Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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SMITH, Joseph Mather, physician, born in New Rochelle, Westchester County, New York, 14 March, 1789; died in New York city, 22 April, 1866. His father, Dr. Matson Smith, was a well-known physician in Westchester county, New York, and his mother was a descendant of the Mather family of Massachusetts. Joseph was educated in the academy of his native town, attended medical lectures at Columbia in 1809-'10, was licensed to practise in 1811, and in 1815 was graduated at the New York college of physicians and surgeons. He then settled in practice in that city, and about that time was a founder of the Medico-physiological society, and edited the first volume of its transactions, to which he contributed a paper entitled the "Efficacy of Emetics in Spasmodic Diseases" (1817), which won him reputation. He was physician to the New York state prison in 1820-'4, became in 1821 a fellow of the New York college of physicians and surgeons, in which he was appointed professor of the theory and practice of physic in 1826, held office for more than thirty years, and in 1855 was transferred to the chair of materia medica, which he held until his death. He became an editor of the New York " Medical and Physiological Journal " in 1828, a visiting physician to the New York hospital in 1829, president of the Academy of medicine in 1854, vice-president of the National quarantine and sanitary convention in 1859, and president of the Citizens' association of New York on the organization of the council of hygiene in 1864. During the cholera epidemic of 1849 he was one of the medical council of the sanitary committee of New York city, and performed arduous and excessive labors throughout the pestilence. He contributed largely to professional literature. His publications in-elude "Elements of the Etiology and Philosophy of Epidemics," of which an eminent English authority said: "It is fifty years in advance of the medical literature of the day on that subject " (New York, 1824); "Discussion on Cholera Morbus" (1831) ; " Public Duties of Medical Men" (1846); "Influence of Diseases on Intellectual and Moral Powers" (1848); "Report on Public Hygiene" (1850) ; "Illustrations of Medical Phenomena in Military Life" (1850); " Puerperal Fever" (18.57) ; " Therapeutics of Albuminuria" (1862) ; and several addresses that were subsequently published, and include that on the "Epidemic Cholera of Asia and Europe" (1831), and an admirable "Report on the Medical Topography and Epidemics of the State of New York," delivered before the American medical association. In the meteorological portions of this work he introduced several new and appropriate scientific terms, which have since been adopted by scientific writers, and he illustrated the climate of the state in an original and ingenious manner by maps, plates, and tables (1860).
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