Lives of the fellows

Emanuel Miller

b.28 August 1893 d.29 July 1970
MRCS LRCP(1918) DPM(1919) MRCP(1939) FRCP(1946)

Emanuel Miller, the son of Lithuanian Jewish parents who emigrated to this country, was born in Whitechapel, London. Of his two brothers, one was an accomplished Hebrew scholar; Emanuel had a great admiration for this elder brother and was desolated by his early death. He had four adoring sisters who may have taught him the therapeutic advantages of a gentle approach. He attended Parmiter’s School and the City of London School, and then proceeded as an exhibitioner to St. John’s College, Cambridge. There he read the Natural Sciences Tripos, Part 1, and the Moral Sciences Tripos, Part 2.

After Cambridge he went to the London Hospital, where he acquired the Diploma of the Conjoint Board at the age of 25. In the following year, 1919, he obtained the Diploma of Psychological Medicine of Cambridge University. For the next twenty years Emanuel Miller divided his time between the study of mental disorder and the acquisition of qualifications which would enable him to meet his organically minded colleagues on level terms. In 1939 he became an MRCP by examination and such efforts were crowned in 1946 when he was elected FRCP.

From his early twenties he could call himself a medical psychologist. A great deal of his energy was taken up by articles, reviews and editorials, dealing for the most part with general psychiatry, child psychiatry, types of psychotherapy and criminology, and amongst his more notable writings were Types of Mind and Body; Modern Psycho-therapy; and Insomnia and Disturbances of Sleep. He was editor and contributor to Neurosis and War (1940) and editor of Foundations of Child Psychiatry (1967).

An interest in child psychiatry and child guidance stands out very clearly in his career. He was Hon. Director of the East London Child Guidance Clinic, the first institution of its kind in Britain, founded in 1926; Director of the Child Guidance Unit of the West End Hospital for Nervous Diseases; a member of the Child Guidance Council; Chairman of the Association of Child Psychiatry and later the founder and editor of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Probably his most important post was that of physician to the Maudsley Hospital. In both professional and lay lectures he was always the teacher; his presentations were clear and usually spiced with stimulating reflections or theories. His many students held him in great affection, and deeply appreciated his warm understanding of their difficulties.

Miller was fluent in Hebrew; he sculpted, drew, etched and painted (often brilliantly). Nevertheless, despite this array of talents he suffered from periods of profound depression, aggravated by deep-seated arthritis.

In 1933 he married Betty Spiro, a writer of distinction whose literary interests he fully shared. They had two children, a daughter and a son, Jonathan Miller, who has become not only a qualified doctor but also a highly successful director and producer of plays, opera and films.

Edward Glover
Sir Gordon Wolstenholme

[Brit.med.J., 1970,3, 350, 411; Lancet, 1970, 2, 318, 375; Times, 30 July, 4 Aug & 15 Dec 1970; Jewish Chronicle, 7 Aug 1970; Glover,E., Brit. J. Crim., In Piam Memoriam, Emanuel Miller]

(Volume VI, page 339)

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