[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
February 7, 1977

The History of Mental Retardation: Collected Papers

Author Affiliations

Poughkeepsie, NY

JAMA. 1977;237(6):584. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270330074034

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


These two volumes review the advances made in the last century in the care of the mentally retarded, from the mid-19th century to the present. Each section is preceded by an introduction by the three editors. The selection opens with the "Memorial to the Legislature of Massachusetts," written by Dorothea L. Dix in 1843, and ends with a 1971 article that, significantly, bears the title "Will there always be an institution?"

Led by Dix's moving memorial, the first group of papers deals with rising humanitarian feelings toward the mentally retarded. The second group of articles, outstanding among which are those by E. Seguin (the Frenchborn physician who was instrumental in establishing important programs in this country), deals with the opening of the first schools for retarded, under both public and private auspices. In the latter part of the 19th century, the belief in phrenology was being replaced by more sober