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Brunoniana

From Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana:

Waterhouse, Benjamin

Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846), professor of natural history, was born in Newport in March 4, 1754. Although brought up in the Quaker religion by a father who had earlier in life been a Presbyterian, he never, in the words of William Goddard 1846 “adopted the peculiarities of that quiet and useful sect, nor was he accustomed to unite with them in their religious worship.” He studied with Dr. Fothergill of London and received his medical education in Edinburgh and Leyden, where he received his M. D. degree. In 1783 he was appointed professor of the theory and practice of medicine at Harvard, and the same year was elected a Fellow at Rhode Island College. The next year he was appointed professor of natural history in Rhode Island College in addition to his Harvard appointment. He and Joseph Brown were both at that time “engaged to give lectures in their respective branches, without any expense to the College while destitute of an endowment.” He continued in this position until 1791, and prior to 1788 delivered the first course of lectures on the subject of natural history in the United States at the State House in Providence. He introduced vaccination for small-pox into America, his first inoculation being performed on his young son. In 1814 he was forced to resign his Harvard professorship, after his opposition to the plan to establish the Medical School in Boston and his attempt to start a rival medical school. From 1813 to 1820 he was medical superintendent of all military posts in New England. He spent his later life in literary pursuits, and died at the age of 92 on October 2, 1846 in Cambridge.

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.


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