Lives of the fellows

William Page May

b.5 May 1863 d.19 January 1910
MB Lond MD DSc MRCS FRCP(1902)

William Page May, the son of William Page May and his wife Mary Drew, was left an orphan early in life and spent his childhood with an aunt at Blackheath, receiving his education at Blackheath School and University College, London. After graduating in chemistry in 1884, he achieved outstanding successes as a medical student, winning gold medals with both M.B. and M.D. degrees. Qualifying in 1887, he obtained junior posts at University College Hospital, the National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic, the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital and the South-Eastern Fever Hospital. He was then appointed pathologist to the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest, but illness forced him to resign almost immediately. After two years’ travel in Egypt, he began a seasonal practice at Helouan, where he passed the winter months of every year up to 1906. Each summer was spent in physiological research at University College, which in 1903 appointed him (unpaid) lecturer on the physiology of the nervous system. In 1906 he gave up practice entirely and concentrated on teaching and research. He discovered a tract of descending fibres in the posterior column of the cervical region of the spinal cord, which became known as "May’s tract". In spite of uncertain health, Page May was a good golfer, fisherman and shot. He married in 1899, Beatrice, daughter of W. G. Evans, and had one daughter. His final collapse, at Brighton, was caused by his anger at seeing a carrier ill-treat a horse.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1910; B.M.J., 1910]

(Volume IV, page 440)

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