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Visibly Human Health and Disease in the Human Body

Psychiatric Patients at Forest Glen

Forest Glen
Jack McMillen (b. 1910)
Water-based paint on canvas
United States, 1944
Accession #1994.0038

During World War II, the Forest Glen annex of Walter Reed General Hospital was used for treating patients with psychiatric conditions. Located near Washington, D.C., the former girls’ school had been purchased by the Army to provide additional space for the hospital’s activities. The picture accurately depicts the eclectic architecture while showing maroon-suited patients enjoying the grounds.

McMillen had painted government-sponsored murals during the Depression as part of the Works Projects Administration (WPA). When the war began, many of the WPA’s responsibilities were transferred to the military, leading to the commissioning of this painting.

The painting hung at Forest Glen until 1994 when it was transferred to the National Museum of Health and Medicine. It was restored at the request of the Textbook of Military Medicine Project, Office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Army, for use as the frontispiece of Military Psychiatry: Preparing in Peace for War .