MENTION Dr. Joseph Parrish in Philadelphia medical circles, and you'll get your glass filled up straight away—so toastworthy is he in these parts. He was the man who saw Philadelphians through the yellow fever epidemic of 1805. Four of his sons, Joseph, Isaac, Dillwyn, and Edward, were medical men of distinction as well, although the latter two were apothecaries rather than physicians. All were Philadelphia Quakers, men devoted as much to their religious persuasions as to their professions. Each followed the plain life prescribed by the Society of Friends, which, among other things, meant no recognition of the arts and absolutely no ostentatious display. So they all, with little attention to cultural developments outside their Quaker community, quietly and unpretentiously went about making medicine the "family occupation."
Then in 1846, one of the sons—could it have been possible?—sired a painter, a serious painter! This act was not only sacrilegious, but
Fraser D. How Doctor Parrish's Great-Grandson Doodled His Way Through School—and Life! JAMA. 1974;230(4):571–572. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240040041029
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