Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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SMITH, Nathan, physician, born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, 13 September, 1762; died in New Haven, Connecticut, 26 July, 1828. He enlisted in the Vermont militia during the last eighteen months of the Revolutionary war, and, having accompanied his father to an unsettled part of Vermont, subsequently led the life of a pioneer and hunter, having no education and no advantages. He decided to become a physician when he was twenty-four years of age, studied under Dr. Josiah Goodhue, and practised for several years in Cornish, New Hampshire, when he entered the medical department of Harvard and received the degree of M. B. in 1790, being the only graduate of that year and the third of the department. At that time the practice of medicine was at a low ebb in the state, and physicians were poorly educated and unskilful. To procure better advantages for them, he established the medical department of Dartmouth in 1798, was appointed its professor of medicine, and for many years taught all, or nearly all, the branches of the profession unaided. He held the chair of anatomy and surgery till 1810, and that of the theory and practice of medicine till 1813. He was given the degree of A. M. by Dartmouth in 1798, and that of M. D. by that college in 1801 and by Harvard in 1811. He went to Great Britain about 1803, attended lectures in Edinburgh for one year, and on his return resumed his duties. He was elected professor of the theory and practice of physics and surgery in the medical department of Yale in 1813, and held the chair from that date until his death, also delivering courses of lectures on medicine and surgery at the University of Vermont in 1822-'5, and at Bowdoin on the theory and practice of medicine in 1820-'5. His practice extended over four states, and while he was conservative in his methods, he was more than ordinarily successful as an operator. It has been asserted that he was the first in this country to perform the operation of extirpating an ovarian tumor, and that of staphylorraphy. He devised and introduced a mode of amputating the thigh which, although resembling methods that had previously been employed, is sufficiently original to bear his name, and he developed important scientific principles in relation to the pathology of necrosis, on which he founded a new and successful mode of practice. He invented an apparatus for the treatment of fractures, and a mode of reducing dislocations of the hip. He published "Practical Essays on Typhus Fever" (New York, 1824), and " Medical and Surgical Memoirs," edited, with addenda, by his son, Nathan Ryno Smith (Baltimore, Maryland, 1831).--His son, Nathan Ryno, surgeon, born in Concord, New Hampshire, 21 May, 1797; died in Baltimore, Maryland, 3 July, 1877, was graduated at Yale in 1817, and studied medicine under his father there, receiving his degree in 1820. In 1824 he began the practice of surgery in Burlington, Vermont, and in 1825 he was appointed professor of surgery and anatomy in the University of Vermont. In 1827 he was called to the chair of surgery in the medical department of the University of Maryland, but he resigned in 1828 and became professor of the practice of medicine in Transylvania university, Lexington, Kentucky In 1840 he resumed his chair in the University of Maryland, which he held until 1870. He invented an instrument for the easy and safe performance of the operation of lithotomy, and also Smith's anterior splint for treatment of fractures of the thigh. In addition to articles in the "American Journal of Medicine," Dr. Smith published "Physiological Essay on Digestion" (New York, 1825); "Address to Medical Graduates of the University of Maryland" (Baltimore, 1828) ; "Diseases of the Internal Ear," from the French of Jean Antoine Saissy, with a supplement (1829) : "Surgical Anatomy of the Arteries" (1832-'5) ; "Treatment of Fractures of the Lower Extremities by the Use of the Anterior Suspensory Apparatus" (1867) ; and a small volume entitled " Legends of the South," under the pen-name " Viator."-Nathan Ryno's son, Alan Penneman, physician, born in Baltimore, Maryland, 3 February, 1840, received his instruction in Baltimore under private tuition, and was graduated in 1861 at the school of medicine of the University of Maryland. In 1868 he was elected adjunct professor of surgery in that university, and in 1875 professor of surgery. He is connected with nearly all the hospitals of Baltimore as consulting phys'-clan or surgeon, and has performed the operation of lithotomy more than 100 times, successfully in every instance. He is one of the original trustees of Johns Hopkins university, and is a member of many foreign and American medical societies.
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