White, William Alanson

White, William Alanson, 1870–1937, American psychiatrist, b. Brooklyn, N.Y., studied at Cornell (1885–89) and Long Island Hospital Medical School (M.D., 1891). In 1892 he joined the staff of the Binghampton State Hospital. He was appointed (1903) superintendent of St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, D.C., a position he retained until his death. White's chief contribution was his willingness to seek out and experiment with new and promising psychiatric methods. He was one of Freud's earliest supporters in the United States, founding (1913) the Psychoanalytic Review with S. E. Jelliffe and writing one of the first American works on psychoanalysis, The Mechanisms of Character Formation (1916). He was especially active in bringing about the spread of psychiatric knowledge. In 1934 a group of his supporters established the William Alanson White Foundation to further his scientific objectives; it was responsible in 1936 for bringing into existence the influential Washington School of Psychiatry.

See his autobiography (1938).

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