This document is prepared and submitted by Lawrence Zeidman, MD, FAAN, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago

The Illinois Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI)

Dr. H. Douglas Singer

In 1917 psychiatrist Harold Douglas Singer (1875-1940) helped to found the Illinois Psychiatric Institute, but since the early 1900s he and other non-physicians such as Mr. A.L. Bowen, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Welfare (1933-41), had aspired to construct a state-of-the-art comprehensive treatment-centered hospital for neurologically and psychiatrically “afflicted” patients that would be a model for the rest of the country and the world. In 1937-38, remarkably amidst the Great Depression, they secured funding with the help of Illinois Governor Henry Horner (1933-40) to construct the NPI building…More

NPI Early Years

Dr. Eric Oldberg and Dr. Percival Bailey

Before the construction was completed, in November 1941 psychiatry patients were hospitalized, followed by neurophysiologists in the basement laboratories, and neurology and neurosurgery patients. Neuroradiology opened in early January 1942. The first operating room case was on December 9, 1941, a ventriculogram performed by Drs. Oldberg and Green. The second case was on December 10, 1941, a cerebellar exploration and fourth ventricle tumor resection again by Drs. Oldberg and Green. Percival Bailey, also having trained with Cushing (and co-authored a famous book on gliomas with Cushing in 1925), and with renowned German neurosurgeon Otfrid Foerster in Breslau along with neurologist Pierre Marie at La Salpêtriére in France, conducted pioneering surgical work on temporal lobectomy for non-lesional partial complex (psychomotor) epilepsy (Bailey and Gibbs), and early work on pre-frontal lobectomy for psychiatric disorders (which later fell into disuse)…More

Later Years at NPI

NPI Construction 1940-41 years

Upon Eric Oldberg’s retirement in 1971, neurosurgery and neurology (established in 1936) became separate Departments under Drs. Sugar (1914-2008) and John Garvin. Since June 1, 1996, the John S. Garvin Professorship of Neurology has been endowed to the Neurology Department and held by the department head or other professor in the department, providing salary support for new faculty and enhancing the education, clinical, and research programs of the department. Louis Boshes remained on faculty as professor emeritus and established the “Natalie and Louis D. Boshes Neurosciences Library” at the NPI on the 3rdfloor.  The library contains modern and rare neurology books, journals, and monographs, along with artifacts such as Adolf Wallenberg’s personal diary, and serves as a resource to neurology trainees and faculty…More

Check out this 1994 article written by Drs. Hughes and Stone about some history of the NPI building.