Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BRINTON, Daniel Garrison, ethnologist, born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, 13 May, 1837. He was graduated at Yale in 1858 and at the Jefferson medical College in 1861. After which he spent a year in Europe in study and in travel. On his return he entered the army, in August, 1862, as acting assistant surgeon. In February of the following year he was commissioned surgeon, and served as surgeon-in-chief of the second division, llth corps. He was present at the battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and other engagements, and was appointed medical director of his corps in October, 1863. In consequence of sunstroke received soon after the battle of Gettysburg, he was disqualified for active service, and in the autumn of that year he became superintendent of hospitals at Quincy and Springfield, Illinois, until August, 1865, when, the civil war having closed, he was brevetted lieutenant colonel and discharged. He then settled in Philadelphia, where he became editor of "The Medical and Surgical Reporter," and also of the quarterly "Compendium of Medical Science." Dr. Brinton has likewise been a constant contributor to other medical journals, chiefly on questions of public medicine and hygiene, and has edited several volumes on therapeutics and diagnosis, especially the popular series known as "Napheys's Modern Therapeutics," which has passed through many editions. In the medical controversies of the day, he has always taken the position that medical science should be based on the results of clinical observation, rather than on physiological experiments. He has become prominent as a student and a writer on American ethnology, his work in this direction beginning while he was a student in College. The winter of 1856-'7, spent in Florida, supplied him with material for his first published book on the subject.
In 1884 he was appointed professor of ethnology and archaeology in the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. For some years he has been president of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia, and in 1886 he was elected vice-president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to preside over the section on anthropology. During the same year he was awarded the medal of the "Societe Americaine de France" for his "numerous and learned works on American ethnology," being the first native of the United States that has been so honored. In 1885 the American publishers of the "Iconographic Encyclopaedia" requested him to edit the first volume, to contribute to it the articles on "Anthropology" and "Ethnology," and to revise that on "Ethnography," by Prof. Gerland, of Strasburg. He also contributed to the second volume of the same work an essay on the "Prehistoric Archaeology of both Hemispheres." Dr. Brinton has established a library and publishing-house of aboriginal American literature, for the purpose of placing within the reach of scholars authentic materials for the study of the languages and culture of the native races of America. Each work is the production of native minds, and is printed in the original. The series, most of which were edited by Dr. Brinton himself, include "The Maya Chronicles" (Philadelphia, 1882); "The Iroquois Book of Rites" (1883); "The Gueguence: A Comedy Ballet in the Nahuatt Spanish Dialect of Nicaragua" (1883); "A Migration Legend of the Creek Indians" (1834); "The Lenape and their Legends" (1885); "The Annals of the Cakehiquels" (1885). Besides publishing numerous papers, he has contributed valuable reports on his examinations of mounds, shell-heaps, rock inscriptions, and other antiquities. He is the author of "The Floridian Peninsula: Its Literary History, Indian Tribes, and Antiquities" (Philadelphia, 1859); "The Myths of the New World: A Treatise on the Symbolism and Mythology of the Red Race of America" (New York, 1868); "The Religious Sentiment: A Contribution to the Science and Philosophy of Religion" (1876); "American Hero Myths: A Study in the Native Religions of the Western Continent" (Philadelphia, 1882);"Aboriginal American Authors and their Productions, especially those in the Native Languages" (1883); and "A Grammar of the Cakchiquel Language of Guatemala" (1884).
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