American Medical Biographies/Black, John Janvier

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Black, John Janvier (1837–1909)

John J. Black, United States surgeon and resident physician to the Blockley Hospital, was born in Delaware City on November 6, 1837, the son of Charles H. and Anne Janvier Black, the mother coming of an old Huguenot family. He studied at Princeton, New Jersey, and was given its honorary A. M. in 1907, His M. D. was from the University of Pennsylvania, in 1862.

He settled in practice in New Castle, Delaware, and was specially interested in the anti-tuberculosis crusade and the care of the insane and was president of the Delaware Insane Asylum, being energetic in instituting the Delaware State Hospital. As a surgeon he eagerly studied all that was new, yet on his long country rounds of thirty to forty miles he did successful operations with the poorest accessories, a scrupulous cleanliness being the only available antiseptic in those days. His skill as an obstetrician was well known in the country round. One day I hurried with him to a case which demanded Cesarean section for the patient, a deformed, rachitic negro dwarf; he devised an operating table out of some chairs and boards, the cooking stove furnished us boiling water, and a piece of fishing line, sterilized, served for ligatures when he found a complication in the shape of subperitoneal fibroid tumors which obliged him to remove the uterus en masse. The mother did not long survive but the child grew up.

Interesting writings were: "Forty Years in the Medical Profession" also "Consumption in Delaware" and "Snakes in Delaware."

Black was a member of the College of Physicians, Philadelphia, and the State Medical Society. In 1872 he married Jeanie Groome Black and had two children, Elizabeth Groome and Armytage Middleton. He died of uremia at New Castle on September 27, 1909.