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David Hosack

HOSACK, David, scientist, born in New York city, 31 August, 1769; died there, 22 December, 1835. His father was a Scotch artillery officer, who served at the capture of Louisburg in 1758. David was graduated at Princeton in 1789, and received his medical degree in the College of Philadelphia in 1791. He then removed to Alexandria, Virginia, practised there a year, and in 1792 went to England and Scotland for study. In 1794 he returned to New York with the first collection of minerals that had been introduced into this country, and the duplicate collection of plants from the herbarium of Linnaeus, which now constitutes a part of the museum of the Lyceum of natural history of New York. He was appointed professor of natural history in Columbia college in 1795, and became the partner of its first president, Dr. Samuel Bard, succeeding Dr. William Pitt Smith in the chair of materia medica in 1797, and combining its duties with that of botany. In 1807 he became professor of midwifery and surgery in the College of physicians and surgeons, afterward occupying the chairs of the theory and practice of medicine and obstetrics and the diseases of women and children until 1826, when, with Dr. Valentine Mott, Dr. John W. Francis, and others, he organized the medical department of Rutgers college, which was closed in 1830. At different periods he was physician to the New York hospital and the Bloomingdale asylum. He was one of the founders and the first president of the New York historical society in 1820-'8, president of the Horticultural, the Literary, and the Philosophical societies, and established the Elgin botanic garden. He edited, with his friend and pupil, Dr. John W. Francis, the "American Medical and Philosophical Monthly" in 1810-'14. Dr. Hosack made a special study of yellow fever, having himself suffered from the disease, and his report on its character is one of the best that has ever been published. His paper on "Contagious Disorders" and his treatise on "Vision" were republished by the Royal society of London (1794). His "Hortus Elginensis," a scientific catalogue of his own collection of plants, is a valuable contribution to botany. He was the first surgeon in this country to he the femoral artery at the upper third of the thigh, and introduced as early as 1795 the operation for hydrocele by injection. He published, besides many medical and scientific papers, "Memoir of Hugh Williamson, M. D." (New York, 1820); "Essays on Various Subjects of Medical Science" (1824-'30); "System of Practical Nosology" (1829); "Memoirs of DeWitt Clinton" (1829); and "Lectures on the Theory and Practice of Medicine," edited by Henry W. Ducachet (New York, 1838).--His son, Alexander Eddy, physician, born in New York city, 6 April, 1805; died in Newport, Rhode Island, 2 March, 1871, was prevented by delicate health from receiving a collegiate education. He was graduated in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1824, and spent the years 1825-'7 in study in Paris. Returning to the United States in 1828 he settled in New York, devoting himself especially to the practice of surgery, and was the first practitioner in the city that administered ether as an anaesthetic. He invented in 1833 an instrument for rendering the operation for staphylorraphy more complete in its minutiae, was the first to introduce Symes's operation of exsection of the elbow into this country, and devoted much time and study to the various modes of inflicting capital punishment, for the purpose of discovering the most humane method. For many years he was attending surgeon of the marine hospital, and was a principal organizer of Ward's island hospital. Among his original papers are "Description of an Instrument for tying Deep-seated Arteries" and "Seventy-three Cases of Lithotomy by a Peculiar Operation without dividing the Prostate Gland, all Successful." His widow, recently deceased, left $70,000 to the New York academy of medicine as a memorial of her husband, by the advice of Dr. Samuel S. Purple. Dr. Hosack published a pamphlet on "Anesthesia, with Cases, being the First Instance of the Use of Ether in New York," and also a "History of the Case of the Late John Kearney Rodgers, M. D." (New York. 1851).

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