The most common questions are in regards to using Howard Dully’s images of his childhood lobotomy. Howard understands that a picture tells a thousand words, and that his photos are tremendously powerful in educating others about the history of psychiatry. However, using Howard’s images without permission can be hurtful. Please practice some sensitivity, and remember that the photos document an involuntary medical procedure… a procedure which was both psychiatric abuse and child abuse. If you wish to use his images for any reason, please ask.

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Do I have to pay fees to reproduce the photos of Howard Dully’s lobotomy? It depends on the situation. If you are writing a school paper or are wanting to use his images for other educational purposes, it’s likely that image re-use fees may be waived. If you’d like to use images for other reasons, there might be image re-use fees, depending on the situation. To make a request, please send us a message.

Where can I buy Howard’s books? My Lobotomy: A Memoir (2008) can be purchased here. His other book, Messing with My Head: The Shocking True Story of My Lobotomy (2009), is here.

The title of the Japanese version of My Lobotomy: A Memoir is “Story of a boy who was at the mercy ~ lobotomy surgery with a return of my brain” (2009). It can be purchased here.

How did Howard survive the lobotomy without having permanent brain damage? While the scars of child abuse never fully go away, Howard was basically able to survive the procedure without being permanently debilitated because he was so young (age 12). His brain pathways were still growing. Older recipients of lobotomies weren’t so lucky.

Where does Howard live? He lives with his wife Barbara in California.

Where can I listen to the original audio essay which aired on NPR in 2005? Click here.


Thanks for your questions!