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UNIVERSITY OP CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO
LA JOLLA* CALIFORNIA
A. M., LL. I).
Harvard Medical School
A HISTORY, NARRATIVE AND DOCUMENTARY
1782 m^Mm^m®^ II \m
THOMAS FRANCIS HARRINGTON, M. D.
Class of 1888
JAMES GREGORY MUMFORD, M. D.
Class of 1888
NEW YORK : CHICAGO
LEWIS PUBLISHING COMPANY
The Lewis Publishing Company
Chapter XVIII. — University Government 457
Chapter XIX. — Medical School ; Details of Government
— 1827-1847 473
Chapter XX. — Rivals 489
Chapter XXI. — North Grove Street Building — Warren
Museum — New Men — Statutes, 1847- 1854 5°9
Chapter XXII. — Men and Manners — Charles W. Eliot
— The Summer School — The Teaching Staff Thirty-
five Years Ago — An Executive Faculty — The Be-
ginning of a New Era, 1855-1871 533
Chapter XXIII. — Clinical Advantages at Harvard .... 565
Chapter XXIV.— Ether— 1846 591
Chapter XXV.— The Webster Murder Trial— 1849. • • 6 39
Chapter XXVI. — Body Snatching — Anatomy Laws. . . 651
Chapter XXVII. — Medical Laws — Societies — Libraries 671
Chapter XXVIII — Eminent Alumni 705
Chapter XXIX. — Eminent Alumni — Continued 741
Chapter XXX. — Eminent Alumni — Continued 811
Chapter XXXI. — Eminent Alumni — Continued 867
Chapter XXXII. — Harvard Medical Men in the Civil
War and in the War with Spain 917
The Harvard Medical School
The Harvard Medical School.
While the development of the Medical School was advanc-
ing, important changes were taking place in the management
of the College. John Thorton Kirkland was elected Presi-
dent of Harvard on August 23rd, 18 10. He had been for
sixteen years pastor of the New South Church in Boston,
where he won the confidence and sympathy of the best people
in the community. For some years there had been a feeling-
established with more or less open discussion, that Harvard
College was not keeping pace with the demands of the rapidly
growing country, that it was not in harmony with the spirit
of the times, that the discipline, organization, and instruction
of the College were far from what they should be. The first
and third of these criticisms were readily met and overcome,
lint the question of organization and management became very
pressing and calls for some consideration here.
The management of the College had been entrusted to three
different bodies of men who held their authority under an Act
of the General Court of Massachusetts, — an act passed in
1642, a charter granted in 1650,* with an appendix dated
1657; a constitution in 1780, revised in 1821 ; and an act of
the Legislature of 18 14.
The first of these bodies having the management of the Col-
lege is the Faculty. This body has in charge the immediate
government of the College and is composed of the President
* First Charter is still in force. It is preserved at the College Library.
458 HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL
and a certain number of the resident Instructors, about ten or
twelve usually; this board of Instructors deals with the disci-
pline of the students.
The second board is the Corporation. f This board is su-
perior to the Faculty, and is composed of the President, the
Treasurer, and five " Fellows." The Corporation have the
management of the funds and revenues of the College; they
appoint the Instructors and other officers, and assign their
duties and pay; they make laws for the government of the
instructors and students ; and fill vacancies in their own body.
The Corporation are restricted in their powers by the third
body, the Overseers* It was with this last body of officers
that the events to which we shall refer were associated. By
the charter of 1642 the personnel of the Overseers comprised
the Governor of the Colony and Deputy Governor for the time
being, all the magistrates of the Colony, and the teaching
elders of certain specified Congregational Churches, together
with the President of the College. This arrangement worked
as well perhaps as any possible at that time, but in the course
of a century and a half conditions had changed. All the
learned men were not now confined to one profession, and it
became evident that it would be both wise and expedient to
appoint other persons of recognized ability to places of trust
and power in the councils of the College. In 1780 James
Bowdoin was elected into the Corporation, the first individual
ever elected into that body, except sundry treasurers, who
was not a clergyman, professor or tutor. The disturbed
political state of the country at that time made it seem unwise
to carry the new principle any further. A beginning had
been made, however, and the choice of Bowdoin proved an
t Established 1650, an appendix 1657, recognized by the Massachusetts
Constitution of 1780.
* They hold their power by virtue of the Act of 1642, the constitution
of 1780, and the statutes of 1810 and 1814.
UNIVERSITY GOVERNMENT 459
excellent one, both for the College and for the principle in-
volved. The Constitution of Massachusetts adopted in that
year (1780) provided* that the Overseers should consist of
the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Council and Senate of
the Commonwealth, with the President of the College, for the
time being, and the Ministers of the Congregational churches
in the towns of Cambridge, Watertown, Charlestown, Boston,
Roxbury, and Dorchester. The senators who were elected to
serve on the board frequently found it impossible to give the
time necessary, either because of their duties in the General
Court, or because during its recess their homes were in many
instances distant from Cambridge.
Therefore, in March, i8io,f an Act was passed changing
the conditions so that the Board of Overseers should consist
of the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Council, President of
the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives,
President of the College, fifteen Ministers of Congregational
Churches, and fifteen laymen inhabitants of the State, to
be elected by the Old Board of Overseers. In passing this
law the charter rights of the College were preserved, and it
was provided that the Act must be accepted both by the
Corporation and the Overseers before it became law. This
last clause proved very troublesome, and in 18 12, when
politics changed the personnel of those having charge of the
making and enforcing of the laws of the Commonwealth, the
law of 1810 was repealed,:}: and the Board of Overseers was
reestablished as it had existed prior to 1810. This last Act
(1812) did not provide for the submission of the Act to the
Corporation and Overseers for their approval before it could
become law ; consequently its validity was denied by those
* Chapter V, Sec. I, Act 3, June 15, 1780.
t Act passed March 6, 1810; accepted by the President and Fellows,
March 16, by the Overseers. April 12, 1810.
$ February 29, 1812.
400 HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL
bodies. Submission to its provisions, however, seemed the
wisest course, and nothing further was done until February
28th, 1814, when the Act of 18 12 was itself repealed, and
the Act of 1810 was re-enacted.
In the Convention for amending the Constitution of Massa-
chusetts, held in December, 1820. it was suggested that the
Board of Overseers be unrestricted as to the denomination of
the ministers eligible for election. After consultation with
the President and Fellows and with the Overseers, the Com-
mittee (Daniel Webster, Chairman) reported to the Conven-
tion that such an amendment to the College charter would be
agreeable to the College authorities. The report was adopted
by the Convention, but when it was submitted to the people
of the State it was rejected by an overwhelming majority.*
In 1843 clergyymen of all denominations were made eligible as
Overseers, and in 185 1 a limited term of service was intro-
duced. Since then the changes in the Board of Overseers
have been briefly as follows :
1852 — The Board to consist of the Governor, Lieutenant-
Governor, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, the
Secretary of the Board of Education, the President and
Treasurer of the College, and members elected by the Senate
and House of Representatives. In 1865 f the election of
Overseers was transferred to the Bachelors and Masters of
Arts, and the Honorary Graduates. § In 1880 persons not
citizens of the state of Massachusetts were made eligible as
Now to return to the period with which we are dealing.
For some time previous to 1823 there had been dissatisfac-
* The vote was 8020 in favor of, and 20123 against the amendment.
f Act of April 28th, 1865, accepted by President and Fellows, December
15; accepted by Overseers, September 21, 1866.
§ Except members of the Corporation and officers of instruction or gov-
ernment, none of whom are eligible as Overseers, or entitled to vote in
the election of Overseers.
UNIVERSITY GOVERNMENT 461
tion with University conditions, both among the resident in-
structors and in the community at large. This dissatisfaction
arose principally from three causes. First, The existing rela-
tions between the Corporation and the immediate Govern-
ment, or Faculty. Secondly, The diversity of opinion con-
cerning the discipline, instruction, and morals of the College.
Thirdly, The excess of expenditure beyond the income of the
College. These questions all have a direct bearing on the
affairs of the Medical School, and call for some consideration
in these pages. £
± The facts here related are gleaned from Quincy's " History of Harvard
College " ; the College records ; and various pamphlets published during the
many controversies. The principal documents relating to the claim of
Resident Instructors to form part of the Corporation are : —
i. The Memorial of "the Subscribers, Resident Instructors in Harvard
College to the Reverend and Honorable the Corporation of Harvard Col-
lege." Dated " Cambridge, March, 1824."
2. " Remarks on a Pamphlet printed by the Professors and Tutors of
Harvard University, touching their right to the exclusive Government of
the Seminary. By an Alumnus of that College, Boston, 1824."
3. A Letter to John Lowell, Esq., in reply to a publication entitled,
(the foregoing No. 2), signed Edward Everett, dated Cambridge, Sept.
4. " Further remarks on the Memorial of the Officers of Harvard Col-
lege. By an Alumnus of that College, 1824."
5. Memorial of the Professors and Tutors in the University to the
Reverend and Honorable the Overseers of Harvard University at Cam-
bridge, dated May 21, 1824.
6. Report of the Committee of the Overseers of Harvard College on
the Memorial of the Resident Instructors, Jan. 6, 1825.
7. Outlines prepared for an argument to be delivered before the Board
of Overseers of Harvard College upon the Discussion of the Memorial
of the Professors and Tutors of the College claiming a Right that none
but Resident Instructors in the College should be chosen or deemed
" Fellows " of the Corporation, the substance of which was spoken before
the Board at their meeting in January, 1825. By Joseph Story, one of
the members of the Board.
8. "The Jurist," Vol. I, No. 2, for April, 1829.
9. Story's " Miscellaneous Writings," page 368.
10. Speech delivered before the Overseers of Harvard College, Feb.
462 HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL
From the earliest period, at least one of the instructors in
the College had been a member of the Corporation as well as
of the Faculty. In 1806 the Corporation had come to be
composed exclusively of non-resident Fellows.
When vacancies occurred they were rilled by the election
of non-residents, and this led the resident officers to believe
that they were to be permanently excluded. So feeling grew
until 1823, when the residents claimed that residence was orig-
inally a qualification for fellowship, therefore, the Corpora-
tion ought to consist of fellows, i. e., resident officers of the
College. This contention came to an issue then in 1823 when,
upon the death of John Phillips,* a memorial signed by six
of the resident instructors! was presented to the Corporation
asking that the vacancy be not filled "until they can have an
opportunity of laying before your body some representations
in relation to the subject." Accordingly (April 2d, 1824)
eleven of the resident teachers drew up a memorialf main-
taining as a matter of chartered right, the claim of the resi-
dent instructors to be elected to vacancies in the board of
the President and Fellows of the College. The Corporation
did not act upon the memorial, and in June nine of the same
instructors presented the same memorial to the Overseers.
The matter was referred to a committee, and so rested for
some months. The Committee reported (January 6, 1825)
that it is not necessary, by the charter rights or otherwise, that
the Fellows of Harvard College be either resident in Cam-
bridge, instructors, or stipendiaries. The memorialists asked
3rd, 1825, in behalf of the Resident Instructors of the College, with an
Introduction; by Andrew Norton, 1825.
11. Remarks on changes lately proposed or adopted in Harvard Uni-
versity. By George Tichnor, Smith-Professor, &c, 1825.
* Elected a Fellow, 1812.
§ The Medical Professors did not sign it.
f Five Professors engaged in instruction to undergraduates, two engaged
in the instruction of graduates, and four Tutors.
UNIVERSITY GOVERNMENT 463
for an opportunity to be heard in reply. There resulted a
most interesting and thorough discussion of College rights.
John Lowell defended the report, while Edward Everett, Pro-
fessor of Greek Literature, and Professor Norton, advocated
the claims of the residents.
The debate lasted three days, when the following resolu-
tions were unanimously adopted by the Corporation :
" That it does not appear to the Board, that the resident instructors
in Harvard University have any exclusive right to be elected members
of the Corporation.
" That it does not appear to this Board that the members of the Corpo-
ration forfeit their offices by not residing in the College.
" That in the opinion of this Board it is not expedient to express any
opinion on the subject of future elections."
This settled the question of charter rights which had for
more than a century and a half caused dissatisfaction and dis-
On September 12, 1821, a letter regarding the question of
discipline, instruction, and morals of the College was sent to
several resident instructors, and thirty-eight questions cover-
ing these topics were submitted for answers. In July, 1823, a
committee (Joseph Story, chairman) was appointed to inquire
into the state of the University, and report what changes are
necessary. Finally in June (10th), 1825, a new code of laws
was drawn up, and those laws, amended from time to time,
govern the University to-day. Paraphrased, the laws are
The "Immediate Government" assumed the title of "Faculty
of the University." The President was head of the Faculty,
without any visitorial power or independent negative. He
has the general superintendency of the University. The Uni-
versity was divided for the purpose of instruction into Depart-
ments, each having a general superintendency of its own
studies. Students were given the right to select, in a degree,
464 HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL
their own studies. Students were classified according to pro-
ficiency,* "and on their number the emoluments of the Presi-
dent and Professors were made, in a degree, to depend." The
University was opened to special students, i. e., students not
seeking a degree. Frequent examinations were established.
The system of fines was abolished, and a system of discipline
and organization was inaugurated.
These laws, designated "Statutes and laws of the Univer-
sity in Cambridge, Massachusetts," comprise about forty
pages, while there are one hundred and fifty-three separate
regulations. In a sense they mark the beginning of the mod-
ern Harvard University.
The third and last difficulty to be settled was that of Funds.
Previous to the election of President Kirkland, the duties of
the President were largely nominal. The general management
of the College, such as distribution of studies, appointment of
tutors, and all executive powers, were vested in the "Imme-
diate Government". With the accession of Kirkland to the
Presidency, a change took place. He was vested with unprece-
dented powers in the management of the University. Sur-
rounded by a body of able advisers, who had confidence in
his judgment, he carried the College forward at a pace which
meant much for its future. The President was given control
of the finances, a control which had previously been exercised
by the Corporation. The salaries of the President and Pro-
fessors were raised ;f the number of professorships was in-
creased from ten to twenty-five;^: young men were elected to
* This clause was the cause of the "rebellion" of 1827. It was (hen
f This was necessary at that time on account of the increased price of
t Four depended upon fees, or voluntary subscriptions ; three were
titular, being confined to Tutors after six years' service ; eight rested
upon foundations, adequate to their support, and independent of the gen-
eral unappropriated funds of the College.
UNIVERSITY GOVERNMENT 405
vacancies as fast as such vacancies occurred ; of the one hun-
dred thousand dollars received from the legislature, twenty
thousand went for the erection of the new Medical School
building in Boston, and twenty-five thousand were distributed
to beneficiaries, § so that only fifty-five thousand dollars were
added to the College funds proper, while the erection of Uni-
versity Hall alone cost sixty-five thousand dollars. Besides
these expenditures, there were twenty-five thousand dollars
paid for repairs of college buildings and for beautifying the
grounds. Eight thousand dollars went to the Library, and
to procure philosophical and chemical apparatus.
By this wave of prosperity the Professors of the Medical
School benefited. Up to this time their support was derived
from the fees received from students and from the income
of special funds. Their salaries were now increased, and the
additional expense was assessed on the senior class of under-
graduates, by an addition of ten dollars to their quarterly
Then came the year 1824, when all efforts to have the legis-
lature renew the bank tax grant failed. Retrenchments be-
came necessary. The number of students in the College fell
from three hundred to about two hundred; a reduction of
tuition from $55.00 to' $30.00 per annum was made; a union
of professorships was recommended where practicable; and
all this resulted in a slight saving.
Regular monthly meetings of the Corporation were now
inaugurated, and monthly financial statements with an annual
report from the Treasurer. Thus matters stood in 1831, when
§ The new professorships were paid for by raising the tuition one-
fourth part, and in order to overcome the effect which this might have
in reducing the number of students it was provided "that the Corporation
might assist meritorious students, when unable to pay the additional
466 HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL
new statutes for the Medical School were adopted. To these
we will return later.
In 1824 a general overhauling of University affairs took
place. The following report, dated October, states the views
of the Medical Faculty. It has another interest. J. C. War-
ren, the writer, refers in it to the study of comparative anat-
omy, and that is the earliest recognition which I have been
able to find among us of that branch of medical science. War-
ren's letter in part reads :
" As the course which I have the honour to deliver is not so inti-
mately connected with the system of study pursued in the University, it
will not I suppose be desired that I should reply at great length to the
inquiries in your communication.
' The course of Anatomy which I deliver in the University begins on
the first of April. The lectures are an hour long, given three times a week
at 5 P. M. without much variation, and terminate in June. They are
attended by the Senior class, by resident graduates and students of medi-
cine in the immediate vicinity. The attendance of the Senior class is not
compulsory ; but the course is pursued with regularity by the whole
class without many exceptions.
' The plan of the course is the following. First there is an exposition
of the action or operations, which go on in a living human body; called
functions. These being pointed out. Next is shown the apparatus for
performing each of these functions, all which constitutes the human
structure. This is followed by a comparison of the machinery by which
a function is performed in man, and in the nine classes of animals ; its
adaption in each class to the peculiar habits of the class. Hence flows
the irresistible influence of the action of a single almighty power in so
curiously modifying organs, which preserve their analogy thro' all the
classes, to the modified functions they are to perform ; . . . occasion-
ally in the course remarks are made of a surgical and pathological nature,
when they can be employed to guard the student from error and disease;
and when they can be used for practical purposes in the learned pro-
fessions, that is, in law and divinity.
" No text-book is employed in this course, but I should readily undertake
the preparation of one, if it should be thought necessary and be com-
mended by the Government of the University.
" In regard to any inconveniences which may arise from the organi-
zation of the College government, it will not be expected that any
material information may be given from my department. In common with
UNIVERSITY GOVERNMENT 467
a large portion of this community, 1 entertain an opinion that notwith-
standing the great improvement, discipline of our College may be and
ought to be improved. That the age at which a considerable part of the
students are there placed demands a more wakeful and scholastic disci-
pline. But I am aware that great, though not insurmountable difficulties
will attend its introduction. It appears to me that no difficulties are
unsurmountable when the mass of the intelligent community are disposed
to aid in its introduction — and this I believe they will be if the changes are
slowly matured and in such way as to bring the sense of this com-
munity as far as practicable to take cognizance of and to act in thus ma-
In the same letter Warren speaks of the necessity for ath-
letic exercises as a part of the College curriculum. Athletics
are seldom thought of to-day in connection with the Medical
School. Conditions have changed very much since those lines
were penned. Many no doubt may feel that Warren's sug-
gestion has been over-developed in the College proper, but
none will deny the expediency of that wise teacher's advice.
He says :
'' There is one branch of education the improvement of which seems to
fall more especially within the cognizance of my department ; and on this
I feel myself called on to say something because it has been in a great
measure neglected. The neglect of gymnastic exercises is a most lamentable
deficiency in our mode of education. When I look around on a collection
of students in our college and observe their puny, sickly appearance, I
experience a profound emotion of pity and regret. Especially when