Hodgkin, Thomas (DNB00)

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HODGKIN, THOMAS, M.D. (1798–1866), physician, son of John Hodgkin (1766–1845) [q. v.], and brother of John Hodgkin (1800–1875) [q. v.], was born at Tottenham, Middlesex, 17 Aug. 1798. He was educated at home, and acquired a good knowledge of Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and German. He studied medicine at Guy's Hospital, London, in Paris, and in Edinburgh, where he graduated M.D. in 1823, publishing a thesis ‘De absorbendi functione.’ He settled in prac- tice in London, working steadily at Guy's Hospital, where in 1825, after becoming a licentiate of the College of Physicians, he was appointed curator of the museum and pathologist. He improved the museum and gave pathological lectures. In 1828 he published ‘An Essay on Medical Education,’ in 1829 a ‘Catalogue of the Preparations in the Anatomical Museum of Guy's Hospital,’ and in 1832 ‘Hints relative to the Cholera in London.’ In the ‘Transactions’ of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society for 1832 he published a number of cases of contemporaneous enlargement of the spleen and lymphatic glands. In his examples he did not clearly distinguish several morbid conditions from one another. Dr. Samuel Wilks in 1865 pointed out (Guy's Hospital Reports, 1865) that four of them belonged to a species of disease which he had himself independently discovered (ib. 1862), and the precise definition of the condition is due to him; but with the generous desire of perpetuating the fame of his predecessor in office as teacher of pathology at Guy's Hospital, he gave this morbid state the name of ‘Hodgkin's Disease.’ It is an enlargement of the lymphatic glands distinguished from struma by the absence of tendency to suppurate in the glands and from leucocythæmia by the absence of changes in the blood. In 1836 Hodgkin's ‘Lectures on the Morbid Anatomy of the Serous and Mucous Membranes’ was published in two volumes, and it established his reputation as a member of the distinguished school of morbid anatomists connected with Guy's Hospital. Hodgkin was a member of the senate of the university of London from its foundation in 1837 till his death. He was a candidate but was never elected physician to Guy's Hospital, nor did he attain a large private practice. He was famed for his generosity to his patients, and was careless of fees. Sir James Clark [q. v.] and other friends in 1857 wished to present him with a valuable testimonial, but he insisted that the money subscribed should be paid over to a charity.

Hodgkin gradually fell out of practice, and gave his time to philanthropic agitation. He had been one of the founders of the Aborigines' Protection Society in 1838, and through it and other agencies worked hard for oppressed savages, persecuted Jews, and ill-housed poor. In 1850 he married a widow, Mrs. Sarah Frances Scaife, and their house in Bedford Square, London, was the scene of much simple hospitality to philanthropists, ethnologists, and geographers. He had no children. In 1866 he visited Palestine with Sir Moses Montefiore, and while there died at Jaffa, 5 April 1866, of an aggravated dysenteric attack. He was buried at Jaffa, and a monument was erected over his grave by Sir Moses Montefiore. He was throughout life a zealous member of the Society of Friends, and always wore their distinctive dress. He translated with Dr. Fisher from the French ‘Edwards on the Influence of Physical Agents on Life’ (London, 1832), and also published ‘The Means of Promoting and Preserving Health’ (London, 1840), of which a second edition appeared in 1841, an ‘Address on Medical Reform’ (1847), ‘A Biographical Sketch of Dr. James Cowles Prichard’ (1849), ‘A Biographical Sketch of Dr. W. Stroud’ (1858), and pamphlets in defence of the Negro Emancipation and the British African Colonization Societies (1833–1834).

[Works; Dr. S. Wilks's Account of some Unpublished Papers of the late Dr. Hodgkin; Guy's Hospital Reports, 3rd ser. v. xxiii; information from Dr. S. Wilks; information from family; Morning Star, 15 April 1866; Lancet, 21 April 1866; Medical Times and Gazette, 14 April 1866; Smith's Cat. of Friends' Books.]

N. M.