John Chapin

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John B. Chapin

John Chapin, M.D., Circa 1910
Nationality American
Occupation Physician
Known for Superintendent of Willard State Hospital, Psychiatrist-in-Chief of Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane

John Chapin was the Superintendent of Willard State Hospital, President of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane and Psychiatrist-in-Chief of Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane. He succeeded the famous Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride on September 1, 1884 as head of Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane. To this day, he is still memorialized and quoted in psychiatry textbooks because of a statement he made in 1896, stating that "Patients lose none of their civil rights when the enter the front door of this institution." At the time this was a substantial debate, as commitment statuses were vague, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had little to no legislation regarding the civil liberties of the mentally ill.

Dr. Chapin is remembered for advocating the separation of forensic patients from the general inpatient population, as well as his attempt to establish outpatient psychiatric care as early as 1895. The outpatient clinic he attempted to establish would have many incarnations, but would evolve to become the modern Hall-Mercer Community MHMR. Like his predecessor, he wrote frequently to the local papers advocating for the rights and privacy of the mentally ill, and composing polemics against the pejorative popular opinion of the in-workings of American asylums. Dr. Chopin remained the head administrator of the Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital until 1911, when he retired.

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