Edward H. Williams

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Edward H. Williams
BornJune 1, 1824
DiedDecember 21, 1899 (aged 75)
EducationVermont Medical College
Occupation(s)Physician, railroad executive

Edward Higginson Williams[1] (June 1, 1824 – December 21, 1899) was an American physician and railroad executive known for his philanthropy.

Early life and medical career[edit]

Williams was born on June 1, 1824, in Woodstock, Vermont to Vermont Secretary of State Norman Williams and Mary Ann Wentworth (Brown) Williams.[1][2] He graduated from Vermont Medical College and worked for a time as a physician.[2] While living in Cavendish, Vermont he was the first physician to treat brain-injury survivor Phineas Gage after Gage's accident.[3] Williams later became a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and was decorated as a Knight of the Order of the Polar Star.[1]

Railroad executive[edit]

Williams gave up medicine to work in the railroad industry.[2] He left Vermont and resided in the Rosemont suburb of Philadelphia.[1] Williams became well known in the U.S. for his work with the firm of Burnham, Williams, & Co. In 1870, he joined the Baldwin Locomotive Works.[2]

In addition to his railroad activities, Williams also served as a U.S. commissioner to the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879 and the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880.[1]


Williams gave prominently towards education. He constructed and equipped buildings for the teaching of science at Carleton College (dedicated in memory of his son William) and the University of Vermont (in memory of his wife). He also made large donations to the University of Pennsylvania and other educational institutions.[1] Williams donated a library building to his hometown of Woodstock, Vermont as well.[2]

Personal life and death[edit]

Williams was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1897.[4]

Williams was married to Cornella Bailey. They had three children: Edward Higginson Williams Jr., William Williams, and Anna (Williams) Dreer.[1]

Williams died on December 21, 1899, in Santa Barbara, California.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Muskett, Joseph James, ed. (1900). "Appleton of New England". Suffolk Manorial Families. Exeter: William Pollard & Co. 1: 334. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f DR. EDWARD H. WILLIAMS DEAD. – Part Owner of Baldwin Locomotive Works Succumbs to Heart Trouble. New York Times, December 22, 1899
  3. ^ Macmillan, M. (2000). An Odd Kind of Fame: Stories of Phineas Gage. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-13363-6. (hbk, 2000) (pbk, 2002). Open access icon
  4. ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved 2024-02-22.

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