Hervey M. Cleckley Collection
Overview of Collection
Hervey Milton Cleckley, M.D. was born in Augusta, Georgia on September 7, 1903 to William Conner Cleckley, D.M.D., and Cora Alberta Cleckley. After graduating from the Richmond Academy in 1921, Cleckley first attended Princeton University before transferring to the University of Georgia in the spring of 1922.
While at the University of Georgia, Cleckley excelled in academics and athletics. He was Phi Beta Kappa and majored in mathematics and science. He played on the varsity football team and was the captain of the track team his senior year. Cleckley was the editor-in-chief of Pandora, the UGA yearbook, his senior year. He graduated summa cum laude in 1924 with a Bachelor of Science degree.
During his senior year at UGA, Cleckley was selected to receive a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford in England. From 1924 to 1926, Cleckley studied physiology at the University College of the University of Oxford. He competed in athletics while at Oxford and acquired a second Bachelor’s degree from Oxford in 1926.
Cleckley was admitted to the sophomore class of the UGA School of Medicine (later known as the Medical College of Georgia or MCG) in Augusta in the fall of 1926 due to his advance studies at Oxford. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1929. He served a surgical residency at the University Hospital.
After his residency Cleckley obtained a position as a staff psychiatrist at the U.S. Veterans Hospital No. 62 in Augusta, also known as the Lenwood Hospital. This hospital was a mental and psychiatric facility for the Veterans Administration and was located on Wrightsboro Road.
In 1937 Cleckley joined the faculty at UGA School of Medicine (MCG) as an Associate Professor in Neurology and Psychiatry and began practicing psychiatry at the University Hospital. It was at this time that the Sub-department of Neurology and Psychiatry separated from the Department of Medicine and became its own department. By 1938 Cleckley was made Chair of the Department, which evolved into the Department of Neuropsychiatry in 1939.
Cleckley’s The Mask of Sanity was first published in 1941 and became an immediate classic as it was influential in its clinical description of psychopathy. The book was published in five editions; the last re-print of the fifth edition was in 1988.
Cleckley and Corbett Thigpen, M.D. (one of his former students at MCG) were partners in a psychiatric practice while both were on the MCG faculty. Cleckley assisted Thigpen in the treatment of a patient exhibiting multiple personalities. They co-wrote an article describing her in 1954 (Thigpen & Cleckley, A Case of Multiple Personality, 1954). Their work was expanded into a book, The Three Faces of Eve, in 1957. The book was published in 27 languages and was made into a movie the same year.
According to Thigpen, Cleckley considered his third book, The Caricature of Love, to be his best book (Thigpen, Renaissance Man, 1985). Caricature was published in 1957. In addition to these books, Cleckley authored chapters in eight textbooks; and authored or co-authored numerous scholarly articles.
Cleckley retired in 1981 and was honored with a Clinical Professor Emeritus status by the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents, the governing board of the Medical College of Georgia.
Cleckley married Louise Martin Marshall in 1930. Sometime after her death in 1974 he married Emily Sheftall. When Cleckley passed away on January 29, 1984, he was survived by his wife Emily, his daughter Mary Cleckley Creson, his grandson William A. Dolan, and his sister Connor Cleckley Goodrich.
Thigpen, C. H., & Cleckley, H. (1954). A Case of Multiple Personality. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 49(1), 135-151.
Thigpen, C. H. (1985). Renaissance Man. Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia, 74(1), 20-22.
Scope and Contents
The Hervey M. Cleckley Collection contains reprints of Cleckley’s published articles; book reviews of The Mask of Sanity and newspaper clippings; personal photographs; diplomas, certificates, and plaques; an oil portrait and a chair.
This collection includes three items retained by Cleckley’s second wife after his death: an article written by Thigpen about Cleckley and two publications from Princeton University memorializing Cleckley in 1987.
Organized into six series: