WILLIAM MORRIS BUTLER, youngest son of Nancy and William Butler, was born in Maine, March 26th, 1850. In 1864 he entered Cortland Academy, Homer, N. Y., and two years after was graduated with honor. In the same autumn, 1866, he was admitted to the freshman class of Hamilton College. During his college course he was ranked among the best scholars of his class, being awarded, at his graduation in 1870, the philosophical oration. He also achieved an enviable reputation as a writer, and during his senior year was one of the editors of the Hamilton Literary Monthly, one of the best college periodicals. In his junior year he received one of the Hawley medals as a successful competitor in the classical prize examination. In the year 1870 a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa society was established in Hamilton College, and being one of the honor members of his class he was elected and initiated a member. In the fall of 1870 he entered the office of George K. Smith, M. D., of Brooklyn, and commenced the study of medicine. During the winters of 1870, '71, '72 he attended lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York city, and was graduated in February, 1873. While the student of Dr. Smith he received valuable experience as his assistant in St. Peter's Hospital. He was also for several months connected with the New York Hospital for Nervous Diseases, and this experience shaped in a great degree his future medical life. Being convinced, before his graduation, of the superiority of the school of Hahnemann over all other methods of practice, he immediately, upon his graduation, enrolled himself as a student of T. F. Allen, M. D., of New York city, the learned professor of Materia Medica in the New York Homoeopathic College. Devoting himself night and day to the study of Homoeopathic materia medica, aided by the personal instruction and supervision of Professor Allen, and constant reference to his immense library, he in a few months acquired a comprehensive knowledge of his chosen school of practice. Having received a diploma from the Amercan Institute of Homoeopathy, he settled in Montclair, N. J., in the summer of 1873. Here he soon gained the confidence of the community and laid the foundations of a good practice. In February, 1874, an examination was appointed by the trustees of the State Homoeopathic Asylum for the Insane for the position of assistant physician to that institution. At the earnest solicitation of friends he was induced to enter as a competitor and was unanimously awarded the position. Entering his new field of work in April, 1874, he untiringly devoted himself for the next nine years to the mastery of this difficult branch of medicine, the treatment of the insane. From the fact of this being the first attempt at applying the methods of Hahnemann to the treatment of the insane, the task proved the more arduous.
Having obtained a year's leave of absence he sailed for England in May, 1877. The following year was spent in the study of mental and nervous diseases. Visiting the principal asylums of England, France, Germany and Italy, he made himself fully conversant with all the most approved methods of treatment in those countries. Desiring to avail himself of the instruction of the world renowned professor of nervous diseases, Charcot, of Paris, he settled down in that city and for several months was an attendant upon his lectures. Through private influence he also obtained the unusual privilege of accompanying the professor, and accompanied him in his daily rounds through the great hospital of La Salpetrire. As there were at that time four thousand women in this hospital, each affected with some form of nervous disease, no better opportunity could have been offered for the study of this specialty. Returning to the asylum at the end of his leave of absence, and with his enlarged experience, devoted himself for the next five years to the interests of the institution and the unfortunates there confined. In 1883, being convinced that his extensive experience could be put to better personal advantage in a wider field, he tendered his resignation and in May removed to Brooklyn, N. Y. Welcomed immediately by the most prominent physicians of the city, business was at once thrown into his hands and has continued to increase until he now enjoys an extensive daily enlarging practice.
Dr. Butler is a member of the American Institute of Homoeopathy, the New York State Homoeopathic Society, the Medico Chirurgical Society of New York, and the Kings County Homoeopathic Society. He is also a member of the staff of the Brooklyn Homoeopathic Hospital, and of Brooklyn Homoeopathic Hospital Dispensary staff, and a lecturer to the Training School of Nurses connected with this hospital.
Dr. Butler has always been a liberal contributor to the transactions of the societies to which he belongs, and his medical articles are always received with marked approbation by his colleagues.
Dr. Butler was married in 1874 to Mary E. Bradford, and has one son, Morris Bradford Butler, born September 22d, 1808.