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The Medical Education of William Brooks Bigler (1863)

Suzanne M. Shultz, MA
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

York Hospital; York, PA 17405 Acknowledgments: The author thanks Charles E. Letocha, MD, of York and David A. Smith, MD, of Harrisburg for reading the manuscript and offering suggestions and Steve Moyer for invaluable assistance with photography. Requests for Reprints: Suzanne M. Shultz, Director of Library Services, York Hospital, 1001 South George Street, York, PA 17405; e-mail, li_sshultz@yorkhospital.edu.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1998;129(5):426-430. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-129-5-199809010-00026
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William Brooks Bigler was born on 6 October 1833 in Fairview Township, York County, Pennsylvania. During the Civil War, he was one of the first to volunteer for the defense of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at the time of the Confederate invasion and was stationed at Camp Curtin for a few weeks. He read medicine under his brother-in-law, Dr. B.F. Porter [1], entered Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia in 1863, and graduated on 10 March 1865. No copies of his doctoral thesis, entitled “Specific Remedies,” are available. After beginning medical practice in East Prospect, Bigler moved to Wrightsville, returned to East Prospect, and finally settled in Dallastown (all in York County, Pennsylvania). He married 6 months after graduation from medical school and had three children. A writer, local historian, school director, and member of the Pennsylvania legislature (1883-1884) [2], Bigler died on 1 April 1915 of “senile debility” at his home in Dallastown [3].

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Figure 1.
William Brooks Bigler's notebook, a small leather-bound book about one-half inch thick.
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Figure 2.
Two pages of Bigler's notebook, showing his notes from Samuel H.

Dickson's “Practice of Medicine” lectures, December 1863.

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