Name and location of repository
Level of description
Samuel B. Guze Oral History (OH065)
- October 11, 1989 (Creation)
0.50 Linear Feet
Name of creator
Samuel B. Guze was born in New York City in 1923. He completed his undergraduate coursework at the City College of New York, and later attended Washington University School of Medicine, receiving his medical degree in 1945. Dr. Guze began his career at Washington University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine in 1953. In 1955, he also became an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. Guze is best remembered as one of the founding fathers of the scientific approach to psychiatry. In the 1950s he propagated the view that psychiatric illness should be diagnosed just as any other physical illness through the use of a scientific model and a biological approach.
Guze's work also spawned great interest in the genetics of psychiatric disorders. He was among the first psychiatrists to use the study of twins as a way to investigate the role of heredity in mental illness. He and his colleagues produced key findings about genetic vulnerability to alcoholism and to other conditions such as schizophrenia and affective disorders. His research brought widespread recognition of the important role epidemiologic studies should play in psychiatric research. His views found general acceptance in 1980, when he helped to compile the American Psychiatric Association's standard DSM-III, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
In addition to his scientific accomplishments, Guze is also recognized for the leadership abilities he demonstrated while holding several important administrative positions at Washington University. He served as the Assistant to the Dean from 1965 to 1971. He was appointed Vice Chancellor and President of the Washington University Medical Center in 1971, a position he held until 1989. Guze presided over the school during a time of rapid expansion and changes in medical care and research. Additionally, he was head of the Department of Psychiatry from 1975 to 1989, and again from 1993 to 1997. In all, he served on the faculty for almost 50 years. Guze passed away on July 19, 2000.
Scope and content
Interviewed by Richard W. Hudgens in 1989.
This is a five part interview on the history of the Neuropsychiatry department and the psychiatry department of Washington University School of Medicine. Part 1 begins with questions on the neuropsychiatry department in World War II beginning with Edward Gildea. He was a proponent of biological psychiatry, but was tolerant of the psychoanalysts on staff like his wife Margaret Gildea. Guze discusses the dynamic between the biologically oriented faculty Gildea appointed such as George Saslow, Eli Robins and George Winokur and himself. He also mentions George Ulett and David Graham. Guze explains how he got into psychiatry, when his initial goal was to be an internist. He also describes in the end of part 1 and beginning of part 2 how in 1955, Guze, Robins and Winokur, the three assistant professor in Psychiatry in 1955 went to Gildea with their plan for a biologically oriented psychiatry department. Gildea was supportive and they divided up duties. In the training of students, biological psychiatry emphasizes diagnosis and research, clinical studies of etiology including neuropathology, pharmacology, and neurochemistry. Eli Robins was the prime mover in the movement on regularizing diagnostic criteria. At the end of part 2, Guze discusses Gildeas strengths and weaknesses and is asked about Gildea's conflict with James O'Leary. Guze is asked how Eli Robins became head of the new Psychiatry Department. Dr. Ulett was also a contender for department chair. in part 3, Guze discusses Robins era and the effect of Eli's multiple sclerosis on his own research and the psychiatry department. In part 5, Guze discusses how he met Joy Guze, his wife and his childhood especially parents and grandparents and schooling. Antisemitic quotas affected admission to medical schools particularly before World War II.
System of arrangement
Interviews are roughly chronological except for interview five which covers his early life through his marriage in 1946.
Conditions governing access
The collection is open and accessible for research.
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 (email@example.com).
Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.
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Related archival materials
Oral history interview: http://beckerexhibits.wustl.edu/oral/interviews/guze1994.html
Rules or conventions
"Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS), 2013."
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Place access points
Name access points
- Guze, Samuel B. (Subject)
- Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine (Subject)
- Gildea, Edwin F. (Subject)
- Gildea, Margaret (Subject)
- Robins, Eli (Subject)
- Saslow, George (Subject)
- Winokur, George (Subject)
- Ulett, George A. (George Andrew) (Subject)
- Graham, David Tredway (Subject)
- O'Leary, James L., 1904-1975 (Subject)
- Guze, Joy (Subject)