Solomon Carter Fuller

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Solomon Carter Fuller
Solomon Carter Fuller.jpg
Solomon Carter Fuller (c. 1910)
Born August 11, 1872 [1]
Monrovia, Liberia [1]
Died January 16, 1953(1953-01-16) (aged 80)
Framingham, Massachusetts [1]
Nationality United States
Alma mater Boston University School of Medicine (M.D., 1897)
Occupation physician, psychiatrist, pathologist, professor
Known for work in the field of Alzheimer's disease
Spouse(s) Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller
Parent(s) Solomon C. Fuller
Anna Ursilla (James) Fuller

Solomon Carter Fuller (August 1, 1872 – January 16, 1953) was a pioneering Americo-Liberian and African-American physician, psychiatrist, pathologist, and professor.[2][3] Born in Monrovia, Liberia, he completed his college education and medical degree in the United States. He studied psychiatry in Munich, Germany, then returned to the United States, where he worked for much of his career at Westborough State Hospital in Westborough, Massachusetts.

In 1919 Fuller became part of the faculty at Boston University School of Medicine where he taught pathology.[3] He made significant contributions to the study of Alzheimer's disease during his career. He also had a private practice as a physician, neurologist, and psychiatrist.

Early life and education[edit]

Solomon Fuller was born in Monrovia, Liberia to Americo-Liberian parents of African American descent. His father Solomon had become a coffee planter in Liberia and an official in its government. His mother, Anna Ursala James, was the daughter of physicians and medical missionaries. His paternal grandparents, John Lewis Fuller and his wife, had been slaves in Virginia. John Fuller bought his and his enslaved wife's freedom and they moved to the city of Norfolk, Virginia. The couple emigrated from there to Liberia in 1852, to a colony set up in West Africa by the American Colonization Society beginning earlier in the century. They helped establish the nation developed by African Americans and liberated African slaves.[1]

His mother set up a school to teach her son Solomon and area children. Fuller also studied at the College Preparatory School of Monrovia.[4]

He had a keen interest in medicine since his maternal grandparents were medical missionaries in Liberia. Fuller moved to the United States to study at Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina, graduating in 1893. Later he attended Long Island College Medical School.[1]

He completed his MD degree in 1897 from Boston University School of Medicine. It was a homeopathic institution open to students of all races and genders. He pursued further research at the psychiatric clinic of the University of Munich, Germany, studying under Emil Kraepelin and Alois Alzheimer.[5]


Fuller spent the majority of his career practicing at Westborough State Hospital in Westborough, Massachusetts. While there, he performed ground-breaking research on the physical changes that take place in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. In 1909 Fuller was a speaker at the Clark University Conference organized by G. Stanley Hall, which was attended by such notable scientists and intellectuals as anthropologist Franz Boaz, psychiatrists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, philosopher William James, and Nobel laureates Ernest Rutherford and Albert A. Michelson.[6]

In 1919, Fuller left Westborough State Hospital to join the faculty at Boston University School of Medicine. He served as a professor until 1933. He continued in private practice as a physician, neurologist, and psychiatrist for many years before his death in 1953.

When the Veterans Administration opened the Tuskegee Veterans Administration Medical Center after World War I with an entirely black staff, Fuller was instrumental in recruiting and training black psychiatrists for key positions.

Personal life[edit]

For most of his life, Fuller lived in nearby Framingham, Massachusetts, with his wife, the noted sculptor Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller. They had three children.[1]

Legacy and honors[edit]

The Fuller Middle School was established in September of 1994. The school is named in honor of Dr. Solomon Fuller, a psychiatrist, and his wife Meta Fuller, a sculptor. The Fullers, a pioneering African-American family, lived on Warren Road near the current location of the Fuller Middle School during the early part of the twentieth century. Dr. and Mrs. Fuller were leaders in their professions and in the Framingham Community during their lives. The roles they played during their lifetimes serve as models for the students of the school named in their memory.[7]

  • Dr. Solomon Fuller Way, on the site of the former Westborough State Hospital, is named after him.

Works by Solomon C. Fuller[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Heung, Camille, "Fuller, Solomon Carter (1872-1953)",
  2. ^ Lucy Ozarin, M.D., "Solomon Carter Fuller: First Black Psychiatrist", Psychiatric News, September 6, 2002, Volume 37, Number 17, p. 19.
  3. ^ a b Gray, Madison (12 January 2007). "Black History Month: Unsung Heroes". Time.
  4. ^ "Bio: Solomon Fuller",
  5. ^ Keith A. P. Sandiford, A Black Studies Primer: Heroes and Heroines of the African Diaspora, Hansib Publications, 2008, p. 179.
  6. ^ W Scott Terry (2008) "A Missed Opportunity for Psychology: The Story of Solomon Carter Fuller." APS Observer 21: 6. June/July.
  7. ^ About Fuller Middle School, Framingham Public Schools, archived from the original on 2014-03-29

Further reading[edit]

  • W. Montague Cobb. "Solomon Carter Fuller (1872-1953)," Journal of the National Medical Association 46(5) (1954).
  • John Potter, "Solomon Carter Fuller." Doctors, Nurses and Medical Practitioners: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook pp. 116–119, Lois N. Magner, ed. (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1998).
  • Lucy Ozarin, M.D., "Solomon Carter Fuller: First Black Psychiatrist", Psychiatric News, September 6, 2002, Volume 37, Number 17, p. 19.
  • Mary Kaplan, Solomon Carter Fuller: Where My Caravan Has Rested, University Press of America, 2005.
  • Mary Kaplan and Alfred R. Henderson, "Solomon Carter Fuller, M.D. (1872-1953): American Pioneer in Alzheimer's Disease Research," Journal of the History of the Neurosciences 9:3 (2000)
  • Carl C. Bell, "Solomon Carter Fuller: Where the Caravan Rested," Journal of American Medical Association 95:10 (2005)
  • Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds, Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1982)
  • G. James Fleming and Christian E. Burckel, eds, Who's Who in Colored America (New York: Christian E. Burckel & Associates, 1950).

External links[edit]