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Ferdinand Campbell Stewart's Surgical Travel Guide

Ferdinand Campbell Stewart's Surgical Travel Guide DEEPLY EMBEDDED IN the surgical traditions of the United States is the opportunity to spend time studying in a foreign land, a wanderjahr, as William Halsted liked to call it. This concept has certainly changed with the course of time, but for the early American surgeon, to travel and study abroad was an enormous personal undertaking. Such a trip required careful planning and a fair amount of financial prearrangements. Unfortunately, other than word-of-mouth information, the prospective traveler had few individuals or institutions to assist with the preparations. In 1843, the first American surgical travel guide appeared, Ferdinand Campbell Stewart's Hospitals and Surgeons of Paris. Stewart was born in Williamsburg, Va, where his father was professor of mathematics at the College of William and Mary. Although much of Stewart's youth was spent in Scotland, he received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1837. He traveled to Edinburgh and Paris to complete his professional training and returned to Williamsburg in 1838 to establish a private practice. He was so successful that he decided to resettle in New York, NY, where his surgical skills could be put to even greater use. Before doing so Stewart revisited Paris, where he remained an additional 3 years as physician to the diplomatic delegation of the United States. During this time he began work on the 432-page Hospitals and Surgeons of Paris. In 1843, Stewart came to New York and practiced there until 1855, when the death of Stewart's father required a permanent resettling of the entire family in Europe. Stewart became sole heir to extensive real estate holdings in Scotland and legally assumed the names and arms of the Stewarts of Ascoy. Being financially independent, Stewart did not practice medicine during the last 3 decades of his life. He died in Pisa, Italy. View LargeDownload The title page of Ferdinand Campbell Stewart's Hospitals and Surgeons of Paris (author's collection). Stewart's book has 2 main parts: a section detailing the hospitals of Paris and their organization, and the activities of interns and externs. This was especially important because increasing numbers of young Americans were interested in obtaining such positions. Information is included on boardinghouses, restaurants, and living expenses. To read this section of the book is like perusing a modern-day Michelin or Frommer's travel guide. Particularly intriguing is Stewart's description of various medical museums. He discusses in great detail the museum belonging to the Paris School of Medicine, which contained "casts from the heads of nearly all the malefactors who have been executed within the last fifty years, and an interesting wax model of the celebrated dwarf Bebe, who lived to be 25 years of age, and was only twenty inches high." On a recent trip to Paris, I was told of a little-visited medical museum located at 45 Rue des Saints Pères, part of the Faculty of Medicine of Université Paris V. To my amazement, on 2 of the upper floors of this multistory building were the remnants of the museum that Stewart had described 160 years before. In these rarely visited galleries, surgical time had literally stood still. Before my eyes were the same preserved waxed heads of the victims of the guillotine. At the far end of the hall, under a glass cage, stood Bebe in all his glory. In the book's second section, Stewart provides his most incisive and gossipy comments. Among the surgeons discussed are Cloquet, Larrey, Lisfranc, Malgaigne, Marjolin, Roux, and Velpeau. Stewart is uncompromising in his characterizations: Velpeau has written and published more than any other living author . . . As an operator, he is cool and collected. No accident can throw him off his guard . . . His manner towards his public patients, is sometimes inexcusable and harsh in the extreme . . . his personal appearance is difficult to describe, and probably dangerous to attempt. Stewart's surgical travel guide remains little known. However, his entertaining writing style and the information in its pages make it a treasure of mid–19th century US surgical history. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archives of Surgery American Medical Association

Ferdinand Campbell Stewart's Surgical Travel Guide

Archives of Surgery , Volume 137 (1) – Jan 1, 2002

Ferdinand Campbell Stewart's Surgical Travel Guide

Abstract

DEEPLY EMBEDDED IN the surgical traditions of the United States is the opportunity to spend time studying in a foreign land, a wanderjahr, as William Halsted liked to call it. This concept has certainly changed with the course of time, but for the early American surgeon, to travel and study abroad was an enormous personal undertaking. Such a trip required careful planning and a fair amount of financial prearrangements. Unfortunately, other than word-of-mouth information, the prospective...
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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
0004-0010
eISSN
1538-3644
DOI
10.1001/archsurg.137.1.115
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

DEEPLY EMBEDDED IN the surgical traditions of the United States is the opportunity to spend time studying in a foreign land, a wanderjahr, as William Halsted liked to call it. This concept has certainly changed with the course of time, but for the early American surgeon, to travel and study abroad was an enormous personal undertaking. Such a trip required careful planning and a fair amount of financial prearrangements. Unfortunately, other than word-of-mouth information, the prospective traveler had few individuals or institutions to assist with the preparations. In 1843, the first American surgical travel guide appeared, Ferdinand Campbell Stewart's Hospitals and Surgeons of Paris. Stewart was born in Williamsburg, Va, where his father was professor of mathematics at the College of William and Mary. Although much of Stewart's youth was spent in Scotland, he received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1837. He traveled to Edinburgh and Paris to complete his professional training and returned to Williamsburg in 1838 to establish a private practice. He was so successful that he decided to resettle in New York, NY, where his surgical skills could be put to even greater use. Before doing so Stewart revisited Paris, where he remained an additional 3 years as physician to the diplomatic delegation of the United States. During this time he began work on the 432-page Hospitals and Surgeons of Paris. In 1843, Stewart came to New York and practiced there until 1855, when the death of Stewart's father required a permanent resettling of the entire family in Europe. Stewart became sole heir to extensive real estate holdings in Scotland and legally assumed the names and arms of the Stewarts of Ascoy. Being financially independent, Stewart did not practice medicine during the last 3 decades of his life. He died in Pisa, Italy. View LargeDownload The title page of Ferdinand Campbell Stewart's Hospitals and Surgeons of Paris (author's collection). Stewart's book has 2 main parts: a section detailing the hospitals of Paris and their organization, and the activities of interns and externs. This was especially important because increasing numbers of young Americans were interested in obtaining such positions. Information is included on boardinghouses, restaurants, and living expenses. To read this section of the book is like perusing a modern-day Michelin or Frommer's travel guide. Particularly intriguing is Stewart's description of various medical museums. He discusses in great detail the museum belonging to the Paris School of Medicine, which contained "casts from the heads of nearly all the malefactors who have been executed within the last fifty years, and an interesting wax model of the celebrated dwarf Bebe, who lived to be 25 years of age, and was only twenty inches high." On a recent trip to Paris, I was told of a little-visited medical museum located at 45 Rue des Saints Pères, part of the Faculty of Medicine of Université Paris V. To my amazement, on 2 of the upper floors of this multistory building were the remnants of the museum that Stewart had described 160 years before. In these rarely visited galleries, surgical time had literally stood still. Before my eyes were the same preserved waxed heads of the victims of the guillotine. At the far end of the hall, under a glass cage, stood Bebe in all his glory. In the book's second section, Stewart provides his most incisive and gossipy comments. Among the surgeons discussed are Cloquet, Larrey, Lisfranc, Malgaigne, Marjolin, Roux, and Velpeau. Stewart is uncompromising in his characterizations: Velpeau has written and published more than any other living author . . . As an operator, he is cool and collected. No accident can throw him off his guard . . . His manner towards his public patients, is sometimes inexcusable and harsh in the extreme . . . his personal appearance is difficult to describe, and probably dangerous to attempt. Stewart's surgical travel guide remains little known. However, his entertaining writing style and the information in its pages make it a treasure of mid–19th century US surgical history.

Journal

Archives of SurgeryAmerican Medical Association

Published: Jan 1, 2002

Keywords: surgical procedures, operative,travel

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