Romeyn Beck M.D. LL.D (April 11, 1791 - November 19, 1855 was an
American physician in Albany, New York specializing in medical
jurisprudence who authored the first significant American book on
forensic medicine, Elements of Medical Jurisprudence in 1823.
Beck was born in Schnenectady, New York to a family of English
descent. He graduated from Union College at the age of 16 and the
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons with a M.D.
at the age of 20 before going into practice in Albany in 1811. In
1815 he was appointed professor of the institutes of medicine, and
lecturer on medical jurisprudence in the College of Physicians and
Surgeons of Western New York, at Fairfield. He served as the
Principal of The Albany Academy from 1817 to 1848, where he
encouraged the future curator of the Smithsonian Institute, Joseph
Henry, to enroll as a student and later serve as a professor of
mathematics and natural philosophy in 1826. Also during this time,
he was a professor of medical jurisprudence at Fairfield Medical
College from 1826 until 1836, and professor of materia medica in
that institution from 1836 till 1840, and at Albany Medical College
from 1840 until 1854.
His principal work was Elements of Medical Jurisprudence; the first
edition was printed in 1823, a seventh edition was issued in London
in 1842, and a tenth in Albany in 1850. Dr. Beck also contributed to
numerous scientific journals during his lifetime.