On July 22, 1988, Karl A. Menninger celebrated his 95th birthday. His recently published correspondence from 1919 to 1945, edited by H. Faulkner and V. Pruitt, professors of English at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan, is almost as remarkable a volume as the life of Dr Karl. Incidentally, Karl Menninger attended Washburn (then Washburn College) from age 17 to 19. Before I discuss this unusual book, let me make a few introductory comments.
The history of psychiatry is now undergoing a major renaissance. Historians, biographers, philosophers of science, sociologists, economists, as well as mental health professionals are among the leaders in this rebirth. One can speculate as to the reasons for this return to "our roots"—perhaps we are old enough to be worthy of historical study, perhaps the exciting developments in psychiatric research spawn a curiosity about the origins and leaders of this medical specialty, perhaps the multiple approaches to