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Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 295–320 | Cite as

Was William James a Patient at McLean Hospital for the Mentally Ill?

  • Donald CappsEmail author
Article

Abstract

Rumors that William James was a patient at McLean Asylum near Boston have persisted for several decades. I focus on the reasons why the question has been so difficult to answer in any definitive way; assess the evidence presented in support of the rumors; note that two different periods in James’s life (late twenties and early sixties) have been judged the most likely; and explore the diagnostic question as well: If he was in fact a patient, for what was he being treated? I also discuss evidence that his younger brother Robertson was a patient at McLean and consider the bearing of this evidence on the question of whether William James was a patient at McLean and on the diagnostic issue.

Keywords

Mental illness William James McLean Hospital Diagnosis Age issue Robertson James 

Notes

Acknowledgement

I want to thank John Capps for bringing the chapter by Louis Menand to my attention and Nathan Carlin for his assistance in tracking down several articles discussed in this paper.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Princeton Theological SeminaryPrincetonUSA

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