American Medical Biographies/Hale, Enoch

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Hale, Enoch (1790–1848).

Enoch Hale was born in West Hampton, Massachusetts, January 19, 1790. His father, of the same name, was the first minister of West Hampton. In early life his health was poor, he having a cough with hemoptysis. He went to New Haven, Connecticut, where he attended Prof. Silliman's (q. v.) lectures and devoted himself to the study of chemistry, later studying medicine with Dr. Hooker of his native town and then removing to Boston to continue these studies with Jacob Bigelow (q. v.) and John Warren (q. v.) He graduated from the Harvard Medical School in 1813, with an inaugural dissertation on "Experiments on the Production of Animal Heat by Respiration." It was published and called forth a rejoinder from Sir Benjamin Brodie, in the columns of the London Medical and Physical Journal.

Hale settled in Gardiner, Maine, where he had a friend, Dr. Benjamin Vaughan (q. v.), a learned English gentleman and recent settler in Gardiner, having a large acquaintance among scientific men abroad, and the possessor of a large library. Hale studied meteorological problems and wrote the "History and Description of an Epidemic Fever, commonly called Spotted Fever, which prevailed at Gardiner, Maine, in the spring of 1814."

Removing to Boston he was appointed district physician to the Boston Dispensary in 1819. In this year he published a dissertation which received the Boylston prize in Harvard University, and another in 1821, also gaining a Boylston prize. He was one of the early visiting physicians to the Massachusetts General Hospital and in 1839 published a work entited, "Observations on the Typhoid Fever of New England," the oration at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Medical Society. This with the papers of George C. Shattuck (1836), Gerhard of Philadelphia (1836) and Elisha Bartlett (1842) served to draw a clear distinction between typhus and typhoid fever. Hale was an excellent secretary of the Massachusetts Medical Society from 1832 to 1835 and was instrumental in revising the by-laws.

In the latter years of his life he suffered with Bright's disease and worked handicapped with great pain. He was honest, frank and somewhat intolerant of unfairness in others.

He died November 12, 1848.

Boston Med. and Surg. Jour., vol. xxxix, p. 334.
Communications Massachusetts Med. Soc., vol. viii. p. 45.