Surgeon of Crowthorne

Surgeon of Crowthorne

A retired American Army surgeon, WC Minor (1834–1920), who was a key contributor of material to the Oxford English Dictionary for decades beginning in the 1870s.

Minor graduated from Yale Medical School and served in the Union Army in th American Civil war, which precipitated a degradation in his sanity. His mental instability led to his admission to St Elizabeth Hospital for Lunatics in Washington DC, leading to his resignation from Army commission. Eventually he emigrated to Lambeth, London, and in 1872 he fatally shot a man named George Merritt, whom he suspected of having broken into his room. He was found not-guilty by reason of insanity and was sent to the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. In 1878, he became a major contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary until 1902, when his mental conditioned worsened and he cut off his own penis, at which point he returned to St Elizabeth in America where he was diagnosed with dementia praecox. He died in 1920 in New Haven, Connecticut.
References in periodicals archive ?
His most successful book, The Surgeon of Crowthorne, told the astonishing tale of William Chester Minor, a former surgeon-solider in the United States Army, who went mad and was sent to Broadmoor after killing a workman.
The film rights of The Surgeon of Crowthorne, the book by Simon Winchester that tells the story, were sold after ferocious bidding last year to the French director Luc Besson.
The film rights to The Surgeon of Crowthorne, the book by Simon Winchester, were sold to French director Luc Bresson.