Medical Education in Iowa


Mt. Pleasant, Henry County
Iowa Wesleyan was founded February 17th, 1842 at Mount Pleasant. About 1871, under the leadership of the Reverend John Wheeler as President, new courses were added and the departments were greatly expanded. Among the additions was a Department of Pharmacy and Medicine with a faculty consisting of:

John Wheeler, D.D., President
John W. Mansfield, A.M.
Mason Boyles, A.M.
Willington Bird, M.D.
A. W. McClure, M.D.

This department embraced two courses of study (1) Pharmacy, (2) Anatomy. The courses required four months of intensive study in addition to the bachelor of science requirement. The degree of Bachelor of Medicine was conferred upon those who completed the course in Anatomy. The degree of Pharmaceutical chemist was also granted. As given in the 1872 catalogue the course in Anatomy -"Is designed to provide a thorough foundation for a knowledge of the principles of the Medical Profession. It includes General Chemistry, Professional Physiology and Theoretical and Practical Anatomy". Provision was also made for a "course in Medical Reading". Tuition per term was $10.00, and "incidentals" $5.00.

The course was listed for the first time in the 1872 catalogue. Six students are named as having registered for the course its first year. They were:
Stephen Greenleaf, Bloomfield, Iowa
J. Ancil Briggs, Knoxville, Iowa
Charles F. Knowlton, Oskaloosa, Iowa
Frank W. Adams, Wapello, Iowa
John P. Andrews, Urbana, Missouri
Norman F. Terry, Winfield, Iowa
Thomas Faris completed the course in 1872 and received the degree of Bachelor of Medicine.

This course was offered from 1871 to 1877 and the term "Medicine" was dropped from the title of the department in 1881. About the time this course was introduced at Iowa Wesleyan there was a general movement toward the formation of "preparatory medical course". It was stated by Dean Sanford of Keokuk that these courses were designed to replace the preceptorial training preparatory to entering the regular medical course. However they were found to be impracticable and were soon discontinued for those desiring to prepare for the practice of medicine.

One Hundred Years of Iowa Medicine: Commemorating The Centenary of the Iowa State Medical Society 1850 - 1950
Publisher: Athens Press, Iowa City, Iowa

Transcribed by Conni McDaniel Hall 22 Jan 2021.
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