Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/266

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266
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

WALTER REED.[1]
By MAJOR WALTER D. McCAW,

SURGEON U. S. ARMY.

IT is given to but few scientific men to lay bare a secret of nature materially affecting the prosperity of nations, and the lives, fortunes and happiness of thousands. Fewer still succeed in so quickly convincing brother scientists and men in authority of the truth of their discoveries that their own eyes behold the glorious result of their labor. Of the fifty-one years of Walter Reed's industrious, blameless life, twelve only were spent in the study of the special branch of science in which he became famous, but his name now stands with those of Jenner, Lister and Morton, as among the benefactors of humanity.

Walter Reed was born in Gloucester County, Virginia, September 13, 1851, the son of the Rev. Lemuel Sutton Reed and Pharaba White, his wife. The circumstances of his family were modest, and some of the years of his boyhood were spent in a much troubled section of the south during the great civil war. He acquired, however, a good preliminary education, and at an age when most boys are still in the schoolroom, he began the study of medicine at the University of Virginia, graduating as M.D. in 1868, when only seventeen years old. A second medical degree was received later from Bellevue Medical College, New York, and then came terms of service in the Brooklyn City Hospital, and the City Hospital, Blackwell's Island. Before the age of twenty-one, Reed was a district physician in New York City, and at twenty-two one of the five inspectors of the Board of Health of Brooklyn.

He entered the army of the United States as assistant surgeon with the rank of first lieutenant, in 1875, and for the next eighteen years, with the usual varying fortunes of a young medical officer of the army, he served in Arizona, Nebraska, Dakota and in the southern and eastern states. According to the exigencies of the service he was moved frequently from station to station, everywhere recognized by men of his own age as a charming and sympathetic companion, and by older officers as an earnest and intelligent physician, whose industry, fidelity to duty, and singularly clear judgment, gave brilliant promise for the future. In the poor cabins and dugouts of the pioneers in the sparsely settled districts where he served his flag, Reed was ever a messenger of healing and comfort. At that time army posts on the frontier were


  1. A memoir, published by the Walter Reed Memorial Association. Contributions to the memorial fund may be sent to the treasurer, Mr. Chas J. Bell, President American Security and Trust Co., Washington, D. C.