Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/29

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HOSACK


13


HOSMER


for a while so well that a j^artnership was offered and accepted, for it was a great compliment to Hosack.

Having lost his wife and child, he married on December 21, 1797, Mary, daughter of James and Mary Darragh Eddj^, and had nine children. Suc- cess attended him, particularly in his observation and treatment of yellow fever. He became a strong advocate of contagion and was the first to pur- sue sudorific and mild treatment. Such faith was put in his judgment that he was often asked by the board of health to investigate diseases.

"He was an excellent botanist and mineralogist; the author of three vol- umes, of "Medical Essays," of numer- ous articles in the medical journals and of a "Life of De Witt Clinton and Hugh Williams." His love of liotany induced him to found the Elgin Botanic Garden — a piece of land about twenty acres at Hyde Park on the Hudson, with at one time under cultivation nearly 1,500 species of American plants be- sides exotics. He also founded the Himiane Society — one branch for the recovery of persons nearly drowned and another for the relief of the indi- gent poor; the City Dispensary was remodelled, and he instituted medical lectures to policemen.

It was a matter of wonder to his friends how he managed to do as much, but Hosack knew the value of odd moments and always read or made notes when a little spare time came. The "Medical and Philosophical Reg- ister," (1810) started and was also edited by him in conjunction with Dr. John W. Francis, and he managed to complete his mineralogical collec- tion begun in Edinburgh and present it to Princeton College.

Dr. Hosack felt that after fifty years of practice he would be justified in retiring to his pretty country house at Hyde Park, Duchess County. He had married his third wife Magdalena, widow of Henry A. Coster and with her kept up a fine old-fashioned hospi-


tality, welcoming alike famous men and shy ambitious students. Three times, in spite of his busy life and large family, he adopted into his house- liold and trained a poor but clever young man, one of them being Delale, who became superintendent of the Jardin des Plantes, Montpellier.

In December, 1835, he seemed to have a presentiment of coming illness, apoplexy or paralysis, and began to try and write with his left hand. On the eighteenth he had an apoplectic stroke from which he never rallied and died on the twenty-second at the age of sixty-four.

"Although Hosack originated no new surgical procedures he was an excellent surgeon and introduced several good things from Europe. Up to this no American had tied the femoral artery for aneurysm. Hosack did so in 1808, and introduced the method of treating hydrocele by injection. He insisted in operations upon the importance of leaving wounds open to the air in order to check hemorrhage — a method advocated later by Astley Cooper and Dupuytren."

Dr. Hosack held the chair of materia medica in Columbia College, 1797; that of siu'gery and midwifery in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York, 1807, and there, after- wards, the chair of the theory and prac- tice of physic and clinical medicine.

His writings embraced nearly every subject and science, and fill two col- umns of the Surgeon-General's Library Catalogue, Washington, D. C.

D. W.

Med. in Amer., J. G. Mumford, 190.3, Phila.

Amer. Med. Biog., S. D. Gross, 1861, Phila.

Autobiography, S. D. Gross, 1SS7, Phila.

Boston i\Ied. and Surg. Jour., 1868-9, vol.

bcvii.

Mass. Med. Soc, Boston, 186S, vol. xi.

American Med. Biog., Williams.

A portrait in the Surg. -Gen. Lib., Wash., D.

Hosmer, Alfred (1832-1891).

Alfred Hosmer was born in Newton LIpper Falls, Massachusetts, September