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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John Edwards Holbrook, M.D.

1794 -1871
Professor of Anatomy

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John Edwards Holbrook, MDHOLBROOK, John Edwards, naturalist, born in Beaufort, South Carolina, 30 December, 1794; died in Norfolk, Massachusetts, 8 September, 1871. He spent his early life in Wrentham, Massachusetts, which for many years had been the home of his father's family, and was graduated at Brown in 1815. He took his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1818, and then continued his professional studies for two years in London and Edinburgh, after which he spent two more years on the continent, devoting much time to natural history, especially in Paris. In 1822 he returned to the United States, and established himself as a physician in Charleston, South Carolina He was chosen professor of anatomy at the Medical college of South Carolina in 1824, and continued to occupy that chair for more than thirty years. Dr. Holbrook attained a high reputation by his lectures, owing to his wonderful knowledge of comparative anatomy, but seldom performed a surgical operation or attended an obstetric case.

During the civil war he was head of the examining board of surgeons of South Carolina. Dr. Holbrook's work as a naturalist made his name widely known, His first contribution to science was "American Herpetology, or a Description of Reptiles inhabiting the United States" (5 vols., 4to, Philadelphia, 1842). The simplicity and precision of its descriptions, and the beauty and correctness of its illustrations, attracted attention not only in the United States, but also in Europe. Through it he became acquainted with Louis Agassiz, with whom he afterward maintained the friendliest of relations, visiting him annually during his summer trips to New England. He then began a "Southern Ichthyology," to include descriptions of the fishes of Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, but, after the publication of two numbers, he found the field too extensive, and therefore confined his studies to the "Ichthyology of South Carolina" (Charleston, 1854 et seq.), of which ten numbers made their appearance. In consequence of the civil war this publication was discontinued. He was a member of the American philosophical society and an early member of the National academy of sciences.--His brother, Silas Pinckney, author, born in Beaufort, South Carolina, 1 June, 1796; died in Pineville, South Carolina, 26 May, 1835, was graduated at Brown in 1815, studied law in Boston, and practised at Med-field, Massachusetts He was one of the most popular contributors to the "New England Galaxy" and the " Boston Courier," to which he furnished sketches entitled "Letters from a Mariner and Travels of a Tin Peddler," under the name of "Jonathan Farbrick," and amusing "Letters from a Boston Merchant," and "Recollections of Japan and China." These, with others, were published as " Sketches by a Traveller" (1834). He also wrote the European part of Peter Parley's "Pictorial Geography," and conducted the "Boston Tribune," and a comic paper called the "Spectacles."

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright 2001 VirtualologyTM

First Faculty of the Medical College of South Carolina.  The first faculty of the Medical College consisted predominantly of young men (only 2 were over the age of thirty). The following men formed the first faculty of the Medical College. Each has a unique story and all helped to create the Medical University of South Carolina:

In 1824 the Medical College of South Carolina was established at Charleston. In this school there are seven professorships. The students have the privilege of attending the practice of the Marine Hospital. The professors are:

Thomas Grimball Prioleau, MDThomas Grimball Prioleau, M.D.
Professor of Obstetrics and Diseases of Infants
Edmund Ravenel, M.D.
1791- 1871
Professor of the Chemistry
Samuel Henry Dickson, MDSamuel Henry Dickson, M.D.
1789- 1872
Professor of the Institutes and Practice of Physic
Stephen Elliot, MDStephen Elliot, LL.D.
1771- 1830
Professor of Botany and Natural History
Henry Frost, MDHenry Rutledge Frost, M.D.
1795- 1866
Professor of Materia Medica
John Edwards Holbrook, MDJohn E. Holbrook, M.D. 
1794- 1871
Professor of Anatomy
















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

Medical Antiques Index

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques Index

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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