Royer-Collard was born in Sompuis. He studied medicine in Paris, and in 1802 received his doctorate with a dissertation on amenorrhea ("Essai sur l'aménorrhée, ou suppression du flux menstruel"). In 1806 he was named chief physician at the Charenton mental asylum, and in 1816 became a professor of forensic medicine at the University of Paris. In 1819 he was appointed to the first chair of médecine mentale. Among his better known students were Antoine Laurent Bayle and Louis-Florentin Calmeil.
In 1803 he founded the periodical "Bibliothèque médicale". In 1820 he was elected a member of the Académie de médecine. After his death at Paris in 1825, his position at the Charenton was filled by Jean-Etienne-Dominique Esquirol.
One of his famous patients at the Charenton was Donatien Alphonse François de Sade (1740–1814), better known as Marquis de Sade, who spent the last eleven years of his life incarcerated at the asylum. Royer-Collard protested against the imprisonment of Marquis de Sade at the Charenton, believing him to be sane, and asked that he be placed in a real prison. (This contrasts with the character Dr. Royer-Collard in the 2000 Philip Kaufman movie Quills, based on the Doug Wright play of the same name).
- The Self in Neuroscience and Psychiatry by Tilo Kircher, Anthony David
- Antoine-Athanase Royer-Collard Histoire de la psychiatrie en France
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- The Universal Dictionary of Biography and Mythology: Pro - Zyp by Joseph Thomas
- Antoine-Athanase Royer-Collard (1768-1825) at data.bnf.fr
- The Journal of Mental Science, Volume 41 Google Books
- The definitive biography by Neil Schaeffer; Home : Life & Times : Asylum (1804-1814)
- The Marquis de Sade: A Life by Neil Schaeffer
- Quills / Comprehensive Storyline Dramatica. The Next Chapter in Story Development