Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Wood, George Bacon


Wood, George Bacon, author, b. in Greenwich, Cumberland co., N. J., 13 March, 1797; d. in Philadelphia, Pa., 30 March, 1879. His parents were members of the Society of Friends, He received his early education in the city of New York, was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1815, and in medicine in 1818, and in 1820 delivered a course of lectures on chemistry in Philadelphia. He was professor of chemistry in the Philadelphia college of pharmacy in 1822–'31, of materia medica in 1831–'5, held the same chair in the University of Pennsylvania in 1835–'50, and that of the theory and practice of medicine in that institution from 1850 till 1860, when he resigned. He was eminently successful as a lecturer, and while in the chair of materia medica exhibited to the students many specimens of rare living tropical and other exotics, which he had secured at great expense, and of which he had occasion to treat in his lectures. In 1865 he endowed an auxiliary faculty of medicine in the University of Pennsylvania composed of five chairs—zoölogy and comparative anatomy, botany, mineralogy and geology, hygiene, and medical jurisprudence and toxicology—and by will he endowed the Peter Hahn ward of the University hospital. He was physician in the Pennsylvania hospital in 1835–'59, became president of the American philosophical society in 1859, and was for many years president of the College of physicians of Philadelphia. With Franklin Bache, M. D., he published "The Dispensatory of the United States" (Philadelphia, 1833). Of this work 150,000 copies were sold during Dr. Wood’s lifetime, the royalty to the authors being about $155,000. He also published "A Treatise on the Practice of Medicine" (2 vols., 1847); "A Treatise on Therapeutics and Pharmacology, or Materia Medica" (2 vols., 1856); "Introductory Lectures and Addresses on Medical Subjects" (1859); and, of lesser works, "History of the University of Pennsylvania" (Philadelphia, 1827); "Memoir of Samuel G. Morton" (1853); and "Memoirs of Franklin Bache" (1865).—His nephew, Horatio C, physician, b. in Philadelphia, Pa., 13 Jan., 1841, was graduated at the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania in 1862, and established himself in practice in Philadelphia, making specialties of therapeutics and nervous diseases. In 1866 he was appointed professor of botany in the auxiliary medical faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, but in 1876 he relinquished this department to accept the chair of therapeutics. In 1875 he had been made clinical professor of diseases of the nervous system. The last-mentioned charges he still retains. In 1879 he was elected to the National academy of sciences, He was visiting physician of the Philadelphia hospital in 1872–'87, and to St. Agnes’s hospital in 1886, and has held the same relation to the University hospital since 1870. He has published "Experimental Researches in the Physiological Action of Nitrite of Amyl," for which he received the Warren prize from the Massachusetts general hospital in 1871; also memoirs on "The Myriapoda of North America" (1865); "On the Phalangidæ of North America" (1868); "The Fresh-Water Algae of North America" (1872); and "Fever, a Study in Morbid and Normal Physiology" (1880). The two last-mentioned were issued by the Smithsonian institution. Dr. Wood edited "New Remedies" in 1870–'3: "The Philadelphia Medical Times" in 1873–'80; and since 1884 has conducted "The Therapeutic Gazette." He was also an editor of the "U. S. Dispensatory" (14th ed., Philadelphia, 1883 et seq.). He has also published "Researches upon American Hemp," for which a special prize was awarded by the American philosophical society; "Thermic Fever, or Sunstroke" (Philadelphia, 1872), for which he received the Boylston prize from Harvard university in 1872; "Treatise on Materia Medica and Therapeutics" (1875; 7th ed., 1888); "Brain-Work and Over-Work" (1879); and "Nervous Diseases and their Diagnosis" (1886).