BEDFORD, Gunning S., author and
physician, was born in Baltimore, Md.. in 1806. He was a great
nephew of the revolutionary patriot, Gunning Bedford, of Delaware, a
representative in congress (1783-86), and attorney-general and
governor of his state. Gunning S. Bedford was graduated A.B. at
Mount St. Mary's College, Emmetsburg, Md., in 1825. with high honors
and as valedictorian of the class. The degree of A.M. was conferred
on him in course at the end of three years. Among his classmates
were Archbishops Purcell, of Cincinnati; Hughes, of Baltimore, and
McC'loskev (¡ater cardi nal), of New York; Rev. Charles C. Pise and
oilier noted men. He had planned to study law with Daniel Weusler,
but having accidentally heard a lecture on blood circulation by Dr.
John D. Godman, he determined to devote himself to medicine. Dr.
Godman took a great interest in his young convert, becoming his
friend, counsellor and preceptor, and greatly aiding him in
acquiring the skill and fame that marked his life. After his
graduation at the Rutgers Medical College, New Brunswick, N. ,L, he
spent two years in the best hospitals of Europe, where he worked
incessantly. Returning to America in 1832, lie in 1833 accepted a
professorship at the Medical College of Charleston (S. C. ), where
he remained about one year, then going to the Albany Medical
College, New York. In 1836 he removed to New York city, where he
rapidly built up an extensive practice, particularly in obstetrics
and the diseases of women. lie was a skillful surgeon, and
repeatedly performed the Caesarian section with success.
originated the idea of founding the New York University Medical
College, which he carried to a successful issue through the
assistance of Dr. Valentine Molt. The first faculty contained,
besides these two. Drs. Draper, Paine, Revere and Patterson, Dr.
Bedford being professor of obstetrics until 1862. It was a success
from the start, although solely supported by the fees of the
students. He also founded the New York obstetrical clinic, the first
held in the country, to afford the poor skilled advice and service.
Sessions were held Mondays, and so successful was the enterprise
that probably 10,000 yearly received its aid.
Dr. Bedford was a prolific
writer. His two elaborate treatises : "Diseases of Women and
Children " and " Principles and Practice of Obstetrics"—the former
passed through fifteen editions and the latter live—have been
adopted as text books both in America and abroad, and have been
translated into German and French. He wrote and delivered eulogies
upon Drs. Francis and Molt before the New York County Medical
Society. Dr. Bedford was noted for his'eloquence and broad
intelligence. In person he was unusually short, bul correspondingly
light in his movements and gentle in his manners. His consideration
for suffering was well illustrated by his admonition to his students
to particularly avoid afflicting their patients with squeaking shoes
and angular movements. Ilis professional reputation and influence
was equaled only by his personal popularity both with physicians and
the public generally. In religions faith he was a devout Roman
Catholic, and enjoyed close relations with many priests and prelates
of the church. He was survived by a widow and three sons, one of
whom, Gunning S. Bedford, Jr., was at one time assistant district
attorney of New York, and later a jndire of the cilv court. Dr.
Bedford died in New York city, Sept. 6," 1870.
Gunning S. Bedford (1806 – 1870)
was an important physician and the nephew of Gunning Bedford, who was
the first Attorney General of Delaware and one of the framers or signers
of the Constitution of the United States. Doctor Bedford received his
medical degree from Rutgers Medical College in 1829. Following
graduation, he spent two years abroad in Europe continuing his medical
studies. Upon his return to the U.S., Bedford was appointed professor of
obstetrics at the Charleston Medical College in South Carolina in 1833.
Thereafter, he moved to New York and in 1836 accepted a professorship at
the Albany Medical College. Four years later (1840), in cooperation with
Dr. Valentine Mott, Bedford helped found the University Medical College
(of New York City) and accepted the chair of obstetrics, which he held
until 1862. In connection with this school, Bedford introduced and
established an obstetrical clinic for poor women – the first of its kind
in the United States. Bedford was the author of two books. His “Diseases
of Women and Children” went through ten different editions, and his
“Principles and Practice of Obstetrics” passed through five editions.
(The personal edited research
notes of Michael Echols, the source of which may or
may not be completely documented)