Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/306

This page needs to be proofread.




when he retired from active college work and became professor emeritus. After- wards, he collected for the college a museum of pathological anatomy with money furnished him by his friend, Hon. E. M. Stoughton, and 1S51 and '52 saw him traveling in Europe. The honorary A. M. was conferred on him by the Uni- versity of Vermont in 1S35 and that of LL. D. by the same institution in 1857.

During the Civil War he was a member of the State Board of Examining Sur- geons and in this position earned a high reputation for strict and impartial judg- ment. In the fall of 1861 he was given active duty on the staff of the commander of the Vermont Brigade, serving during the spring and summer of 1862 in the Peninsula. On account of impaired health, he returned to Vermont and was put in charge of the Military Hospital and Camp at Battleboro. This camp attain- ed a wide reputation for the percentage of recoveries which took place there and the credit for this was chiefly due to Dr. Phelps. During the closing months of the war, he was transferred to a Ken- tucky hospital from which he returned to his home and practice at Windsor.

Dr. Phelps was one of the founders of the Connecticut Valley Medical Society and also its president. He was also a member of the Vermont State Medical Society. To both of these organizations he presented valuable papers. He was a genuine, sincere man, who hated hypoc- risy and quackery of any form.

He married, in 1821, Phoebe Foxcroft Lynn, of Boston, and had one daughter. Phelps died November 26, 1880.

C. S. S.

Tr. Amer. Med. Assoc, Phila., vol. xxxii.


Tr. N. Hampshire Med. Soc, Concord, vol.

xci. 1881.

Physick, PhiUp Syng (1768-1837).

Some biographers of Philip Syng Physick have attributed his fame as the "Father of American Surgery" to the fact of his having few rivals, but a name is not easily retained if undeserved and

the scanty records of Physick show a man who was forceful enough to overcome the physical disabilities which might have hindered his medical work.

He was born in Philadelphia, on July 7, 1768, of Edmund and Abigail (Syng) Physick, daughter of a silversmith, his father, receiver-general of the Province of Pennsylvania and after the Revolution agent for the Penn estates. He intended his son for a doctor and made him one in spite of the lad's expressed objection to studying medicine. From the Friends' School, kept by Robert Prout, the local historian, he went to Pennsylvania Uni- versity and graduated B. A. in 1785, studying afterwards with Dr. Adam Kuhn. He was, to quote Gross, "a faithful, scrupulous toiling soul,something of a prig and not popular with his mates but readily devouring any mental pabu- lum offered him, notably when, advised to read Cullen's first lines on the 'Prac- tice of Physic' he learnt by heart all the dreary stuff." His father was deter- mined to give the son every opportunity of learning his profession so sent him in 1789 to London where he was fortunate enough to live with John Hunter and to gain his esteem for his skillful dissections, and his influence to obtain the post of house-surgeon to St. George's Hospital where he stayed a year and, on leaving was made a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Five testimonials as to the "medical qualifications and correct deportment" were given young Physick when he left St. Georges, and Hunter offered him a partnership. Why he refused the honor of this collaboration and the opportunity of working with Astley Cooper, Aber- nethy. Home, etc., Physick, reticent always, does not state. He went instead to Edinburgh and took his M. D. there when twenty-four.

Everything seemed to point to rapid success when the young doctor, fresh from John Hunter and Edinburgh and armed with good recommendations, land- ed, in 1792, again in Philadelphia, but perhaps for want of "push" he was some