American Medical Biographies/Hunt, John Gibbons

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Hunt, John Gibbons (1826–1893).

John Gibbons Hunt, physician and microscopist, was born at Darby, Pennsylvania, July 26, 1826, the son of Abram Gibbons Hunt, a farmer, and Massey Jones. He graduated M. D. at the University of Pennsylvania in 1850 with a thesis on "Histology of Muscular Tissue." In 1868 he became a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences; in 1884 a fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia; he was professor of histology and microscopy in the Woman's Medical College, Philadelphia, 1872–1890. During the Civil War he was acting assistant surgeon U. S. Army in charge of Summit House Hospital, Philadelphia.

Except for a few articles in the Cincinnati Medical News and other journals he wrote little. He was associated with Joseph Zentmayer, our early great manufacturer of microscopic appliances. Professor Harshberger ("Botanists of Philadelphia," page 257) says of Hunt: "As a manipulator of the microscope and preparer of objects he was unsurpassed, but he looked on his skill as only the means to the end—a knowledge of the objects themselves. Having made himself familiar with animal histology, he very early turned his attention to the anatomy of plants of which he acquired an intimate acquaintance. He was one of the very first to apply to plants the methods of staining that were in use for animal tissues, having begun before 1850." He began double staining vegetal tissues in 1853 by methods afterwards published by Dr. Beatty, [George Dobbin Beatty (q. v.)] of Baltimore, whose articles were widely quoted in the journals of this country and Europe."

He married Anna Maria White, daughter of Joseph White of Philadelphia in 1851. They had three daughters who were practising physicians.

Hunt was founder of the Biological and Microscopical Sections of the Academy of Natural Sciences; he was Conservator, 1872 to 1880.

Dr. Harshberger further says of him that "although master of the most refined technique, he never received a large share of popular recognition on account of his native modesty and reserve."

Dr. Hunt died April 29, 1893, at Landsdowne, Pennsylvania.

Information from Mr. Charles Perry Fisher.
Information from Dr. Ewing Jordan.