Eli Robins Papers


Reference code


Level of description



Eli Robins Papers


  • 1968-1975 (Creation)
  • 1947-1994 (Creation)
  • 1947-1994 (Creation)


58.50 Linear Feet

Name of creator


Biographical history

Eli Robins received his medical degree from Harvard University University Medical School in 1943 and did his residency in psychiatry. In 1949-1951, he learned from Oliver Lowry about brain biochemistry at Washington University School of Medicine as a US Public Health Service fellow. He joined the faculty and administration of Washington University School of Medicine in 1951, serving as: instructor in neuropsychiatry (1951-1953), assistant professor (1953-1956), associate professor (1956-1958), professor of (1958-1966), Wallace Renard Professor of psychiatry (1966-), and head of the psychiatry department (1963-1975).

Robins was affiliated with Barnes Hospital from 1951-1994 and for many years psychiatrist in chief (1963-1975). He was at the forefront of American psychiatric medicine bringing scientific research from the Freudian approach that dominated the 1940s to an empirical scientific approach based on diagnostic criteria. Modern research into biomedical and social factors in psychiatric disorders followed the agreement of clinicians and researchers on diagnostic criteria. Eli Robin's own research interest was in chemical aspects of brain function and psychiatric illness, specifically the causes of suicide and the neurochemistry of psychiatric disease such as manic depressive disorders, depression, schizophrenia, and multiple sclerosis.

Sources: Amer. Men & Women Sci, 13th ed. 1976 ; Bauer, Dale R., "A letter from the publisher," Medical World News, March 29, 1970; Washington University Record, January 19, 1975; "Eli and Lee Robins," Washington University Magazine, Fall 1973.

Scope and content

The Eli Robins papers are arranged in twenty-seven organizational series on the administration of the Psychiatry Department from 1962-1975 and the research of the Eli Robins labs.  The bulk of the collection is in the General Correspondence files (Series 4), General files (Series 5), Associations and Societies (Series 6), and Laboratory Notebooks and Records (Series 19).  Included in the Robins papers are letters, a complete set of Journal articles (Series 1), and handwritten notes. In addition, there are drafts of articles that Dr. Robins and members of his lab compiled for publication and corresponding data collection documents used for research and analysis.

System of arrangement

Conditions governing access

The collection is open and accessible for research except for Series 20-27. These are small series containing confidential materials removed from Series 1-19 and they are closed 80 to 100 years from the date of the documents.  These are marked  "Restricted files" on the folder, box and in the archives database.

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Users of the collection should read and abide by the Rights and Permissions guidelines at the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.

Users of the collection who wish to cite items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication must request, sign, and return a Statement of Use form to the Archives.

For detailed information regarding use of this collection, contact the Archives and Rare Book Department of the Becker Library (arb@wusm.wustl.edu).

Preferred Citation:

Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Gift, Lee N. Robins, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry; 1995 April (1995-031: FC077 (Eli Robins papers): Manuscript group comprised of 20 series

Gift, Eli Robins, MD, Department of Psychiatry; 1983 May 3 (1983-040: FC077 (Eli Robins papers): Reprints of short professional publications, 1951-1982. Duplicates for binding by the Library as a gift to the donor.) Library project,

Gift; Eli Robins, MD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry; 1982 August 6 (1982-058: FC077 (Eli Robins papers): Bound reprints of published scientific papers, 4 bound volumes (vols. 1 and 2, each in two parts), 1951-1982. The volumes were bound at Library expense at the request of the director, to honor Robins.)

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Rules or conventions

"Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS), 2013."

Sources used

Archivist's note

Finding Aid Authors: Martha Riley.

Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives. All rights reserved.

Place access points

Accession area