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Beatty, John (19 December 1749–30 April 1826), physician, army officer, and government official, was born in Warwick, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles Clinton Beatty, a Presbyterian minister, and Anne Reading. John attended the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), where he was one of twenty graduates in the class of 1769. He received an A.M. there three years later. As an undergraduate, he was an original member of the school’s literary club, the American Whig Society. During the interval between his two degree awards, Beatty studied medicine under Dr. ...

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John Shaw Billings. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library and Museum, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Billings, John Shaw (12 April 1838–11 March 1913), army medical officer, library organizer, and public health activist, was born near Allensville, Indiana, the son of James Billings, a farmer and storekeeper, and Abby Shaw. Despite spotty secondary schooling, he ultimately went to Miami College (Ohio), where he earned his B.A. in 1857. He was awarded the M.D. by the Medical College of Ohio in 1860. Billings remained with the latter institution for a year as an anatomical demonstrator, but after the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the U.S. Army as a contract surgeon. In 1862 he was commissioned first lieutenant and assistant surgeon and went on to make army service his career. Also in 1862 he married Katharine Mary Stevens; they had five children....

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Blunt, James Gillpatrick (21 July 1826–25 July 1881), physician, soldier, and politician, was born in Trenton, Hancock County, Maine, the son of John Blunt. Blunt spent his early youth in Ellsworth, Maine, but at age fifteen enlisted as a merchant seaman. Leaving the sea at age twenty, Blunt studied medicine at the Starling Medical College in Columbus, Ohio, earning a medical degree in 1849. He set up a practice in New Madison, Ohio, where he married Nancy Carson Putnam. In 1856 he migrated to the frontier, settling at Greeley, Kansas. There he continued his medical practice but soon became actively interested in politics, becoming deeply involved in the antislavery movement and aiding ...

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James Craik. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B04995).

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Craik, James (1730–06 February 1814), physician and military surgeon, was born on his father’s estate near Dumfries, Scotland, the son of Robert Craik, a member of the British Parliament; the name of his mother is unknown. Little information about his early life is available. Although his parents were apparently not married, he was acknowledged by his father, who assumed responsibility for his education. After studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh, he joined the British army as a surgeon. Shortly after being sent to the West Indies, he resigned his position and sailed for Virginia in 1751. After a short period in the Norfolk area, he moved to Winchester, Virginia....

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William Henry Forwood. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B012090).

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Forwood, William Henry (07 September 1838–11 May 1915), army medical officer, was born in Brandywine Hundred, Delaware, the son of Robert Forwood and Rachel Way Larkin (occupations unknown). He attended both private and public schools before entering the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his medical degree in 1861. He was commissioned as an assistant surgeon and first lieutenant in the Union Army Medical Department on 5 August of that year....

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Edward Hand. Etching by H. B. Hall. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B013942).

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Hand, Edward (31 December 1744–03 September 1802), medical doctor and revolutionary war soldier, was born in Clyduff, King’s County, Province of Leinster, Ireland, the son of John Hand, occupation unknown, and Dorothy (maiden name unknown). In the 1760s he enrolled in Trinity College, Dublin, and completed medical studies in 1766 with a good academic record. Thereupon he entered the British army as a surgeon’s mate and came to Philadelphia in 1767 with the Eighteenth Royal Irish Regiment of Foot. He was ordered to Fort Pitt in western Pennsylvania, and in 1772 he purchased an ensign’s commission with profits earned from land speculation. Two years later he sold his ensigncy, resigned from the army, and settled in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to practice medicine and surgery. In 1775 he married Catharine Ewing, with whom he had eight children over the next seventeen years. At the outbreak of the revolutionary war, Hand, an ardent Whig, joined his neighbors in resisting Britain. Offered a commission as a lieutenant colonel in the Continental army, he obeyed the “glorious summons” to arms and marched with Colonel William Thompson’s Pennsylvania Rifle Battalion to the siege of Boston. On 1 January 1776 he was appointed lieutenant colonel of the First Continental Infantry and two months later was chosen its colonel. With this regiment, he fought in the battle of Long Island and later, at Throg’s Neck delayed a British advance toward White Plains. He retreated with ...

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Hoff, John Van Rensselaer (11 April 1848–14 January 1920), U.S. Army medical officer, was born in Mount Morris, New York, the son of Alexander H. Hoff, also a medical officer, and Ann Eliza Van Rensselaer. He received an A.B. from Union College in New York in 1871 and an M.D. in 1874 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Some accounts suggest that he also received an M.D. from the Albany Medical College in New York in 1871 and an A.M. from Union College in 1874. In 1874 he was given a contract as acting assistant surgeon, in which capacity he served in action against the Sioux Indians. When a vacancy occurred in the Army Medical Department in November 1874, he was commissioned assistant surgeon and first lieutenant....

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Jones, Calvin (02 April 1775–20 September 1846), physician and militia leader, was born near Sheffield, Massachusetts, the son of Ebenezer Jones, a soldier of the Army of the Revolution, and Susannah Blackman. Little is known of his early schooling, though he probably acquired learning in local schools and by reading avidly throughout his life. To learn medicine, he apprenticed with a local Berkshire physician and was certified to practice by the United Medical Society shortly after his seventeenth birthday. By 1793 he was practicing medicine in Freehold, New York, and the following year published ...

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Kean, Jefferson Randolph (27 June 1860–04 September 1950), U.S. Army medical officer, was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, the son of Robert Garlick Kean, a lawyer, and Jane Nicholas Randolph, a great-granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson. Entering the University of Virginia in 1879, he was withdrawn for a year because of inadequate progress in his studies. His father required him to teach school for a year before allowing him to return to the university, where Kean received his M.D. in 1883. After graduate study at New York’s Polyclinic Hospital and Medical College, he passed the required entrance examinations for the Army Medical Department and in December 1884 was commissioned first lieutenant....

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McCaw, Walter Drew (10 February 1863–07 July 1939), army medical officer, was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of James Brown McCaw, a physician and former Confederate medical officer, and Delia Patteson. Because of his son’s precocity, McCaw’s father hired a tutor to guide McCaw through the work of the average undergraduate curriculum, which enabled him to finish his studies in half of the time that he would have spent in college. He then attended the Medical College of Virginia, from which he received an M.D. in 1882. He earned a second M.D. from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City in 1884. He never married....

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Prescott, Oliver (27 April 1731–17 November 1804), physician and soldier, was born in Groton, Massachusetts, the son of Benjamin Prescott and Abigail Oliver. His mother became a widow when he was seven, and to later meet his college expenses, she had to petition the General Court to sell some unimproved land. At age fifteen he entered Harvard with the class of 1750, ranked fifth out of twenty-one students. Following graduation, he served an apprenticeship of undetermined duration with Dr. Ebenezer Robie of Sudbury. Returning to Groton, Prescott began a long and successful medical practice. He took his M.A. at Harvard in 1753, arguing in his thesis that the certainty of life after death could be deduced from nature. In 1756 he married Lydia Baldwin, a young woman he met while serving his apprenticeship. They had seven children, three of whom died in the diphtheria/scarlet fever epidemic of 1765–1766. For most of the next twenty years he was a busy general practitioner. He briefly held commissions under the king in the Massachusetts militia during the French and Indian War, when he attended Acadian exiles and wounded soldiers. During these early years Prescott ventured into politics. His leadership and growing anti-British views won long-term endorsement from Groton voters. He served as town clerk for thirteen years and selectman for thirty-one. In 1765 he was elected chairman of the town committee to protest the Stamp Act, and in 1774 clerk of the town’s Committee of Correspondence....

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Walter Reed. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Reed, Walter (13 September 1851–23 November 1902), U.S. Army medical officer and bacteriologist, was born in Belroi, Virginia, the son of Lemuel Sutton Reed, a Methodist minister, and Pharaba White. After a year as an undergraduate, Reed entered medical school at the University of Virginia in 1868 at the age of seventeen; when he received an M.D. in July 1869, he was the youngest to receive this degree in the school’s history. After a year of study at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City, he earned a second M.D., although this degree was not officially awarded until he turned twenty-one. In 1871, after a brief time on the staff of the Kings County Hospital at Brooklyn, he accepted a residency at Brooklyn City Hospital and then served as an assistant sanitary officer for the Brooklyn Board of Health....

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Woodhull, Alfred Alexander (13 April 1837–18 October 1921), U.S. Army medical officer, was born in Princeton, New Jersey, the son of Alfred Alexander Woodhull, a physician, and Anna Maria Salomons. Woodhull received an A.B. degree from the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) in 1856 and an A.M. in 1859, at which time he also received an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania....

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Woodward, Joseph Janvier (30 October 1833–17 August 1884), U.S. Army medical officer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Janvier Woodward and Elizabeth Graham Cox. He entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1850 and was granted an M.D. degree in 1853. He then practiced medicine in Philadelphia until 1861. During this early period of his career he also taught surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, gave private lessons in the uses of the microscope in pathology, and published the first of a number of papers on cancer....

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Wright, Joseph Jefferson Burr (27 April 1801–14 May 1878), military physician, was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; his parents’ names are unknown. He received an A.B. from Washington (Pa.) College in 1821 and attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine from 1825 to 1826. He married Eliza Jones, with whom he had three children; the year of the marriage is unknown....