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Professor Abram Sager, M. D.
Dr. Sager died at his residence in Ann Arbor, August 6th, 1877, from
phthisis, complicated, near the end, with disease of the kidneys and
Born at Bethlehem, Albany Co., N. Y., December 22, 1810, he was educated
at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, graduating in 1831. At this
school he was under the instruction and inspiration of Professors Torrey
and Eaton, men noted in the study of botany and zoology. Thus was
developed a taste for these studies, which he cultivated with such
eminent success throughout much of his after life. His medical studies
were pursued at Albany and New Haven, Conn., under the guidance of
Professors Marsh and Ives. He attended lectures at the Albany Medical
School and at Castleton, Vt., graduating at the latter institution in
1835. He settled first in Detroit, then he lived for a few years at
Jackson, and finally located at Ann Arbor, where he has lived for over
In 1838 he married Sarah E. Dwight, daughter of Darius D wight, of
Detroit. Of the eight children born to them, five are now living, three
sons and two daughters. In 1837 he received the appointment of chief in
charge of the botanical and zoological departments of the Michigan state
geological survey. The zoological specimens, which were the basis of his
report in 1839, laid the foundation of the present zoological collection
in the University museum.
His botanical collections were also important and of great value. The
Sager herbarium, now in the University museum, contains 1,200 species
and 2,000 specimens. These were collected in New England and the West.
He also prepared and placed in the medical museum a valuable collection
illustrating comparative craniology, neurology and embriology of the
verte- brata. From 1842 to 1855 he was professor of botany and zoology
in Michigan University. In 1848 he was appointed to the chair of the '
Theory and Practice of Medicine," and in 1850 that of " Obstetrics and
Diseases of Women and Children" in the medical department of the
University. This latter position he continued to hold till 1875, the
last four years as Emeritus professor. For several years he was dean of
the medical faculty, and held the position after failing health
compelled him to relinquish the work of teaching.
Dr. Sager was a member of the American Association for the Advancement
of Science, of the Academy of Natural Science of Philadelphia, and the
Academy of Science of Chicago; of the American Medical Association; of
the New York State Medical Society and of the Obstetrical Society of
Philadelphia. He is the author of a variety of papers in the Peninsular
Journal of Medicine and Detroit Review of Medicine, besides papers in
the American Journal of Science, and in the Proceedings of the Academy
of Natural Sciences at Philadelphia. After the death of Dr. Eaton, he
was tendered the presidency of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, but
did not accept.
In 1876 Dr. Sager was unanimously elected president of the Michigan
State Medical Society. For many years he was an active member of the
Board of Education of Ann Arbor.
It will not be forgotten that Professor Sager's success as a teacher was
attained in spite of certain natural defects. Neither his voice, his
physical appearance or his temperament were favorable to public
teaching, yet his other excellencies were such that, although surrounded
by teachers possessing the natural gifts that he lacked, he steadily
retained his hold upon the students of the University for more than a
quarter of a century, until his resignation.
personal edited research notes of Michael Echols, the source of which
may or may not be completely documented)