Witt, Guy Ferguson (1883–1957)

By: Ann E. Hodges

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1996

Updated: March 30, 2019

Guy Ferguson Witt, psychiatrist, was born on January 24, 1883 in Eddy, Texas, to James M. and Mattie (Ferguson) Witt. His father, who moved to Texas from Alabama in 1878, was a physician in Waco and served as president of the McLennan County Medical Society. Guy F. Witt attended the public schools of Salado and Bartlett High School and graduated from the Austin Academy in 1899. He received a B.S. degree from the University of Texas in 1904 and taught physiology at Ball High School at Galveston from 1904 until 1908. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Texas School of Medicine in 1911 and then served as an intern in the John Sealy Hospital at Galveston until 1912, when he became assistant physician and pathologist at the Southwestern Insane Asylum (now San Antonio State Hospital). Witt moved to Waco in January 1913 and engaged in general practice until December 1, 1915, when he returned to the Southwestern Insane Asylum in the capacity of assistant superintendent; he held this position until he entered military service in August 1918. Witt held the rank of senior lieutenant in the United States Navy and was posted to active duty at Brest, France, where he was in charge of the department of mental and nervous diseases in Base Hospital No. 5. Upon his discharge in April 1919, he settled in Dallas, where he remained active in the Naval Reserve. In Dallas Witt cofounded the Timberlawn Sanitarium and was its medical director until his death. He also taught neuropsychiatry at Baylor Medical College between 1920 and 1943. Witt was instrumental in the establishment of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and was head of the department of neuropsychiatry until 1955, at which time he was appointed professor emeritus. He was also chief of psychiatric service for Parkland and Baylor hospitals until 1955 and was on staff at Methodist Hospital in Dallas. Witt was the author of many scientific papers in the field of psychiatry, and he was a frequent speaker at medical conventions.

Witt was a member of the American Medical Association (he served as a member of the House of Delegates in 1940), the American Psychiatric Association, the Central Neuropsychiatric Association, and the Texas Medical Association. He was a president of the Dallas County Medical Society, the Texas Neuropsychiatric Association, and the Southern Psychiatric Society, and for five years served as the counselor from Texas to the Southern Medical Association. He was certified in his specialty by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology; his college fraternities were Phi Delta Theta (academic) and Alpha Mu Pi Omega (medical). He was also a member of the Dallas Athletic Club, the University Club, the Kiwanis Club, and the Baptist Church. On June 25, 1915, Witt married Stella E. Lacy in Waco. They became the parents of two sons and a daughter. Witt died in Dallas on February 14, 1957, of cerebrovascular thrombosis and was interred at Hillcrest Mausoleum. In addition to his wife, daughter, son, and grandchildren, Witt was survived by a sister and three brothers, one of whom was the lieutenant governor of Texas, Edgar E. Witt.

Dallas Morning News, February 15, 1957. Dallas Times Herald, February 14, 1957. Ellis A. Davis, and Edwin H. Grobe, comps., The New Encyclopedia of Texas (2 vols., Dallas: Texas Development Bureau, 1925?; 4 vols. 1929?). Fort Worth Star-Telegram, February 15, 1957. Journal of the American Medical Association, June 15, 1957. Texas State Journal of Medicine, April 1957.


  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Neuropsychiatrists


  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Ann E. Hodges, “Witt, Guy Ferguson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 24, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/witt-guy-ferguson.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1996
March 30, 2019

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