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Hove, Arthur (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 63, Number 8 (Dec. 1961)

Andreopoulos, Ed
Karl Menninger, M.D.--a profile,   pp. 22-[25]


Page 22


Karl
Menninger, M.D.
                  --A Profile
                               by Ed Andreopoulos*
O NE SUMMER EVENING thirty-
     six years ago, thirty men gathered
in the university club of Topeka,
Kansas. The men were leading doctors
and businessmen of the town who had
come to hear Dr. Karl Menninger and
his father, Dr. C. F. Menninger, speak
about the mentally ill and of the need
for developing a hospital that would
insure these suffering  people better
treatment. That night the Menninger
Psychiatric Hospital was born. Sixteen
years later, The Menninger Foundation,
a nonprofit center for psychiatric treat-
ment, training and research -was
established.
  Today there are over ten thousand
people in Topeka directly connected
with psychiatry, either as patients or
relatives or as doctors, nurses, aides,
therapists, researchers, and students.
Many work as volunteers. Topeka is
perhaps the only city in the world where
federal, state, county, city and private
hospitals and agencies in this field work
together. Under the leadership of The
Menninger Foundation more psychia-
trists have been trained here than in
any other place in the world.
  The guiding spirit of the Foundation
is Dr. Karl Menninger who, as chief of
  * The auhor co-edits the Menninger
Menninger Foundation.
22
  staff and director of professional educa-
  tion, is responsible for its operation.
    Doctor Karl is a tall man, over six
  feet. His figure has a Renaissance qual-
  ity. He is omniverous for experience;
  he has a swashbuckling love of life and
  experiment; he is basically an artist and
  at the same time a builder; he is in-
  credibly versatile. Like the giants of
  seventeenth century Italy he can turn
  his pliable and powerful fingers to al-
  most anything. He is a psychiatrist, but
  he is also a psychoanalyst, a teacher, a
  writer, an administrator, a researcher,
  and a historian. His books have stimu-
  lated thousands. His work has cast hope
  for millions of troubled men and
  women. He has scarcely been idle five
  minutes in his life. Two supreme at-
  tributes-energy and abstract talent-
  merge to make his character and career
  the restless dramatic success they have
  been.
    Doctor Karl was born in Topeka in
  1893. His parents were teachers. Under
  their tutorship he learned, not merely to
  work and study hard, but something
  more important-to think. He began to
  read. He thirsted for books and knowl-
  edge as a sponge thirsts for water. And
Quarterly and other publications of The
as his curiosity grew, he decided to en-
ter the scientific world.
   He attended Washburn College in
Topeka, then the University of Wiscon-
sin in Madison, where he received two
degrees. Later he completed medical
school cum  laude at Harvard Univer-
sity. He was an intern at the Kansas
City General Hospital when he became
interested in neurology and psychiatry.
In 1918, he went back to Boston to en-
ter training in the new specialty.
   At the Boston Psychopathic Hospital,
he studied under Dr. Ernest Southard,
professor of psychiatry at Harvard.
Doctor Southard was an inspiring
teacher and had a vision of what psy-
chiatry could become. As his admirer
and emulator, Doctor Karl, too, grasped
the significance of his teacher's dream.
   When Doctor Southard died in Feb-
ruary, 1920, Doctor Karl returned to
Topeka and joined his father in a joint
practice. Dr. C. F. Menninger was an
idealist who believed that doctors could
accomplish more for their patients by
working together as a group. Doctor
Karl began to see chiefly psychiatric pa-
tients, and the need in this field was so
great that he soon realized they needed
a bigger clinic. When the Menninger
Clinic was established, psychiatry be-
came its specialty. When Doctor Karl's
brother William was graduated from
Wisconsin Alumnus, December, 1961


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