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John Collins Warren
ohn Collins Warren, the nephew of Joseph Warren, a physician and Revolutionary War hero, and the son of John Warren, a founder of Harvard Medical School (AJR 1991; 157:280), was born on August 1, 1778, in Boston, MA. After graduating from Harvard College, Warren was an apprentice in his father’s practice for a year, after which, like so many medical students of his generation, he completed most of his medical training in Europe, studying in London, Edinburgh, and Paris. After receiving a medical degree from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, Warren returned to Boston in 1802 and joined his father’s practice. Warren’s career flourished. In addition to preparing anatomic dissections for his father’s lectures at Harvard Medical School, he offered private instruction in anatomy and physiology and helped prepare a Pharmacopeia for the Massachusetts Medical Society. In 1809, he was appointed an adjunct professor of anatomy and surgery at Harvard Medical School and in 1815 succeeded his father as Hersey Pro-
fessor of Anatomy and Surgery, a position he held until 1847. Warren was a brilliant, skillful surgeon in the era before antisepsis. He was among the first American surgeons to do a wide range of procedures, including surgery to treat a strangulated hernia, cataracts, bone tumors, and aneurysms. In 1846, he was the surgeon at the first public demonstration of ether anesthesia (AJR 1995; 165:560). Among Warren’s most important achievements was his role as a medical educator and institution builder. In 1810, when Harvard Medical School moved from Cambridge to Boston, Warren, together with his colleague James Jackson, helped raise funds for the school’s new location and led the efforts to build an associated teaching hospital. The Massachusetts General Hospital opened in 1821 with Warren as chief surgeon and Jackson as chief physician. Warren served as dean of Harvard Medical School from 1816 to 1819 and received an honorary medical degree from Harvard in 1819. Gilbert Stuart may have met Warren through Warren’s father-in-law, Jonathan Ma-
son, whose portrait Stuart had painted, or through several other mutual friends. Warren became the Stuart family physician, treating the artist from 1815 to 1822 and again in 1828, the year that Stuart died. In the portrait, Warren holds a drawing of a cardiac aneurysm that he found post mortem. This unusual image helps to date the portrait to about 1812, when the drawing was published as an illustration for an article by Warren in the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery and the Collateral Branches of Science, which he had founded that year with Jackson and several others. The publication is known today as The New England Journal of Medicine. Warren had many nonmedical interests, including comparative anatomy, phrenology, geology, and paleontology as well as temperance, physical education, hygiene, and agriculture. His bequest of anatomic specimens and medical equipment led to the formation of the Warren Anatomic Museum at Harvard Medical School. John Collins Warren died on May 4, 1856. Schatzki SC Stefan C. Schatzki1
Fig. 1—Gilbert Stuart (1755–1828). John Collins Warren, ca. 1812. Oil on wood, 32½ × 26 inches (82.6 × 66 cm). Collection of the Warren Family. Photograph copyright 2004 by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Keywords: art, education DOI:10.2214/AJR.06.1113 Received September 8, 2006; accepted without revision September 21, 2006.
of Radiology, Mount Auburn Hospital, 330 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge, MA 02238. Address correspondence to S. C. Schatzki (email@example.com).
AJR 2007; 188:1153–1153 0361–803X/07/1884–1153 © American Roentgen Ray Society
AJR:188, April 2007