American Medical Biographies/Harvey, Edwin Bayard
Harvey, Edwin Bayard (1834–1913).
Edwin Bayard Harvey, secretary and executive officer of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, was the son of Ebenezer and Rozella Harvey. He was born in Deerfield, New Hampshire, April 4, 1834, and died of chronic myocarditis, in Westborough, Massachusetts, September 28, 1913.
His boyhood days were spent on a farm, his father being a farmer and also a stone mason. His early education was obtained in the public schools of New Hampshire, and the Military Institute at Pembroke, N. H. The year 1855 and a part of the year 1856 were spent in the Seminary at Northfield, in the same state, now known as Tilton Seminary.
He was graduated from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, in 1859, after which, for a short time, he taught school in Poultney, Vermont. He also served for two years as principal of Macedon Academy, Macedon, New York. He was for two years professor in natural science at Wesleyan Academy, Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and while there formed a friendship with a physician, the outcome of the intimacy being a determination on the part of Dr. Harvey to study medicine. Up to this period it had been his purpose to make teaching his life work. He entered Harvard Medical School in 1864 and was graduated in 1866.
It was his intention to settle for practice in the west, and accordingly after graduation he went to Waukegan, Illinois, and opened an office, but not finding the place to his liking he stayed but a short time and returned east and settled in Westborough, Massachusetts, where he immediately began practice. He at once took a leading position, not only in his profession, but in all public affairs. He was an acknowledged parliamentarian, and for many years acted as moderator in all town meetings. Like many practitioners of early times, he carried on, for some time, a drug store in the town.
During his early years of practice the local paper in the town was suddenly left without an editor, and with his usual versatility Harvey stepped into the breach and added to his ever increasing duties that of editor, much of his work in this direction being done between the hours of midnight and daybreak. The work finally proved too much, and feeling the need of a vacation as well as of further study, in the year 1872 he visited the leading hospitals in Europe, studying about a year in Leipsic and Vienna.
He joined the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1867, and was a councillor for over forty years, being elected in 1869 and serving continuously until his death. He was president of the Worcester District Medical Society in 1883 and 1884, and for two years (1898–1900) was president of the Massachusetts Medical Society.
From 1868 to 1900 he served continuously on the Westborough school board, and from 1887 to 1900, acted as superintendent of schools. He was chairman of the board of trustees of the Westborough Public Library, and it was largely due to his efforts that the present library building of the town was erected. He was a trustee of the Westborough Savings Bank, and in 1873 was appointed by Governor Washburn a trustee of the Reform School at Westborough, and in 1876 was reappointed by Governor Gaston.
He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1884 and 1885, and of the Massachusetts Senate in 1894 and 1895. He was the author of, and during his service in the Legislature labored assiduously for, the passage of the bill to provide free text-books in public schools.
In medicine he early turned his attention to constructive legislation, and had the honor of being the author of the bill for the establishment of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, and in aiding in its passage in 1894. In the closing hours of the legislative session of 1895, at the request of Governor Greenhalge, he resigned from the Senate to accept the position of secretary and executive officer of the Board of Registration in Medicine, a position he held from June 20, 1895, until April 1, 1913, when owing to continued ill health he was forced to resign as secretary, but in board until his death. After 1895 he gave up active practice.with the request of his associates, continued a member of the
Like all men of strong personalities, he often met opposition both personal and official, which sometimes developed into enmity, yet he had one of the kindest hearts, and was beloved by those who truly understood him, and especially by those most closely associated with him.
His advice was often sought by members of the Legislature upon questions relating to public health, and his aid was frequently requested in framing bills pertaining to legislation relating to medical affairs.
One piece of work of which he was justly proud was a paper written by him on the "Impracticability of Interstate Reciprocity," delivered before the National Confederation of State Examining Medical Boards, in Boston, June 4, 1906. This paper was a classical and logical exposition of the complicated problems involved in this important question, and was so highly regarded as to be reprinted at the expense of the American Medical Association. By competent critics this article has been termed "the argument which has never been answered."
Dr. Harvey was married in Concord, New Hampshire, July 30, 1860, to Abby Kimball Tenney. There were no children by the marriage.
He was a member of the Siloam Lodge of Masons, Westborough, and was a member of the Westborough Evangelical Church.
In a few words, it may be said that Dr. Harvey was one of those men occasionally seen among our forebears whose will and ambitions led first to a thorough preparation for a constructive and influential life and then never departed from the pursuit of achievement. He never turned his back on an opponent, and he never cringed when facing overwhelming odds, as so often happened when battling against forces that opposed good legislation.