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John Curwen M. D.    

CURWEN, M.D., JOHN, is a native of Lower Merion township, Montgomery county, Pa.; received his collegiate education at Yale College, and his medical education at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. Shortly after graduation he was appointed assistant physician of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane in Philadelphia, under the charge of Dr. Thomas S. Kirkbride, and remained there until the fall of 1849. After a year spent in the city of Philadelphia, attending the hospitals and general practice, he was elected in February, 1851, superintendent of the Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital at Harrisburg, where he remained until February 11, 1881. Shortly after leaving that institution he was elected physician in chief and superintendent of the State Hospital for the Insane at Warren, Pa., and assumed charge of the institution on July 7, 1881. He was one of the original members of the Medical Society of Dauphin county, Pa., and is also a member of the Medical Society of Warren County, Pa.

He has been a member of the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania since 1866; was president in 1868, and has been chairman of a number of committees of that society, having reference to the care of the insane, viz., the committee to memorialize the Legislature in favor of a hospital for the insane for the northern district of the State, now located at Danville; the committee to memorialize the Legislature in favor of the law regulating the admission into hospital for the insane, passed in 1869; to memorialize the Legislature in favor of a hospital for insane criminals; to memorialize the Legislature in favor of the hospital for the northwestern district of the State, now located at Warren, Pa.; to memorialize the Legislature in favor of a hospital for the southeastern district of the State.

The hospital now located at Norristown was established as the result of that movement, but not as the memorialists had intended. He has been a member of the American Medical Association for about twenty years, and has read papers before that body on the care of the insane.

He has been a member of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane since 1851, and its secretary since 1858. He is also an honorary member of the British Medico-Psychological Association, and of the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia.

He was one of the commissioners for the erection of the State Hospital for the Insane at Danville, Pa., and also for the erection of the State Hospital for the Insane at Warren, Pa., and was also one of the commission appointed by the Legislature to inquire into the condition of insane criminals in Pennsylvania. He has been for many years one of the trustees of Lafayette College, Easton, Pa.

In 1850 he prepared a manual for attendants in hospitals for the insane. His principal writings have been the reports of the hospitals of which he has been the superintendent; of the commissions on which he has served; various papers and reports to the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania, embodied in their proceedings, and papers read before other societies, or printed in medical journals. He prepared also a history of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane; a history of the original thirteen members of that association, with photographs of each member, and a biographical sketch of Thomas S. Kirkbride, M.D.

History of Warren County: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers, J. S. Schenck, Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., 1887.  More Warren County History Books  Search Hundreds of 1880s-1890s Pennsylvania County History Books for biographies and historical information on your ancestors.  View the book page images on line and print them out for your genealogy file!  Free Access to the old history books - plus birth & death records, census images and ALL other records at ancestry.com.

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