WILLIAM BEECHER SCOVILLE was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 13, 1906, the son of Samuel, Jr. and Katherine Gallaudet Trumbull. He attended Yale (B.A., 1928) and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (M.D., 1932). He interned at the Hartford Hospital (1933-34); was Assistant Resident in Psychiatry, New York Cornell Hospital (1935); Resident in Neurology, Bellevue Hospital (1936); did research in neuroendocrinology, Massachusetts General Hospital (1937); Resident in Neurosurgery, Massachusetts General Hospital (1938); Fellow in Neurosurgery, Lahey Clinic (1938); Resident in Neurosurgery, University Hospital, Baltimore (1939); Assistant in Neurosurgery, Boston City Hospital (1939). He was trained under several well known physicians, including: Foster Kennedy, Stanley Cobb, Fuller Allbright, Jason Mixter, James White, Charles Bagley, Gilbert Horrax, and James Poppen. He observed Walter Dandy for one summer. He became Board certified in Neurosurgery in 1941.
In 1939, he founded the Department of Neurosurgery at Hartford Hospital (Director, 1939-68), and was Co-Director of the Yale-Hartford Residency Training Program (1945-67). In 1941, he began the first Neurosurgical Residency Training Program in Connecticut. He has trained 46 U.S. neurosurgeons, and 17 foreign. During service as a Major in the U.S. Army during World War II, he organized Army centers in the Northwest and Cushing Hospital, Boston, for paraplegics.
He was Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, Emeritus, Yale University Medical School, and was also Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Connecticut Medical School, where the first named Chair-William Beecher Scoville Professorship in Neurosurgery-was founded.
He was a member of 25 medical societies, including: American Academy of Neurological Surgery (President); American Association of Neurological Surgeons; World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (Administrative Council; Honorary President; Editor, Federation News); International Society of Psychiatric Surgery (Founding Member; 1st President, 1970; Honorary President); New England Neurosurgical Society (founder and first President); 15 foreign societies, seven of which he was an Honorary Member: British, French, Scandinavian, Peruvian, Argentinean, Egyptian, and Caribbean).
Dr. Jules Stein, Chairman of the Board of Universal Studios and Music Corporation of America, founded the William Beecher Scoville Foundation (1965) for the support of fellowships, studies, and teaching in neurological sciences. He received the Honorary D.Sci. degree from Colby College, Waterville, Maine, where he started one of the first annual neurosurgical seminars. He founded the First International Congress of Neurosurgery in Brussels (1957).
Dr. Scoville published 144 scientific articles, with chief contributions in the fields of: discs; aneurysm clips, memory (with Dr. Brenda Milner); psychiatric surgery in the form of orbital undercutting; first to describe large trephine craniotomies and steel mesh cranioplasties; and instrumentation.
His chief pastime was travelling abroad for the study of neurosurgery and neurosurgeons.
His first marriage was to Emily, by whom he had three children. After his divorce, he was remarried to Helene who survives him in Hartford, Connecticut. He was fatally injured in an automobile accident in New Jersey on February 25, 1984.