“Busts of the Mercantile” Wednesday: Daniel Drake

img_0694.JPGWe’re getting down to the undistinguished copies of not particularly artistic renderings of people who don’t have much to do with the odd small Libraries in which their portraits have come to rest which means it is time to say something about Daniel Drake, about whom much was said, plenty of it unpleasant, in the early days of the little can-do city on the lonesome side of the Appalachians. Daniel Drake founded Cincinnati’s medical college, fought with the trustees, moved to Lexington, founded a med school there, fought some more, came back to Cincinnati, and fought some more, making himself the best known physician on the frontier. Drake Hospital, Drake Park, all the Drake stuff in town, it’s all Daniel It is probably best not to think about what was taught at those early nineteenth century medical schools, or how those teachings complied with Hippocrates’s injunction first to do no harm. Drake knew everybody, including the Beechers. It really was a small town.

-Nemo Wolfe

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Published in: on February 14, 2007 at 11:38 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. Hmm… didn’t know he was such a fighter.

    Regarding how they practiced medicine back in the 19th century… it can be pretty ridiculous and shocking. I’ve perused old medical journals in the UC Med Library and some of that stuff is crazy. Of course, 100 years from now our grandchildren will say the same thing about us (“You treated cancer with WHAT??”).

    Arsenic, sulfur, bloodletting… it was all state of the art back then. I recall and old New England Journal of Medicine article about what today we know is PMS. You can imagine what they said about it back then.


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