Edward Adam Strecker (1886-1959) was a clinician, teacher, researcher, author and gentlemen, who lived each role fully during his active and inspiring career that spanned nearly half a century. After graduating from Jefferson Medical College in 1911, Dr. Strecker joined Pennsylvania Hospital in 1913, serving as chief medical officer at The Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital from 1920 to 1928. He continued his professional association with the hospital until his death in 1959. Dr. Strecker served as professor and head of nervous and mental diseases at Jefferson Medical College; professor and head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and later professor, and emeritus professor, and chair of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Medicine. In addition, he was clinical professor of psychiatry and mental diseases at Yale University and was the first professor of psychiatry at Seton Hall College of Medicine. In 1943, he was named president of the American Psychiatric Association.
He possessed an outstanding ability to examine patients, investigate etiologic and dynamic factors and make accurate diagnoses and constructive recommendations for treatment. dditionally, as a skilled psycho-therapist, Dr. Strecker was also a superb teacher, whose colorful language created an unforgettable clinical picture. He made psychiatry comprehensible and exciting to medical students, psychiatric nurses and other mental health professionals, producing a profound effect on psychiatric teaching in Philadelphia.
Dr. Strecker's main interest in the early 1920's was to develop the psychiatric outpatient department of The Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital. Under his direction, psycho-therapy in that department flourished, and many young psychiatrists sought to have the privilege of studying therapeutic approaches from such a highly skilled and innovative clinician. He also sought to relate psychiatry to the general practice of medicine. His work would later develop into the Hall-Mercer Clinic in center city Philadelphia.
A prolific writer, he authored ten books and more than 200 clinical papers, on such diverse subjects as: alcoholism, childhood behaviors, encephalitis, head trauma, sex offenders and paraphilia, war neuroses, and civilization and culture. He authored five editions of the best-known standard textbook at that time, The Fundamentals of Psychiatry'.
Many honors were bestowed on Dr. Strecker, including four honorary doctoral degrees. He served the nation in both World War I and World War II, was named a consultant to President Roosevelt and received a presidential citation from President Truman.