The American Neurological Association (ANA) was organized in 1875. Dr. S.
Weir Mitchell was elected to the presidency but declined to serve, and Dr.
J.S. Jewell of Chicago assumed the office. (Dr. Weir accepted the presidency
in 1909). In 1874 Dr. Jewell had founded the Chicago Journal of Nervous
and Mental Disease, which became the official journal of the ANA. Local
neurological associations were established in Boston, New York, Philadelphia,
and Chicago, and their proceedings were published regularly in the
ANA members believed that the brain was the organ of the mind and that the
study and treatment of mental disease were within their purview. Their
meetings and journal were mainly concerned with neurological topics but almost
always included papers and discussions related to mental disorders. At the
annual ANA meeting in 1876, Dr. George Beard of New York presented a paper
titled "The Influence of the Mind on Causation and Cure of
Disease," much to the derision of his colleagues. At the 1877 meeting,
Dr. H. Bannister of Chicago read a paper on moral insanity, saying,"
This form of disease may or may not exist."
Relations between the ANA and the Association of Medical Superintendents of
American Institutions for the Insane (renamed the Medico Psychological
Association in 1892 and the American Psychiatric Association in 1921) were
distinct. Soon after the ANA was founded, an amendment to its constitution was
proposed to deny membership to any physician officially connected with any
mental institution, but it was not adopted. Dr. Richard Noyes of Boston State
Hospital became an ANA member in 1888, as did Dr. Henry Stedman, the head of a
private hospital near Boston; he was elected ANA president in 1906. Other
prominent psychiatrists who became members around this time included Dr.
Richard Dewey of Kankakee, Ill., in 1891, and Dr. Edward Brush of Baltimore in
The hostility of the ANA to the psychiatrists' association came to a head
in 1894, when the invited speaker to the meeting marking the 50th anniversary
of the association was Dr. Mitchell. He lambasted asylums as nontherapeutic
and their staffs as nonscientific in their practice. The psychiatrists
responded only weakly to Mitchell's diatribe.
In 1896 the psychiatrists invited Dr. Bernard Sachs, a New York
neurologist, to address their annual meeting, and he did so in a placating
tone. As relations between the two organizations improved, more psychiatrists
joined the ANA. Dr. Adolf Meyer joined in 1899 and was elected president in
1922. In 1905 he and Dr. William White were named advisory consultants to the
Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. Among the 12 APA presidents
who were members of the ANA were Dr. Edward Cowles (APA president 1894-95) and
Dr. Edward Strecker (APA president 1943-44).
Dr. Smith Ely Jeliffe had his feet firmly planted in both camps, as a
member of both the psychiatric association and the ANA. He joined the ANA in
1900 and soon became editor of the ANA journal, a post he held for almost 40
Likewise, a number of prominent neurologists were also psychiatric
association members, including professors of neurology at medical schools in
Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Omaha, and Minneapolis.
Neurology and psychiatry have continued to move closer, sharing a common
certifying board, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. The strong
alliance of the two specialties will continue to best serve both patients and