Click the images below for bigger versions:
Wigglesworth, Dr. Edward
Group of Letters from Pioneer American Dermatologist Dr. Edward Wigglesworth, to Harvard classmate James Edward Wright, 1871-1895

five letters, 18 pages, in very good, clean, legible condition.

$ 250.00 | Contact Us >

Group of letters pertaining to Edward Wigglesworth (1840-1896), a dermatologist who founded the Boston Dispensary for Skin Diseases, headed the Department of Diseases of the Skin at Boston City Hospital, and taught at Harvard Medical School. He was the son of Edward Wigglesworth (1804-1876) who graduated from Harvard in 1822 and studied law at Judge Prescott's office. He helped Dr. Lieber in the publication of the Encyclopaedia Americana, 1829, and served as trustee and president of Massachusetts General Hospital, among other organizations. In 1835, he married Henrietta May Goddard, daughter of Nathaniel Goddard. Dr. Wigglesworth was a direct descendant of the Rev. Michael Wigglesworth (1631-1705), Puritan Divine and the author of A Day of Doom and Meat Out of the Earth.

Dr. Wigglesworth graduated Harvard 1861, M.D., 1865, studied dermatology in Europe, 1865-1870, m. Sarah (Willard) Frothingham, Apr. 4, 1882, the couple had three children. He served with the Union Army during the Civil War; founded and maintained Boston Dispensary for Skin Diseases, 1872-1877; head Dept. of Skin Diseases Boston City Hospital; instructor dermatology Harvard Medical School; president American Dermatology Association, 1885; active in introducing law to require registration of physicians in Massachusetts, founded Boston Medical Register. Died Boston, January 23, 1896.

Harvard Medical School has an endowed Edward Wigglesworth professorship of Dermatology.

Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, p. 579

Boston, May 16th 1871, E. Wigglesworth, Jr. M.D. 24 Charles St.

“My dear Bungay,

       I believe you have my romantic life and thrilling adventures down to where I left my country for my country’s good. I staid 5 years in Europe studying skin diseases, came home Sept. 1870, settled as above, am practicing Dermatology as my Specialty, was appointed a few days since lecturer on Syphilis at the Hav. Med. School, am one of the orators for this year before the annual meeting of the Man. Med. Soc. And am delighted to know that you are enjoying the same blessing … Otherwise I’ve done, been & suffered nothing. Decidedly concur in the idea of a demi-decennial report. “The class” don’t “seem to take no interest”. I’m for the dinner for I should like to see just once the “old familiar faces” tho’ I suppose that’s past hoping for now. As to the Class Fund, I as “the most popular man in the class” shd. Want to do at least as much as any man, but seeing that only 13 men of wh. Unlucky number I was one, have subscribed and that deducting my subscrip. [wh. Was scrip for $ 50. If I remember rightly] there remains for the other 12 an average of less than $ 15.00 it hardly seems worth while to try to fight it out on that line. If the “jolly class of ‘61” should change its mind, regalvanize its effete affections and do the handsome thing, … your friend Ned W.”

108 Boylston St. Boston, July 3/77

“Dear Wright,

      Thanks for news of chart! Yours just rec’d Since 1871 I have pottered along doing my little multa rather than multum. I have however founded and presented to the Harvard Medical School the finest museum in America of Specimens of skin diseases. I am Instructor in Syphilis at the School; one of the collaborators of the Amer. Archives of Dermatology; corresponding Member of the New York Dermatological Society; and one of the Translators of Ziemssen’s Cyclopedia of Universal Medicine.

     I founded and ran for five years the Boston Dispensary for Skin Diseases and the raison d’etre of such an institution being proved the city has now inaugurated that department in its general Dispensary.

     I gave the initial impetus to the Boston Med. Register and to the Boston Med. Library Association and was chairman of the meeting at Philadelphia Sept. 6th 1876 to organize the Amer. Dermatological Association.

    I am a member of the Amer. Med. Assoc. (on Special Committee); Amer. Public Health Assoc.; Amer. Social Science Assoc. (chairman of Health Department); Amer. Metric Bureau (financial and medical committees); Mass. Med. Soc. (committee on scientific papers); Boston Society of Medical Sciences (ex-secretary); Boston Society for Medical Observation (ex-secretary); Boston Soc. Of Nat. Hist.; Boston Med. Library Assoc. (exec. Com.) ‘ etc. I have published a couple of dozen papers upon skin diseases in the Dermatological and other Journals, originals, translations, reviews, digests, abstracts, &c.

      I have become a “Liberal” in Religious matters and am interested in the success of “The Index” of Boston, of which F.E. Abbott is the Editor. My office is at 108 Boylston St Boston my house at 81 Beacon St ditto.  I practice skin diseases exclusively, am still unmarried , have no children and in general “am just as young as I used to be”.  Trusting all our classmates may send you as egotistical missives as this one … Edward Wigglesworth”

108 Boylston St. July 7 (no year)

“Dear Wright,

      Sorry not to see you Decoration Day and Commencement. Pettee did very well for us however & deserves the thanks of all. I think the class grows together more as it shrinks, which perhaps is natural.

     I have done lecturing until next year but my work continues and this is the time also for writing Journal Articles.

     By the way we are going to get out a skin journal in N.Y. Archives of Dermatology & Syphilis & I have been appointed collaborator, my department being Hypertrophies Atrophies and new formations of the skin.

    Also I am one of the translators of Ziemssenn’s Encyclopedia of Medicine an immense work embracing all medicine & bringing it down to the present day, by the best men in the whole German Empire. David Lincoln has just published a valuable little work on Electro-therapeutics being his prize essay.

     I wrote to-day to Hiram who has a nice place in Wales St. off Blue Hill Avenue he has knocked off drink & is doing well, though not quite as strong as he once was.

     Now Wright I am interested in a paper here called the Index & should be glad to send it to you for a year free gratis. I do not care to convert anyone. All are but parts of one stupendous whole & the whole & its parts are all right … But I think it would interest you & show you one side & I hold that we should all see & study all sides… Edw. Wigglesworth”

Jackson New Hampshire, 3/7/95

“Dear Bungay,

     (How the heart warms as it draws more closely to its rapidly shrinking memories) Is it possible to purchase a copy of the ’61 Report of the lives of the members? If so where? I need an additional copy to keep up here in Jackson N.H. where I am trying to establish a summer home with a soil of compost & grass seed equal parts, heaped upon the granite soil of the granite state. … Natheless, it is not so far from Montpelier! Can you not run down for a week & swap yr. society for board, lodging & gratitude? … We’ve got a hill, lots of green apples & a hornets nest & everything to make you comfortable… Did you see the account in the Bost. Daily advertiser of yesterday of “ ’61 the banner class of Harvard with 47 in the war just over a majority.”? It said we sent more than any other class to the war. I did not know that to be the fact. Then if we sent 47 & graduated 78 it seems to me that is much more than a bare majority. The banner class shd. Be the one sending most soldiers in proportion to its numbers, it seems to me.

   I see Dr. Gould, the astronomer, of Cambridge has been run over & his nose fractured. … E. Wigglesworth”



East Boston, February 14, 1896

“Dear Wright,

      I send you a copy of some verses that I have written in honor of Wigglesworth. Wigglesworth was, practically, our real class-supper chorister; and it was in view of the many fine things he did for us, that I felt it my duty to commemorate him in the way in which I have. … John P. Brown”