American Medical Biographies/Woodward, Rufus

Woodward, Rufus (1819–1885)

Rufus Woodward, physician of Worcester, Massachusetts, was the son of Dr. Samuel B. Woodward (q.v.), and was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut, October 3, 1819.

He was fitted for Harvard College in the Worcester schools. After graduating from college in 1841 he began to study medicine with Joseph Sargent (q.v.), of Worcester, and in 1842 entered the Harvard Medical School, where he graduated three years later. "For three years he was assistant physician at the State Lunatic Hospital in Worcester, and then spent two years in study in Europe, devoting much time to the study of insanity, with the intention of assisting his father in a private asylum for mental diseases in Northampton. His plans were changed by the latter's sudden death in 1850, and on his return to this country soon after, he established himself in general practice in Worcester. For thirty years he devoted himself to his profession, seeing patients even on the very day of his sudden death, December 30, 1885, at the age of sixty-six.

He was a member of the local and state medical societies and during the war of 1861–65 was examining surgeon for volunteers. From 1863 to 1866 he was city physician and again in 1877 he held this position, and from 1871 to 1880 visiting surgeon to the City Hospital. In natural history and botany he was always greatly interested and was one of the founders and for many years president of the Worcester Natural History Society. Much of his spare time was spent in his garden, and any wild flower of the neighborhood of Worcester he did not know was rare indeed.

His son Lemuel F. Woodward became a surgeon in Worcester.

Phys. & Surgs. of the U. S., W. B. Atkinson, Phila., 1878.