- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Collier James Stanfield

Born  1870
Died  1935

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    British physician, born 1870, Cranford; died 1935, London.

    Biography of Collier James Stanfield

    James Stanfield Collier was born in Cranford, near London, the son of a medical practitioner. His elder brother was a surgeon whose brilliant career ended prematurely. James studied medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital, London, graduating Bachelor of Medicine in 1894 and MD in 1896.

    After junior appointments he became assistant physician to the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic, Queen Square, London, in 1902 and a full physician in 1921. He was a pathologist to this hospital from 1901. He was appointed to the visiting staff in 1902, and physician (in general medicine) to St. George’s Hospital, London, in 1903.

    The calls of hospital and private practice soon made it necessary for him to give up his appointment as pathologist, but he continued to show a lively interest in neuropathology throughout his career.

    Collier received many honours. He was elected to the Royal College of Physicians; he gave the Lumleian Lecture 1928, FitzPatrick Lectures 1931 and 1932. He was a frequent contributor to Brain and wrote chapters in Allbutt and Rolleston's System of medicine.

    With his friend William John Adie (1886–1935), he was responsible for the section on neurology in Price's textbook of medicine. At a time when Queen Square was replete with colossi of clinical neurology, Collier attracted students from far and near. He used11

    Apart from his profound influence as a teacher, the major contribution of Collier was undoubtedly his part in the first comprehensive description of Subacute combined degeneration of the spinal cord, which was written ion collaboration with James Samuel Risien Russell (1863-1939) and Frederick Eustace Batten (1865-1918). Ludwig Lichtheim (1845-1915) of Bern had already noted this association in 1887, and Gowers had had provided a clinical description of the disorder in 1886 under the designation „ataxic paraplegia“. But the classical description by Collier and his associates in 1900 was the first complete one, which has hardly been improved upon. His other contributions covered a wide range of subjects, chiefly clinical, of which his views on cerebral diplegia, Babinski’s sign, amyotonia congenita, epilepsy, aphasia, apraxia and agnosia, intracranial aneurysm, and peripheral neuritis, are the best known.

    In the English school of neurology the memory of Collier is cherished as the last of the tradition of dramatic teachers in the manner of Charcot and Trousseau. The elegant phrases, falling to a whisper, as with the air and mannerisms of a magician he disclosed the climax to the clinical story, fascinated the large audience which unfailingly crowded his Wednesday afternoon clinics.

    We thank Joseph Constantin, and Professor Dr. Adran Danek, München, for information submitted.


    J. S. Collier, F. E. Batten and J. S. R. Russell:
    Subacute combined degeneration of the spinal cord. Brain, 1900, 23: 39-110.

    J. Collier:
    The false localizing signs of intracranial tumour.
      Brain, London, 1904, 27: 490–508.508.

    James Collier:
    Three Cases showing Retraction of the Eyelids. Case of tumour affecting the
      mid-brain. Case of disseminated sclerosis with retraction of the eyelids.
      Case of Spondylose Rhizo-mélique.

      Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, London, 1923,
      16 (Neurological Section): 47-48.

    J. S. Collier:
    • Inventions and the outlook in neurology. London, Clarendon Press, 1934.
      The Harveian Oration Delivered Before the Royal College of Physicians of
      London on 18th October 1934

    Derek Ernst Denny-Brown (1901-1981):
    • James Stanford Collier (1870-1935). In The Founders of Neurology.
      Compiled and edited by Webb Haymaker and Francis Schiller.    
      Springfield, Illinois, Charles C. Thomas. 2nd edition. 1970.

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