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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 James Rushmore Wood, M.D.

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Wood, James RushmoreWOOD, James Rushmore, surgeon, born in Mamaroneck, Westchester County, New York, 14 September, 1816; died in New York city, 4 May, 1882. He was the son of a Quaker merchant. After studying medicine in New York city, and at the Castleton, Vermont, medical college, he was graduated at the latter institution in 1834, and appointed demonstrator of anatomy. Soon afterward he began the practice of medicine in his native city, and in 1847 he became a member of the medical board of Bellevue hospital, New York. At that time tills institution was a receptacle for lunatics, paupers, criminals, and other victims of a depraved life. The most rudimentary hygienic laws were grossly violated in its management, and the nursing was inefficient and untrustworthy. With the assistance of Morris Franklin, president of the board of aldermen, Dr. Wood set about reforming this state of things, and labored so successfully that he soon reduced the annual death-rate by 600. He also made all the post-mortem examinations, amounting to many hundreds yearly, established Saturday surgical clinics, and founded the Wood prize for the best anatomical dissection. In 1847 Dr. Wood began to collect material, with the intention of founding a museum, and this collection, together with the accumulated specimens of twenty years' practice, he presented in 1856 to the commissioners of public charities and corrections. This, with later additions, constitutes the "Wood museum," which Dr. Willard Parker has styled "the grandest monument ever erected to any surgeon in this country." In 1857 Dr. Wood was mainly instrumental in procuring the passage by the legislature of the dissecting bill, which provided that the bodies of all unclaimed vagrants should be given for dissection to the institutions in which medicine and surgery are taught. It took four years to secure the enactment of this law, and so great was the public prejudice against it that it finally passed by only one majority.

In 1861 Dr. Wood, in association with many physicians and surgeons of the metropolis, and under the auspices of the almshouse commissioners, founded Bellevue hospital medical college. The same year he was called to occupy the chair of operative surgery and surgical pathology in that institution, which he held until his death, being made professor emeritus in 1868. Dr. Wood paid especial attention to the bones and their growth, and succeeded in establishing beyond dispute the fact of a second growth of bone by separating the periosteum from the necrosed bone and carefully enucleating it. In his anatomical and pathological museum he had on exhibition an entire jaw that he had removed for phosphor-necrosis, and also a second jaw that had attached itself to the skull of a patient who had been operated upon and had subsequently died of another disease. In fact, he had specimens to show the reproduction of almost every bone in the human body. Among his other successful operations were the tying of both carotids in the same patient for malignant disease of the antrum, placing the ligature on the subclavian on several occasions, and tying the external iliac artery. Dr. Wood was also surgeon to St. Vincent's hospital and to the New York ophthalmic dispensary. He was a member of many medical and other learned associations, and twice president of the New York pathological society. Besides papers on "Strangulated Hernia" (1845), "Spontaneous Dislocation of the Head of the Femur into the Ischiatic Notch" (1847), and an essay on "Medical Education" (1848), he published "Ligature of the External Iliac Artery followed by Secondary Haeorrhage" and "Phosphor-Necrosis of the Lower Jaw" (1856), and " Early History of Ligation of the Primitive Carotid."

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright 2001 VirtualologyTM


From Bellevue Hospital:

1847 Wood, James Rushmore 1882.

M. D., Castleton (Vt.), 1846; LL. D., Geneva (N. Y.); Demon. Anat., Castleton, 1846-47; Pres. N. Y. Pathol. Soc.; Vis. Surg., St. Vincent's and N. Y. Opthal. Disp.; Cons. Surg., Colored Orphan Asyl. Ligated carotid and sub-clavian arteries, same side, for aneurism of innominate — successful; one of first to cure aneurism by digital compression, 1848; operated for removal of Meckel's ganglion with superior maxillary division of tri- geminus in nearly one fourth of all the cases in the world, prior to 1879; devised the operation of division of pero- neus muscles in chronic inflammation of the tendon, and was the first to devise a treatment for chronic inflammation of knee-joint by division of hamstrings and tendo Achilles; among first in America to perform resection of shoulder and elbow-joints; pioneer in periosteal surgery. Author of " Removal of Entire Lower Jaw "; " Ligation of External Iliac Artery"; "Spontaneous Dislocation of Head of the Femur into Ischiatic Notch Occurring in Morbus Coxarius," 1847; "Early History of Operation of Ligation of Primitive Carotid Artery," 1857; "Strangulated Hernia," N. Y. Med. and Surg. Rep., 1845 ; "Ligation of External Iliac Artery, Followed by Secondary Hemorrhage," 1856; "Phosphorous Necrosis of Lower Jaw," 1856. Died in N. Y. City, 1882, aet. 69; cause, acute lobar pneumonia.


Dr. J. R. Wood, born in New York, 1816. Died in New York, 1882. M. D., Castleton (Vt.), 1846; I,L.D., Geneva (N. Y.) Demon. Anat., Castleton, 1846 to 1847. Twice Pres. N. Y. Pathol. Soc. Vis. Surg., St. Vincent's and N. Y. Opthal. Disp. Cons. Surg., Colored Orphan Asylum, 1861. Chair, of Operative Surgery and Surg. Path, in Bellevue Hosp. Coll. and Emeritus Prof. of Surgery until 1882. Dr. Wood was the most famous American Surgeon of his day and the pioneer in Periosteal Surgery. Author of many papers and treatises. See Carlisle's History of Bellevue

(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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