Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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DICKSON, John Robinson, physician, born in Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland, 15 November 1819; died on Wolfe island, St. Lawrence River, Canada, 23 November 1882. He was educated in Belfast and Glasgow. studied medicine in his native town, and came to Canada with his family in 1838. He was graduated at the medical department of the University of New York in 1842, returned to Canada, settled in Kingston, and became prominent as a surgeon. From 1846 till 1854 he was visiting physician to the Kingston general hospital, then for two years visiting surgeon, becoming, in 1856, clinical lecturer, which place he resigned in 1860 to be reappointed clinical lecturer on surgery in 1861. In 1854 he was active in founding the medical department of the University of Queen's College, where he was chosen dean of the medical faculty and professor of surgery, and during his visit to Great Britain, in 1860. he obtained a recognition of the medical degree of Queen's University. In 1862 he was appointed surgeon to the provincial penitentiary in Kingston, and in 1869 became medical superintendent of Rockwood lunatic asylum. While holding these offices he prepared regularly "Prison Reports " and "Asylum Reports," and, in accordance with his suggestions, the condition of those confined there was materially improved. Chief among the reforms was the introduction of a system of voluntary labor among the insane, and the abolition of the use of alcohol and beer. In 1866 the medical department of Queen's College became the Royal College of physicians and surgeons in connection with Queen's University, for which he obtained the necessary charter, and of which he was appointed president and professor of surgery, offices which he held through his lifetime. Dr. Dickson was a member of numerous societies, and held the degrees of M. R. C. P., London, M. R. C. S., England ; also F. C. P. S., Kingston, and F. R. C. S., Edinburgh. He published numerous scientific papers and public addresses in English and Canadian medical journals.
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