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The ball gets rolling
Marietta Meier
,
Mario König
, and
Magaly Tornay

The chapter introduces several important actors: the Münsterlingen Psychiatric Clinic, its location and institutional context, the patients, the clinic staff, and the governing authorities. Special attention is paid to Roland Kuhn; his wife Verena Kuhn (née Gebhart), who was also a psychiatrist; his superior, clinic director Adolf Zollinger; and the development of the Swiss pharmaceutical companies in the first half of the twentieth century. It closes with a look at Parpanit, a Geigy substance intended to alleviate movement disorders that came to Münsterlingen in 1946 and initiated the serial testing of substances. The drug also marked the beginning of the close collaboration between Kuhn and Geigy.

in On trial
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Testing frenzy with Geigy
Marietta Meier
,
Mario König
, and
Magaly Tornay

The chapter deals with the beginnings of psychopharmaceutical research in Münsterlingen in the 1950s. It recounts how the first neuroleptic (antipsychotic drug) arrived at the psychiatric hospital and rewrites the well-known ‘history of discovery’ of imipramine, the first antidepressant. Using new sources, it shows how the development of the drug became a struggle for rank and intellectual authorship. The first Geigy substances were met with great enthusiasm in Münsterlingen. However, when the serial testing of a second generation of Geigy preparations failed, scepticism emerged.

in On trial
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A flood of substances and new dimensions of testing
Marietta Meier
,
Mario König
, and
Magaly Tornay

The chapter deals with the 1960s, a period of extensive experimentation with numerous test substances that immediately followed the ‘discoveries’ of the 1950s and was marked by the search in Münsterlingen for a better, more specific antidepressant. While the methods of clinical trials were still exploratory and uncontrolled in the 1950s, regulations for drug approval and risk and side-effect management were introduced around 1962. Clinical trials were standardised and oriented towards statistical, quantitative evaluation. The impetus for this change came not only from the authorities but also from the pharmaceutical industry. For Kuhn, this development had an ambivalent effect. He was still a sought-after investigator. At the same time, there were growing signs that he was not keeping pace with the increasing standardisation and regulation of clinical research.

in On trial
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Between doldrums and success
Marietta Meier
,
Mario König
, and
Magaly Tornay

The chapter is devoted to the 1970s, a period of economic and social upheaval that also brought about major changes in the pharmaceutical industry, increased regulation of pharmaceuticals, and definitive changes in clinical trials. Working now as the director of the clinic, Kuhn had new responsibilities and faced problems both inside and outside the clinic. Nevertheless, the Münsterlingen trials did not come to an end under these changed circumstances but continued in a new form.

in On trial
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A long, restless finale
Marietta Meier
,
Mario König
, and
Magaly Tornay

Beginning with Kuhn’s retirement in 1980, which also marked his transition to private practice, the chapter deals with Kuhn’s last trial, his plans and activities as a pensioner, and the scandal surrounding another doctor in Thurgau who had administered investigational drugs to residents of a retirement nursing home. Histories of psychotropic drug development started being written in 1990, and Kuhn made every effort to be recognised for his ‘discovery’. At the same time, the onset of historicisation prompted him to return to the many papers he had accumulated over the course of his professional life.

in On trial
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Kathleen Thompson

The first book of Hariulf’s history describes the life and work of Richer (French: Riquier), patron of the abbey of St Riquier. It is set in the context of Frankish history with considerable detail about the Merovingian kings of the Franks. Hariulf’s main source is Alcuin’s life of Richer, written at the request of Angilbert, but he makes significant changes in tone and emphasis. Richer is presented as the pre-eminent noble of the Ponthieu region, who welcomes and is then converted to Christianity by two Irish missionaries. His miracles are described, together with his missionary activities in Britain and the ransoming of captives. Having selected his successor to lead the community he founded at Saint-Riquier, Richer retired to a poor dwelling in the forest to live the ascetic life, where he died. His body is moved back to the community and four successor abbots are described.

in Hariulf's History of St Riquier
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Kathleen Thompson

The development of the community at Saint-Riquier and the building of a great church and monastery under Abbot Angilbert are described in the context of a new dynasty of kings of the Franks, the Carolingians. The emperor Charlemagne is portrayed as the great patron and supporter of the community and there are detailed descriptions of the buildings, furnishings and relics housed within them. Much of this material is asserted to be derived directly from the work of Abbot Angilbert himself. The book closes with the death of Abbot Angilbert.

in Hariulf's History of St Riquier
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Kathleen Thompson

The book opens with the abbey at its most powerful and magnificent and Hariulf uses the inventory drawn up in the early years of the ninth century to illustrate the community’s wealth in relics, liturgical vessels, books and lands. His narrative follows the sequence of abbots and he weaves into it the acts of donation by the Carolingian kings that enable the reader to see the development of the monastic estate. Richer’s miracles also appear, together with context-setting material on the Carolingian kings. The great Scandinavian raid of 881 undermined monastic life and for a while the abbey was in the care of secular clergy or canons. The fall of the Carolingian dynasty is subsumed within a narrative of the emperor Charles the Fat’s dream of his descent into hell and in the chapters which follow it is clear that the Carolingian empire has disintegrated. Territorial princes fight for influence and the abbey lies in lands contested by the counts of Flanders and the Norman dynasty recently established in Rouen. The abbey’s most precious relic, the body of Richer, is taken away by the count of Flanders and only recovered with the support of Hugh duke of the Franks, later the first of the Capetian kings. In the new political environment St Riquier falls into the territory of the counts of Ponthieu, while the abbots seek to maintain the abbey’s influence by acquiring new relics, in particular those of Bishop Vigor of Bayeux and the local hermit, Madelgisilius.

in Hariulf's History of St Riquier
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Kathleen Thompson

The final book relates events within or just beyond living memory: the scholar Abbot Angelran, the abbey’s relationship with the counts of Ponthieu, the respected Abbot Gervin and contemporary happenings within the community. Warm relations with the Capetian kings of France are emphasised and Richer’s miracles continue to appear throughout the narrative. Further detail is given about the life of Bishop Vigor of Bayeux and the challenges to St Riquier’s possession of his relics. Abbot Gervin is portrayed as a model of monastic leadership and his links with the English court provide Hariulf with the opportunity to comment on the succession to the English kingdom. Gervin’s bequests of books and additions to the community’s relic collection are also covered. Hariulf tells us that he completed the work in 1088, but it is clear from the content that a lengthy section of some 2000 words has been added, covering the abbacy of Gervin II, the nephew of his predecessor. The great abbey church underwent major refurbishment during his abbacy, which he held in plurality with the bishopric of Amiens. The work concludes, as it began, with verse in which Hariulf describes his relationship with the community at Saint-Riquier.

in Hariulf's History of St Riquier
Abstract only
Marietta Meier
,
Mario König
, and
Magaly Tornay

The conclusion provides an overview of the results of the study. In contrast to the extensive chronological chapters, the approach is thematic, which allows the results to be presented from a different perspective. The chapter shows and discusses the extent of the trials, opinions about Roland Kuhn and his wife, the impression left by their private archive, the cooperation between Münsterlingen and the pharmaceutical companies, the question of information and consent, the discrepancies between what Kuhn said and what he did, as well as Kuhn's motives and the supervision of the authorities. It closes by outlining possibilities for further research.

in On trial