American Medical Biographies/Hutchinson, James Howell

Hutchinson, James Howell (1834–1889).

Born at Cintra, Portugal, where his father was engaged in business, he was brought to the United States at an early age and educated in this country. At the University of Pennsylvania in 1854, he received his B. A. and graduated in medicine from the same university in 1858, afterwards serving as resident physician at the Pennsylvania Hospital, and then going abroad to study in the schools of Paris and Vienna. While in Europe he devoted much attention to skin diseases, and his friend and biographer, Dr. John Ashhurst(q. v.), states that he was "probably more familiar with modern dermatology than any of his contemporaries."

Dr. Hutchinson began practising medicine in Philadelphia in 1861 and, successful from the first, he acquired a large private practice besides many honorable professional positions. During the Civil War he served for a time as acting assistant surgeon, United States Army, and was one of the physicians to the Children's Hospital, the Episcopal Hospital, and the Pennsylvania Hospital, to which institution his grandfather had also been physician. He was a member and eventually president of the Philadelphia Pathological Society, elected to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1863, and was also a member of his county and state medical societies, and of the Association of American Physicians.

Dr. Hutchinson was noted for the correctness and dignity of his style, saying just what he meant in few but well chosen words, and rigidly avoiding all flowery excrescences and ambiguities of language. He never inflicted upon the profession or the public an independent volume, but he edited—and well edited— two reprints of Dr. Bristowe's "Practice of Medicine"; contributed elaborate articles, which have already become classical, on typhoid, typhus, and simple continued fevers, to the "System of Medicine," edited by Dr. Pepper and Dr. Starr; and was a valued contributor to the "Transactions of the College of Physicians." For more than a year he was the editor of the Philadelphia Medical Times in its early days. The skill with which he edited Dr. Bristowe's work was fully recognezed by its author who, when the second American edition was about to appear, wrote to Dr. Hutchinson, expressing his "sense of the care and trouble . . . bestowed on the first reprint.

Dr. Hutchinson married Ann Ingersoll, and had six children. One, James P. Hutchinson, after graduating in medicine, devoted himself to the practice of surgery.

Memoir by John Ashhurst, Jr., from the Trans. of the Coll. of Phys. of Philadelphia, 1890, 3 series, vol. xii.
Med. News, Philadelphia, 1890, vol. lvi.