William S. Langford, a pioneer in the field of child psychiatry in the United States, was born Aug. 15, 1906 in Lakewood, N.J. He received his A.B. from Harvard in 1929 and his medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1931. He did internships at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. and at Babies Hospital at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. In 1934-35 he was a Fellow in Child Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he worked with Leo Kanner, one of the founders of the field in the U.S.
In 1935 he was hired by Babies Hospital Director, Rustin McIntosh, to establish a Pediatric Psychiatric Clinic. He would remain its Director until his retirement. That same year Langford was appointed an Assistant in the Dept. of Psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; he rose through the academic ranks and became Professor of Psychiatry in 1950. He retired in 1972 and was named Professor Emeritus.
Langford held many leadership positions in his field. He was a founder and president (1957-59) of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry; president (1960-61) of the American Orthopsychiatric Association; and an Honorary Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He died Oct. 4, 1976 in Katonah, N.Y.