William S. Halsted (United States, 1862-1922)

William S. Halsted

Figure 1.--This charmng portrait shows Bill Halsted at about age 8 years, It would have been about 1859, At the time he was bing tutored at home. For a boy growing up in New York City, the background is an unlikey widreness scene. Hewears a cut away jacket with a blue ribbon bow, Notice he has a back jacket with tn trousers. Suits with atching jackets ad trousers became stabdard in the 1860.

William Halsted is commonly seen as the father of American surgery. He was born in New York City (1852). His father was a successful businessman with Halsted, Haines and Company. Bill had a privlidged childhood. As was common for children from wealthy families, Bill was educated at home by tutors. He was an indifferent student. He was sent to a boarding school in Monson, Massachusetts when he was 10 yeas old (1862). He did not take to the strict dscipline. It must have been a shock for a pampered boy. He ran away from the school. His father then chose a different school, Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, the brst known prep schoolin Amerca. He finished there (1869). His academic performancewas medicore. Halsted entered Yale College (1870). He was extreek\ly outgoing and athletic. He was captain of the football team, played baseball and rowed crew. His academic perforancewas undestinguised. He then entered Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (1874), graduating with a Doctor of Medicine degree (1877). It was there that he began to seriously apply himself. American surgery was still quite primitive. He went tob Germany for further studies. hen he reyurned hime, despite becoming adicted to cocaine while working on anaestehesi, he begn to revoutioniza American surgery. Because of the cocaine the outgoing, sociable Halsted became reticent, and very private. The cocaine addiction destroyed his successfl New York practce. He continued his work at the John Hopkins Instiute in Baltimore.


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Created: 11:57 AM 9/29/2012
Last edited: 11:57 AM 9/29/2012