S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Russell, Prof William (psychiatry)

Born: Date not known, Place not known.
Died: Date not known, Place not known.

William Russell, psychiatrist, qualified as Bachelor of Medicine (MB) and Bachelor in Surgery (ChB) at the University of Edinburgh in 1910 and as Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the same university in 1915. Meanwhile he had moved to South Africa and in November 1913 was appointed as relieving medical officer at asylums. The next year he was registered to practise in South Africa and appointed at the Pretoria Mental Hospital (now Weskoppies Hospital). He was promoted to physician superintendent of the Potchefstroom Mental Hospital (Witrand Institution) in 1922 and was still there in 1926.

In 1935 Russell succeeded J.T. Dunston* as part-time professor of psychiatry and mental hygiene at the Medical School of the University of the Witwatersrand, a post he held until 1945. From about 1939 to 1945 he also held a government appointment as 'Commissioner of mentally disordered and defective persons'. He was a member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science and was president of Section F at the association's annual congress held in Windhoek in 1937. His presidential address, 'The evolution of psychiatry', was published in the South African Journal of Science (1937, Vol. 34). By this time he had been awarded a doctoral degree in psychiatry (D Psych).

List of sources:

Medical, Dental and Pharmacy Directory of South Africa, 1926-1927. Johannesburg: Ewald Herbert, 1926.

Murray, B.K. Wits, the early years. A history of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and its precursors, 1896-1939. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press, 1982.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS), at http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Dr W. Russell.

Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository, Vol. NMC 34, List of Medical Practitioners, etc., registered in the Transvaal as on 31 December 1914.

South African Journal of Science, 1937, Vol. 34, presidential address (Section F) by W. Russell; and pp. xiv-xix, Presidents and secretaries of the sections.

Union of South Africa. Public Service List, 1914. Pretoria: Government Printer, 1914.

Compiled by: C. Plug