Friday, October 22, 2010

Bicentennial Corner: John Collins Warren, MD


John Collins Warren, MD, co-founder of the MGH and surgeon at the first successful public demonstration of surgical anesthesia on Oct. 16, 1846, also was a collector of anatomical specimens. In 1847 he donated his collection - now known as the "Warren Anatomical Museum" - to Harvard Medical School, where it still exists on an upper floor of the Countway Library. Warren made the donation after his daughter-in-law refused to move into the family home on Park Street in Boston unless the skeletons and preserved specimens moved out.

Warren's personal diary is preserved at the Massachusetts Historical Society. The entry for Oct. 16 briefly mentions the successful ether demonstration but describes at length Warren's negotiations for a mastodon skeleton for his collection.

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