William C. Menninger

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William C. Menninger
William Claire Menninger.jpg
Born William Claire Menninger
(1899-10-15)October 15, 1899
Topeka, Kansas, United States
Died September 6, 1966(1966-09-06) (aged 66)
Topeka, Kansas, United States
Occupation Psychiatrist
Spouse(s) Catharine Louisa Wright
Children Roy Wright Menninger
Philip Bratton Menninger
William Walter Menninger
Parents Charles Frederick Menninger
Florence Vesta Menninger
Relatives Karl Menninger (brother)
Edwin Arnold Menninger (brother)
Ann Gottesman (grand-niece)

William Claire Menninger (October 15, 1899 – September 6, 1966) was a co-founder with his brother Karl and his father of The Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, which is an internationally known center for treatment of behavioral disorders.

Boy Scouts[edit]

Menninger was involved with the Boy Scouts of America's Sea Scouts program in the 1930s. He was skipper of the S.S.S. Kansan, which was the National Flagship for 1931 and 1933. The skipper's manual he wrote for the Kansas Sea Scouts was later used as the basis for the BSA's published Handbook for Skippers. He was also be a member of the National Sea Scout Committee during this time. All three of his sons, Roy W. Menninger, Philip B. Menninger, and W. Walter Menninger are Eagle Scouts and recipients of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.


Menninger was born in Topeka, Kansas. He graduated from Washburn University in 1919 and entered the Cornell University College of Medicine, graduating in 1924. He married Catherine Wright on December. 11, 1925. After completing a two-year internship at Bellevue Hospital, he studied psychiatry at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C. in 1927.


That same year, Menninger returned to Topeka and joined his father and older brother, Karl, in their medical practice, which by that time had already begun to specialize in psychiatry. With his contributions, the Menninger Clinic evolved into the Menninger Sanitarium, and eventually into the Menninger Foundation, a non-profit organization which provided not only clinical services to in- and out-patients, but also engaged in research, education, and social outreach.

Second World War[edit]

At the outset of World War II, he left the Menninger Foundation to become the Director of the Psychiatry Consultants Division in the office of the Surgeon General of the United States Army. He chaired the committee which produced document "Medical 203", a major revision of existing US classification of mental disorders. It was adopted by all the armed services and, following the war, had a substantial influence on the first mental disorders section of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases published in 1949 and, even more so, on the first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published in 1952.[1] Menninger attained the rank of Brigadier General (O-7) in the U.S. Army.

Secondary literature[edit]

  • Rebecca Jo Plant, "William Menninger and American psychoanalysis, 1946–48", History of Psychiatry, Vol. 16, No. 2, 181-202 (2005)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Houts, A.C. (2000) Fifty years of psychiatric nomenclature: Reflections on the 1943 War Department Technical Bulletin, Medical 203. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 56 (7), Pages 935 - 967

External links[edit]

  • [1] William C Menninger] In the Menninger Family Archives from Kansas State Historical Society.
  • Reproduction of 1943 War Department Technical Bulletin: Medical 203 from the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Original reproduction in the journal (JCLP, 1946) was "by courtesy of Brigadier General William C. Menninger, Office of the Surgeon General, Army Service Forces, Washington, D.C."