Campus & Community

HMS field station founder Elizabeth Lindemann dies

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Elizabeth Brainerd Lindemann, a staff member of the Wellesley Human Relations Service, a field station of the Harvard Medical School (HMS) Department of Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), from 1948 until 1965, died July 20 at Kendall at Hanover, a Quaker-sponsored continuing care community in New Hampshire. She was 94 years old.

Lindemann was born in Montreal and later settled with her parents and two brothers in Dover, Mass. She attended Wellesley College and Simmons College School of Social Work. While on a student field placement at MGH, she met Erich Lindemann, the pioneering MGH and HMS psychiatrist. The couple married in 1939, drawn by their common Quaker beliefs and concern for the welfare of the community.

She helped establish, along with her husband, the Human Relations Service of Wellesley, the first community mental health center in the United States. There she was chief mental health consultant, consulted to the Wellesley Public Schools, and helped train social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists in the new field of community mental health. Later she served on and chaired the center’s board of directors. From 1959 to 1965 she worked for the Dorchester program of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.

After retiring, the couple moved to Palo Alto, Calif., where Erich Lindemann was visiting professor in the Stanford Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Elizabeth served as a consultant to area community agencies.

She edited a collection of Erich Lindemann’s unpublished papers. She also wrote the only existing biography of her husband, “Erich Lindemann: A Biographical Sketch.”

Memorial gifts may be sent to the Human Relations Service, Inc., 11 Chapel Place, Wellesley, MA 02481.