William Chester Minor

William Chester Minor

Yale graduate William Chester Minor was an American army surgeon who became one of the largest contributors to the Oxford English Dictionary by providing usages of words from his antiquated book collection. He did this over the course of years while being committed to an insane asylum after being found not guilty by insanity for murder. He used books brought to him by the widow of the man he killed. Minor’s mental condition deteriorated with age and in 1902, due to delusions that he was being abducted nightly from his rooms and conveyed to places as far away as Istanbul, and forced to commit sexual assaults on children, he cut off his own penis using a knife he had employed in his work on the dictionary.

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