Eulogy for Dr. Arthur S. Hamilton


Dr. Arthur Stephen Hamilton died at his home in Minneapolis on June 2, 1940.  He had been severely incapacitated for nearly five years from the residuals of a series of cerebral vascular accidents.

Dr. Hamilton was born at Wyoming, Iowa, Novmber 28, 1872.  He graduated from the University of Iowa and then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania for his medical training, receiving the M.D. degree from that institution in 1897.  His course through the Medical School represented a period of considerable hardship due to financial stringency which imposed a limited diet upon him and necessitated extra-curricular work to supplement, his meager funds.  The stimulation which he received as a student of Mills and Spiller was undoubtedly a potent factor in the choice of neurology and psychiatry as his specialty.  After receiving his medical degree, Hamilton became an assistant physician at the Independence State Hospital in Iowa and held that position until 1904.  At Independence he became greatly interested in neuropathology and published numerous papers on the pathology of conditions which at that time had received very little attention from microscopists.  At Independence he was associated with two other physicians who were also destined to advance our knowledge of neurology and psychiatry -- Dr. Albert M. Barrett and Dr. Adolf Meyer. While at Independence, he married Dr. Susanna P. Boyle, who was also a member of the State Hospital staff; there are no children of their union.  In 1904 Dr. Hamilton moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, entering the practice of neurology and psychiatry and receiving an appointment as instructor in neuropathology at the University of Minnesota.  He advanced through the academic ranks to a full professorship which he received in 1916.  In 1912 he was made Director of the Division of Nervous and Mental Diseases and was Professor and Director until the onset of his terminal illness in 1935.  Two extended study trips abroad gave him familiarity with clinical methods of Germany and England, especially the latter; these he applied in his practice and emphasized in his teaching.

In 1909 he aided in the organization of the Minnesota Society of Neurology and Psychiatry; he was thus a charter member.  He maintained active membership until 1935 when he was elected an honorary member. He was secretary of the Society from 1909 to 1914, vice president in 1916, president in 1917 and again president in 1923.

Dr. Hamilton served in 1918 and 1919 as Captain and Major in the United States Army during the World War.

Hamilton was considered by his students to be an unusually systematic and lucid teacher both in the lecture room and at the bedside.  His breadth of knowledge, clear analytical thinking, careful technique, gentleness with patients and consideration for the younger colleagues’ opinions constituted in him the nearly ideal combination for an advisor and preceptor of the more advanced students.

Though rather reserved and dignified, he was never austere or supercilious, but was approachable, friendly, and rarely ruffled.  His appreciation of the social implications of neurology and psychiatry drew him into active participation in civic affairs so that he was frequently consulted on matters involving the welfare of the community and the state.  Preferring the pursuits of practice, teaching and investigation he nevertheless was an active participant in numerous national and local societies; he was a past of the Central Neuropsychiatric Association and former chairman of the Section on Nervous and Mental Diseases of the American Medical Association.

Minnesota and its environs have benefited from the presence of Arthur Hamilton. His many friends grieve over his passing.

J.C. McKinley, M.D.