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Woodward, Samuel Bayardlocked

(10 June 1787–03 January 1850)
  • Gerald N. Grob

Extract

Woodward, Samuel Bayard (10 June 1787–03 January 1850), psychiatrist and asylum superintendent, was born in Torringford, Connecticut, the son of Samuel Woodward, a prominent physician, and Polly Griswold. Raised in a devoutly religious household, Woodward was influenced by the Second Great Awakening and a Protestantism stripped of its Calvinist pessimism. In Woodward’s eyes the perfectibility of humanity was within reach; as free moral agents, human beings had the capacity to eliminate individual and social evils. The prerequisite for progress was knowledge of the natural laws that governed the physical world. Woodward’s interest in the study of medicine may have developed because, in the early nineteenth century, this profession closely linked moral and physical concerns. After an apprenticeship in his father’s office, he received a diploma from the Connecticut State Medical Society in 1809. In 1810 he opened a general practice in Wethersfield. By the 1820s he had become a leading figure in the state’s medical establishment, serving as secretary of the State Medical Society and examiner at the Yale Medical School, which awarded him an honorary M.D. in 1822. In 1815 he married Maria Porter, with whom he had eleven children....

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