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April 19, 1965

Jacob Bigelow, Professor of Materia Medica at Harvard

Author Affiliations

Dean, Harvard Medical School Boston

JAMA. 1965;192(3):263. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080160083038

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To the Editor:—  In the Jan 4 issue of The Journal (191:47-48), Jacob Bigelow, father of Henry Jacob Bigelow, is mentioned as the first professor of materia medica at Harvard Medical School. Mr. Robert W. Lovett, the School's Archivist, has confirmed my belief that Jacob Bigelow was the second person appointed to this position. The first was Aaron Dexter, who served as Professor of Chemistry and Materia Medica from 1783 to 1791 and as Erving Professor of Chemistry and Materia Medica from 1791 to 1816. When Dexter retired in 1816, that part of the professorship relating to materia medica became vacant. Jacob Bigelow, who had been Lecturer on Materia Medica and Botany from 1815, was appointed Professor of Materia Medica and Botany in 1818, and he held that office until 1855.

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