Recommending Brother John Warren, Newly Minted M.D.

in by Warren

Date: October 13, 1773


The Person who will wait on you with this is a Brother who has been with me in the Study and Practice of Physic and I think has made that Proficiency which justifies my recommending him to the Notice of my medical Friends, He is now deliberating upon the Place of settling himself in- Marblehead was first in his Intentions but since the Death of Dr. Fracsfield[?] he has thought of Salem – No doubt some person will step in upon this Vacancy as Salem is a large populous Town. I take the Liberty of requesting you to give your friendly Novice upon a Matter Interesting to him and I believe your opinion will determine him your Examinations of him in Anatomy Surgery Midwifery and Physick as far as Time will permit will be very agreeable to him and much oblige me

I must beg your Example for the Trouble I give you and am Sir:

with great Esteem yr most

obdt Servant J[oseph][ Warren”

Source: John Collins Warren Papers, Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, Ms. N-1731, box 2 of 23

Commentary: At the successful conclusion of a two-year apprenticeship, Joseph Warren recommends his youngest brother John Warren to Dr. Edward Augustus Holyoke [b. August 21, 1728; Harvard BA 1746; began practice in 1749; initially a Loyalist; became a Patriot during the Revolutionary War; d. March 31, 1829] of Salem, Massachusetts.

Joseph may have met Dr. Holyoke during the latter’s inoculation for smallpox by Dr. Perkins in 1764. It was the only ‘vacation’ that Dr. Holyoke ever took from his medical practice in Salem. Joseph Warren was the young house physician in the smallpox hospital organized by Dr. Perkins & Company.

John Warren went on to set up his practice in Salem, returning to Boston briefly in September of 1774 to help the Boston Committee of Correspondence following Thomas Young’s precipitous departure, and finally decamping in April 1775 for military service during the Siege of Boston and the New York campaign.

If John and Joseph judged in October of 1773 that Dr. Holyoke was getting up in years and soon might be cutting back the frenetic pace of his practice, the Warrens were mistaken. Dr. Holyoke continued to maintain the busiest medical practice in all of New England, seeing over 11 patients a day on average 24/7 continuously for 75 years. Later a founder and early leader of the Massachusetts Medical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), Holyoke’s complete run of 120 account books are now maintained at the Salem Athenaeum. He remained clinically active as a nonagenarian into the 1820s, long after the Warren brothers were in their graves.

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