Solon Marx White

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The painting that hung in the University of Minnesota School of Medicine

Courtesy Dennis Gordien-UofM Oil painting 28x35"

painting thumbnail Label (thumb):

               SOLON MARX WHITE, M.D. Northwestern, 1897
                 (1883-1966) Wrong! (1873-1966) died at 93. Nicollet Clinic, Mpls. 

Author: James R Hare, Jr.

Solon Marx White was born July 16 1873 in Hokah, Minnesota, the son and grandson of physicians. After an internship at Cook County Hospital he became a demonstrator in Pathology at the University of Minnesota in 1900. He spent six months in Vienna and returned to Minnesota to start the autopsy service in Minneapolis General Hospital. He returned to Vienna in 1914 and spent time in London with Sir Thomas Lewis. He installed the second electrocardiographic apparatus in Minnesota, the first was instituted at the Mayo by Frederick Willins. After serving as Acting Chief of Medicine in 1915 he became Chief of the Department of Medicine in 1921 and the same year founded the Nicollet Clinic. He retired from the University in 1925 but continued to practice Medicine in Minneapolis. During World War I he served as second in command (1917-1918) at Base Hospital No. 26 in Allerey, France as Chief physician with the rank of Major, M. C. (Marine Corps). The portrait is by Emily Dana McMillan (Signed E. Mc., lower left, who did other U of M Portraits of Medical Doctors, signatures lower left, in the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture database, designed to provide descriptive and location information on artworks by American artists in public and private collections worldwide).

  • Hokah, Minnesota Wife: Beulah
  • Sir Thomas Lewis, pioneer cardiologist
  • the original Nicollet Clinic was located in downtown Minneapolis at 1009 Nicollet Avenue. Their private hospital was the Eitel Hospital at 1375 Willow across from Loring Park. They built a new building in the mid 50's on Blaisdell. There is now an expanded Park Nicollet Clinic. The intersection marked on the map is Nicollet and W. Franklin avenue near the home of his son Dr. A. A. White, who joined the Clinic medical staff.
  • WW I basehospitals of the American Expeditionary Forces
  • Emily Dana McMillan -1953, painter has 12 paintings in the Smithsonian American Art Museum - and took her U of M BA degree in 1882-1883. Her 1915 painting of Putnam Dana McMillan is of her father, who was Vice President of General Mills and an art collector. Many contributions to national art collections were made in the name of the Putnam Dana McMillan Fund. Emily D. McMillan is listed in Who's Who in America of 1917, according to Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975 (p. 2146 Vol. II of III, edited by Peter H. Falk), which also lists her as exhibiting and a prize winner (1914) at the Minnesota State Art Comm.

Rescue of the Emily Dana McMillan U of M painting of S. Marx White

S.M. arrives at the white house to meet Solomon

Dennis Gordien (thumbnail), rescuer of the painting

Baga, our nickname for Grandfather, is now residing with White house pug Solomon and the White family in La Jolla, thanks to Dennis Gordien, U Minn administrators, and Peggy Johnson, Doug's U High (U of M) classmate and her husband Frank Johnson. thumb.

Short url:

Rogers Family History

April 2011 p125 One Portrait of S. Marx hung in various conference rooms at University Hospital in the 1980s, since I made a copy of the 2011 portrait (Peter Marx Rogers). S. Marx hung in various conference rooms as recently as the 1980s. (Rogers Family History). Peter Rogers made a point at that time of finding it in one of the small rooms (p125). However, it slipped from view until a search I instigated by his grandson, Douglas White, and conducted by Dennis Gordien, a U of M administrator, led Peggy Johnson, Doug's University High School classmate, to find it in late 2010. The painting's condition, according to Doug: the fabric support is heavy weight, medium weave ..... (add'l 20 lines).

U Minn Faculty and Alumni Personal Papers Collection, 1867-1980s

White, Solon Marx, 1917-1965. (Box 4) Dr. S. Marx White was born in Hokah, Minnesota in July 1873. In 1893, he received his B.A. from the University of Illinois, and in 1897 his M.D. from Northwestern University. In 1898 he came to Minneapolis as an instructor in pathology at the University of Minnesota. In 1908 he transferred to the department of medicine and became professor, and later, department chairman. In 1925, he resigned the department chairmanship but continued to teach. In 1942, he was named a professor emeritus after 44 years at the University. He entered private practice and continued working until 1960. In 1916, he was appointed a major in the medical corps. He became chief of the internal medicine department at Base Hospital 26, and served with the University of Minnesota unit in France during World War I. He was a member of the Board of Regents for the American College of Physicians, and served as its national president from 1931-1932. He was a co-founder of the Nicollet Clinic, and also served as president of the Hennepin County Medical Society, the State Board of Health, the Minnesota Academy of Medicine, the Minnesota Society of Internal Medicine, and the Minneapolis Society of Internal Medicine. He was the founder and director of the Glen Lake Tuberculosis Sanatorium and for three terms, was the president of the Council of Social Agencies. White died on August 29, 1966.

Medicine: College of Physicians Time Magazine, April 1931, Presidency, Coll. of Phys.

Father of two brides: Anna Elizabeth (Betty Rogers) and Mary Grace Coffield.

S.M. White portrait for the U of M. Medical School is restored

The first (iPhone) photo of S.Marx' portrait restored and with no varnish.

Original condition: The fabric support is heavy weight, medium weave, Belgian Linen Canvas covered by a commercially applied off-white gesso sizing. The painting has been painted in wet on wet al-prima manner, with thick brush marks.

The canvas had a big hole in the middle area caused by an impact. Also, there was a big horizontal tear in the upper part of the canvas as well as four holes, multiple cracks and scratches. The canvas had been previously patched and touched-up which should be removed before lining. The painting had been varnished by an organic resin varnish that is discolored.

A portrait of S. Marx hung in various conference rooms

Restoration by Sezo Cizmic, HERITAGE Art Restoration Studio, San Diego. Completed 3/13/2010. Sezo determined that the painting was of a quality and in the tradition of John Singer Sargent, the great American portraitist who studied in Paris at the Beaux Artes with Carolus-Duran. The latter was a French portrait artist who was noted for his modern teaching methods and bold technique in the use of the alla prima technique invented by Velazquez: "working directly on the canvas with a loaded brush," and completed in one session without time to dry. Carolus-Duran's influence was evident in Sargent's painting during the period from 1874-1878. Dana McMillan's painting shows this technique brilliantly. A long hair from a new brush lies on the painting from the original, and the last brush strokes in the dark areas are part of the technique.

A number of John Singer Sargent's paintings were owned and contributed to art museums by Putnam Dana McMillan, Dana McMillan's father and a patron of the arts, so this is probably where the European influence on her painting comes from. It gives the evident freshness of the painting.

Biography sites


whitesm archive Linkpendium Surnames EXTRACTED FROM: History of Minneapolis, Gateway to the Northwest; Chicago-Minneapolis, The S J Clarke Publishing Co, 1923; Edited by: Rev. Marion Daniel Shutter, D.D., LL.D.; Volume I - Shutter (Historical); volume II - Biographical; volume III - Biographical

Vol III, pg 562-565

Dr. Solon Marx White, a Minneapolis physician, specializing in internal medicine and identified with the Nicollet Clinic, was born in Hokah, this state, on the 16th of July, 1873, and is a son of Dr. Solon C. and Anna (Armstrong) White, the former a native of Canada, while the latter was born in Washington county, New York, whence she removed to Wisconsin about 1859 and later became a resident of Minnesota. Solon C. White also devoted his life to the medical profession and engaged in practice in Hokah for a number of years. His uncle, Ebenezer Vining White, was the first president of the Chamber of Commerce of Minneapolis and later moved to Gladstone, Michigan, where he passed away at the notable old age of ninety-four years.
Solon Marx White pursued his elementary education in the public schools of Sandwich, Illinois, and afterward attended the State University at Champaign, Illinois, from which he was graduated in 1895, with the Bachelor of Science degree. Having determined upon the practice of medicine as a life work he matriculated in the Northwestern Medical College at Chicago in 1897 and completed a full course there. Following his graduation he became intern in Cook County Hospital at Chicago, filling the position for eighteen months and gaining that broad and valuable experience which is never secured as quickly in any other way as in hospital work. On the 1st of December, 1898, he came to Minneapolis as instructor of pathology and bacteriology in the medical department of the University of Minnesota and in 1915 he was made professor of medicine in the university and in 1921 chief of the department of medicine in the medical school. He also became chief of the medical staff of the University Hospital in 1920 and so continues. His entire professional career has been one of steady progress and of constantly broadening scope and power. He took a helpful part in war activities, being chief of the medical service at Base Hospital, No. 26, with the rank of major and thus he served in France until after the signing of the armistice in 1918. He was in the service altogether for more than a year, most of the time overseas. Dr. White had previously pursued postgraduate study in Vienna, Austria, in 1904, and in Vienna, Berlin and London in 1914, having been in London with his family when war was declared.
On the 25th of July, 1900, Dr. White was married to Miss Sara Miner Abbott of Sandwich, Illinois, and they have become parents of three children: Asher Miner Abbott, Anna Elizabeth and Mary Grace. The religious faith of the family is that of the First Baptist church and Dr. White is one of the church officials. He belongs to the Midland Hills Golf Club. He also has membership in the Minne­apolis Club and in the Skylight Club, but the major part of his attention is given to his professional interests and duties and to that end he is constantly broaden­ing his knowledge and promoting his efficiency. He has membership in the American Medical Association, the Minneapolis Medical Society, the Minnesota Medical Society, the Minnesota Academy of Medicine, the Association of American Physicians and the Central Interurban Clinical Club-organizations in which his ability is recognized, his colleagues and contemporaries in the profession bearing testimony to his eminent position and his highly developed skill.

Minnesota Medicine

Minnesota medicine, Volume 1 (see top left, Hennepin County, By the Minnesota Medical Association

Selected publications

White SM. 1965. The changing scene in medicine 1887-1960 J Lancet. 1965 Dec;85(12):586-92.


A half century of Minneapolis, ed. by Horace B. Hudson. P. 210. Bio entry.

some questions about SMW


Minnesota Doctor, by Solon Marx White

Medical Journal Obituarties

Solon Marx White, physician, educator, administrator, and beneficent friend of humanity J Lancet. 1959 May;79(5):214-7. By JA Myers.

Solon Marx White. 1873-1966 Trans Assoc Am Physicians. 1967;80:30-1. By HA Reimann.

S. Marx White family tales and genealogy

Peter Rogers is doing a book on S. Marx' life and stories. Here are new tales recounted by Margot White Cottrell, S. Marx White's granddaughter, sent to Peter (also a grandson) for his book.

  • S. Marx is descended from John Alden, a ship-carpenter by trade and a cooper of the Mayflower. His wife was Priscilla Mullins. They were the third couple of the Mayflower to marry. "The first was that of Edward Winslow and Susannah White in 1621." Priscilla "spun wool and flax for the colony, taught children, and helped with the cooking." In Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1858 poem 'The Courtship of Miles Standish' she is "known to literary history as the unrequited love of the newly-widowed Captain Miles Standish," also of the Mayflower and "an English military officer hired by the Pilgrims as military advisor for Plymouth Colony. According to the poem, Standish asked his good friend John Alden to propose to Priscilla on his behalf, only to have Priscilla ask, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?”
  • Longfellow (a direct descendant of John and Priscilla) based his poem on a romanticized version of a family tradition, though there is no independent historical evidence for the account. The basic story was apparently handed down in the Alden family and published by John and Priscilla’s great-great-grandson, Rev. Timothy Alden, in 1814.
  • John Alden was one of the founders of the Plymouth Colony and the seventh signer of the Mayflower Compact. "...he became the Governor's Assistant, the Duxbury Deputy to the General Court of Plymouth, a member under arms of Capt. Miles Standish's Duxbury Company, a member of Council of War, Treasurer of Plymouth Colony, and Commissioner to Yarmouth." (Wikipedia:John Alden). Descendants of John Alden are also descendants of two other Mayflower passengers along with Priscilla Alden.
  • S. Marx's son Asher Abbott White is a registered member of the Mayflower society.
  • S. Marx's is 8th generation in patrilineal descent (Solon, Simeon Jr, Simeon, Henry, Thomas, Jacob, Nathaniel, JOHN) from Elder John White, one of the First Settlers of Hartford, Connecticut. He "came from London aboard the Lyon in 1632." Initially passing through Braintree in the company of Reverend Thomas Hooker, he then settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts where family history has it that the farm was on the present day Harvard Yard. He then "removed to Hartford, Connecticut, in 1636 in the company of Reverend Thomas Hooker. In 1659, as a result of squabbling in the church at Hartford following Hooker's death, John White was one of the group that separated to form a new community up river, at Hadley, Massachusetts. He returned to Hartford about 1670, where he died about 1684, having named in his will (1683) four sons" (Nathaniel, John, Daniel, and Jacob) "and two daughters" (Mary, Sarah). "The fecundity of the family was such that, by 1860, when this genealogical history was published, there were 'heads of households' in the tenth generation."[1]. S.Marx' great great grandson Hayden Sebastian White (son of Scott D. White) is in the 12th patrilineal generation of Elder John.


Solon Marx White entry - White family ancestry

Comment: One interesting thing I saw there was the descent of S. Marx claimed from John Alden. But I think that it is Solon's wife, Sarah Minor Abbott, who is descended from John Alden. Instead, we are descended from Mayflower passenger Thomas Rogers. Interesting, though, that a Mayflower descendant married another Mayflower descendant over 250 years later!

Asher Abbott White son of S. Marx, Asher's first wife Margaret Richie (Marg), her father Elwood Johns Richie

Grandchildren on-line

Hoebel on S Marx

Thanks so much for these pearls. Love your grandpere, what a neat guy! I heard about him and about you in a class ( Univ of Minnesota , where I got my Masters). I sadly cannot remember the name of the prof (<it was Hoebel> he was chair too) of that anthro course I took from him. He used you to put me down because I had made a presentation that his wife ( beautiful lady who was a cancer patient as he told us) loved, my American Indian talk, so then he hated it and me.

Then he told me that I should follow Doug white and do things mathematically, I told him that If I wanted math I would be in a math class, not here). His wife giggled but there went my A. ( who cared, my husband ( debs father was rich and that freed me. He had no trouble walking in to a professor's office and set them straight on my needs and his backing for me. and they loved him. I think it was because he looked like a movie star and people would say that he was Tyrone Power, or Tony Curtis. ( he did). So this you might well ask has nothing to do with your work as represented here. but we can now prove that it has everything to do with your work on theory, we learned alot today.

Years later after I got my doctorate and found myself in the South pacific with margaret and who showed up one day ----this professor and his new wife ( very rich). He almost fainted.. Do you remember his name?

John and I are having great fun and intend to read and discuss the rest of your material here. So we can talk about it at our next lunch at the club. Thanks again for sending that wiki stuff. Love it. Love to you and Lilyan