Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/148

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
138
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

These are among his more important contributions to medical science, and, with a large number of pamphlets and magazine articles on allied subjects, make up a volume of literary work it is rarely accorded to one man to accomplish. And when we reflect that behind much of it there lies a large amount of observation and experiment on which many of his views are founded, it becomes apparent that Dr. Beard's was an exceptionally busy as well as useful life. Yet, enthusiastic and indefatigable as he was in his chosen field, it must be confessed that the quantity of his work was too often at the expense of the quality. His conclusions were not always as thoroughly matured and as accurately verified as the interests of science demand; or, as a personal friend has said of him, while he had wonderful insight as an investigator, "his defects were too rapid generalization and too positive and comprehensive assertion of results. . . . His fame would be more enduring if he had written five books instead of fifty." Although his work is liable to these criticisms, he undoubtedly did a valuable service in calling attention to and throwing light upon a class of nervo-mental affections which, though very common and the cause of much suffering, are not yet well understood. In their further study the future investigator will find much to aid him in the writings of Dr. Beard, and, as the difficulties of the subject are more clearly realized, the work that he has done will be better appreciated.

 

Treatment of Stammering.—Mr. J. E. Suitterlin has for eight years conducted an institute in this city for the cure of stuttering and stammering, with most satisfactory success. His system is philosophical and simple, and is based on the plainest commonsense principles. Excluding reliance on medical aids, it comprises chiefly careful drill of the vocal organs, and such mental discipline as will contribute to the object. In the first stage of treatment, the subject is not permitted to talk, except to practice his exercises, and to make such movements in speech as can be guided and observed by the teacher. During this time he is taught to consider himself, not a patient, but a student of speech. In the second stage, which is begun when enough has been done in the first, the pupil is encouraged to talk, for practice, at every opportunity, with a "legato" movement (as in music) and a strong accent. In the third stage he is allowed to talk more naturally, but in a studied manner; and in the fourth stage he is permitted to employ his normal way of speaking, but is by this time relieved from the impediment under which he formerly suffered. The psychic part of the treatment, which aims to divert the pupil's mind from himself and his troubles, is the most difficult and, at the same time, the most essential part. The time required for success depends very largely and, in fact, chiefly on the mental constitution of the subject.

From this brief description of an effective method of treatment, the parent may gather the useful hint that, to remedy any incipient tendency in his child to stammer, he should exercise a mild and kind but firm ruling, suppress all irritability of temper, observe for the child all the laws of health, and be careful as to his own manner of talking and the patterns he may set for the child. By attention to such matters, even the most unskilled may correct the evil before the child begins to be conscious that he is a stammerer; and, by a general regard to such principles as are here laid down, the affliction might be wholly removed or its frequency greatly reduced in the course of a generation or two. The statistics collected and preserved by Mr. Suitterlin show that the stammering habit is contracted, with only very rare exceptions, between infancy and ten years of age.

 

The First Daguerrean Portrait.—Professor Charles E. West, who was a personal witness of the event, has contributed to the "New York Times" an interesting account of the introduction of the daguerreotype process into the United States, and of the taking of the first portrait by Professor John W. Draper, and not by Mr. A. S. Wolcott, for whom the honor has been claimed. The secret of the process having been bought and published by the French Government, a pamphlet describing it was brought to New York by a Mr. Seger. Professor Morse, to whom the pamphlet was given, employed Mr. George W. Prosch to make an instrument after the description in it. The first