Lewis Atterbury Stimson

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Lewis Atterbury Stimson
Lewis Atterbury Stimson.png
Born(1844-08-24)August 24, 1844
DiedSeptember 17, 1917(1917-09-17) (aged 73)
Alma materYale University
Bellevue Medical College
Candace Thurber Wheeler
(m. 1866; her death 1876)
ChildrenHenry Lewis Stimson
Candace C. Stimson
Parent(s)Henry Clark Stimson
Julia Maria Atterbury
RelativesCandace Wheeler (mother-in-law)
Dr. Henry Loomis (brother-in-law)
Alfred Lee Loomis (nephew)

Lewis Atterbury Stimson (August 24, 1844 – September 17, 1917 ) was an American surgeon who was the first to perform a public operation in the United States using Joseph Lister's antiseptic technique.[1]

Early life[edit]

Lewis Atterbury Stimson, as a young man

Stimson was born on August 24, 1844 in Paterson, New Jersey. His parents were Henry Clark Stimson (1813–1894) and Julia Maria (née Atterbury) Stimson (1819–1908).[2][3] His siblings included Henry A. Stimson (1843–1936), Catherine Boudinot Stimson Weston (1846–1942), Mary Atterbury Stimson (1848–1928), John Ward Stimson (1850–1930), William Frank Stimson (1853–1872), Frederick Julian Stimson (1856–1926), and Julia Josephine Stimson (1861–1933), who was married to Dr. Henry Patterson Loomis.[4] He was the uncle of Alfred Lee Loomis (1887–1975), the inventor of the LORAN Long Range Navigation System.[5][6]

Stimson attended and graduated from Yale University in 1863, followed by medical school at Bellevue Medical College.[2]


In 1866, after marrying, he entered the banking office of his father and in 1867, became a member of the New York Stock Exchange. He remained active in business until 1871.[6]

Medical career[edit]

In 1878, Stimson performed the first public demonstration of an antiseptic surgery in the United States, using Baron Joseph Lister's antiseptic technique.[7] In December 1883, Stimson operated on former president Ulysses S. Grant's leg.[8]

In 1898, Stimson wrote the charter of Cornell's new medical school, the Cornell University Medical College.[7] He was instrumental in obtaining, along with William Mecklenburg Polk (1844–1918), the medical school's first dean, a gift of $1.5 million from Col. Oliver Hazard Payne to open the new medical college.[9] Stimson was also a professor of surgery at the Cornell Medical College.[2][10] He made advances in techniques for abdominal surgery[11] and is attributed with developing the Stimson maneuver for reducing a dislocated shoulder or hip, which he described in the article, "An Easy Method of Reducing Dislocations of the Shoulder and Hip", published in New York Medical Record in 1900.[12]

He was a member of the American Surgical Society, New York Medical Society, the County Medical Society, the Medical-Surgery Society.[13] He was also a member of the Century Club, New York Yacht Club, and the Loyal Legion.[2]


In 1914, Stimson, a member of the New York Yacht Club, docked his yacht, Fleur-De-Lis, in Palermo, Italy.[14] In February 1905, he entered his yacht in the Kaiser's Cup.[15][16]

In June 1905, Stimson was a dinner guest aboard the yacht, Hohenzollern, of Emperor Kaiser along with Robert W. Goelet.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Lewis Atterbury Stimson

In 1866, Stimson was married to Candace Thurber Wheeler (1845–1876), the daughter of Thomas Mason Wheeler (1818-1895) and Candace Thurber Wheeler (1827–1923). They had met in Trenton, New Jersey. Wheeler was described as a "beautiful creature, endowed with all the graces and accomplishments — a rare musician and vocalist, and of a nature as lovely as her person."[6] His biographer wrote that "his devotion to her began with their first meeting, and lasted as long as his life. It was the mainspring of much of the tenderness and compassion that marked his relation to humanity."[6] Lewis and Candace were the parents of:[6]

In a memorial written for Stimson after his death, Edward Lawrence Keyes (1843–1924) wrote about Stimson and his wife:[6]

"Dr. Stimson impressed me as a man of very deep feeling which he kept under perfect restraint. He once drove me to Woodlawn Cemetery where he looked over his wife's grave. He spoke briefly but feelingly. I asked him how he ever survived such a loss. He replied, 'By years of constant, grinding work.'."[6]

Stimson died on September 17, 1917 at Shinnecock Hills, New York.[2][23]


  1. ^ Peltier, L. F. (June 1988). "Five Cases of Dislocation of the Hip". Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research. 231: 3–6. ISSN 0009-921X.
  2. ^ a b c d e "DR. LEWIS A. STIMSON, NOTED SURGEON, DIES; Professor in Cornell Medical College and Author of Standard Works Expires at 74". The New York Times. 18 September 1917. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  3. ^ "MRS. JULIA M. STIMSON DEAD.; Mother of Three Well-Known Men, and Lived to be 89 Years Old". The New York Times. 17 July 1908. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  4. ^ "TRIBUTES TO DR. LOOMIS; A Memorial Meeting Held at the Academy of Medicine. EX-MAYOR HEWITT SPEAKS FEELINGLY Addresses Also Made by Dr. Joseph D. Bryant, Dr. Lewis A. Stimson, and Chancellor Henry M. MacCracken". The New York Times. 3 May 1895. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  5. ^ "MRS. H. P. LOOMllS DEAD IN 73D YEAR; Philanthropist and Leader in War and Post-War Relief of French and Russians. DECORATED FOR SERVICES Belgium, France and Yugoslavia Honored Heru Former Head of Colonial Dames". The New York Times. 26 December 1933. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Keyes, Edward Lawrence; Stimson, Lewis Atterbury (1918). Lewis Atterbury Stimson. New York: Knickerbocker Press. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  7. ^ a b "History of our Department - Weill Cornell Department of Surgery". www.cornellsurgery.org. Cornell University. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  8. ^ "GEN. GRANT'S CONDITION". The New York Times. 29 December 1883. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  9. ^ "CORNELL'S MEDICAL SCHOOL; Its Establishment Here Made Possible by a New Yorker's Gift of Over $1,600,000. LAND BOUGHT, PLANS READY The Site Is in First Avenue at Twenty-seventh Street -- Land and Building to Cost Over $600,000 -- A Snug Endowment Fund". The New York Times. 11 September 1898. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  10. ^ "THIRTY WIN DEGREES AT CORNELL MEDICAL; Dr. Lewis A. Stimson Tells Graduates of Hospital Work at the Front. FOUR WOMEN IN THE CLASS President Jacob Gould Schurman Presents the Diplomas and Dr. W. Gilman Thompson Presides". The New York Times. 8 June 1916. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  11. ^ Rutkow, Ira M. (1992). The History of Surgery in the United States, 1775-1900: Periodicals and pamphlets. Norman Publishing. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-930405-48-9.
  12. ^ Mattick, A.; J. P. Wyatt (2000). "From Hippocrates to the Eskimo - a history of techniques used to reduce anterior dislocation of the shoulder". Journal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. 45: 312–316. Archived from the original on 2010-05-29.
  13. ^ The Transactions of the New York Academy of Medicine. S.S. & W. Wood. 1903. p. 76. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  14. ^ "American Yachts in Foreign Waters". The New York Times. 29 May 1904. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  15. ^ Times, Special To The New York (28 March 1905). "FLEUR-DE-LIS TO RACE.; Lewis A. Stimson's Schooner to Represent New York Y.C. for Kaiser's Cup". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  16. ^ "OCEAN YACHT RACE CHANGES.; Start Put Off for a Day and Registered Tonnage Reduced". The New York Times. 9 February 1905. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  17. ^ "Americans Guests of the Kaiser". The New York Times. 27 June 1905. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  18. ^ Times, Special To The New York (29 October 1950). "STIMSON BEQUESTS BENEFIT EDUCATION; Yale, Andover Academy Get 65% of Residue--Realty and Securities Left to Wife". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  19. ^ "Finding Aid to the Lewis Attebury Stimson, MD Papers" (PDF). Medical Center Archives of New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  20. ^ "Henry L. Stimson Dies at 83 In His Home on Long Island". New York Times. October 21, 1950. Retrieved 2014-01-23.
  21. ^ "STIMSON WILL IS FILED; War Secretary's Sister Left Bulk of Estate as Memorial to Father". The New York Times. 22 February 1944. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  22. ^ "MISS STIMSON DIES; SECRETARY'S SISTER; Carried Anti-Tetanus Serum to Troops Under Fire Was in Trans-Ocean Yacht Race". The New York Times. 10 February 1944. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  23. ^ "Honor Memory of Dr. L. A. Stimson". The New York Times. 17 November 1917. Retrieved 14 May 2017.

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