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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Robert Empie Rogers, M.D.

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Robert, James, and Henry RogersRogers, Robert Empie (1813-1884).

Robert Empie Rogers was born in Baltimore, Maryland, March 29, 1813. The middle name "Empie" was assumed by him "as a lasting token of his grateful appreciation of parental care bestowed upon him at William and Mary College after the death of his mother Empie and his wife." His father, Patrick Kerr Rogers, (q. v.), came to Philadelphia from Ireland in August, 1798.

The early education of Robert was directed by his father, and upon his death by his brothers, James and William, at a school conducted by them at Windsor, Maryland, where he remained until 1828, when he matriculated at Dickinson College, leaving there to continue his studies at William and Mary College. In 1831 he went to New England and was employed in railway surveying and later in delivering lectures on chemistry in New York City, resuming surveying near Boston, Massachusetts, in 1833.

In the fall of 1833 he entered the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania and became a pupil of Professor Robert Hare, and in March, 1836, received his medical degree. The title of his graduating thesis was "Experiments on the blood, together with some new facts in regard to animal and vegetable structure illustrative of many of the most important phenomena of organic life, among them respiration, animal heat, venous circulation, secretion, and nutrition." It was published in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences (vol. xviii, p. 277). Most attention was given the phenomena of respiration. It received from the faculty to which it was presented the recognition it so well deserved. After the attainment of the doctorate it soon became apparent that the practice of his profession was not to his taste. He gave himself wholly to chemistry, and from 1836 to 1842 served as chemist to the first Geological Survey of Pennsylvania, his brother Henry being the head of that survey. He was acting instructor of chemistry in the University of Virginia, 1841-42, when elected professor of general and applied chemistry and materia medica in the same University, a position he held until 1852. On March 13, 1843, he married Fanny Montgomery, daughter of Joseph S. Lewis of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

During this period, in conjunction with his brothers, James and William, he was active in various chemical investigations of unusual merit that were published in the scientific journals. With his brother James he compiled, from the works of Turner and Gregory, a volume designed to be a textbook on chemistry; it included both inorganic and organic chemistry, and appeared in 1846.

The first shock in the way of dissolution of the close affinity of these interesting brothers happened in 1852, when James, then professor of chemistry in the University of Pennsylvania, was claimed by death. But his work was to be transferred to a brother, for in August of the same year Robert was elected to fill his place and in 1856 became the dean of the medical faculty.

In 1855 he published his American edition of Lehmann's monumental work on physiological chemistry. In the years immediately following he was engaged in expert work of various kinds. 

From 1862 to 1863 was an acting assistant surgeon, U. S. A., assigned to the Satterlee Military Hospital in Philadelphia, where in January of the latter year he sustained the loss of his right hand while showing a woman the dangers which beset her in feeding a steam mangle. A deeper sorrow came to him when his wife died, February 21, 1863. He remarried in April, 1866, Delia Saunders of Providence, R. I.

About the time of the removal of the University of Pennsylvania to the west side of the Schuylkill River, certain proposed changes in the administration of the medical school caused more or less discontent among the professors. Doctor Rogers, after serving for a period of a quarter of a century, quietly resigned, and accepted in 1877 an election to a similar chair in Jefferson Medical College. This position he held until 1884, when he became emeritus professor, but died shortly after, in the same year, September 6, aged nearly seventy-two years. His second wife had preceded him the year before.

Doctor Rogers was a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and was most active in its affairs. He helped to organize the Association of American Geologists and Naturalists in 1840, which in 1847 became the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a member of the American Medical Association; the American Philosophical Society and served in the council; a fellow of the College of Physicians; chemist to the gas trust of Philadelphia from 1872-1884; member of the annual U. S. Assay Commission 1874-79; member of the Franklin Institute, and its president 1875-1879.

Besides his literary contributions, Doctor Rogers was also "author of many inventions, notable among them, the Rogers and Black steam boiler, and of several modifications and improvements of electric apparatus."

He was an original member of the National Academy of Sciences.

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

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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
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American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

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Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016