Isaac Hays, the son of Samuel and Richea Gratz Hays, was born in Philadelphia on July 5, 1796. His father, a wealthy merchant engaged in the East India trade, brought up his family with all the culture and luxury which his means enabled him to command. Isaac acquired from the refinements of his early home life the courteous and affable manner which later distinguished him.
The early education of the youthful Hays was obtained as a pupil of the Rev. Dr. Samuel B. Wylie, an eminent divine and classical scholar of Philadelphia. At the age of 16 Isaac entered the University of Pennsylvania. Here he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1816. The elder Hays desired to have his oldest son succeed him in the mercantile business. Although young Isaac yearned for a professional career, he obeyed his father and worked one year in the counting house.
FLAXMAN N. ISAAC HAYS: PIONEER AMERICAN OPHTHALMOLOGIST. Arch Ophthalmol. 1936;16(1):78–90. doi:10.1001/archopht.1936.00840190088011
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