American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

Surgical Set collection from 1860 to 1865 - Civilian and Military

Civil War:  Medicine, Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

 Dr. Michael Echols  &  Dr. Doug Arbittier


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James H. Armsby, M.D.

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Armsby, James H. (1809-1875)

Armsby, an enthusiastic surgeon, was determined that the doctors and students of Albany, New York, should have everything necessary to advance their interests, and he carried out by hard work and persuasion many of his pet schemes for this end.

Born December 31, 1809, in Sutton, Massachusetts.  When twenty he left the farm and began studying medicine under Dr. Alden March (q.v.) in Albany.

After graduating with an M. D. from the Vermont Academy of Medicine in 1833, he associated himself in Albany with Dr. March as teacher in a "School of Anatomy and Surgery," a school which had been originated by Dr. March twelve years before in a garret.

Soon after his arrival in Albany he got up a petition to render dissections of the human body legal and for the establishment of a medical college and hospital. In 1838 he delivered a course of popular lectures illustrated by dissections of the human subject which were attended by some three hundred of Albany's citizens and brought in subscriptions for the projected college, erected in 1839, with Dr. Armsby as professor of surgery and president.

This school founded, he took time from his anatomical studies to advance the founding of the Albany Hospital and, that accomplished, he lent his whole energies to those who were interested in obtaining a university, a design which first met with little encouragement but was finally realized in 1873.

Even when in Europe he remembered Albany and brought back a rich collection of models for the college museum, and when United States Consul at Naples for awhile the Neapolitans had their first experience of a scientific lecturer. In Albany he was known as an accomplished operator and surgical lecturer. His profound knowledge of anatomy, his mechanical dexterity, and his clearness in elucidating every point made his lectures eagerly sought by students.

He married in 1841, Anna L., daughter of the Hon. Gideon Hawley, and had two children, the son, Gideon H., becoming a physician. By his second wife, Sarah Winne, married in 1853, he had one daughter.

His death, which came very unexpectedly December 3, 1875, from pulmonary congestion and heart disease, deprived Albany of a most devoted citizen and clever surgeon.

He gave the surgical world an interesting illustrated work, "Photographs of Pathological Specimens from the United States Isa Harris General Hospital," two volumes, and a "History of the Albany Qty Hospital."

Trans. Med. Soc. New York, Albany, W. S.



James H. Armsby, M.D., of Albany, died suddenly, Dec. 8, of pulmonary apoplexy. He was born in Sutton, Worcester Co., Mass., Dpc. 81, 1309. His early education was derived from the public school of his native town. In 1830 he entered the office of the late Prof. March, of Albany, and in 1883 was made the Resident Physician of the Cholera Hospital, and made the first autopsy in that institution. While yet a student, he conceived the idea of the establishment of a hospital and medical college in Albany, and so successfully devoted his future ciieraic-s in that direction, that they both became, principally through his instrumentality, accomplished farts. He graduated in medicine at the Vermont Academy of Medicine in 1833, after which, in connection with his preceptor, he established a private medical school which school was continued until the foundation of the medical college in which he took so active a part.

In 1861 he was appointed U. S. Consul at Naples, a position which he creditably filled. While there be delivered popular scientific lectures, a practice which he continued with marked success after his return home. He received the honorary degree of A.M. from the Rochester University in l^:i(5, and from Rutgers College in 1841. Prof. Armsby was married in 1841 to Anna L. Hawley, by whom he had a son and daughter. The wife and daughter dii din 1841, and riz years later the doctor married Miss Sarah Winne. She and one son, Gideon, survive him. From the foundation of the Albany Medical College until his death he was actively engaged as a teacher of Anatomy and Clinical Surgery. In both these departments lie was signally successful, and the institution which he was long and so faithfully served will miss his disintinguished zeal in its welfare, and his wise counsels in its management.

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Civil War Medical Collections 


Direct links to all medical & Civil War collections on this site                         

American Surgical Sets:

Pre-Civil War:  1 | 2  -   Post-Civil War:  3  -  Civil War 1861-1865:  4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   INDEX

Medical Text-Books:

1 | 1a | 2 | 2a | 3 | 3a | 4 | 4a | 5 | 5a | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 9a | 10 | 11 | 12    INDEX

Surgeon General's Office Library printed catalogues: 1840 | 1864 | 1865
Medical Lecture Cards: 1 | 2 | 34 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21    INDEX

Medical Faculty and Authors:


Navy Surgeon Exams:

1863 Navy Surgeon Applicant Exams with Biographies   INDEX ONE | INDEX TWO

Surgeon CDVs, Images:

Army: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8    INDEX

Navy: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   

Hosp Dep't Bottles, Tins, 

U.S. Army Pannier:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

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Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016