Warren Medicine Chest

WLMD ID: akhv

This medicine chest belonged to John Collins Warren, M.D. (1778-1856). He was the first Dean of Harvard Medical School and the first surgeon at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital. On January 20, 1845, he granted the dentist, Horace Wells an opportunity to demonstrate anesthesia using nitrous oxide gas. Although Wells had proven the technique in his own dental practice, his demonstration failed. Despite this disappointment, Dr. Warren gave Wells' former partner, Dr. William T. G. Morton, the chance to make another demonstration of anesthesia. On October 16, 1846, Morton successfully demonstrated the technique of ether anesthesia. News of Morton's success soon spread around the world, and began the era of modern surgical anesthesia.

Catalog Record: Warren Medicine Chest

Access Key: akhv
Accession No.: 2006-01-19-1

Title: John C. Warren, surgeon [medicine chest].

Title variation: Alt Title
Title: John C. Warren, surgeon medicine chest.

Publisher: [Place of manufacture not indicated] : Name of manufacturer not indicated] ; [1805-1855].

Physical Descript: 1 medicine chest : wood, metals, velvet ; 43 x 32 x 23.5 cm.

Subject: Medicine Chests.
Subject: Warren, Joh Collins, 1778-1856.

Note Type: General
Notes: Early date (1805) in the date range for the possible year of manufacture
based on the year that he moved with his family to the home on Park Street.
The later date (1855) is simply the year before his death in 1856. The date
range could change if documentation indicates the range should be corrected.

Note Type: General
Notes: Moore FD. John Collins Warren and his act of conscience: a brief narrative of
the trial and triumph of a great surgeon. Ann Surg. 1999;229(2):187-196.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Warren E. The Life of John Collins Warren, M.D.: Compiled Chiefly from his
Autobiography and Journals. Boston: Ticknor and Fields; 1860.

Note Type: Citation
Notes: Warren JC. Etherization: With Surgical Remarks. Boston: William D. Ticknor & Co.; 1848.

Note Type: Physical Description
Notes: One wood medicine chest with front opening double doors; The key to lock did
not come with the chest; A catch on the upper portion of the left door holds
the door closed, and can be depressed to open the door; With the doors closed
the width measures approximately 32 cm; With doors fully opened the width is
approximately 63 cm; Inside of both doors are slotted shelves; The interior
of the body includes shelves and drawers; One small draw is missing; Some
drawers contain slotted round spaces for round bottles; The top of the chest
contains a built in folding brass handle; When the handle is folded down it
lays flush with the wood; A brass label on top of the chest is engraved in a
serif-font; The text includes, “John C. Warren [new line] Surgeon [new line]
Park St. Boston”; There are cracks in the wood both on the bottom and back
panels, and some looseness in some of the lower joints;

Note Type: Reproduction
Notes: Photographed by Mr. Steve Donisch on January 15, 2013.

Note Type: Exhibition
Notes: Chosen for the WLM website (noted June 10, 2013).