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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Alfred Stille, M.D.



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Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine, 1864-1884

Alfred Stillé (1813-1900)

A.B. 1832, M.D. 1836, LL.D. (hon.) 1889

President of the Zelosophic Society

Member of Phi Beta Kappa

Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine, 1864-1884


Medical Educator, author, reformer

Secretary and President of the American Medical Assn.

President of the College of Physicians

Death date: Sep 24, 1900
Place of death: Philadelphia, PA
Birth date: 1813
Place of birth: Philadelphia, PA
Type of practice: Allopath
States and years of licenses:PA, 1881
Medical school(s): University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, 1836, (G)
Journal of the American Medical Association Citation: 35:834; (M)


Dr. Stillé's first employment as a physician came even before his graduation from Penn's Medical School, when in 1835 he became a house physician at Philadelphia Hospital. After his return from Europe, Stillé served as a resident physician at Pennsylvania Hospital from 1839 to 1841; he also began building a respectable private practice. His first teaching position came in 1845 with an appointment as a lecturer on pathology and the practice of medicine at the Philadelphia Association for Medical Instruction, a medical school offering courses only in the summer. During the 1840s, he was also a leader of the movement promoting reform in medical education which led to the establishment of the American Medical Association in Philadelphia in 1847. As secretary of the AMA's organizing committee and then of the AMA itself, Stillé played a central role in gaining the support of Jefferson Medical College and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.

Stillé continued to build his professional stature over the next few years. He gained appointments as visiting physician at St. Joseph's Hospital in 1849 and then, from 1854 to 1859, as professor of the theory and practice of medicine at the medical department of Pennsylvania Medical College; he also served during the Civil War as a surgeon at the Satterlee Hospital in Philadelphia. His publications during these decades included the first general pathology book in English, Elements of General Pathology published in 1848, and Therapeutics and Materia Medica, published in 1860. By 1859, Stillé was named president of the Pathological Society of Philadelphia, and three years later was named president of the Philadelphia County Medical Society.

Stillé's appointment as professor of the theory and practice of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School came in 1864, just as the school was about to embark on the major reform and expansion that would reestablish the medical school as a leader in American medical education. Stillé played a role in the addition of sciences to the curriculum in 1865, the move to the larger West Philadelphia campus in 1874, and in 1876, the increase of the course of study from two to three years and the development of fixed salaries for professors. During this years on the Penn medical faculty before his 1884 retirement, Stillé became president of the AMA in 1871, vice-president of the Centennial Medical Commission in 1876, and then President of the College of Physicians in 1883. (Penn Biographies)

Alfred Stillé was born in Philadelphia October 30, 1813, the son of merchant John Stillé and his wife Maria Wagner. Stillé began his college years at Yale, but after he was expelled during his sophomore year for participating in a student rebellion, he enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania.

Entering the College in 1830, Alfred Stillé graduated with an A.B. degree in 1832. During his undergraduate years at Penn, he was president of the Zelosophic Society and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation from the College, Stillé went on to earn his medical degree from Penn in 1836. Alfred Stillé's younger brother, Moreton Stillé (1822-1855), would also study at Penn, graduating from the College of the University of Pennsylvania in 1841 and then earning his M.D. from Penn's Medical School in 1844.

Front page of Alfred Stille's 1871 address to the American Medical Association Annual MeetingAlfred Stillé's medical education included, but was not limited to lectures at Penn's Medical School; Stillé also studied anatomy under William Wood Gerhard and Caspar Wistar Pennock at Philadelphia Hospital (later Philadelphia General Hospital). Gerhard and Pennock had studied in Paris under Pierre-Charles-Alexandre Louis, who emphasized the connection between symptoms and postmortem examinations and also the importance of observation and medical statistics. During the 1836 typhus epidemic in Philadelphia, Stillé joined Gerhard and Pennock in their application of these principles in a study of 120 patients, resulting in Gerhard's classic paper which made the distinction between typhus and typhoid fever. As a result of this experience, Stillé journeyed to Paris to study medical diagnostics under Louis from 1836 until 1839.

Since American medical education during the first half of the nineteenth century lacked unified standards and opportunities for hands-on training, Stillé greatly appreciated the rigorous training demanded of French physicians. When he returned to Philadelphia, he became a key leader for reform of the American medical curriculum. Stillé's successes as a leader of this reform movement would eventually result in his appointment to a chair in the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, but this recognition was not immediate.

Despite his leadership in raising the standards of medical education, Stillé soon lagged behind his peers in his acceptance of the latest key scientific and medical research. His publications from the 1870's and 1880's reveal that he viewed both the germ theory of disease and also the new science of bacteriology as mere speculation. In his teaching, he did not accept laboratory medicine, but continued to emphasize clinical observation, medical statistics and hospital practices.

In 1841, Alfred Stillé married Caroline Christiana Barnett, of Boston, who became the mother of his three children. Caroline died in 1899, after being institutionalized for over fifty years because of mental illness. Six weeks after her death, Stillé married Katherine Blackiston, aged 59. Stillé died at his home at 39th and Spruce Streets in Philadelphia the following year, at the age of 87..

STILLE. Alfred, physician, was born in Philadelphia, Pa., Oct. 30, 1813. son of John and Maria Stille. His father, a leading merchant of Philadelphia (1790-1812), was descended from one of the first Swedish colonists on the Delaware river. His mother was a descendant of Tobias Wag- uer, chancellor of the University of Tubingen ш 1658, and of one of his descendants who was a Lnth eran missionary in Pennsylvania about the middle of the eighteenth century. Dr. Stille was educated in the classical school of Wylie & Engles, Philadelphia, from which he entered Yale in Í828. In 1830 be was transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he took the degree of A.B. in 1832.

The following year he began the study of medicine, matriculated at the University of Pennsylvania and was graduated M.D. in 1836. Immediately afterwards he served as a dispensary physician, and then as a resident physician of the Philadelphia Hospital for a period of six months, after which he spent two years in Europe, chiefly in medical study under some of the most eminent teachers of London, Edinburgh, Dublin and Paris. On his return he was a resident physician of the Pennsylvania Hospital for two years, and then, in 1841, began private practice. From 1844 to 1851 he lectured for the Philadelphia Association for Medical Instruction. In 1861 lie revisited Europe, spending the greater part of his time in Vienna, where he attended the lectures of Oppolzer, Skoda and Hebra. He held the chair of theory and practice of medicine at the Pennsylvania Medical College from 1854 to 1859, and ш i lie University of Pennsylvania for twenty years, and, on resigning it in 1884, was made professor emeritus. On the organization of St. Joseph's Hospital he was elected one of its physicians, and served it for upwards of twenty years.

During the civil war he was one of the physicians of Satterlee Hospital, Philadelphia ; for a time he held a similar appointment in the University Hospital, and for six years (1865-71) was a visiting physician and clinical lecturer in the Philadelphia Hospital. Although for nearly fl fty years engaged in the practice of his profession, Dr. Stille devoted himself assiduously to teaching and writing. In 1844, in collaboration with Dr. J. Forsyth Meigs, he translated Andral's "Pathological Hœmatology." In 1848 his treatise on "General Pathology" appeared. In 1880 he made numerous additions to the second edition of Wharton and Stillé's "Medical Jurisprudence," the medical part of which in the first edition had been prepared by his brother, Dr. Moretón Stille. In the same year appeared the first edition of his " Therapeutics and Materia Medica." of which the fourth edition was published in 1878. In 1367 his monograph on " Epidemic Meningitis " was published. In 1879 was issued the first edition of the " National Dispensatory," prepared by Dr. Stille in collaboration with Prof. John M. Maisch. Of this work the fifth edition was issued in 1894. In 1885 his work on " Cholera " appeared. It was an enlarged edition of a lecture that was published in 1873. Besides the degrees in conree received by Dr. Stille, he was made honorary A.M. by Yale in 1849; LL.D. by Pennsylvania College (Gettysburg) in 1859. and by the University of Pennsylvania in 1889. He was a member of the Philadelphia Medical Society (1834); La Société Médicale d'Observation. Paris (1836); fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (1842), and subsequently chairman of its library committee, secretary, vice-president, censor and president; he was an original member and secretary of the American Medical Association (1847); member of the Philadelphia County Medical Society (1849), and its president (1863); member and president of the Pathological Society of Philadelphia (1859-63): member of the U. S. sanitary commission

(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
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