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Elmer Ernest Southard correspondence

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Creator: Southard, Elmer Ernest, 1876-1920

Date: 1917-1919

Level of Description: Sub-collection/group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: Menninger Historic Psychiatry Coll., Southard, Box 1

Unit ID: 223256

Abstract: Southard's papers primarily consist of handwritten and typed letters he sent to Norman Fenton; articles and other publications written by Southard; materials from Dr. Karl Menninger's interactions with Southard; and memorials, obituaries, and other materials regarding Southard after his death, including correspondence involving his biographer Frederick Gay and his cousin Frances Southard. There is also a course syllabus for his second year neuropathology course at Harvard Medical School.

The correspondence involving Fenton largely concerns researching case studies and publishing about shell shock in WWI, for a project on which Fenton and Southard collaborated. Southard's articles and other publications include Brain Anatomy of the Feeble-Minded and writings on such topics as dementia praecox, diagnosis, the general practitioner and psychiatry, mental hygiene, etc.

Summary: Elmer Ernest Southard's papers primarily consist of handwritten and typed letters he sent to Norman Fenton. Southard, the first Director of Boston Psychopathic Hospital, was Karl Menninger's first significant mentor. Southard and Fenton collaborated on researching case studies and publishing about shell shock in World War I. There is also a course syllabus for his second year neuropathology course at Harvard Medical School. These papers are part of the historic psychiatry material in the Menninger Archives.

Space Required/Quantity: 1.00 cubic feet

Title (Main title): Elmer Ernest Southard correspondence

Part of: Menninger Foundation Archives. Historic Psychiatry sub-collection.


Biog. Sketch (Full): Elmer Ernest Southard was born in Boston, Massachusetts on 28 July 1876, the only child of Martin and Olive Wentworth Knowles Southard. He received his bachelors from Harvard College in 1897, graduating magna cum laude with focuses in philosophy and natural history, as well as becoming interested in psychology. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1901 and began working at the Boston City Hospital in pathology.

Southard spent some time in 1901/1902 working in Germany, in both Frankfurt and Heidelberg. A couple years after he returned to Boston, he was appointed an instructor in neuropathology at Harvard Medical School; by 1906 he was promoted to assistant professor. He also became pathologist and assistant physician at the nearby Danvers State Hospital. When he became Bullard professor in neuropathology at Harvard, he resigned his job at Danvers and became pathologist for the Massachusetts State Board of Insanity. When the Boston Psychopathic Hospital was initiated, he began planning it and then took over as director when it opened in 1912, after spending a few months in England and Switzerland for health reasons. It was at the hospital in 1918 that Karl Menninger met Southard, after Menninger had applied for a residency there.

Southard wrote papers on such subjects as neuropathology, bacteriology, and anaphylaxis. A deep interest in psychiatric nursing and social work led to his establishing the School for Psychiatric Social Workers at Smith College in 1918. During WWI, he served as a major in the Chemical Warfare Division, which helped lead to a book on shell shock; he had also worked with the Boston U.S. Army Neuropsychiatric Training School.

E. E. Southard held memberships in such professional organizations as the Association of American Physicians, American Medical Association, American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, American Neurological Association, American Association of Pathologists, Massachusetts Medical Society, New England Psychiatric Society, National Association for the Study of Epilepsy, and others. He served as president for the American Medico-Psychological Association, director of the Eugenics Record Office, member of the National Committee on Mental Hygiene, and was on the editorial board for several publications.

Southard married Dr. Mabel Fletcher Austin in 1906, a lecturer at Wellesley College. They had two sons and one daughter. E. E. Southard died on 8 February 1920 in New York City.

Scope and Content

Portions of Collection Separately Described:

More separate components

Portions of Collection Not Separately Described:

  1. "Southard Memorial Number" Bulletin of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Diseases, 1920 (Box 1, folder 1)
  2. American Medical Association, Program of the Scientific Assembly, 1920 (Box 1, folder 2)
  3. Dr. Karl--Dr. Southard Materials 1902-1965 (Box 1, folder 3)
  4. Elmer Ernest Southard MMHC Semi-Centerary 1938-1962 1912-1962 (Box 1, folder 4)
  5. Southard Elmer Ernest (Misc. Material) 1911-1979 (Box 1, folder 5)
  6. Southard, Elmer Ernest, M.D. Nd (Box 1, folder 6)
  7. Southard, Elmer Ernest nd (Box 1, folder 7)
  8. E.E. Southard articles in the Journal of Juvenile Research, Vol. XIII, No. 3, July 1929 (Box 1, folder 8)
  9. Southard, Elmer Ernest Letter dated February 17, 1917 (Box 1, folder 9)
  10. Southard, Elmer Ernest "Notice" dated March 9, 1917 (Box 1, folder 10)
More components


Locator Contents
078-02-07-03 to 078-02-07-04   

Related Records or Collections

Associated materials: Arensberg Archives, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Papers of Elmer Ernest Southard, GA 81, Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine.

Index Terms


    Fenton, Norman
    Gay, Frederick P. (Frederick Parker), 1874-1939 -- Correspondence
    Southard, Elmer Ernest, 1876-1920 -- Career in psychiatry
    Southard, Elmer Ernest, 1876-1920 -- Correspondence
    Southard, Elmer Ernest, 1876-1920 -- Manuscripts
    Military psychiatry
    Nervous system -- Diseases
    People with mental disabilities -- History -- 20th century
    Psychiatry -- History -- 20th century
    War neuroses -- History -- 20th century

Creators and Contributors

Agency Classification:

    Organizations/Corporations. Menninger Foundation Archives. Historic Psychiatry. Individuals. Elmer Ernest Southard.