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Paul D. MacLean Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS C 534

Abstract

Paul MacLean, through his scientific research, made significant contributions to the fields of physiology, psychiatry, and brain research. Correspondence, photographs, research materials, reports, writings, and audiovisual materials (1944-1993, 17.5 linear feet) document the official portion of Paul MacLeans career in brain and behavioral research. Through his research at Yale Medical School and at the National Institute of Mental Health, MacLean was instrumental in developing and expounding the theory of the Triune Brain.

Dates

  • 1936; 1944-1993

Extent

17.5 Linear Feet (14 boxes)

Creator

Abstract

Paul MacLean, through his scientific research, made significant contributions to the fields of physiology, psychiatry, and brain research. Correspondence, photographs, research materials, reports, writings, and audiovisual materials (1944-1993, 17.5 linear feet) document the official portion of Paul MacLeans career in brain and behavioral research. Through his research at Yale Medical School and at the National Institute of Mental Health, MacLean was instrumental in developing and expounding the theory of the Triune Brain.

Physical Location

Materials stored onsite. History of Medicine Division. National Library of Medicine

Access Restrictions

Portions of the collection are restricted. Contact the Reference Staff for information regarding access.

Copyright and Re-use Information

Donor's copyrights were transferred to the public domain. Archival collections often contain mixed copyrights; while NLM is the owner of the physical items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. It is the user's responsibility to research and understand any applicable copyright and re-publication rights not allowed by fair use. NLM does not grant permissions to publish.

Privacy Information

Archives and manuscript collections may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in any collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which the National Library of Medicine assumes no responsibility.

Biographical Note

Paul MacLean, through his scientific research, made significant contributions to the fields of physiology, psychiatry, and brain research. Over the course of his long career, MacLean was instrumental in proposing and defining the triune concept of the brain. MacLeans evolutionary Triune Brain theory proposed that the human brain was in reality three brains in one; the R-complex, the Limbic system and the neocortex.

Paul MacLean was born in Phelps, New York on May 1, 1913, the third of four sons of a Presbyterian minister. He received his bachelors degree in English from Yale in 1935 and intended to study philosophy in Edinburgh, Scotland, but after a family illness, spent a year completing pre-medical work in Edinburgh instead. MacLean received his medical degree from Yale in 1940. During World War II, MacLean served as a medical officer in the Army from 1942-46. During his service with Yales 39th General Hospital Brigade in New Zealand, MacLean worked together with Dr. Averill Liebow to show that the diphtheria bacillus was a cause of tropical ulcers, paving the way for successful prophylaxis and treatment.

After leaving the Army in 1946, MacLean practiced medicine in Seattle and held a clinical appointment at University of Washington Medical School. From 1947-1949, MacLean was a USPHS Fellow at the Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, studying with Dr. Stanley Cobb. During this time, MacLean did research on psychomotor epilepsy and published his paper on the visceral brain(for which he introduced the term limbic system in 1952).

In 1949, MacLean joined the faculty of the Yale Medical School with a joint appointment in physiology and psychiatry. During his time at Yale, he also studied the brain mechanisms of emotion with Dr. John Fulton. In 1956 MacLean became Associate Professor of physiology. He spent a year on a National Science Foundation Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute of Physiology in Zurich, Switzerland.

In 1957, MacLean came to NIH as the head of a new section on the limbic system in the Laboratory of Neurophysiology, National Institute of Mental Health. MacLean received the Distinguished Research Award of the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease in 1964 and in 1966, gave the Thomas William Salmon Lectures at the New York Academy of Medicine. MacLean also received the G. Burroughs Mider Lectureship Award from the NIH in 1972.

In 1971 MacLean became the Chief of the Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behavior, NIMH, newly opened in Poolesville, Maryland. MacLean was chief of the Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behavior from 1971 to 1985, after which he was a Senior Research Scientist, Emeritus in the Department of Neurophysiology at NIMH.

Collection Summary

Correspondence, photographs, research materials, reports, writings, and audiovisual materials (1936; 1944-1993, 17.5 linear feet) document the official portion of Paul MacLean's career in brain and behavioral research. Through his research at Yale Medical School and at the National Institute of Mental Health, MacLean was instrumental in developing and expounding the theory of the Triune Brain. Highlights of the collection include 33 years of project reports from the NIMH Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behavior (1960-1993), MacLean's complete professional correspondence, and the lectures and speeches that defined his work. MacLean's published is not found within the collection.

This collection consists primarily of records relating to MacLean's work at Yale Medical School (1949-1956), and the Laboratory of Neurophysiology (1957-1971) and the Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behavior (1971-1985) at the National Institute of Mental Health. The collection includes lectures given by MacLean throughout his career, as well as correspondence and building plans for the Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behavior, opened in 1971.

Series 1 consists of MacLean's personal and professional correspondence with individuals and organizations. The series is divided into three sub-series: General Correspondence, Yale Correspondence, and NIH Correspondence. The General Correspondence sub-series includes correspondence with scientists and researchers regarding MacLean's research and professional duties, as well as some personal correspondence with scientists and friends, including several folders of correspondence with John Fulton. The NIH Correspondence sub-series includes correspondence from MacLean's time at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), including internal laboratory memorandum and correspondence with outside organizations.

Series 2: Yale Medical School contains documentary material from MacLean's teaching career at Yale Medical School, including research progress reports, budget reports, and material relating to courses taught by MacLean. The Project Reports sub-series includes progress reports of research done at the Yale Medical School pertaining to epilepsy and seizures, as well as correspondence relating to the funding of research. The progress reports include charts and graphs relating to the research. The Subject Files sub-series includes materials pertaining to MacLean's teaching duties at Yale Medical School, including the Basic Neurology and first year Physiology courses.

Series 3: National Institute of Mental Health contains material relating to MacLean's years at NIMH, including project reports, subject files, correspondence and records relating to lab personnel, and building plans for the Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behavior. The series consists of four sub-series: Brain and Behavior Reserve, Project Reports, Subject Files, and Lab Personnel.

The Professional Activities series consists of over two hundred lectures and materials relating to MacLean's involvement in conferences and seminars, and his service on various committees and boards. The series is divided into four sub-series: Lectures; Conferences and Seminars; Correspondence; Committees and Boards. The Lectures sub-series consists of materials pertaining to lectures given by MacLean, including conference agendas, lecture notes, copies of lectures, and correspondence regarding speaking engagements. Many of these lectures were repeated, with some alterations, at more than one function. The Committees and Boards sub-series consists of materials relating to MacLean's involvement on various committees and boards, including editorial memorandum for the Journal of Neurophysiology and committee minutes and correspondence for the NINDS Search Committee.

Series 5: Writings contains reprints and writings of others collected by MacLean, abstracts of papers co-authored by MacLean and submitted for various journals and symposiums, and MacLean's writings and notes from the course of his career. Many of the materials contain handwritten notes by MacLean. Among the authors of these writings are Margaret Mead, J.L. Kubie and James W. Papez.

Provenance

Gift, Paul D. MacLean, 2/13/1994, Acc. 0734.

General

Processed by
Willeke Sandler
Encoded by
John P. Rees

Language of Materials

Collection materials primarily in English

Title
Finding Aid to the Paul D. MacLean Papers, 1936; 1944-1993
Status
Unverified Partial Draft
Author
Willeke Sandler
Date
July 2003
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latn
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English
Edition statement
1.0

Collecting Area Details

Part of the Archives and Modern Manuscripts Collection Collecting Area

Contact:
8600 Rockville Pike
Bldg 38/1E-21, MSC 3819
Bethesda MD 20894 US
(301) 402-8878