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Thomas Szasz Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Szasz, Thomas Stephen, 1920-2012.
Title: Thomas Stephen Szasz Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1949-1992
Quantity: 9.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American psychiatrist, born in Budapest, Hungary. Collection contains correspondence, typescript and published articles, books and essays, galley proofs, legal files, photographs, awards, and printed material about Szasz.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Thomas Stephen Szasz (1920-2012) was an American psychiatrist and scholar, best known for his criticisms of psychiatry and of the influence of modern medicine on society.

Born in Budapest, Hungary, April 15 1920, Thomas S. Szasz emigrated to the United States in 1938. He received his medical education at the University of Cincinnati and his psychiatric training at the University of Chicago Clinics. In 1956 he became Professor of Psychiatry at the State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York, a post he held until 1990 when he became Professor Emeritus. He was a well-known social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry, and of the social control aims of medicine in modern society, as well as of scientism. A prolific author with strong opinions on the relationship between modern psychiatry and the state, his writings often evoked lively debate and conversations. His books include The Myth of Mental Illness (1960) and The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement (1970).

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Thomas Szasz Papers consist of correspondence, legal papers, writings and miscellany.

The bulk of the Correspondence (1956-1970) is between Dr. Szasz and several publishers concerning routine matters involved in the publication of his writings, though there are a few letters in regard to suggested manuscript changes, of interest. Also of interest are the 1964 letters to the editor of Harper's Magazine in response to an article by Szasz entitled "What Psychiatry Can and Cannot Do," and a small amount of correspondence with colleagues, of whom the following are noteworthy: Charles A. Aring (Jan 1963), Roy M. Grinker (May 1963, Dec 1969), Joost A.M. Meerloo (May 1963), E. Fuller Torrey (Feb, Oct 1966).

The Legal papers, 1959-1962, are comprised of a copy of a decision in a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Columbia Circuit, and the stenographer's minutes of Brafman v. McNeill, in which Dr. Szasz gave testimony.

The Writings, 1949-1969, consist of miscellaneous writings, articles, book reviews, books, interviews, introductions and speeches. All items within these groupings are arranged alphabetically by title. There are often numerous drafts of each item that are revised typescripts, typescript carbons or reproductions, the three of which may be contained in a single draft. The draft stages of the writing have been labeled arbitrarily. In the case of books, drafts which were identified as part of a distinct unit are arranged under the heading "Complete draft," while those not belonging to a larger unit are found under the appropriate chapter number. Some of these materials were reworked and appear as different types of writings. Thus, the article "Bootlegging Humanistic Values Through Psychiatry," became chapter 7 in the book Ideology and Insanity, and a speech entitled "Bootleg Mercy." Miscellaneous writings are materials which cannot be assigned to a particular type of writing, as with unidentified fragments or the preface to a published interview.

Miscellany, 1966-1970, contains the manuscripts of books by other people. In this section there is a revised draft of The Ordeal of Stephen Dennison by Lucy Freeman and Lisa Hoffman which is of special interest and several items of lesser import.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged chronologically. Other material is arranged alphabetically by type or title.

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Access Restrictions

Regarding legal files and case studies, no personal names are to be published without the written permission of both Dr. Szasz and the named individual(s).

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

A number of books that were donated as part of the collection have been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging. Please refer to SUMMIT, our main catalog and search for "Gift of Thomas Szasz" to locate these items.

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Subject Headings


Szasz, Thomas Stephen, 1920-2012.


Criminal liability -- United States.
Hungarian Americans.
Insanity (Law) -- United States.
Involuntary treatment -- Moral and ethical aspects.
Mental illness.
Psychiatric ethics.
Psychiatric hospitals.
Psychiatrists -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Drafts (documents)
Galley proofs.
Manuscripts for publication.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Thomas S. Szasz Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Thomas S. Szasz, 1969-2009.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: [Summit record]
Date: 1 Jan 2001
Revision history: 12 Oct 2010 - converted to EAD (MRC); 9 Oct 2013 - inventory added (MRC)

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Box 1 [General] 1956
Box 1 [General] 1957 (4 folders)
Box 1 [General] 1958 (3 folders)
Box 1 [General] 1959 (4 folders)
Box 1 [General] 1960 (2 folders)
Box 1 [General] 1961 (4 folders)
Box 1 [General] 1962 (2 folders)
Box 1 [General] 1963 (2 folders)
Box 1 [General] 1964 (5 folders)
Box 1 [General] 1965 (2 folders)
Box 1 [General] 1966, Jan-Oct
Box 2 [General] 1966, Jun-Oct
Box 2 [General] 1967
Box 2 [General] 1968 (2 folders)
Box 2 [General] 1969 (4 folders)
Box 2 [General] 1970, Jan-Feb
Legal papers
Box 2 Brafman V. McNell
Box 2 Hough v. United States of American
Miscellaneous writings
Box 2 Unidentified writings
Box 2 Research material, handwritten
Box 2 Reply to comments by Stuart Terkel, published
Box 2 Preface to interview published in the Wabash Law Journal - Drafts A thru D
Box 2 Alcoholism: A socio-ethical perspective 1966 - published version
Box 2 Behavior therapy and psychoanalysis 1967 - published version
Box 2 Bootlegging humanistic values through psychiatry 1962 - draft and published (2 folders)
Box 2 Civil rights and mental illness
Box 2 Classification in psychiatry
Box 2 The classification of mental illness 1959 - published version
Box 2 The concept of transference 1963 - published version
Box 2 The crime of commitment 1969 - published version
Box 2 The crime of involuntary mental hospitalization - draft A, draft B, galleys (3 folders)
Box 2 A critical look at our mental health practices
Box 2 Discussion of papers on schizophrenia by Drs. Arieti, Azima, Bychowski, and Mme. Sechehage 1963 - published version
Box 2 Dream interpretation and the interpretation of dreaming
Box 2 The ethics of abortion 1966 - published version
Box 2 Hysteria 1968 - published version
Box 2 The insanity plea and the insanity verdict 1967 - draft A, published version (2 folders)
Box 2 Involuntary mental hospitalization: A critique - drafts A and B (2 folders)
Box 2 Justice in the therapeutic state - drafts A through D (4 folders)
Box 3 Justice in the therapeutic state - drafts E and F (2 folders)
Box 3 Law and the mental patient 1966 - published version
Box 3 Legal and moral aspects of homosexuality 1965 - published version
Box 3 Malingering 'diagnosis' or social condemnation 1956 - published version
Box 3 The making of a madman 1969
Box 3 Medical ethics: A historical perspective 1968 - published version
Box 3 Mental health as ideology
Box 3 The mental health ethic - published versions, one annotated (2 folders)
Box 3 Mental health services in the school - drafts A and B (2 folders)
Box 3 Mental illness as an excuse for civil wrongs 1968 - published version
Box 3 The moral dilemma of psychiatry: Autonomy or heteronomy? - draft A, draft B, published version (3 folders)
Box 3 The moral dilemma of psychiatry: Servant of the society of the individual?
Box 3 The myth of mental illness 1960 - drafts A, B, C; published version (4 folders)
Box 3 On the psychology of pain
Box 3 Portrait of the secular moralist 1965 - published version
Box 3 The problems facing psychiatry (2 folders)
Box 3 Psychiatric aspects of vagotomy 1969 - published version
Box 3 Psychiatric classification as a strategy of personal constraint
Box 3 The psychiatrist as double agent 1967 - published version
Box 3 Psychiatry and the unequal protection of the laws - drafts A and B (2 folders)
Box 4 Psychiatry as ideology 1965 - published version
Box 4 Psychiatry in public schools 1944 - published version
Box 4 Psychiatry, the state and the university - drafts A through G; published version (9 folders)
Box 4 Psychiatry's threat to civil liberties 1963 - drafts A and B (2 folders)
Box 4 Psychoanalysis and suggestion: An historical and logical analysis 1963 - published version
Box 4 Psychoanalysis and taxation 1964 - published version
Box 4 Psychoanalysis and the rule of law 1967 - published version
Box 4 Psychoanalysis as method and as theory 1958 - published version
Box 4 The rhetoric of rejection
Box 4 The right to health 1969 - drafts A throught G; published version
Box 4 The right to treatment: Boon or boondoggle?
Box 4 Science and public policy: The crime of involuntary mental hospitalization - published version
Box 4 Social control and institutional psychiatry - drafts A, B, C (3 folders)
Box 5 Social control and institutional psychiatry - drafts D and E (2 folders)
Box 5 The social situations of the hospitalized mental patient
Box 5 Some remarks on autonomous psychotherapy 1968 - published version
Box 5 A strategy of freedom 1965 - published version
Box 5 A theory of the pathogenesis of ordinary human baldness 1950 - published version
Box 5 Three problems in contemporary psychoanalytic training 1960 - published version
Box 5 An unscrewable letter: Reply to Dr. Fred M. Sander - drafts A and B (2 folders)
Box 5 The uses of naming and the origin of the myth of mental illness - drafts A; published versions (3 folders)
Box 5 What is malingering? 1959 - published version
Box 5 What psychiatry can and cannot do 1964 - draft A; published version (2 folders)
Box 5 Whither psychiatry? 1966 - draft A; published version (2 folders)
Box 5 Untitled, on medical ethics
Box 5 Miscellaneous fragments
Book reviews
Box 5 The Battered Child by Ray Helfer and Henry Kempe 1968
Box 5 On Iniquity by Pamela Johnson - drafts A, B, C (3 folders)
Box 5 Psychoanalysis and the Family Neuroses by Martin Grotjahn; The Structure of Psychoanalytic Theory: A Systematizing Attempt by David Rapaport; and Basic Theory of Psychoanalysis by Robert Waelder - published material
Demand for Deference
Box 5 Front matter - contents, preface, acknowledgements
Ideology and Insanity
Complete drafts
Box 5 Draft A (5 folders)
Box 5 Draft B (4 folders)
Box 5 Draft C (5 folders)
Miscellaneous section drafts
Box 6 Preface - drafts A and B
Box 6 Introduction - drafts A through K (11 folders)
Box 6 Chapter 2 - draft A
Box 7 Chapter 2 - draft B
Box 7 Chapter 3 - draft A
Box 7 Chapter 4 - drafts A, B, C, D (4 folders)
Box 7 Chapter 5 - drafts A and B (2 folders)
Box 7 Chapter 6 - draft A
Box 7 Chapter 7 - draft A
Box 7 Chapter 8 - draft A
Box 7 Chapter 9 - drafts A and B (2 folders)
Box 7 Chapter 10 - draft A
Box 7 Chapter 11 - drafts A and B (2 folders)
Box 7 Chapter 12 - drafts A and B (2 folders)
Box 7 Chapter 13 - draft A
Box 7 Book jacket text - drafts A, B, C
Box 8 Drafts, revised and with annotations - drafts A, B, C, D (4 folders)
Box 8 Miscellaneous fragments
Manufacture of Madness
Complete drafts
Box 9 Draft A - contents, preface, introduction, chapters 1-13, epilogue, appendix (4 folders)
Box 9 Draft B - chapters 2-9 (4 folders)
Box 10 Draft B (continued) - chapters 11-16, epilogue, appendix (4 folders)
Box 10 Draft C - contents, preface, introduction, chapters 1-6 (4 folders)
Box 11 Draft C (continued) - chapters 7-16, appendix (5 folders)
Box 11 Draft D - contents, preface, introduction, chapter 1 (3 folders)
Box 12 Draft D (continued) - chapters 2-15, epilogue, appendix, bibliography (9 folders)
Box 13 Draft E - contents, preface, introduction, chapters 1-8 (4 folders)
Box 13 Draft F - contents, preface, introduction, chapters 1-13, epilogue, appendix (5 folders)
Box 14 Draft F (continued) - chapters 14-16, epilogue, appendix (2 folders)
Box 14 Draft G (5 folders)
Miscellaneous section drafts
Box 14 Preface - draft A
Box 14 Chapter 1 - drafts A, B, C, D (4 folders)
Box 14 Chapter 2 - drafts A, B (2 folders)
Box 14 Chapter 5 - draft A
Box 14 Chapter 6 - draft A
Box 14 Chapter 7 - drafts A, B (2 folders)
Box 15 Chapter 7 - draft C
Box 15 Chapter 8 - draft A
Box 15 Chapter 9 - draft A
Box 15 Chapter 10 - draft A
Box 15 Chapter 11 - drafts A, B (2 folders)
Box 15 Chapter 12 - drafts A, B (2 folders)
Box 15 Chapter 13 - drafts A, B (2 folders)
Box 15 Chapter 14 - draft A
Box 15 Chapter 16 - draft A
Box 15 Epilogue - draft A
Box 15 Bibliography - draft A
Box 15 Index - drafts A, B, C
Box 15 Addendum to index - drafts A, B
Box 16 A, revised (2 folders)
Box 16 B, revised (2 folders)
Box 16 C, revised (2 folders)
Box 16 D, revised
Box 16 Appendix
Box 16 List of galley corrections
Box 16 Fragments, revised
Box 17 Editorial comments and suggested corrections
Box 17 Misc. references, footnotes and bibliography
Box 17 Unidentified fragments
The Myth of Mental Illness
Box 17 Galley A, revised
Box 17 Galley B, revised
Box 17 Galley C, revised
Pain and Pleasure
Box 17 Description and book jacket text - published material
Box 17 Review by Roy M. Grinker - published material
Psychiatric Justice
Box 17 Miscellaneous
Psychiatry and Society
Box 17 Contents, introduction, chapter 2
Box 17 Chapter 2 - drafts A, B
Untitled book
Box 17 Chapters 1-5
Box 17 Drafts A, B
Box 18 "The new physician" 1969 - audiorecording
Box 18 Journal of the Student American Medical Association - drafts A through G (7 folders)
Box 18 The Mental Health Ethic
Box 18 Oppression and Liberation
Box 18 The Ordeal of Stephen Dennison, by Lucy Freeman and Lisa Hoffman - drafts A through G (7 folders)
Box 18 The Predicament of Psychiatry - drafts A and B (2 folders)
Box 18 Bootleg mercy - drafts A, B, C (3 folders)
Box 18 The ethics and politics of college psychiatry
Box 18 The images of evil and tactics of exclusion
Box 18 Involuntary mental hospitalization: A crime against humanity
Box 18 Mental health services in the school 1966
Box 18 Psychiatry as ideology
Box 18 Psychiatry -- where to now?
Box 18 What should society do with those who break the law? - drafts A through D (4 folders)
Box 19 Freeman, Lucy and Hoffman, Lisa, The Ordeal of Stephen Dennison - includes introduction by Szasz (2 folders)
Box 19 Robitscher, Jonas, "Controversial crusaders"
Box 19 Yankelovich, Danial and Barrett, William, Ego and Instinct - chapters 1, 2, 9 and 11 (2 folders)
Box 19 Unidentified author, "James Roosevelt granted a divorce"

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