Like most people, Dr. Harry Hummer, superintendent of the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians, had a number of contradictory traits. Though he was accused of poor record-keeping on his patients and of a failure to institute any kind of mental health plan for them, he was clearly interested in maintaining expertise in his field.
In January, 1913, he requested the following books for his office library:
1. Outlines of Psychiatry (William A. White)
2. Three Contributions to Sexual Theory (Sigmund Freud)
3. Mental Mechanisms (William A. White)
4. Manual of Psychiatry (J. Rogues De Fursac)
5. Treatment of Nervous and Mental Diseases (William A. White and Smith Ely Jelliffe)
Hummer was also accused of wanting to run his asylum “from a desk,” rather than from personal contact with patients and involvement with their care. That would certainly be possible through books, and studying–rather than doing–likely appealed to his natural inclinations.
On a rather ironic note, three of these books were written by his former boss at St. Elizabeths, Dr. William A. White. Every time Hummer looked at the titles, he may have been reminded of the success he hadn’t, himself, attained.