William S. Forbes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named William Forbes, see William Forbes (disambiguation).
Portrait of William S. Forbes by Thomas Eakins

William Smith Forbes (10 February 1831–17 December 1905)[1] was an American physician who served as demonstrator of anatomy at Jefferson Medical College. He is known as the "Father of the Anatomical Act" in Pennsylvania.

Born in Falmouth, Virginia, Forbes graduated with a medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in 1852.[2]

In 1882, he was indicted on eight counts by a grand jury "for complicity with resurrectionists in the despoliation of graves in Lebanon Cemetery."[3][4]

Forbes also brought suit against the executors of the estate of Robert Lenox Kennedy to recover $5,000 after he accompanied Kennedy to Europe as his physician, where the family said it was as a friend.[5] The New York Supreme court sided with the Kennedy family.[6]

Forbes is the subject of the 1905 painting Portrait of Professor William S. Forbes by Thomas Eakins.


  1. ^ Staff report (December 18, 1905) Dr. William Smith Forbes. (obituary) New York Times
  2. ^ Staff report (1906). William Smith Forbes (obituary). Transactions of the American Surgical Association
  3. ^ Staff report (December 20, 1882). The Deeds of Criminals: Dr. Forbes Indicted--Greenwald Confesses--Sentenced for Life. New York Times
  4. ^ Staff report (March 13, 1883). A Doctor on Trial for Body-Stealing. New York Times
  5. ^ Staff report (July 3, 1889) Dr. Forbes's $5,000 Fee. New York Times
  6. ^ Staff report (July 13, 1889). Against Dr. Forbes.New York Times

External links[edit]