Frederick T. van Beuren Jr.

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Frederick T. van Beuren Jr., M.D. (February 10, 1876 – March 13, 1943) was a physician and surgeon, a medical school administrator and professor, a researcher, and a hospital administrator. He was graduated from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He later became the chief of its surgery clinic and an instructor in surgery.[1] Even later, he became its associate dean[2] and associate clinical professor of surgery.[3] He was a vice president of the New York Academy of Medicine.[4] While researching gastroenterological surgery, he conducted long-term studies at Roosevelt Hospital and Presbyterian Hospital. He also was president of Morristown Memorial Hospital in New Jersey.[2][3]

During World War I he was a captain of the Medical Reserve Corps.[5] He spoke publicly supporting medical preparedness and urging physicians to join the war effort.[6]

He was a published clinician in peer-reviewed journals,[7][8][9][10] who often was invited to read the results of his clinical studies before many medical organizations and associations in the United States and Canada.[11][12] He contributed to the Annals of Surgery.[13]


In 1898 van Beuren was awarded a bachelor of arts degree by Yale University and in 1902 he was graduated from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, with a degree in medicine. Within ten years he was chief of staff at his alma mater's surgery clinic and teaching surgery at the university.

In April 1910 he was elected a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine where he served as recording secretary (1916–1919), as vice-president (1925–1927), and as a member of the committee on admission (1922–1927), which selected the candidates offered admission.[14] He was given another position at the academy as a member of the committee on medical education in 1926. He also served on the program committee and the building committee.

Active in community public health activities and services including free clinics and emergency planning, during World War I van Beuren served as a captain in the federal Medical Reserve Corps that became part of the Council on National Defense (1915–1937), which was organized under the U.S. Army with national leaders who sat on a council that reported directly to the president of the United States.[15] Members of the corps created the national planning to assure that adequate medical services would be available during emergencies, including periods of war.[16] In 1917, members of the Medical Reserve Corps became members of the Medical Officers' Reserve Corps,[17] for the war years, before reverting to their peacetime emergency planning role after the armistice in 1918. In this capacity, Captain van Beuren was invited to attend the semi-annual meeting of the Essex County Medical Society on June 5, 1917 in Elizabethtown, New York as a speaker presented during their Scientific Program. He "...spoke on Medical Preparedness and the need of the National Government for medical men at the present time..." and "...a rising vote of thanks was extended..."[18]

He was assistant attending surgeon at Lincoln Hospital (1910–1913) and at Roosevelt Hospital (1913–1921).[19] He was attending surgeon at Volunteer Hospital (1915–1917) and at Sloane Hospital for Women (1920–1938). After he had become associate dean at his alma mater (1921–1934), the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, beginning in 1929, he held the position of associate clinical professor of surgery there as well. In 1933 he became president of Morristown Memorial Hospital in New Jersey, another position he held until his death.[20][21]

He was associate visiting surgeon at Presbyterian Hospital, where for twenty-four years, he conducted clinical research into surgical techniques and equipment.[22][23] His assessment of that research was read before the New York Surgical Society on February 24, 1943. He also was consulting surgeon at Elizabeth A. Horton Memorial Hospital at Middletown, New York, which now is known as Orange Regional Medical Center.[24]

He was a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a fellow of the American Medical Association. He also was a member of the American Surgical Association, a member of the Medical Society of New Jersey, the Medical Society of the State of New York, the Morris County Medical Society, and the New York County Medical Society.[25]

Many of his illustrations regarding clinical methods, procedures, tools, and techniques also were used in published works in the field of surgery,[26] teaching surgeons new techniques he developed or advised in the emerging field of modern surgery that was made possible through anesthesia and aseptic procedures. Many of his clinical studies were in the field of gastroenterological surgery, documenting the scientific data he gathered to advance medical knowledge about and to enable better diagnoses and choices of treatment for conditions that often resulted in the deaths of patients.[27]

He died at Morristown Memorial Hospital in New Jersey, where he was its president. The New York Times was alerted about his death by the New Jersey newspapers and the Times published an obituary. His death was noted in many professional journals. Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, also published an obituary.


He is a descendant of Johannes van Beuren, who was born in Holland in 1678 and died in Manhattan in 1755,[28] a prominent and prosperous Dutch settler in New York. He was a physician, who had been educated at the University of Leyden, Netherlands,[29][30] [16] and immigrated to North America in 1700 from Amsterdam. The genealogy of his descendants lists several physicians educated in the United States. Members of later generations of the family resided in structures that were once considered landmarks in the community.[31][32][33] Morristown, New Jersey, the county seat, is recorded as the birthplace of many members of the family as well as Manhattan.

When Frederick van Beuren was growing up his family resided in Manhattan, but maintained other residences. The family had large tracts of land in Morris County that were supported by a farm on the parcel that measures several square miles. This New Vernon property would become a primary residence for him later in his life. The farm was located on what now is van Beuren Road. The eponymous road divided the property and, after passing near to Silver Lake, reaches Blue Mill Road via a bridge over one of the two tributaries that form the lake.

A family retreat from the city existed on the property, a massive shingled structure on Spring Valley Road. During the latter part of the nineteenth century wealthy members of the Manhattan blue book society[34] built so many luxurious mansions in the Morristown area that it became labeled "the inland Newport" as recreational uses expanded to the mountainous areas (in contrast to the seaside sites to the east of Manhattan).[35] Jessica van Beuren told her granddaughter, Liz van Beuren, that after a trip across the Hudson River, it was a four-hour carriage ride to these properties until the Vanderbilts constructed a rail line to reach the area. At that time the shingled structure in New Vernon was renovated into a brick structure that is described as one of the notable mansions of the area.[36] It has four stories that included a basement through which a brook ran for fresh water and had household servant quarters on the fourth floor. Frederick Law Olmsted,[37] who had created landscapes for the family residences in Manhattan, was commissioned to design the landscaping for this residence as well. Four other houses on the property served as living quarters for specialized and managerial staff members for the estate, stables, and farm.

At the age of thirty, on May 26, 1906, he married Jessica T. Mohlman[38] and after a "grand tour" honeymoon of Europe, they took up residence on Park Avenue relatively near to the home of his parents. Later they moved to a Fifth Avenue home they retained throughout their lives. Eventually, they spent more time in New Vernon and, in 1933, when van Beuren became the president of Morristown Memorial Hospital, the house facing Spring Valley Road became their primary residence.

Their sons became entrepreneurs, John M. van Beuren an electronics engineer, founded Quan-Tech Laboratories in New Jersey that developed electronic measurement instruments crucial for space exploration because they could predict the life expectancy of resistors, transistors, and diodes[39] and Michael van Beuren an industrial designer who became a Bauhaus furniture designer with international recognition[40] opened his design studio and a furniture factory in Mexico near another family residence in Cuernavaca.[41]


  1. ^ Columbia University faculty 1911 list, College of Physicians and Surgeons: Frederick T. Van Beuren Jr., M.D., Chief of Clinic and Instructor in Surgery
  2. ^ a b Science, March 19, 1943: Vol. 97, no. 2516, p. 256 doi:10.1126/science.97.2516.254 [1]
  3. ^ a b "Dr. F. T. van Beuren of Morristown, 67: Head for 10 Years of Memoria! Hospital Where He Died, Physician Since 1902. Ex-official at Columbia, He Served as Associate Dean of College of Physicians and Surgeons There, 1921-34", The New York Times, March 14, 1943 .
  4. ^ "Officers of the Academy", Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 2 (9): 482, 1926, PMC 2387525Freely accessible .
  5. ^ "Essex County Medical Society", New York State Journal of Medicine, 17 (7): 344, 1917 
  6. ^ New York State Journal of Medicine, Volume 17, By New York State Medical Association, reporting on the Essex County Medical Society, semi-annual meeting, Elizabethtown, June 5, 1917 p. 344 [2]
  7. ^ van Beuren, Frederick T. Jr., Enterostomy in Acute Ileus, The Time Element, A Preliminary Report, American Journal of Surgery, New Series, vol. i, p. 284, November, I926.
  8. ^ van Beuren, F. T. Jr., and Smith, Beverly C., The Status of Enterostomy in the Treatment of Acute Ileus, Archives of Surgery, vol. xv, pp. 288-297, August, I927.
  9. ^ van Beuren, Frederic T. Jr., M.D., Acute Ileus, Annals of Surgery, October 1935, Volume 102, number 4 [3]
  10. ^ van Beuren, Frederick T. Jr., M.D., The Treatment of Gas Bacillus Infection, Transactions of the Section on Surgery, General and Abdominal of ..., Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 70 [4]
  11. ^ van Beuren, Frederick T. Jr., M.D., The Mechanism of Intestinal Perforation Due to Distention, Annals of Surgery, 1926, read before the Southern Surgical Association, December 12, 1923 [5]
  12. ^ van Beuren, Frederick T. Jr., M.D., Full Time: The Letter or The Spirit?, Journal of the American Medical Association JAMA, 1925, 84(18):1324-1326. doi:10.1001/jama.1925.02660440010003
  13. ^ Smith, Beverly Chew; van Beuren, Frederick T. (1943), Analysis of 130 Cases Operated Upon At the Presbyterian Hospital, New York City, From 1936 To 1939, Inclusive: With Use of Miller-Abbott Tube in 1938 and 1939, 117 (3), pp. 427–436 
  14. ^ Frederick T. van Beuren Jr., M.D., Deaths of Fellows, The Bulletin, New York Academy of Medicine, 1943, p. 676 [6]
  15. ^ Records of the Council of National Defense (CND), Record Group 62, 1915-37 (bulk 1916-21)
  16. ^ Gillett, Mary C., United States Defense Department, Army Medical Department, 1917-1941, p 480 [7]
  17. ^ Emerson, William K., Encyclopedia of United States Army insignia and uniforms, page 183 [8]
  18. ^ New York State Journal of Medicine, Volume 17, the New York State Medical Association reporting on the Essex County Medical Society semi-annual meeting, Elizabethtown, June 5, 1917 p. 344
  19. ^ van Beuren, Frederick T. Jr., M.D., The Relation Between Intestinal Damage and Delayed Operation in Acute Mechanical Ileus, Annals of Surgery, November 1920, Volume 72, Issue 5, ppg 610-615 [9]
  20. ^ Historical topics for Morristown Memorial Hospital
  21. ^ Listing for Frederic T. van Beuren Jr., M.D. under Historical topics for Morristown Memorial Hospital
  22. ^ Van Beuren, FT. "MORTALITY OF ENTEROSTOMY IN ACUTE ILEUS: IMPROVEMENT NOT REFERABLE TO THE TIME ELEMENT". Ann Surg. 90: 387–93. PMC 1398920Freely accessible. PMID 17866157. 
  23. ^ Smith, Beverly Chew, M.D. and van Beuren, Frederick T. Jr., M.D., Analysis of 130 Cases Operated Upon At the Presbyterian Hospital, New York City, From 1936 To 1939, Inclusive: With Use of Miller-Abbott Tube in 1938 and 1939, Annals of Surgery, March 1943, Volume 117, Issue 3, ppg 427-436 [10]
  24. ^ Orange Regional Medical Canter—History
  25. ^ Physicians Elect Officers, New York Times, November 2, 1919, Frederick T. van Beuren elected delegate to serve for two years
  26. ^ Johnson, Alexander Bryan, Operative therapeusis, Volume 1, pp. xxv-xxvii and pp. 249-335, 1915 In this publication van Beuren's contribution, Operations upon Blood Vessels, is Chapter VIII. It is more than eighty pages long (pp. 249-335) and contains eighty-six illustrations (line drawings that are indexed separately on pages xxv-xxvii)
  27. ^ Science, March 19, 1943: Vol. 97, no. 2516, pp. 256- doi:10.1126/science.97.2516.254 [11]
  28. ^ Johannes van Beuren listing in the Owens family genealogy [12]
  29. ^ New Netherland Connections, October 1999, Volume 4, Number 4, page 89
  30. ^ New Netherland Connections, October 2000, Volume 5, Number 4, page 47
  31. ^ The Old van Beuren Mansion To Remain, The New York Times, February 9, 1902 - described the van Beuren home on Fourteenth Street as "The most conspicuous house in New York—the old van Beuren homestead on Fourteenth Street—... the sole remaining vestige of old New York...", "...the tract of land bounded by Fourteenth and Fifteenth Streets and Broadway and Sixth Avenue..."
  32. ^ " created by the van Beuren family on the northern side of 14th Street. The family’s speculation activities on 14th Street..." [13]
  33. ^ "Mary S. van Beuren, fell heiress to most of the property, and built the van Beuren brown-stone front house on Fourteenth Street, where she lived for years, and maintained a little garden with flowers and vegetables, a cow and chickens. In the fifty-seven years between the Smith sale and 1845 the value of the estate had increased from four thousand seven hundred dollars to two hundred thousand dollars [in 1902]...", Fifth Avenue: Fourteenth to Madison Square, [14]
  34. ^ Frederic T. van Beuren Jr., M.D. and family listings in the New York Social Register Archived January 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  35. ^ The Morris Social Directory, published annually since the late 1800s, lists the notable residents of the county, especially of the Morristown area which attracted many social register families from Manhattan to build "country residences" (christened with names) on self-sustaining estates with farms that were maintained year-round, but visited as retreats or for specific "seasons" of social activities. A reference to the 1902 social register for Morris County, New Jersey in records maintained by a group focused on a historic home that has been turned into a country club, reads, "...After James's death his youngest son, George Wetmore Colles 2nd, inherited The Evergreens. George (1836-1911) was a lawyer; his wife, an author. They kept homes in both New York and Morristown..."[15]
  36. ^ Rae, John W., Images of America: Mansions of Morris County, Charleston, South Carolina, Arcadia Press presented at Owners of mansions in Morristown, Madison, and the surrounding area in Brief History of Morris County prepared by the county
  37. ^ Gopnik, Adam, Olmsred's Trip - How did a news reporter come to create Central Park?, March 31, 1997
  38. ^ What is Doing in Society daily social column notation about the wedding of Jessica T. Mohlman to Frederick T. van Beuren Jr., M.D. on the day of its occurrence
  39. ^ Journal of Scientific Instruments, Volume 40, Number 10, Quan-Tech Laboratories Inc. 1963 J. Sci. Instrum. 40 511 doi:10.1088/0950-7671/40/10/429
  40. ^ Christies report of a 2009 auction of a van Beuren chair that includes historical notes
  41. ^ Franz Mayer Museum announcement of solo show, Retrospective of the Work of Michael van Beuren, July through September 2010, Mexico City, Mexico that includes historical data

See also[edit]