American Civil War Surgical Antiques

Research and Identification

Civil War Era Surgical Sets, Surgeon's Images

Civil War Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

Established 1995    .     Dr. Michael Echols Collection

 

As seen in:  Warman's Civil War Collectibles, Antique Week, Northeast Antiques, Antiques & Collecting publications, and various TV programs

Jefferson Medical College Professors c. 1866

By Dr. Michael Echols

(The following are the personal edited research notes of Michael Echols, the source of which may or may not be completely documented)

This is a set of portraits mounted on a matte of the Professors of the Jefferson Medical College made by Wm. Houseworth Studio Philadelphia circa late 1850's.  Jefferson Medical College was founded in 1824 in Philadelphia and in 1969 became Thomas Jefferson University.

The set contains 9 smaller CDV photos in B&W on a brown matte.  The center photo is the famous Professor Samuel Gross.  According the Thomas Jefferson University -Samuel Gross was one of America’s most distinguished and influential surgeons, physicians, anatomists, authors and teachers.  As Jefferson Medical College chair of surgery from 1856 to 1882, Dr. Gross inspired thousands of Jefferson medical students and assistants with his articulate lectures, calm judgment, mechanical dexterity, and contributions to surgical technique. Gross was author and editor of hundreds of articles and many books, including his acclaimed two-volume System of Surgery of 1859. Eakins studied anatomy with Gross in 1874, which inspired him to paint his uncomissioned masterpiece, The Gross Clinic, in 1875.   Gross was 75 at the time of Eakins portrait.  This portrait shows Gross at about the age of 50-55.  He is listed on the back as Professor of Surgery.

The back of the portraits has the names of the professors in pencil with the subject they taught and is signed by a graduate of the College who graduated sometime in the mid to late 1860's.  The professors signatures I can identify are, Gross, Wallace, Rodgers, Pancoast, Barthalow, Chapman, DaCosta.

   

Jefferson Medical College was founded in 1824-1825 through the efforts of Dr. George McClellan. The medical faculty consisted of six instructors who taught classes by didactic lecture in the Old Tivoli Theater at 518-520 Prune Street (now Locust Walk) [4]. By the time of Bigler's admission in 1863, only one new faculty position had been added to the medical school, which had relocated to 10th and Sansom streets. College clinics were conducted for clinical instruction. Two class sessions, each 20 weeks long, were held every year.

The faculty at Jefferson in October 1863 consisted of Drs. Samuel H. Dickson, Samuel D. Gross, Franklin Bache, Joseph and William Henry Pancoast, Ellerslie Wallace, Thomas D. Mitchell, and Robley Dunglison. These gentlemen were representative of America's finest, but aging, medical minds. Only Wallace and William Pancoast were relatively recent medical graduates (1843 and 1856, respectively). Mitchell was 72 years old, and Bache died between sessions.

Samuel H. Dickson, MD (1798-1872), assumed the chair in theory and practice of medicine on the death of John Kearsley Mitchell, MD, in 1858. Dickson was 60 years of age when he accepted this position. A graduate of Yale University (1814) and University of Pennsylvania Medical Department (1819), Dickson was eminently qualified to speak with authority on fevers. The title of his dissertation was History of Yellow Fever, and he authored several papers on the general topic of fevers. He said of himself in 1860.  (The Medical Education of William Brooks Bigler (1863)  Suzanne M. Shultz, MA )
 

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American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques