On Eliot Slater
by Sir Martin Roth
Bethlem & Maudsley Gazette, Vol. 31 No 3, Summer 1983, p. 15-18
When the history of the psychiatry of this century comes to be written, the name of Eliot Slater, who died in London on 15th May in his seventy‑ninth year, will be found among those who are judged to have made a lasting imprint upon the subject.
He was best known for his genetical and clinical investigations into schizophrenia, manic‑depressive illness and the nature of the neurotic constitution. In virtue of his work in these areas and the methodological rigour, originality and intellectual distinction of his papers and text‑books, he must be regarded as one of the pioneers of contemporary biological psychiatr However, a glance at the titles of his main scientific contributions makes clear that he took a broad view of what was germane for a biological approach to the problems of mental disorder.
by William Sargant
A Tribute for the Festschrift of England’s greatest living psychiatrist
World Medicine, April 20, 1977
I saw Eliot Slater at a distance when he was a senior, and I a very junior, undergraduate at St John's College, Cambridge, in 1925. I was first to meet him personally when he returned to the Maudsley from a Rockefeller Fellowship in Germany before World War II, and I was by then myself corking there in a junior capacity. As I first knew him he was mich thinner and seemed more tense and distant. But marriage seemed somehow to release him, and make him a mare relaxed and approachable person. Since then he has bean one of my very best friends, end the only "psychotherapist" able to keep me on the straight and narrow pathway to the psychiatric acceptance, in whole or part, of many of my treatment enthusiasms. He has realised and warned me when I have tried to drive ahead too fast in treatment, and has always sought to dampen things down into acceptable pathways within psychiatry. Since his and my ospital retirement I have sorely missed his helpful and restraining hand.
by Sir Denis Hill
When Eliot Slater went to Germany in 1934 on a Rockefeller Travelling Fellowship to study psychiatric genetics at Rüdin's clinic in Munich, he left behin him at the Maudsley a staff largely influenced by the teaching of Adolf Meyer. This orientation could not have been much to his liking, for the psychological study ci personality based on the relationship which the psychiatrist could develop with his patient was not one which his temperament and his particular scientific cast of mimi could readily adapt to. It was, however, already being displaced, for Eric Guttmann, Willi Mayer‑Gross, Alfred Meyer, and other distinguished refugees from Hitler's Germany had arrived and, by the time of Slater's return a year later, an orientation based on German constitutional psychiatry was already established.
by Desmond Curran
I have probably known Eliot Slater longer than any other contributor to this Festschrft. We did not know each other at Cambridge. We first met just over 50 years ago. This was at St George's Hospital in 1925. I had gone there in 1924, so he came a year later. But we only really got to know each other well when we met again at the Maudsley in 1931. We have kept in touch ever since. I greatly treasure his friendship.