In an edict issued on July 30, 1863, Napoleon III "state approved" that an asylum be established in Paris for the treatment of mental illness. This hospital was built on a plot of land that was formerly a farm called Saint-Anne, which was in a remote district, but provided forty-four acres that would allow for the construction of a model facility based on the ideas of Jean-Étienne Esquirol and able to accommodate up to 500 patients of both sexes.
The program set out by the committee established by Baron Haussmann included plans for a central admissions office, which was intended to replace immediately the "city madhouse," where patients would be observed and then redirected to one of ten buildings constructed around the periphery. Work was quickly begun by Charles Auguste Questel, the architect who had drawn up plans for the project under the direction of alienist Girard de Caillaux, and construction was completed in 1866. The chief administrator of the central office was Valentin Magnan, but the "madhouse" was made a special infirmary under the prefecture of police, and when it was decided in 1875 that a clinical chair for mental illness and the study of the brain was to be created, Benjamin Ball won the appointment with the support of Charles Lasègue, under whom he served at the infirmary.
Sainte-Anne maintained a long tradition of competition between academic teaching sponsored by the chair and clinical lectures or seminars given by notable teachers who attracted large audiences. Henri Claude, who held the chair from 1922 to 1939, opened a public clinic (whichÉdouard Toulouse turned into the Henri-Rousselle Hospital in 1926). From 1936, Claude entrusted consultations in psychoanalysis to René Laforgue, and in 1926 sponsored a series of lectures on psychoanalysis at Sainte-Anne. Under his chairman-ship Henri Claude allowed only doctors who had psychoanalytic training to practice at the clinic.
When the war began, Claude was replaced by M. Laignel-Lavastine, but in 1942, the faculty council installed Lévy-Valensi, who was prohibited from teaching under Vichy laws. He was arrested on September 15, 1943, and deported to Auschwitz where he died in the gas chamber three days later. Jean Delay, who served as acting chair after Lévy-Valensi, was named permanent chair in 1946. An analysand of Édouard Pinchon, Delay allowed only analysts to practice in the clinic. Lacan held his seminar in the departmental amphitheater until November 1963, while Henri Ey spoke at the Magnan Amphitheater at Henri-Rouselle Hospital.
But the advent of psychopharmacology, heralded by the International Conference on Thorazine at Sainte-Anne, was to make the hospital one of the birthplaces of neuroleptic treatment, in effect eliminating its role in the development of clinical psychiatry and psycho-pathology enriched by psychoanalysis.
See also: Aimée, the case of; Allendy, René Félix Eugène; Aulagnier-Spairani, Piera; Berman, Anne; Borel, Adrien Alphonse Alcide; Claude, Henri Charles Jules; ; Delay, Jean; Ey, Henri; France; Heuyer, Georges; Inconscient, L'; Janet, Pierre; Lacan, Jacques-MarieÉmile; Laforgue, René; Mâle, Pierre; Minkowski, Eugène; Nacht, Sacha Emanoel; Narco-analysis; Parcheminey, Georges; Pasche, Francis Léopold Philippe; Perrier, François; Schiff, Paul; Seminar, Lacan's; Sokolnicka-Kutner, Eugénie.