This is an excerpt from two of my big lists - my famous synaesthetes list and my famous autistics list:
Solomon V. Shereshevskii 1886?-1958?
He was also known as “S”, "Shereshevsky", "Sherashevsky", “Sheresevsky”, “Cherechevski” and “Veniamin”. He was a Jewish Russian journalist, professional mnemonist (memory feat performer) in a stage show and had other jobs. He was married and had kids. He was famous as the subject of the classic case study The Mind of a Mnemonist: a Little Book About a Vast Memory by Russian neuropsychologist Alexander R. Luria (Luriia), Shereshevskii’s extraordinary eidetic memory is thought to have been aided by his synaesthesia, of which he had a number of different types including projector-type synaesthesia. Shereshevskii was a vividly visual thinker but he reported trouble remembering faces. It is important to note that it is far from clear from the scant second-hand description of Shereshevskii's experience of face perception whether his experience was like that of a prosopagnosic (person with a face recognition disability) or more typical of normal face perception, and scientific tests of face recognition did not exist in the age in which his case was explored. On page 127 Shereskevskii describes imagining "...a face familiar to me from childhood" and his recollections from his infancy include seeing his mother's face and recognizing his father's voice (p. 78). Shereshevskii was not blind to facial expressions, as some commentators have claimed, in fact he reported that facial expressions interfered with his ability to remember faces (p. 64 1987 HUP edition). His parents may have had unusual memory abilities and Luria described some of his siblings as "gifted individuals" (Luria 1968). Shereshevskii’s amazing mind has been discussed in relation to Asperger syndrome in a book and in a journal paper (Wilding & Valentine 1997, Wing 1981). Shereshevskii “seemed to have behaved not unlike someone with Asperger syndrome. Unfortunately, Luria did not give enough details to allow a diagnosis to be made” according to Asperger syndrome expert Lorna Wing (Wing 1981).
References about the most fascinating and amazing Solomon Shereshevskii
Elfakir, Abdelhadi (2005) Mémoire et autisme: de la neuropsychologie à la psychanalyse. Le cas de Cherechevski. I’Information Psychiatrique. Novembre 2005, Volume 81, Number 9, p.763-70.
[French paper that appears to be arguing that S. Shereshevskii was autistic]
Luria, A. R. & Solotaroff, Lynn (translator) (1968) The mind of a mnemonist: a little book about a vast memory. Jonathan Cape.
[Shereshevskii’s name is given as “S” in this book, the author’s name is sometimes spelt Aleksandr Luriia, autism/AS not mentioned but S’s synaesthesia and extraordinary memory abilities are fully docmented]
Wilding, John M. and Valentine, Elizabeth R. Superior memory. Psychology Press, 1997.
[partly available at Google Books]
Wing, Lorna (1981) Asperger syndrome: a clinical account. Psychological Medicine. 11, p.115-129.
[Shereshevskii mentioned as a possible case]
Yaro, Caroline and Ward, Jamie (2007) Searching for Shereshevskii: what is superior about the memory of synaesthetes? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 2007 May;60(5):681-95.
[some discussion of Shereshevskii, and Figure 1 shows the many types of synaesthesia of his described by Luria, with page numbers given]