Physicians to the
Presidents, and their patients: a bibliography. Bull Med Library
Assoc. 1961; 49(3): 291-360.
Kunhardt DM, Kunhardt PB Jr.
Twenty Days: A Narrative in Text and Pictures of the Assassination of
Abraham Lincoln and the Twenty Days and Nights That Followed. New
York: Castle Books, 1965.
[Born in Rhode Island.—
Appointed from New York.]
Military History.—Medical Cadet U. S. Volunteers, 1861. In Hospitals,
Washington, Georgetown, D. C., and
Philadelphia, Penn., to 1863. Acting Assistant
Surgeon U. S. Army, and in the Medical
Museum, Washington, D. C. Assistant Surgeon U. S.
Army, March, 1864. With the 18th Corps
Hospital at White House, Va., and in the Hampton Hospital, Va. Executive
Officer in General Sheridan's Hospital, Winchester, Va. Brevet Captain and
Major U. S. Army, for faithful and
meritorious services during the war. In the office of the
Surgeon-General, Washington, D. C.
Curtis, Edward (1838-1912)
Edward Curtis of New York, one of the first to perfect a process of making
micro- photographs, was born at Providence, Rhode Island, June 4, 1838. He
was a descendant of Henry Curtis, who came to Watertown, Massachusetts, from
London, England, in 1636. Edward was the son of George Curtis, a banker, and
of Julia Bowen Bridgham Curtis, daughter of the first mayor of Providence.
Dr. Curtis attended a private school in New York, graduated from Harvard
College in 1859, and began the study of medicine at the College of
Physicians and Surgeons, New York, under Dr. Robert Watts, but broke off to
enter the army in July, 1861, as medical cadet. In 1863, after two years'
service in several army hospitals, he was
appointed acting assistant surgeon
and was assigned to duty
in the microscopical department of the Army Medical Museum (then in its
He found time to take instruction at the .University of Pennsylvania and
received an M. D. there in 1864, when he was commissioned assistant surgeon
and saw field service with the Army of the Potomac, and with General
Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley. Returning to the museum in the fall of
1864 he assisted with the autopsy on the body of President Lincoln, April
15, 1865. Becoming major in 1867, he was engaged in 1869, in conjunction
with assistant surgeon J. S. Billings, in one of the earliest investigations
undertaken by the medical department of the army, that on the possible
connection of vegetable organisms with the then prevailing diseases of
cattle. During the years of service in the army museums, after the close of
the war, Dr. Curtis developed the embryo art of photographing through the
microscope; he used wet plates, the only kind then available, but even
succeeded in photographing with high powers.
Resigning from the army in 1870, Dr. Curtis was appointed clinical assistant
to the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and microscopist to the Manhattan Eye
and Ear Infirmary. Soon he became lecturer and then professor (1873) of
materia medica and therapeutics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, a
position he held until 1886, when he resigned to give his whole attention to
the office of medical director of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, to
which he had been appointed ten years previously.
Dr. Curtis was the author of a "Catalogue of the Microscopical Section of
the United States Army Medical Museum," Washington, 1867; "An Apparatus for
Cutting Microscopical Sections of Eyes," Transactions of the American
Ophthalmological Society, 1871; "Manual of General Medical Technology," N.
Y. 1883; "How Neither of Us Was Hanged." a prize story of army medical life,
published in the Youth's Companion, Boston, October 21, 1897; also articles
on ophthalmology, materia medica and other subjects in the medical journals
and in the Reference Handbook of the Medical Sciences.
Dr. Curtis married Augusta Lawler Stacy of Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1864,
and they had five children.
He died of cerebral hemorrhage at his home in New York, November 28, 1912,
at the age of seventy-four.
Hist. Coll. of Phr». & Surgs., N. Y., 1912, 410- 413. Portrait,
There is an extensive citation in the
Med. and Surg. History regarding an autopsy assisted by Ass't. Surg.
"The protracted death-struggle ceased
at twenty minutes past seven o'clock on the morning of April 15th, 1865. At
noon, an autopsy was made in the presence of the Surgeon General and others
by Assistant Surgeon J. J. Woodward, U. S. A., aided by Assistant Surgeon
Edward Curtis, U. S. A." Medical/Surgical History--Part I,
Volume II, On Special Wounds And Injuries. Chapter I.--Wounds And
Injuries Of The Head. Section III --Trephining After Gunshot Fractures
Of The Skull
CASE 8.--Private Edwin Pfluger, Co. H, 2d Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, aged
28 years, was wounded before Petersburg, June 27th, 1864, by a conoidal
ball, which entered the right shoulder posteriorly and perforated the
scapula just below the spine. He was admitted to the hospital at Fort Monroe
on July 4th. On July 14th, intermediary haemorrhage, to the amount of three
pints, occurred. Assistant Surgeon
Edward Curtis, U. S. A., ligated,
axillary artery in its continuity, not far below the clavicle; haemorrhage
recurred on the 24th; and, on the 25th, Dr. Curtis ligated the subclavician
artery in the third part of its course. Haemorrhage recurred on the 27th,
from the distal end of the axillary artery, but it was arrested by plugging
the wound. The case terminated tidally on August 10th, 1864. <ms_p1v2_540>
Medical Examiner.—B. in Providence, 4
June, '38.—Grad. Harvard 1859. M. D. from U. of Penn. '64.—Entered U. S. A.
as Medical Cadet, '61.—Acting Asst. Surg. '63. Asst. Surg. '64.—Settled in
N. Y. City '70.—Developed Micro, photog'y.—Lecturer on Histology at Coll. P.
andS., N. Y., '70.—Prof.Materia Med. '73. Emeritus Prof. '86.—Asst. Surg. N.
Y. Eye and Ear Inf. '72 ; Surg. '74. Medical Director Equitable Life Ass.
Soc. '76 to date. (seeTV. Y. Med. Examiner.)
(The personal edited research
notes of Michael Echols, the source of which may or
may not be completely documented)