Reply by Barry Blackwell


Barry Blackwell’s reply to Gordon Johnson about John Cade

Sam Gershon’s second and latest comment on John Cade’s behavior towards Trautner and himself fully confirms the views I expressed earlier to which Gordon Johnson took exception. To repeat what I implied before; the Baltimore Conference (Ayd & Blackwell, 1970) had dual purposes. To honor the pioneers for their discoveries but also to learn more about that process and how it might enlighten posterity. Over the years, my in-depth acquaintance with the lithium story has left me convinced that great credit is due to John Cade for his discovery of the effects of lithium in severe mania but his behavior towards his junior colleague and fellow scientist left much to be desired. His dismissive attitude might have stifled the career of Sam Gershon and deprived the field of his many unique contributions, while it certainly failed to acknowledge his fellow scientist’s contributions, indirectly allowing Cade to embellish his own reputation and career. While writing over fifty biographies of the pioneers in our field for the Oral History Project and INHN, I have noted that, almost without exception, they were nurturing mentors of junior colleagues and their talents without embellishing their own. In doing so they kept discovery alive. History demands that truth trump idealization


Ayd FJ Jr, Blackwell B, editors: Discoveries in Biological Psychiatry. Philadelphia/Toronto: J.B. Lippincott; 1970.

Barry Blackwell

May 28, 2015