument signifying Worcester's leading role in American psychiatry.  The new clock tower was dedicated on December 10, 2015 and included remarks from Deborah Packard, Executive Director of Preservation Worcester, Joan Mikula, Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Karyn Polito, Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.