RARE AND IMPORTANT REVOLUTIONARY WAR RELICS TO BE OFFERED IN DEDHAM Dedham, Mass. – Grogan and Company is honored to announce the October 16th auction of two Revolutionary War Medical Kits once belonging to Dr. John Warren, Boston, Massachusetts.
million, achieved in 2006 by Sotheby’s for an American flag captured by the British in the 1779 battle at Bedford, New York. The four medical kits and the Petit’s tourniquet have a pre-sale estimate of $30,000-50,000.
Dr. John Warren, founder of the first Boston Medical School and the first Professor of Anatomy and Surgery at Harvard Medical School, was a prominent figure during the Revolutionary War. After the British burned Charlestown in retaliation for Bunker Hill, General George Washington reorganized the troops and made Dr. John Warren senior surgeon of the Continental Army in Cambridge. He was 22 years old. After the British evacuated Boston, Warren was sent to active duty at the General Hospital in New York City. He tended to the wounded of the Battle of Long Island, the Battle of Trenton and the Battle of Princeton. In July 1777, Dr. Warren was made the senior surgeon of the General Hospital in Boston, and later, in 1778, he saw his last field action at the Battle of Quaker Hill in Newport, Rhode Island.
Dr. Warren was released from military duty in 1780, at the age of 27. He opened a private medical school in Boston, where his patriot friend, Paul Revere, created a diploma for the first graduates of the school. The engraving Revere created for the diploma depicts Dr. Warren performing an operation with a curved knife, similar to a knife in one of these amputation kits, resting on the table beside him. Warren’s battlefield surgical experience and his reputation and success at instructing young medical students attracted the attention of his Alma Mater, Harvard University, and in 1782, Harvard Medical School was founded with Dr. John Warren appointed first Professor of Anatomy and Surgery.
A journal entry in the Daily Journal of Dr. John Collins Warren, dated February 19, 1850, in the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society’s Warren papers, states that John Collins Warren had lent, as a present, the Petit’s Tourniquet and an amputation kit, both having belonged to his father Dr. John Warren and used during the Revolutionary War, to Dr. Henry Bigelow. Dr. Henry Bigelow, a colleague of John Collins Warren and a close family friend, was known to have owned a large collection of medical kits. Dr. Bigelow, also a surgeon, worked diligently with his colleagues to promote safe methods of anesthesia. Bigelow was present when Dr. John Collins Warren performed his famous 1846 surgery successfully using ether anesthesia administered by Dr. William Morton at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Henry J. Bigelow died in 1890 leaving his possessions to his son, Warren Sturgis Bigelow. What happened to the Bigelow Medical Kit Collection has remained a mystery from the time of Warren Bigelow’s death in 1926, until a large collection of Medical kits were discovered in an abandoned storage unit in the early 1990’s. Amongst the large collection of 18th and 19th century medical kits found in the warehouse were the four kits that will be offered at Grogan and Company on