Richard S. Lyman Papers, 1927-1957

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Lyman, Richard Sherman, 1891-1959
Contains the professional papers of Richard Sherman Lyman (1891-1959), professor of neuropsychiatry at Duke University from 1941 to 1951. Types of materials include correspondence, subject files, memoranda, reports, budgets, course and teaching materials, and schedules. Major subjects include Duke Hospital, Duke University Medical Center, mental health agencies in North Carolina, mental health treatment, psychiatry, neurology, neuropsychology, nurse training programs, and treatment of soldiers and veterans of World War II. Materials range in date from 1927 to 1957.
6.5 Linear Feet (4 cartons and 1 manuscript box)
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

Contains correspondence related to Richard S. Lyman's professional career at Duke University Medical Center, as well as at other institutions and organizations, particularly his time as the chair of Duke's Department of Psychiatry. Also contains applications, reports, memoranda, projections, schedules, policies, budget records, program information, and general files related to the Department of Psychiatry, Duke Clinics and Mental Health Agencies, and other major subjects including techniques for treating various mental illnesses, African-American patients and employees, conscientious objectors, Department of Neuropsychiatry, the Department of Psychology, the Duke Parapsychology Lab, Highland Hospital, government-sponsored studies on motion sickness, psychiatric attendants, teaching, U.S. Public Health Grants, U.S. Veterans Administration, and areas of the Duke University Medical Center such as the Meyer Ward and the Children's Spastic Dormitory. Materials range in date from 1927 to 1957.

Biographical / historical:

Richard S. Lyman was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1891. He received his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (1921). Lyman worked in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg, Russia) with Ivan P. Pavlov in the Department of Physiology at the Institute of Experimental Medicine (1930-1931). His educational appointments include associate professor of psychiatry at the National Medical School in Shanghai, China (1931-1937); professor at Peking Union Medical College in Beijing, China (1932-1937); professor of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (1938-1941); professor of neuropsychiatry at Duke University (1941-1951) and Meharry Medical College (Nashville, Tennessee) (1951-1953). He also taught courses at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and served as a specialist (certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology) and member of the American Neurological Association.
While employed by the National Medical School in Shanghai and the Peiping Union Medical College, Lyman also became the first fully educated doctor of psychiatry to attempt to organize western-style psychiatric training and treatment in China. Specifically, he was charged with establishing psychiatry as a new specialty at Peiping Union Medical College. His clinical work in China was later used in Bingham Dai's 1939 essay "The patient as a person." Lyman himself edited a 1939 collection of research done by his Chinese students and colleagues, "Social and Psychological Studies in Neuropsychiatry in China."
Lyman worked in Washington, D.C., Ceylon, and China as a major in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. His projects included the training of conscientious objectors as psychiatric orderlies at Duke University Medical Center during World War II. He was particularly interested in doing away with the reputation of orderlies as mere "bouncers." He recruited and trained psychiatric staff from a wide range of available labor pools and cultural backgrounds, with a wide range of therapeutic interests.
During his time at Duke, Lyman was the founding chairman of the Department of Psychiatry in 1940. He and selected other members of Duke University School of Medicine faculty worked as members of the staff at Highland Hospital (Asheville, North Carolina) in the 1940s after Duke University assumed directorship of Highland Hospital in 1944 from its founder, Dr. Robert S. Carroll. Lyman also promoted the treatment of non-white psychiatric patients. He arranged for many such patients to be admitted to the predominantly African-American facility Lincoln Hospital due to Duke Hospital's psychiatric ward, Meyer Ward, having no beds available for African-American patients.
Richard S. Lyman died on June 13, 1959.

Acquisition information:
Source unknown
Processing information:

Processed by Emily Glenn: July 2004; encoded by Emily Glenn: August 2004; updated by Matthew Shangler: July 2009; reprocessed by McKenzie Long under the supervision of Lucy Waldrop: December 2018

Organized into the following series: Correspondence, 1940-1957; Department of Psychiatry, Duke University, 1940-1946; Subject Files, 1927-1951; Duke Clinics and Mental Health Agencies, 1942-1951; Restricted, 1940-1951.
Physical location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.


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This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals or IRB approval may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which Duke University assumes no responsibility.
Materials in box 5 are restricted and can only be accessed with the permission of the Medical Center Archivist.

Terms of access:

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Richard S. Lyman Papers, Duke University Medical Center Archives.