Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BEARD, George Miller, physician, born at Montville, Connecticut, 8 May 1839 ; died in New York, 23 January 1883. His father was a clergyman. The son studied at Phillips Andover academy, and was graduated at Yale in 1862. He studied a year in the medical department of Yale, and in 1866 obtained his medical degree at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York. For eighteen months, in 1863-'4, he was assistant surgeon on the gun-boat "New London," in the western gulf blockading squadron. In 1865 tie settled in New York and made diseases of the nervous system his specialty. He introduced several new methods of electrization, and was the first to point out and exemplify the tonic effects of electricity. With Dr. Rockwell he published a work on " General Electrization" (1867). He also published an essay on " The Longevity of Brain-Workers" (1867). In 1868 he translated from the German and edited Tobold's "Chronic Diseases of the Larynx," and in the following year published "Our Home Physician." In 1871 he published with Dr. Rockwell "Medical and Surgical Uses of Electricity," which was translated into German by Vatter, of Prague ; also two popular treatises, entitled "Stimulants and Narcotics" and "Eating and Drinking," based on a study of the customs of all ages and races. At this time he introduced the method of central galvanization, and published the results of experiments in the electrical treatment of diseases of the skin. In 1873 he published with Dr. Rockwell "Clinical Researches in Electro-Surgery," and a paper on "Atmospheric Electricity and Ozone, their Relation to Health and Disease." He was the author of an important monograph on "Legal Responsibility in Old Age" (1874), based on physiological researches into the relation of age to work. He founded the "Archives of Electrology and Neurology," a semi-annual journal, which was continued two years (1874-'6). In 1874 he entered on a systematic study of animal magnetism, spiritualism, clairvoyance, and mind-reading, in their relation to the nervous system. He explained the performances of the famous Eddy brothers, and also of Brown the "mind-reader," maintaining that what was called mind-reading was nothing more than the unconscious action of mind on body. In 1876 he published a work on "Hay Fever," advancing the nerve theory of that disease, and in 1877 papers on" The Scientific Basis of Delusions," on "Mental Therapeutics," and on the "Physiology of Mind-Reading"; in 1878-'9 monographs on "The Scientitle Study of Human Testimony and Experiments with Living Human Beings," and " The Psychology of Spiritism." In 1879 he gave the results of a long study of writer's cramp, and in 1880 a monograph on the "Problems of Insanity," and a systematic treatise on "Nervous Exhaustion (Neurasthenia)" ; also a work on "Seasickness, its Nature and Treatment." Dr. Beard gave much attention to the functional nervous disease known as inebriety, and published papers making clear the distinction between the vice of drinking and the disease, and indicating the treatment by sedatives and tonics. He lectured on nervous diseases in the University of New York in 1868, and in 1879 was a delegate to the British medical association at Cork, where he presented a paper on " Inebriety and allied Nervous Diseases of America." He was a frequent contributor to periodical literature on topics relating to psychology and the nervous sys-tern, and also delivered popular lectures on psychological and neurological subjects.
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