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Article
June 28, 1965

JAMES THACHER (1754-1844) PATRIOT, HISTORIAN, BIOGRAPHER

JAMA. 1965;192(13):1158-1159. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080260046018
Abstract

James Thacher, a native of Barnstable, Mass, a physician of Plymouth, and a prolific writer, prepared an American Medical Biography, one of the first textbooks on the practice of medicine in America, several treatises on a variety of subjects, and a diary of his experiences during the Revolutionary War.1 His father, a farmer, and unable to give him the proper education of his time, apprenticed his son at the age of 16 to Abner Hersey, the leading practitioner of Barnstable. Following five years of practical medicine, Thacher seemed prepared to practice on his own; however, the events of 1775 stirred his patriotism, and, upon application to the medical board of the provincial congress, he was appointed surgeon's mate to the military hospital in Cambridge. Active duty embraced a number of assignments, including service in Whitcomb's regiment at Prospect Hill and later in Boston after the evacuation by the British,

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