Birley (1981) has quoted Whitehead as saying ‘a science which hesitates to forget its founders is lost’. On the other hand, however, Hunter and MacAlpine (1963) noted that ‘the historical study of psychiatry, unlike that of medicine, is inseparable from the appreciation of its current problems', and that ‘just as it is the historical and biographical method which the psychiatrist adopts when faced with the problem of the individual patient, so the historical approach may be expected to throw light on the wider problems of psychiatry by laying bare their roots'. Certainly, since taking up appointment as librarian of the Institute of Psychiatry I have been surprised at the awareness of professional history shown by senior staff who I would have expected to be totally absorbed in day-to-day minutiae. A brief note in a specialized journal (Guha, 1983) elicited a considerable correspondence from psychiatric librarians who had noticed the same interest. It is, perhaps, unfortunate that historical resources in psychiatry are somewhat scattered, so that there is no one central archive or library to act as a focus for research in this area.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.