American Medical Biographies/Ingals, Ephraim

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Ingals, Ephraim (1823–1900)

Ephraim Ingals was descended from the Edmund Ingalls who, coming from Lincolnshire, England, with Governor Endicott's colony (landing at Salem, Massachusetts, in 1628), was the first settler of Lynn, Massachusetts. Ephraim was the youngest of nine children and was born in Abington, Connecticut, May 26, 1823. Left an orphan at the age of eight he had to work for his support and in 1837 went to Lee County, Illinois, where a branch of the Ingals family had settled, and worked on a farm for three years. He went to school, but having small means manual labor was combined with study. From 1845 to 1847 he attended Rush Medical College and graduated in February, 1847. He settled at Lee Center, Illinois, and practised there for ten years, then moved to Chicago meeting with success as a general practitioner. He was associated with Daniel Brainard (q.v.) and De Laskie Miller in running the Northwestern Medical and Surgical Journal; he succeeded John H. Rauch (q.v.)) as professor of materia medica and therapeutics at Rush Medical College (1859). Although not a brilliant lecturer he was a good teacher, and remained at the college until 1871, when he resigned and was made emeritus professor; he was treasurer of the College part of the time and was active in the construction of a new building; his private practice pressed him and he was sometimes forced to go to a morning lecture without having slept the night before.

His broad interest in the profession led him to suggest building a medical library for the use of physicians at large, but when he learned that the trustees of the Newberry Library had planned for a Medical Library Department, he heartily joined in this effort, and became specially active in advancing the standards of medical education. He believed in a better general education for intending students of medicine and longer terms of graded instruction in college before graduation.

He strongly advocated Rush Medical College becoming the medical department of the University of Chicago and gave $25,000 to the College when the affiliation became effected. Ingals was a leading spirit in Rush Medical College which was the object of his chief medical interest, but his generosity went beyond this, for he gave $10,000 toward constructing the laboratory building of the Medical Department of Northwestern University.

Dr. Ingals' daughter, Lucy S., became the wife of Ephriam Fletcher Ingals (q. v.).

Group of Distinguished Phys. & Surgs. of Chicago, F. M. Sperry, Chicago, 1904.