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Oberndorf, C.P. (1945). Smith Ely Jelliffe. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 26:186-188.

(1945). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 26:186-188

Smith Ely Jelliffe

C. P. Oberndorf

The world of neurology, psychiatry and medical journalism—and indeed all of medicine—lost a man of unique and gigantic endowments, a rugged personality, when Dr. Smith Ely Jelliffe died on September 25, 1945, shortly before his seventy-ninth birthday. His had been a life abounding in initiative, endeavour and prodigious vitality which continued fresh until a few months before his death at his Lake George home, where he had done so much of his scientific and literary writing.

Smith Ely Jelliffe was born in New York City on October 27, 1866, and this City remained the scene of his entire life and career. He grew up in Brooklyn, where his father was a principla in one of the public schools. Although from boyhood his interests in the natural sciences—botany, geology and zoology—were evident, he was sent to the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, where he studied engineering and from which he was graduated in 1888 without a baccalaureate degree. However, ten years later he received the degrees of B.A. and Ph.D. from this institution.

Dr. Jelliffe pursued his medical studies at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, becoming a doctor of medicine in 1889. After an internship at St. Mary's Hospital in Brooklyn he ventured abroad on the first of many trips to Europe—his 'Wanderjahre' as he affectionately called them. On this particular trip he divided his time between an assortment of medical clinics, art galleries and botanical museums, and as an agile, very slim young man wandered tirelessly on foot through the mountain passes of Switzerland to Northern Italy and studied art in the famous cities of the latter country.

After a brief but active experience in general practice from the family residence in Brooklyn, he married in 1894 Helena Dewey Lemming, whom he had known since childhood. Three daughters and two sons were born of the marriage. After the death of Mrs. Jelliffe, who had participated in much of his earlier literary work, he was married a second time in 1920 to Bee Dobson, who survives him.


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