Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Beck, Theodoric Romeyn

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BECK, Theodoric Romeyn, physician, b. in Schenectady, N. Y., 11 April, 1791; d. in Utica, N. Y., 19 Nov., 1855. He was a son of Caleb Beck, and of English descent. He was graduated at Union in 1807, and, after graduation at the College of physicians and surgeons in New York, began to practise in Albany in 1811. In 1813 he presented to the Albany society of arts a comprehensive paper on the mineral resources of the United States. In 1815 he was appointed professor of the institutes of medicine, and lecturer on medical jurisprudence in the College of physicians and surgeons of western New York, at Fairfield. In 1817 he became principal of the Albany academy, which he directed until 1848. He was also professor of medical jurisprudence in Fairfield medical college from 1826 till 1836, and professor of materia medica in that institution from 1836 till 1840, and in Albany medical college from 1840 till 1854. He was chosen president of the New York state medical society in 1829, and became a manager of the state lunatic asylum, and in 1854 president of the board of managers. He collected statistics on deaf-mutes, which influenced the legislature to pass laws for the education of that class. From 1849 to 1853 he edited the “American Journal of Insanity.” His principal work was “Elements of Medical Jurisprudence,” in which he was aided by his brother, John Brodhead. The first edition was printed in 1823; a seventh edition, with notes by Dunlap and Darwell, was issued in London in 1842, and a tenth in Albany in 1850. Dr. Beck also contributed to scientific journals. — His brother, John Brodhead, physician, b. in Schenectady, N. Y., 18 Sept., 1794; d. in Rhinebeck, N. Y., 9 April, 1851. He was a nephew of the Rev. John B. Romeyn, in whose house he was educated. He was graduated at Columbia in 1813, and began the practice of medicine in 1817. From 1822 till 1829 he edited the “New York Medical and Physical Journal.” He became professor of materia medica and of botany in the college of physicians and surgeons in 1826, but exchanged the chair of botany subsequently for that of medical jurisprudence. He assisted T. Romeyn Beck in the preparation of his great work on medical jurisprudence (1823), and published “Medical Essays” (1843), “Infant Therapeutics” (1849), and “Historical Sketch of the State of Medicine in the Colonies” (1850). — Another brother, Lewis Caleb, scientist, b. in Schenectady, N. Y., 4 Oct., 1798; d. in Albany, N. Y., 20 April, 1853. He was graduated at Union in 1817, studied medicine, and began practice in Schenectady in 1818. During 1820-'1 he resided in St. Louis, but soon returned and settled in Albany. He was successively professor of botany in the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1824-'9) professor of botany and chemistry in the Vermont Academy of Medicine (1826-'32), professor of chemistry and natural history at Rutgers College (1830-'7 and 1838-'53), and professor of chemistry and pharmacy at Albany Medical College (1841-'53). He also delivered a course of chemical lectures at Middlebury in 1827, and was appointed mineralogist to the geological survey of New York in 1837. His published works include “A Gazetteer of Illinois and Missouri” (1823); “An Account of the Salt Springs at Salina” (1826); “A Manual of Chemistry” (1831); “Mineralogy of New York” (1842), probably his most important contribution to scientific literature; “On Adulterations” (New York, 1846); and “Botany of the United States North of Virginia” (1848). Gross's “American Medical Biography.”