Record

Ref NoDEP/KWS
TitleCollection of Samuel Kinnier Wilson
DescriptionKinnier Wilson was born in Cedarville, New Jersey. A year after Wilson's birth, his father died and his family moved to Edinburgh. He graduated MA in 1897, MB in 1902, and BSc (with first-class honours in physiology) in 1903. After serving (1902-3) as house physician to Byrom Bramwell at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary he obtained a Carnegie fellowship and studied at the Salpêtrière in Paris, under Pierre Marie (1853-1940) and J. F. F. Babinski (1857-1932). In 1904 he became a resident medical officer at the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic, Queen Square, London. Thus began a thirty-three years' association which was ended only by death, for in turn he was house officer, registrar, pathologist, and honorary physician. Elected in 1912 to the honorary staff of the Westminster Hospital, Wilson left in 1919 in order to join King's College Hospital as junior neurologist; he became senior neurologist in 1928. At this period Wilson formed a friendship with the elderly J. Hughlings Jackson, and he also came under the influence of Sir William Gowers, C. E. Beevor, Henry Charlton Bastian, and other great figures in neurology.

His connection with the Royal College of Physicians of London began with his taking the M.R.C.P. in 1907; seven years later he became F.R.C.P. In 1925 he gave the Croonian lecture on disorders of motility and muscle tone, and in 1930 the Morrison lecture of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. He was president of the neurological section of the Royal Society of Medicine for the two years 1933-5, and was secretary-general of the second International Congress of Neurology (1935).

Wilson's monograph on what he termed progressive lenticular degeneration, a genetically inherited copper toxic disease, which damaged the liver, was contributed to Brain (1912). It gained him not only the degree of MD with gold medal of Edinburgh University, but also international repute. The term Wilson's disease became - and still often is - applied to what came later to be generally known as hepato-lenticular degeneration. Wilson also made important contributions in his studies of epilepsy, narcolepsy, apraxia and speech disorders. He published a concise account of aphasia (1926) and a collection of papers in his Modern Problems in Neurology (1928). His Neurology, edited by Alexander Ninian Bruce, appeared posthumously in two volumes in 1940.

After the war it was decided to institute a new journal in succession to the Review of Neurology and Psychiatry, founded by his father-in-law, Alexander Bruce, and continued by his brother-in-law, Ninian Bruce. It was appropriate that Wilson should have been invited to act as Editor by the committee. He continued to act as editor of the Journal of Neurology and Psychopathology until his death.

Wilson was in demand as a lecturer and speaker, and as a medical writer, critic, and contributor to periodicals. His clinics at Queen Square were popular with students from all over the world, and abroad his name was probably the best known among British neurologists. Worldwide academic honours were accorded him. He was made officier de l'instruction publique (France), an honorary fellow of the medical academies of Italy and Belgium, and an honorary member of the neurological societies of most European countries as well as of the United States of America and of Japan. Wilson died at his home, 14 Harley Street, London, after a short illness, on 12 May 1937.
[Source: Dictionary of National Biography; Journal of Neurology and Psychopathology obituary]

Contents: Case notes and neurological research, 1866-1939; case photographs, c1909-1937; drafts of 'Neurology' by Samuel Kinnier Wilson, 1930s; correspondence relating to the publication of 'Neurology', 1962; patient records, c1899-1934; articles and research by Samuel Kinnier Wilson, 1904-1937; papers relating to the life of Samuel Kinnier Wilson, 1896-1929; papers relating to the Journal of Neurology and Psychopathology, 1930-1936; sheet music, 1887-1938; papers of Alexander Bruce Kinnier Wilson, 1937-1957; card index to Samuel Kinnier Wilson's collected reprints
Date1866-1957
TermEpilepsy
Geriatrics
Physical disability
Mental illness
Extent482 items; 955 photographs
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