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Silas Weir Mitchell papers

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Creator: Mitchell, S. Weir (Silas Weir), 1829-1914

Date: undated, circa 1875-1911

Level of Description: Sub-collection/group

Material Type: Manuscripts

Call Number: Menninger Historic Psychiatry Coll., Mitchell, Box 1

Unit ID: 223274

Biographical sketch: Silas Weir Mitchell was born 15 February 1829 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to John Kearsley and Sarah Matilda Henry Mitchell. He received a medical degree from the Jefferson Medical College and then in 1851 spent a year studying abroad. When he returned to the United States, he became his father's assistant and in 1853 joined the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.

Mitchell was appointed a surgeon in the Union army during the Civil War. His research interests and studies were diverse throughout his life, particularly focusing on neurology, toxicology, and the cerebellum. He advocated a sort of "rest cure," believing that individuals needed play and various therapies to recuperate and aid in the recovery from nervous disorders.

Mitchell was also a poet and wrote some fiction, both short and novel-length. He focused on near-contemporary and historical topics, such as the French Revolution and American Civil War, and wrote interesting characters from a psychological perspective.

Weir Mitchell married Mary Middleton Elwyn in 1858. She died shortly thereafter, in 1862, after giving birth to two sons, John Kearsley and Lagdon Elwyn. A few years later in 1875 Mitchell married Mary Cadwalader; they had a daughter who died in 1898.

Mitchell held many civic interests in promoting Philadelphia. He served as a trustee for the University of Pennsylvania, as president of both the American Neurological Association and the American Association of Physicians, and was a founder and president of the Franklin Inn Literary Club. S. Weir Mitchell died on 4 January 1914.

Abstract: Consists of two handwritten and undated poems by Mitchell, "Evening" and "Good Night," as well as miscellaneous correspondence, largely undated and both handwritten and typed. Correspondents include Cassy Meredith (regarding Mitchell's future wife, Mary Cadwalader) and various men. There are also two articles written by Mitchell from the April 1876 issue of the American Journal of Medical Sciences, regarding neurotomy and headaches caused by eyestrain.

Summary: These papers include two handwritten and undated poems (by Silas Weir Mitchell) "Evening" and "Good Night," as well as miscellaneous correspondence. The correspondence is largely undated and is both handwritten and typed. Correspondents include Cassy Meredith (regarding Mitchell's future wife, Mary Cadwalader) and various others. Mitchell was an American physician specializing in neurology, and he was the author of many short stories, scholarly articles, and novels. The collection also includes a picture postcard of "The late Dr. S. Wier Mitchell at Bar Harbor, Maine." These papers are part of the historic psychiatry material in the Menninger Archives.

Space Required/Quantity: 0.25 cubic feet

Title (Main title): Silas Weir Mitchell papers

Part of: Menninger Foundation Archives. Historic Psychiatry sub-collection.

Scope and Content

Portions of Collection Separately Described:

More separate components

Portions of Collection Not Separately Described:

  1. S. Mitchell Biographical information (Box 1, folder 1)
  2. Mitchell, S. Weir Undated "Evening" An autographed poem signed (Box 1, folder 2)
  3. Mitchell, S. Weir Undated "Good Night" An autograph poem signed (Box 1, folder 3)
  4. Mitchell, S. Weir Undated (Box 1, folder 4)
  5. Mitchell, S. Weir Undated (Box 1, folder 5)
  6. Mitchell, S. Weir Undated Letter to Professor Gairdner (Box 1, folder 6)
  7. Mitchell, S. Weir December 17, ? Letter to a Mr. Barr from Philadelphia (Box 1, folder 7)
  8. Mitchell, S. Weir March 5, 1896 Letter to a patient assuring the patient he will get well, 1896 (Box 1, folder 8)
  9. Mitchell, S. Weir January 6, 1900 Letter to Mr. Ellsworth, 1900 (Box 1, folder 9)
  10. Mitchell, S. Weir April 14, 1904 (Box 1, folder 10)
More components


Locator Contents

Index Terms


    Mitchell, S. Weir (Silas Weir), 1829-1914 -- Correspondence
    Mitchell, S. Weir (Silas Weir), 1829-1914 -- Poetry
    American poetry -- Pennyslvania -- Philadelphia
    Poets -- Pennyslvania -- Philadelphia

Creators and Contributors

Agency Classification:

    Organizations/Corporations. Menninger Foundation Archives. Historic Psychiatry. Individuals. S. Weir Mitchell.