B. Palmer, M.D.
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date: Dec 23, 1887
Place of death: Ann Arbor, MI
Type of practice: Allopath
Journal of the American Medical Association Citation: 9:835,
Professor Alonzo B. Palmer, M. D.,
LL. D., Professor of Pathology and the Theory and Practice of Medicine
in the Department of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Michigan,
died at his residence in this city on Friday, the 23d of December, 1887,
in the seventy-third year of his age.
Dr. Palmer was associated with the University of Michigan for more than
thirty-five years. In 1852 he was appointed Professor of Anatomy ; in
1854 he was transferred to the mixed chair of Materia Medica and
Therapeutics and the Diseases of Women and Children. And again, in 1860,
he was assigned to the Professorship of Pathology and the Theory and
Practice of Medicine, which position he held up to the time of his
During this long service, which almost covers the life history of the
Department of Medicine and Surgery, and engaged as he was in teaching
therein several branches of medicine, he had a large influence in
shaping the general policy of the Medical Department, and contributed
very materially to its unbroken success ; and it was his rare good
fortune to see the college which had started as a feeble organization,
limited in patronage and weak in influence and power, steadily develop
into one of the largest and most prominent of the medical colleges of
the country, and to realize that he could with strict justice assume to
himself no little credit for his efforts in contributing to this end.
His success and his reputation as a teacher were not limited to the
bounds of our own University, and he was tendered appointments in other
institutions. The arrangement of the annual term of lectures in the
Medical Department was then such that a portion of each year was
unoccupied in his professional work here, and he therefore, in 1863,
accepted an appointment to the same chair which he filled here, in the
flourishing Berkshire Medical College, at Pittsfield, Mass., and in 1869
a similar position in the Medical Department of Bowdoin College, at
These engagements were terminated, at Pittsfield, by the gradual decline
and ultimate dissolution of the Berkshire school, and at Bowdoin College
by the adoption in our own University, in 1877, of the graded system of
medical education, and the extension of the lecture term to the full
collegiate year of nine months, which neccessitated his continued
In the different colleges in which he was engaged, it is probable that
from eight thousand to ten thousand students have sat under his
teachings. The large majority of them entered into practice, and it is
simply impossible to estimate the influence which our late colleague
must have exercised upon the working members of the medical profession
in this country ; and it is simply appalling to think of the limitless
disaster that must come from one not governed by high and manly motives,
and pure and elevating principles, in association with such a large
number of young men.
Outside of his chief work as a teacher, his fixed principles led him to
other efforts at doing good. He was a stern and uncompromising opponent
of the use of alcoholic or other stimulating or narcotic agents. His
devotion to fixed convictions of duty in these matters was firm and
constant, and so he was always found in the front ranks of the workers
for reform, urging with all his strength others to join in the work, and
encouraging by his advice, his personal example, and his aid, the
support of organizations formed for such purposes.
In the literature of medicine, Dr. Palmer contributed many fugitive
essays of interest and value. Besides these, he published " Lectures on
Homoeopathy," in permanent book form, and a text-book for schools
entitled " Temperance Teachings of Science," which has had a wide
circulation. As the crowning work of his life he published, in two large
octavo volumes, a complete treatise on " The Theory and Practice of
Medicine." In preparation for this work, he was many years collecting
materials, and just previous to the immediate work of composition he
spent over a year in Europe, in the colleges and hospitals, to avail
himself of the most recent advances in medical science and art. It will
remain a monument to his industry, his ability, and his devotion to
duty, and his intense desire to aid in the advance of the study and work
of his life, practical medicine.
The esteem in which his ability and attainments were held by his
brethren in the profession is indicated by the fact that in the
International Medical Congress, which recently met at Washington, he
occupied the important position of chairman of the Section of Pathology,
and in that capacity gave an address in the general session of the
Congress ; and in the American Medical Association he held at the time
of his death the office of chairman of the Section on the Practice of
From the Bowdoin Alumni: Lectr.
Theory and Practice of Med. 1869-70; Prof. Pathology,
Therapeutics 1870-73; Pathology, Practice Med. 1873-79; M.
D. at College of Physicians and Surgeons, Western Dist. N. Y.
1839; A. M. Univ. of Nashville 1855; LL.D Univ. Mich. 1881.
Born Richfield, N. Y. 1915. Physician in Chicago, Ill. Prof.
Material Medica, Diseases of Women and children, Univ. Mich.
Surgeon 2nd Michigan Volunteers 1861.
Professor of Medicine Univ. of Michigan 1860-80. Died 1887,
Ann Arbor, Mich.
(The personal edited research
notes of Michael Echols, the source of which may or
may not be completely documented)