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historical photo of lab

History & Progress

Pictured: Otto Folin, PhD, director of McLean’s Chemical Laboratory from 1900 to 1908. McLean was the first psychiatric hospital to establish basic and clinical laboratories to study biological factors in mental illness.

McLean has been a setting in many books and films and a central subject of many history texts. Below are books that contain more information about the hospital’s rich history in the field of psychiatry:

Early Years of McLean HospitalEarly Years of the McLean Hospital
by Nina Fletcher Little
(Francis A. Countway of Medicine, 1972)


Crossroads in PsychiatryCrossroads in Psychiatry
by Silvia B. Sutton
(American Psychiatric Press, Inc., 1986)


Girl InterruptedGirl Interrupted
by Susanna Kaysen
(Turtle Bay Books, 1993)


Gracefully InsaneGracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America’s Premier Mental Hospital
by Alex Beam
(Public Affairs, 2001)


McLean Hospital: A Personal MemoirMcLean Hospital: A Personal Memoir
by Francis de Marneffe
(Coolidge Hill Press, 2010)