Monday, January 6, 2014

Illustrious Language

As I scan through the “Medical Annals of Maryland” published by MedChi on the occasion of the 100th anniversary by MedChi member, Eugene Cordell, 

I am often struck by the language, which reflected that of the era – late 1800’s and early 1900’s. It is much more descriptive and florid than anything we’d ever use now.

Of James Moat Anderson (1752-1820), Cordell said:

His appearance was unique and striking: though small in stature and limping in gait, his dignity was never laid aside. His person was slender and arrayed in a gray cloth, long-waisted, shad-breasted coat, reaching far below the knee; a standing collar and ample pockets; olive-colored velvet breeches with silver knee buckles, such as were worn by gentlemen of time; gray home-knit stockings and low quartered shoes, which were exchanged in winter for red-topped boots, a low-crowned, broad-brimmed beaver hat and white-lawned stock, buckled behind.


Of Tristram Thomas (1769-1847),

He was very tall and spare with narrow sloping shoulders; gentle and sympathetic. The very model of a polished gentleman. He carried a cane made of wood from the Mount of Olives.


Of David Stewart (1813-1860), he said:

Of the olden school, stern yet gentle as a woman, and courteous as a Chesterfield; a brilliant conversationalist with whom no one ever conversed without profit and his tongue was always clean.

Of my many greats-grandfather, Richard Sprigg Steuart (1797-1876), imagehe said:

He devoted his life and means to the relief of the insane. An enlightened physician and alienist and a gentleman of most courteous manners.

The book is filled with these lovely sentiments of long-gone gentlemen.

1 comment:

  1. Upon ancestry research I found that Dr. James Moat Anderson is my 5th Great Grandfather. I've been told that through the years it's been said that my Great Great Grandmother was supposedly the first woman brain surgeon. She would have followed this lineage. Is there somewhere or someone I can get in contact with to clarify this? She was Elzabeth Anderson. signed: