Office of University Communications
From Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana:
Elisha Bartlett (1804-1855), “Brown’s most eminent medical graduate” according to William Osler, was born in Smithfield in 1804. He was educated in Smithfield, Uxbridge, and a Friends school in New York. He studied medicine with Dr. Willard of Uxbridge, Dr. Green and Dr. Heywood of Worcester, and Dr. Levi Wheaton of Providence. He earned an M.D. degree at Brown’s medical school in 1826. He traveled in Europe for a year and settled in Lowell, Massachusetts, where he delivered lectures on contagious diseases, sanitation, hygiene, and physiology. At the age of 32 he was elected the first mayor of Lowell, and in 1841 he was elected to the Massachusetts State legislature. He taught in nine schools, his appointments being professor of pathological anatomy and materia medica at the Berkshire Medical Institute in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1832, professor at Dartmouth in 1839, professor of the theory and practice of medicine at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky in 1841 and at the University of Maryland in 1844, professor of materia medica and obstetrics at Vermont Medical College in 1844 (he taught a course for thirteen weeks each year until 1854), and professor of the theory and practice of medicine at the University of Louisville in March 1849 for one session only, after which he went to the University of New York. He traveled to Europe again in 1844-45. His friend Elisha Huntington said in a sketch of Bartlett’s life, “Never was the professor’s chair more gracefuly filled than by Dr. Bartlett.” His other career was as a medical writer with the Monthly Journal of Medical Literature and American Student’s Gazette (of which there were only three issues), and Medical Magazine from 1832 to 1835. In 1831 he translated Sketches of the Character and Writings of Eminent Living Surgeons and Physicians of Paris from the French of J. L. H. Peisse. In 1844 he wrote An Essay on the Philosophy of Medicine. But his main work was that on fevers, published in 1842 with three subsequent editions, one of the most notable medical works known as “Bartlett on Fevers.” When illness which was to result in paralysis struck Bartlett in 1854, he passed his time writing a little volume entitled Simple Settings in Verse, for Six Portraits and Pictures from Mr. Dickens’s Gallery, which he sent as a farewell gift to his friends before his death on July 19, 1855.
The above entry appears in Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell, copyright ©1993 by the Brown University Library. It is used here by permission of the author and the University and may not be copied or further distributed without permission.