When the University of Chicago opened its four-year medical program in 1929, the medical departments were established on the same footing as other biological departments. One of the first priorities was to build a department of psychiatry based on an interdisciplinary and holistic research program with important social implications. This plan was soon frustrated by structural factors and conflicts of interest both internal and external to the university. The story illuminates crucial dilemmas of neuropsychiatry in the interwar years and suggests some of the limits to the pursuit of biology at the University of Chicago.

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