Mary Huntoon and The Winter VA Hospital

Dr. Karl Menninger appointed Mary Huntoon as the founding director of the Department of Art, Physical Medicine, and Rehabilitation at Winter Veterans Administration Hospital in Topeka in 1946. She genuinely believed in the therapeutic benefits of Art. This may be due to the influence of artists like Joseph Pennell and George Stone under whom Huntoon studied, as well as how art may have helped her through the many difficult times in her life. At Winter Hospital, Mary established the Museum Project so that patient artwork could be displayed throughout VA hospitals. The “Little Gallery” at Winter Hospital was part of this project. The artistic work of her patients, whom she referred to as students, was a great source of satisfaction for Huntoon. She strongly encouraged her patients to continue with art after discharge and developed kits for them to take home.

Mary Huntoon in the Winter Veterans Administration Hospital Art Clinic in Topeka, KS. Photograph taken during the filming of "The Nation’s Mental Health."

Mary Huntoon in the Winter Veterans Administration Hospital Art Clinic in Topeka, KS.  Photograph taken during the filming of The Nation’s Mental Health, 1951.  

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“The creative faculty itself can effect a synthesis. This creative faculty is the dynamic back of the Art Shop.“ Lecture by Mary Huntoon given at the Winter Veterans Administration Hospital Art Clinic in Topeka, Kansas.

“The creative faculty itself can effect a synthesis.  This creative faculty is the dynamic back of the Art Shop.“ Lecture by Mary Huntoon given at the Winter Veterans Administration Hospital Art Clinic in Topeka, KS, 1948.

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Letter to Dr. Karl Menninger from Dr. Paul Haun regarding the Topeka submission for an exhibition of patient art at the International Congress of Psychiatry in Paris.

Letter to Dr. Karl Menninger from Dr. Paul Haun regarding the Topeka submission for an exhibition of patient art at the International Congress of Psychiatry in Paris, July 24, 1950.

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"Things to do at the OT [Occupational Therapy] Shops." This sheet of paper contains descriptions of the Occupational Therapy shops at Winter VA Hospital. It includes a description of the Fine Arts therapy for which Mary Huntoon was the instructor.

"Things to do at the OT [Occupational Therapy] Shops." This sheet of paper contains descriptions of the Occupational Therapy shops at Winter VA Hospital.  It includes a description of the Fine Arts therapy for which Mary Huntoon was the instructor. 1946

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Mary Huntoon’s Certificate of Training, Psychiatric Principles of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation, Winter Veterans Administration Hospital.

Mary Huntoon’s Certificate of Training, Psychiatric Principles of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation, Winter Veterans Administration Hospital.  Issued July 19, 1948.

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"Physical Medicine Rehabilitation. Winter VA Hospital, Topeka, Kansas.”  This pamphlet includes photographs and descriptions of the Art Shop and Manual Arts Therapy, 1946-1950.

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Mary Huntoon's Winter General Hospital Personnel Pass

Mary Huntoon's Winter General Hospital Personnel Pass, 1946.

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Mary Huntoon meeting with OT [Occupational Therapy] Students. Souvenir Folder [postcards] of Winter Veterans Administration Hospital, 1946-1950.

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Articles written by Mary Huntoon.

"Art Therapy for Patients in the Acute Section of Winter VA Hospital." One of three article written by Mary Huntoon. Originally published in the Veterans Administration Department of Medicine and Surgery Information Bulletin, IB 10-48.

"Art Therapy for Patients in the Acute Section of Winter VA Hospital." One of three article written by Mary Huntoon. Originally published in the Veterans Administration Department of Medicine and Surgery Information Bulletin, IB 10-48, Oct. 1953.

"Creative Arts as Therapy.” One of three article written by Mary Huntoon.

"Creative Arts as Therapy, 1949.

"Creative Art Therapy Showing the Functions of Art Used as Treatment." Article written by Mary Huntoon, 1949.

"Creative Art Therapy Showing the Functions of Art Used as Treatment," 1949.

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Mary Huntoon’s Certificate of Registry of Medical Rehabilitation Therapists & Specialists.

Mary Huntoon’s Certificate of Registry of Medical Rehabilitation Therapists & Specialists, issued on July 15, 1955.

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The Little Gallery that Mary Huntoon created to patient artwork.

The Little Gallery that Mary Huntoon created for patient artwork, 1949.

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“Creative Arts.” Pamphlet describing the Creative Arts program at Winter Veteran' Administration Hospital.

"Creative Arts," pamphlet describing the Creative Arts Program at Winter Veterans' Administration Hospital, 1946-1950.

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“Miss Huntoon’s Meeting with CTB and Infirmary Sections.” Summary of Mary’s meeting with various sections at Winter Veterans Administration Hospital.

“Miss Huntoon’s Meeting with CTB and Infirmary Sections.”  Summary of Mary’s meeting with various sections at Winter Veterans Administration Hospital, February 21, 1952.