Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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BILLINGS, John Shaw, surgeon, born in Switzerland County, Indiana, 12 April 1838. He was graduated at Miami University in 1857, and at the Ohio Medical College in 1860. At first he settled in Cincinnati, but in November 1861, he was appointed acting assistant surgeon in the United States army. Until March 1863, he was assistant surgeon, having charge of hospitals in Washington, District of Columbia, and West Philadelphia. He then served with the Army of the Potomac, being with the 5th corps at the battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. From October 1863, till February 1864, he served on Hospital duty at David's and Bedlow's islands in the vicinity of New York City, also acting as a member of the board of enrollment, after which he became medical inspector to the Army of the Potomac, and from December 1864, was connected with the surgeon-general's office in Washington. In December 1876, he was appointed surgeon, with the rank of major, in the regular army. He is also medical adviser of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and lecturer on municipal hygiene at the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Billings is a member of numerous scientific societies, including the American Medical Association and the National Academy of Sciences (1883), and he is also an honorary member of the Statistical Society of London. During 1879-'80 he was vice-president of the National Board of Health, and in 1884 he received the honorary degree of LL.D. from the University of Edinburgh. During August 1886, he was present at the meeting of the British Medical Association, and delivered an important address on "medicine in the United States." His contributions to the periodical literature of medicine are numerous, and he has also published reports on "Barracks and Hospitals" (War Department, Washington, 1870) ; " The Hygiene of the United States Army " (1875); and "Mortality and Vital Statistics of the United States" (Census Reports, 1880). His great work, however, has been the "Index-Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General's Office," United States army (Washington, 1880 el seq.), in large quarto volumes, which contain the bibliography of every medical subject as far as it is found in the library at present under Dr. Billings's care. It is expected that the work will consist of ten volumes, of which six have been issued up to 1886.
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