Silas Weir Mitchell

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Mitchell, Silas Weir

Mitchell, Silas Weir, 1829–1914, American physician and author, b. Philadelphia, M.D. Jefferson Medical College, 1850, studied in Paris. A pioneer in the application of psychology to medicine, he won special fame for his treatment of nervous disorders and for his study of the nervous system. His medical works include treatises on snake venom and neurology, as well as Injuries of Nerves and Their Consequences (1872) and Fat and Blood (1877), which summarizes his well-known rest cure. Among his novels are historical romances (Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker, 1896) and psychological studies (Constance Trescot, 1905). He wrote several volumes of poetry and interspersed lyrics in his novels.


See biography by J. P. Lovering (1971).

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Mitchell, Silas Weir

(1829–1914) physician, writer, poet; born in Philadelphia. After taking his M.D. from Jefferson Medical College, he continued his medical studies in France, then returned to Philadelphia to practice. During the Civil War, he served as a surgeon for the Union army and collaborated on an important work, Gunshot Wounds and Other Injuries of Nerves (1864). In the ensuing decades he specialized in neurology and wrote some 120 articles in that field, but he also did work in toxicology, physiology, and pharmacology. He was a pioneer in advocating the "rest cure" and other psychological approaches to nervous conditions, and he made the Philadelphia Orthopedic Hospital into a major center for treating nervous disorders. Meanwhile, he had been writing fiction and poetry since the end of the Civil War; his first published story, "The Case of George Dedlow" (1866), was notable for conveying the mental state of a soldier about to enter combat. His collected works would eventually add up to 16 volumes, including once widely read novels such as Roland Blake (1886) and Hugh Wayne, Free Quaker (1897), greatly admired for their psychological insights.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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Weir Mitchell's Diseases of the Nervous System, Especially in Women, Doctor and Patient, Fat and Blood and How to Make Them, Diseases, and "The Evolution of the Rest Cure" were all written at the turn of the century.
. "The Weir Mitchell Rest Cure: Doctor and Patients." Women's Studies 10 (1983): 15-40.
The first part of the short story abounds in "John says," "John thinks," to show the decisional power of her husband over her life : "John says if I don't pick up faster he shall send me to Weir Mitchell in the fall" (GYW: 650); "John thought it might do me good to see a little company" (GYW: 650); "John would think it absurd" (GYW: 651); "John says I mustn't lose my strength" (GYW: 651).
Silas Weir Mitchell was an American physician-neurologist and author (1829-1914).
In addition to the discussion of Higginson, Fuller does an outstanding job outlining the profound emotional effects of the war: Dickinson's odd poems of the wartime period receive excellent treatment, as does Herman Melville's underrated collection "Battle-Pieces:' The quirky Silas Weir Mitchell, the doctor who established the term "shell-shock" is well covered here, including his even quirkier tale "The Case of George Dedlow"; and the book ends with a discussion of emerging views of Heaven and the afterlife (though I think even more theological insight on these matters could strengthen this section).
Nick Burkhardt David Giuntoli Hank Griffin Russell Hornsby Juliette Silverton Bitsie Tulloch Monroe Silas Weir Mitchell With: Reggie Lee, Sasha Roiz, Kate Burton, Tim Bagley.
One of the most famous doctors of the age was Sir Weir Mitchell, who also took care of Gilman for a time and who is mentioned in "The Yellow Wall-Paper": "John says if I don't pick up faster he shall send me to Weir Mitchell in the fall.
The book is divided into nine parts, covering; Contact, Pleasure, Pain, Male Bonding, Women's Touch, Control, Uncommon Touch, Tactile Therapies, and Touch and Technology, and each one is populated by writings from authors as diverse as Silas Weir Mitchell (the nineteenth century neurologist who pioneered the 'rest cure method'), Donna Harraway and Klaus Theweleit.
Perhaps the most famous promulgator of the rest cure was Silas Weir Mitchell, and it is his approach that finds the most ardent support in print.
Neurologist Weir Mitchell had given him a peyote sample and promised "the most glorious visions of color--every object thought of appears in a jeweled splendor unknown to the natural world", James recounted in a letter to his novelist brother, Henry.
Weir Mitchell documented many cases in which pain persisted for years and where even a slight breeze could trigger a severe burning sensation on a patient's skin.