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Biographical entry Warren, John Collins (1842 - 1927)

Hon FRCS July 25th 1900; Hon FRCS Edin 1908; AM Harvard 1863; MD 1866; Hon LLD Jefferson Medical College 1895; Harvard 1906; McGill 1911 etc.

4 May 1842
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
November 1927
General surgeon


Born on May 4th, 1842, in Boston, Mass, the son of Jonathan Mason Warren and his wife, Annie Crowninshield. The Warren family is of old New England stock. In the life of his eponymous grandfather, Dr J Collins Warren, he states:

"John Collins Warren was born in Boston on August 1st, 1778. His grandfather, Joseph, was a prosperous farmer settled in Roxbury. His father, Dr John Warren, was the younger brother of Dr Joseph Warren, the Revolutionary patriot, who was killed at Bunker Hill. John Warren was one of the founders of the Harvard Medical School. Warren's mother, Abigail, was the daughter of John Collins, Governor of Rhode Island from 1786 to 1789." (Surg, Gynecol and Obst, 1926, xlii, 142.)

The subject of this memoir was educated in the Boston Latin, and Mr Dixwell's Schools, and studied for two years in London, Edinburgh, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna.

He was the Instructor of Surgery in the Harvard Medical School from 1871-1882; Assistant Professor from 1882-1887; Associate Professor from 1887-1893; Professor of Surgery from 1893-1899; Moseley Professor of Surgery from 1899-1907; Professor Emeritus from 1907 until his death; and Overseer of Harvard University from 1908-1914. He was Surgeon to Out-patients and later Visiting Surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1869-1905.

He was President of the Massachusetts Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary from 1886-1899, member and past President of the Humane Society of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and member and past President of the Bunker Hill Monument Association; hon member of the Phi Beta Kappa (Harvard, 1913); Editor of the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal from 1873-1881; Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Hon Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; member of the American Surgical Association (President, 1896), the American Medical Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society, the College of Physicians, Philadelphia, and of the Harvard Cancer Commission (Chairman, 1899-1922). He was also a member of the Somerset and Harvard Clubs and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Warren took a very active part in the founding of the Collis P Huntington Memorial Hospital in 1911, and in the Harvard Medical School Buildings on Boylston Street in 1883 and on Longwood Avenue in 1906. He died in November, 1927.

He married Amy Shaw, daughter of Gardner Howland and Cora (Lyman) Shaw on May 27th, 1873. He was survived by two sons - John Warren (d July 17th, 1928), Associate Professor of Anatomy at the Harvard Medical School, who supplied the above data; and Joseph Warren, Vice-Dean and Bussey Professor of Law at the Law School of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, who married Constance Martha Williams in 1905. There are four grandchildren. His portrait is in the Hon Fellows' Album. He left behind him a pleasant memory as of a frank and cordial American gentleman of the old school, highly cultivated and living in an atmosphere of inherited beauty. His house was filled with artistic treasures collected by himself and inherited from his forbears. In old age he grew completely blind, but retained his keen interest in affairs.

Healing of Arteries in Man and Animals after Ligature, 8vo, New York, 1886. Surgical Pathology and Therapeutics, 8vo, Philadelphia, 1895; 2nd ed, 1900. Editor and part author of International Text-book of Surgery by American and British Authors, 2 vols, 1900; and many other medical papers.
His very extensive bibliography will be found in the Index Catalogue of the Library
of the Surgeon General's Office

Sources used to compile this entry: [New England Jour Med, 1929, cc, 863. Additional information kindly supplied by Professor Joseph Warren].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England