Boston Medical and Surgical Journal/Volume 100/Number 16/George B. Wood, M. D., LL. D.

Boston Medical and Surgical Journal  (1879)  edited by John Collins Warren
George B. Wood, M. D., LL. D.
George B. Wood, M. D., LL. D.

Professor George B. Wood, whose name for more than half a century has been connected with medical teaching and medical literature, died on the 30th of March, 1879, at his residence in Philadelphia, having just completed his eighty-second year. A native of Greenwich, New Jersey, he was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he received his medical degree in 1818. Four years later he became professor of chemistry in the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, and in 1821 took the chair of materia medica in the same institution, which he resigned in 1835 to accept the same branch in the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1850, having been continuously connected with the latter institution in the position mentioned, he was elected professor of the theory and practice of medicine in the same school, and upon his resigning, in 1860, he was unanimously appointed emeritus professor of the theory and practice of medicine. In 1863 he was made a member of the board of trustees of the university, and in 1865 he instituted and endowed the summer school with an auxiliary faculty,[1] authorized to confer the degree of doctor of philosophy.

He was physician to the Pennsylvania Hospital for twenty-four years (1835–59), and was a member of the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania for about the same period. At the time of his death he was president of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and president of the American Philosophical Society. He was a member of a number of other societies, and had been president of the American Medical Association. During the last four years he had been an invalid and confined to his house, the last two years being unable to leave his couch.

The industry and zeal of Dr. Wood were such as to lead him, in former years, to contribute frequently to medical literature, but his reputation as a writer is chiefly based upon his Treatise on Practice, published in 1847, which ran through six editions, the last being in 1867. Previous to this work, however, he had, with the late Dr. Bache, compiled the Dispensatory of the United States, which first appeared in 1833, and is still extant, thirteen editions having been published. He also wrote a Treatise on Therapeutics and Pharmacology or Materia Medica (Philadelphia, 1856), and a number of addresses, including a short History of the Pennsylvania Hospital and one of the University of Pennsylvania.

The career of Professor Wood exemplifies in a striking manner the legitimate results of honest, earnest, persevering endeavor when associated with uprightness of character and unwavering integrity. Until the last, he preserved a warm interest in medical education, and by his death the University of Pennsylvania loses a warm and unselfish friend, and the profession of Philadelphia one of its brightest ornaments. He lived to see the maturity of many of his plans, and to enjoy the reward of his devotion to his chosen profession and to humanity.


  1. The following were the chairs occupied in the summer school: (1) zoology and comparative anatomy, (2) botany, (3) geology and mineralogy, (4) hygiene, and (5) medical jurisprudence.


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