Famous 19th Century American Physicians

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell
Famous As: First Woman Medical Graduate
Birthdate: February 3, 1821
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bristol
Died: May 31, 1910

 2 John Harvey Kellogg

John Harvey Kellogg
Famous As: Doctor, Inventor
Birthdate: February 26, 1852
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tyrone Township, Michigan, United States
Died: December 14, 1943
Physician, nutritionist, and businessman John Harvey Kellogg served as the director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, which was a combination of a European spa, a hydrotherapy center, a hospital, and a hotel. He believed in biologic living. However, he is best remembered as the inventor of corn flakes.

 3 Harvey Cushing

Harvey Cushing
Famous As: Neurosurgeon
Birthdate: April 8, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died: October 7, 1939
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 4 J. Marion Sims

J. Marion Sims
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: January 25, 1813
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lancaster County, South Carolina, United States
Died: November 13, 1883

Known as The Father of Modern Gynaecology, J. Marion Sims is remembered for developing a surgical method to deal with vesicovaginal fistula, a childbirth-related complication. However, since his experiments were conducted on Black slave-women, without anesthesia, they were later deemed unethical. He had also headed the American Gynecological Society.

 5 Mary Edwards Walker

Mary Edwards Walker
Famous As: Surgeon, Feminist, Activist
Birthdate: November 26, 1832
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oswego
Died: February 21, 1919

Mary Edwards Walker, or Dr. Mary Walker, was the only female surgeon who served injured soldiers during the American Civil War. A dress reform supporter, she believed women should value comfort more than tradition when it came to clothes. She was also the first and only Medal of Honor winner.

 6 Samuel Mudd

Samuel Mudd
Famous As: Physician, Farmer, Politician
Birthdate: December 20, 1833
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Charles County
Died: January 10, 1883

 7 William Stewart Halsted

William Stewart Halsted
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: September 23, 1852
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City
Died: September 7, 1922

William Stewart Halsted was the man behind the first American surgical school at the Johns Hopkins University. The master surgeon made a number of contributions to medical science, including the introduction of mastectomy and aseptic surgical procedures. He often injected cocaine into his body to develop anesthesia.

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 8 Andrew Taylor Still

Andrew Taylor Still
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: August 6, 1828
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lee County
Died: December 12, 1917

 9 Walter Reed

Walter Reed
Famous As: Military physician, Zoologist, Entomologist
Birthdate: September 13, 1851
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Belroi
Died: November 22, 1902

 10 Daniel Hale Williams

Daniel Hale Williams
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: January 18, 1856
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: August 4, 1931

Daniel Hale Williams was a general surgeon known for performing the first documented, successful pericardium surgery in the US in 1893. Born to interracial parents, he faced numerous struggles in his journey to become a physician. He later founded the first non-segregated hospital in the United States, Chicago's Provident Hospital. He also founded a nursing school for African Americans. 

 11 Walter Jackson Freeman II

Walter Jackson Freeman II
Famous As: American physician
Birthdate: November 14, 1895
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: May 31, 1972

American neurologist Walter Jackson Freeman II is remembered for co-developing the technique of prefrontal lobotomy as a treatment for mental ailments, along with neurosurgeon James W. Watts. Though many of his patients died due to the treatment, he is still considered a pioneer in the field of neurosurgery.

 12 Helen B. Taussig

Helen B. Taussig
Famous As: Cardiologist
Birthdate: May 24, 1898
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 20, 1986
Helen B. Taussig is remembered as the founder of pediatric cardiology. Born to a Harvard professor father and a mother who was a women’s education pioneer, she was denied a Harvard seat for being a woman and thus studied medicine at Johns Hopkins. She pioneered the cure of the blue baby syndrome.

 13 William Chester Minor

William Chester Minor
Famous As: Former Surgeon known for Contributions to the Oxford English Dictionary
Birthdate: June 22, 1834
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sri Lanka
Died: March 26, 1920

William Chester Minor was an army surgeon and lexicographical researcher. He studied at Yale Medical School and earned a medical degree with a specialization in comparative anatomy. He then became an army surgeon. He was later committed to a London psychiatric hospital for many years as he suffered from paranoid delusions. He became a lexicographical researcher while incarcerated.  

 14 Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Famous As: Physician & Poet
Birthdate: August 29, 1809
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 7, 1894

 15 Max Gerson

Max Gerson
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: October 18, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wągrowiec
Died: March 8, 1959

German-American physician Max Gerson was the proponent of the Gerson Therapy, which began as a diet-based treatment for migraine but ended up being used by him as a treatment for tuberculosis and cancer. Though Gerson died of pneumonia, there was an alternate theory that stated he had been murdered.

 16 Martin Delany

Martin Delany
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: May 6, 1812
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Charles Town, Virginia, United States
Died: January 24, 1885

 17 Ephraim McDowell

Ephraim McDowell
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: November 11, 1771
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Virginia, United States
Died: June 25, 1830

Considered the founder of operative gynecology, Ephraim McDowell was also the first person to perfect lithotomy, a surgical technique for removing stones obstructing urinary bladder. He came to limelight when he successfully removed a 20-pound tumor from Jane Todd Crawford’s ovary, later performing twelve more ovariotomies, out of which seven were successful, thus demonstrating the viability of elective abdominal surgery.

 18 Leonard Wood

Leonard Wood
Famous As: Politician, Military personnel
Birthdate: October 9, 1860
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Winchester, New Hampshire, United States
Died: August 7, 1927

 19 William Beaumont

William Beaumont
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: November 21, 1785
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lebanon, Connecticut, United States
Died: April 25, 1853

Nineteenth-century U.S. Army surgeon William Beaumont pioneered the study of human digestion. While treating a person named Alexis St. Martin, who had been near-fatally shot in the stomach, Beaumont discovered a lot of gastric processes and later published them as a treatise on the physiology of digestion.

 20 William T. G. Morton

William T. G. Morton
Famous As: Dentist
Birthdate: August 9, 1819
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Charlton, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 15, 1868

 21 Frederick Cook

Frederick Cook
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: June 10, 1865
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hortonville, New York, United States
Died: August 5, 1940

Apart from being a qualified physician, Frederick Cook was also a passionate explorer. He was initially the surgeon on explorer Robert E. Peary’s team. He later created controversy by conflicting with Peary, saying it was him and not Peary who had first explored the North Pole, though his claims were denounced.

 22 John Gorrie

John Gorrie
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: October 3, 1803
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nevis, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Died: June 29, 1855

 23 Fredric Wertham

Fredric Wertham
Famous As: Psychologist, Psychiatrist
Birthdate: March 20, 1895
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City
Died: November 18, 1981

 24 Gisella Perl

Gisella Perl
Famous As: Gynecologist
Birthdate: December 10, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sighetu Marmației, Romania
Died: December 16, 1988

 25 William James Mayo

William James Mayo
Famous As: Physician and Surgeon
Birthdate: June 29, 1861
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Le Sueur
Died: July 28, 1939

Physician and surgeon William James Mayo is best-known as a principal co-founder of the non-profit American academic medical center Mayo Clinic. Son of British-American medical-doctor and chemist William Worrall Mayo, William James and his brother, Charles Horace Mayo, joined the sole-proprietorship medical practice of their father, which developed under them and other doctors intothe Mayo Clinic.

 26 Harry Stack Sullivan

Harry Stack Sullivan
Famous As: Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist, Psychologist
Birthdate: February 21, 1892
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City
Died: January 14, 1949

 27 William Worrall Mayo

William Worrall Mayo
Famous As: Chemist, Politician, Gynaecologist, Editor
Birthdate: May 31, 1819
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Salford
Died: March 6, 1911

Part of the renowned Mayo family of doctors of the U.S., William Worrall Mayo played a key role in establishing the Mayo Clinic. He and his two sons built the St. Mary’s Hospital, along with the Sisters of St. Francis, after the deadly tornado of 1883 destroyed Rochester.

 28 Howard Atwood Kelly

Howard Atwood Kelly
Famous As: Surgeon, Writer, Gynaecologist, University teacher
Birthdate: February 20, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Camden
Died: January 12, 1943

American obstetrician/gynaecologist and professor Howard Atwood Kelly was among the four outstanding physicians, known as the Big Four, along with William Welch, William Halsted and William Osler, who became founding professors at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Kelly established gynaecology as a specialty, and developed a systematic approach to gynaecological medicine and surgery as well as new surgical techniques and devices.

 29 Anna Howard Shaw

Anna Howard Shaw
Famous As: Leader of the women's suffrage movement in the United States.
Birthdate: February 14, 1847
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Newcastle-on-Tyne, England
Died: July 2, 1919

 30 Marcus Whitman

Marcus Whitman
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: September 4, 1802
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rushville, New York, United States
Died: November 29, 1847

 31 Alan L. Hart

Alan L. Hart
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: October 4, 1890
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Coffey County, Kansas, United States
Died: July 1, 1962

 32 Maxwell Maltz

Maxwell Maltz
Famous As: Physician, Writer, Playwright
Birthdate: March 10, 1889
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: April 7, 1975

 33 Horace Wells

Horace Wells
Famous As: Dentist
Birthdate: January 21, 1815
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hartford, Vermont, United States
Died: January 24, 1848

 34 Charles Horace Mayo

Charles Horace Mayo
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: July 19, 1865
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Rochester
Died: May 26, 1939

Part of the Mayo medical family of the U.S., Charles Horace Mayo had established the Mayo Clinic with his brother William James Mayo and others. He specialized in varied medical fields, mastering neurosurgery, goitre surgery, cataract operations, and other procedures. He later served the U.S. Army surgical team.

 35 Sara Josephine Baker

Sara Josephine Baker
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: November 15, 1873
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Poughkeepsie
Died: February 22, 1945

 36 Silas Weir Mitchell

Silas Weir Mitchell
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: February 15, 1829
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 4, 1914

A pioneer of medical neurology, Silas Weir Mitchell not only discovered the causalgia and erythromelalgia but also penned more than 100 monographs on various medical treatments. A talented author, he also penned children’s stories, poems, and novels, such as Roland Blake. He also developed rest cure during the American Civil War.

 37 Hawley Harvey Crippen

Hawley Harvey Crippen
Famous As: Homeopath & Killer of His Wife
Birthdate: September 11, 1862
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Coldwater, Michigan, United States
Died: November 23, 1910

 38 Alice Hamilton

Alice Hamilton
Famous As: Toxicologist, Pathologist, University teacher, Physician
Birthdate: February 27, 1869
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fort Wayne
Died: September 22, 1970

 39 Jacob L. Moreno

Jacob L. Moreno
Famous As: Psychiatrist
Birthdate: May 18, 1889
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bucharest
Died: May 14, 1974

Romanian-American psychiatrist Jacob L. Moreno is best remembered for introducing the concept of psychodrama, consisting of role-play exercises and dramatizations by patients, as a therapeutic method to cure mental ailments. He also pioneered group psychotherapy, introduced the study of social networks, and coined the terms sociometry and sociatry.

 40 Otto Loewi

Otto Loewi
Famous As: Former pharmacologist and psychobiologist who discovered the role of acetylcholine as an endogenous neurotransmitter
Birthdate: June 3, 1873
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: December 25, 1961

Otto Loewi was a German-born American psycho-biologist and pharmacologist, whose research on neurology proved that chemicals were involved in the transmission of nerve impulses. Working with Sir Henry Dale, he established the role of acetylcholine as an endogenous neurotransmitter, co-winning the Nobel Prize for it. Later, he worked on diabetes and devised Loewi’s test for the detection of pancreatic disease.

 41 Joel Roberts Poinsett

Joel Roberts Poinsett
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: March 2, 1779
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Died: December 12, 1851

 42 James McHenry

James McHenry
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: November 16, 1753
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ballymena, Ireland
Died: May 3, 1816

Scotch-Irish American military-surgeon and politician James McHenry, who served as the 3rd United States Secretary of War, is noted as a signer of the United States Constitution from Maryland. He was elected a delegate to Maryland State Convention of 1788. He was instrumental in reorganizing the United States Army into four regiments and established the United States Department of the Navy.

 43 Crawford Long

Crawford Long
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: November 1, 1815
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Danielsville, Georgia, United States
Died: June 16, 1878

American surgeon and pharmacist Crawford Long is best-known as the inventor of modern anaesthetics in the West. Long is believed to be the first to apply inhaled sulfuric ether as a general anaesthesia. He applied it for the first time in 1842 for removing a tumour from a patient’s neck and went on to perform several other surgeries using ether anaesthetic.

 44 Samuel Gridley Howe

Samuel Gridley Howe
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: November 10, 1801
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: January 9, 1876

 45 William C. Gorgas

William C. Gorgas
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: October 3, 1854
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States
Died: July 3, 1920

U.S. Army physician William C. Gorgas was in charge of the sanitation of Panama and successfully eradicated both malaria and yellow fever from the zone, thus paving the way for the construction of the Panama Canal. He was later made part of the Hall of Fame For Great Americans.

 46 Maja Einstein

Maja Einstein
Famous As: Romanist
Birthdate: November 18, 1881
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: June 25, 1951

Maja Einstein is remembered as Albert Einstein’s younger sister and only sibling. After acquiring a Ph.D. in romance languages and literature from Bern, Switzerland, she got married. However, at the beginning of World War II, she fled to the U.S. and remained estranged from her husband till her death.

 47 Paschal Beverly Randolph

Paschal Beverly Randolph
Famous As: Physician, Occultist
Birthdate: October 8, 1825
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: July 29, 1875

 48 Leila Denmark

Leila Denmark
Famous As: Pediatrician, Author
Birthdate: February 1, 1898
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Portal
Died: April 1, 2012

Pediatrician Leila Denmark made headlines when she retired at age 103, after a career spanning over seven decades. She was the oldest practicing pediatrician in the world and the first woman pediatrician from Georgia. She was also the third-oldest living person in the U.S. when she died.

 49 Francis Davis Millet

Francis Davis Millet
Famous As: Painter, sculptor
Birthdate: November 3, 1848
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 15, 1912

 50 William Williams Keen

William Williams Keen
Famous As: Doctor
Birthdate: January 19, 1837
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: June 7, 1932

William Williams Keen pioneered brain surgery in the U.S. Working on neurological injuries as an army surgeon, he discovered many previously unknown neurological ailments. He was also part of a secret operation on a yacht to remove a tumor from the upper jaw of U.S. president Grover Cleveland.