Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/548

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WEBSTER


488


WEBSTER


law, but the boy's inclinjitions led to the study of medicine, which he took up first in Baltimore and then in Philadelphia, graduating at the University of Penn- sylvania in 1824, at the age of twenty. He was a private pupil of Dr. J. D. God- man, and when the latter went to Rut- gers College in 1826, he was succeeded at the Philadelphia School of Anatomy by Webster, a post retained for four years. He was a good teacher and excellent anatomist, although not so talented and energetic as some of the others who had had charge of the Philadelphia School of Anatomy. He made a practice of per- forming all dissections before his classes. He was thoroughly devoted to the interests of his class, and according to Dr. W. W. Keen, at one time, when there was greater difficulty than usual in getting subjects, he sat up night after night, watching that neither the Uni- versity or any private room should obtain them till he was supphed, and gaining his point.

His literary efforts while in Philadel- phia were limited to editing the " Medical Recorder," in 1827-29, when it was merged into the "American Journal of the Medical Sciences." Dr. Keen also states that he believes that Webster was the editor of another rather pugilistic journal, which, however, was short- lived. In 1835 Webster moved to New York, where he acquired a reputation as a surgeon, especially of the eye and ear. In 1842 he went to Rochester as pro- fessor of anatomy in the Geneva Medical College.' In 1849 he took the chair of anatomy in the University of Buffalo, which he resigned in 1852. He was one of the most popular surgeons in western New York, cautious, yet bold. In character he is said to have been a man of gentle instincts, generous to a fault, and thoroughly hkeable. At the time of his death July 19, 1854, he was emer- itus professor of anatomy at the Geneva Medical College. C. R. B.

'Keen states that Webster was appointed to this professorship in 1830; the writer in the "Boston Medical and Surgical Journal" gives 1842 as the date when Webster went to Rochester.


W. W. Keen, Philadelphia School of Anat- omy.

Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, vol. h, 1854.

Tr. Med. Soc. N. York, 1855 (C. B. Coventry) N. Y. Jour. Med., 1854, n. s., vol. xiii.

Webster, Noah (1758-1843).

The writer whose published contribu- tions in the eighteenth century are of the greatest permanent value to medicine was not a physician, but a useful and versatile man, Noah Webster, who graduated from Yale in 1788, and who was the first epidemiologist this country produced. In 1796 he pubhshed "A Collection of Papers on the Subject of Bilious Fevers Prevalent in the United States for a Few Years Past," and in 1799 a two volume work known to all students of epidemiology entitled " A Brief History of Epidemic and Pestilential Diseases," which is of unusual interest and on account of its records and observations of epidemic diseases in this country has an enduring value. There are scattered papers by him on various medical sub- jects, and one of these is buried in the "Medical Repository," .2 s. vol. ii, and should be rescued from forgetfulness. In this critique of Erasmus Darwin's "Theory of Fever," Noah Webster gives a well reasoned, clear and definite pre- sentation of that modern theory asso- ciated with Traube's name which ex- plains febrile elevation of temperature by the retention of heat within the body. Webster was admitted to the bar in 1781, and in 1788 settled in New York as a journalist. He was a co- founder of Amherst College, Massachu- setts, and Uved in Amherst in 1812. His other writings included the well-known "Spelling Book," 1783-5; "Dissertation on the English Language" (1789); "A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language" (1806); "American Diction- ary of the Enghsh Language" (1828); "Rights of Neutrals" (1802); "A Collec- tion of Papers on Political, Literary and Moral Subjects," and "A Brief History of the United States" (1823).

In 1789 he married Rebecca, daughter