Further Readings On Lobotomy

Posted on November 14, 2019


Today in class, we viewed the PBS American Experience special on Dr. Walter Freeman. The PBS website has a ton of resources on it, including a 1946 article from Life Magazine that is absolutely heartbreaking and shocking to read.

For some stories of those who were lobotomized at Pilgrim State mental hospital in New York, check out this Village Voice article, culled from records taken from the hospital. Pay special attention to what their ailments were. Not all were violent.

Interviews with Freeman’s first and one of his last patients can be found at Story Corps. The full podcast broadcast is worth a download and a listen. His first patient was sent home in a taxi immediately after the procedure was complete. One of the most famous victims of lobotomy was Rosemary Kennedy, who was president John F. Kennedy’s younger sister. She was determined to be “mentally retarded” and was lobotomized, without her family’s knowledge, by her father Joseph Kennedy. Post-lobotomy she was an invalid and never functioned as a normal human. Pre-lobotomy she was probably an average teenager going through hormonal issues, or could very well have just been mildly autistic.