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Excerpt from S. Weir Mitchell: Physician, Man of Science, Man of Letters, Man of Affairs
Mitchell was fortunate in heritage and environment, in nature and nurture. The first is the more vital, because good inheritance may, and often does - we see it daily - overcome the evil of bad environment. He came of a high class, intellectual and scholarly family. His father was not only a distinguished physician but a man of science. He himself passed all his youth in an atmosphere of books, and, as a boy, he had that best education, hearing his elders converse on things worth talking of. He was, I am told, a bookish boy and early showed a love for poetry. He belonged to a generation in which it was the custom to read the Bible, and he was unconsciously but profoundly in uenced in his literary style, years after, by the reading. Of course, today we have progressed so far that reading the Bible, like reading history, reading anything older than the twentieth century, is regarded as a waste of time. Our problems, the modems tell us, are all new; our world is new; old times can teach us naught. But old proverbs continue true, and if pride goeth before destruction, ignorance causeth destruction.
I suspect that environment had a large in uence in leading Mitchell into medicine. His father, being a physician, could help him materially. He had lived all his life in a medical atmosphere.
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