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APA Historical Database: Selected Entries


On October 12:

1773 — The first U.S. public mental hospital, the Publick Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds, opened in Williamsburg, Virginia. The first "keeper" was James Galt, and the first patient was Zachariah Mallory. The hospital was closed during the American Revolution, raided by both sides in the Civil War, burned in 1885, moved elsewhere in Williamsburg in the 1960s, and continues today as Eastern State Hospital. A reconstruction of the original hospital opened in 1985 and now stands on the grounds of Colonial Williamsburg.

1867 — Boris Sidis was born. Sidis, a personality and abnormal psychologist, was one of the first American psychologists to study the unconscious motivation of behavior. He emphasized the importance of social context in the definitions of normal and abnormal behavior and did early work in multiple personality and hypnosis.

1874 — Abraham Arden Brill was born. Brill was the first to translate many of Sigmund Freud's works into English for American readers. He also wrote several books of his own in which he promoted psychoanalysis. He founded the New York Psychoanalytic Society in 1911.

1966 — Robert Rosenthal's Experimenter Effects in Behavioral Research was published. By 1979, this book had been cited in over 740 other works and was featured as a "citation classic" in the journal Current Contents.

1984 — The first Mid-America Conference for Teachers of Psychology began on the campus of Indiana State University in Evansville. This conference has provided the dominant model for other regional conferences on teaching undergraduate psychology. Joseph Palladino was instrumental in organizing the conference.


Copyright © 1995, American Psychological Association. Web version by permission. Source: Street, W. R. (1994). A Chronology of Noteworthy Events in American Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. The American Psychological Association and Central Washington University have supported the development of the APA Historical Database.

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