American Medical Biographies/Hurd, Edward Payson

Hurd, Edward Payson (1838–1899).

Dr. Hurd was born at Newport, Canada, August 29, 1838, where his father, Samuel Hurd, was postmaster, justice of the peace and county treasurer.

The boy studied at Eaton Academy, at St. Francis College, Richmond, Quebec, and in 1861 entered McGill Medical School, where he graduated in 1865 with highest honors, winning the Holmes gold medal.

For one year he held the position of "dresser" and teacher at McGill, until his marriage, December 1, 1866, to Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

For four subsequent years he practised at Danville, and at Smithfalls in Canada, where he had a large country practice. Two daughters, Kate Campbell and Mabeth, were born in Canada, and for the sake of their education he moved to Mrs. Hurd's old home at Newburyport, where in 1872 a son, Randolph Campbell, was born. Of these three children the elder daughter and the son became physicians.

In 1883 he was one of the organizers of the Anna Jacques Hospital, and a member of its staff, as long as he lived. His office practice brought him much surgery, as he was harbor physician for many years, and was often obliged to amputate frozen feet or crushed hands, or to sew up long scalp wounds by flickering gas light, assisted only by one of his children. His success was excellent, because he was a quick operator and used plenty of hot water, even before the modern rules of asepsis had been formulated.

For many years Dr. Hurd was city physician, doing strenuous work for trifling pay, because of his love for the poor. He was for two years, president of the Essex North District Medical Society; member of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and also of the Climatological Society, and of the Société de Médcine Pratique de Paris, France.

After 1882 Dr. Hurd contributed regularly to the New York Medical Record and the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal and other medical publications. His writings from 1885 until his death in 1899, consisted of translations, for the most part, and may be found in his autobiography.

From 1893 until his death he constantly wrote for medical journals. During these years he was professor of pathology and dermatology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Boston, and delivered courses of lectures in both these subjects, every year. He never took any vacation, and his recreation consisted in the study of Greek and Latin authors and French poets. Every Sunday afternoon, when possible, he devoted a couple of hours to reading aloud to a friend, the stirring Homeric poems, or lighter verse from Horace.

He died of pneumonia, February 24, 1899, aged sixty-one.

From an Autobiog. in "Hist. of Essex County," Massachusetts.