New York Times, July 11, 1931, p. 13, col 1.


Victim, Many Years Ago of a Strange Form of Aphasia, He Disappeared Twice.


Added Suprarenal to Field of Optic Surgery -- Wrote Book, "Perfect Sight Without Glasses."

Dr. William H. Bates, a specialist in diseases of the eye, died yesterday, after a year's illness, at his residence, 210 Madison Avenue. He is survived by a widow, the former Mrs. Emily Ackerman Lierman, who had been his assistant and partner in experiment al research for seventeen years before their marriage in August 1928, and by a son of the first of two earlier marriages. Dr. Bates was twice a widower.

The death of Dr. Bates recalls some years ago of his two strange disappearaces, which medical men regarded as among the most remarkable instances of aphasia [sic] or loss of memory. In 1902, seven years after his graduation from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, when he was making his way rapidly in his profession and was at work on an important medical book, he vanished from the sight and knowledge of his friends. The day that he was last seen, on Aug. 30, he had written an affectionate, characteristic letter to his wife, who was then visiting her mother in Newport, and had sent her books and instruments from his apartment in the Lonsdale, 567 Madison Avenue.

When he failed to return to the apartment for several days the janitor informed Mrs. Bates, his second wife, who hurried to the city and began the search for her husband. Six weeks later she learned that he was working as an assistant in the Charing Cross Hospital, London, to which he had been taken as a patient. Mrs. Bates went to London, where she found her husband in an exhausted, nervous state, with no recollection of recent events. She took him to the Savoy Hotel, where he rested for two days and then disappeared again.

Mrs. Bates sought her husband on the Continent and in this country in vain, tracing every clue that reached her. She died before he was heard of again. How he was discovered and induced to return to New York and resume his practice has never been revealed in detail. According to the best version, a fellow-oculist, Dr. J. E. Kelly, found Dr. Bates, by accident in 1910, practicing in Grand Forks, N.D. A few months later the two men occupied offices together in this city, and thereafter Dr. Bates worked as hard and as successfully as he had done before his original disappearance.

The theories and methods of eye treatment used by Dr. Bates did not always accord with those of the majority of eye specialists. He was the originator of a method of treating imperfect eyesight by mental relaxation. He discovered the drug suprarenal, which has been called almost as valuable as cocaine in optic surgery. The best known of his books is "Perfect Sight Without Glasses."