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Edwin Pratt
Edwin Hartley Pratt 1886
'

Full name

Edwin Hartley Pratt

Alternative names

E.H. Pratt

Presence at Shimer

18641865

Presence on Earth

1849–1930 [1]

AB

Chicago University 1871

MD

Hahnemann Medical College 1873

AM

Chicago University

LLD

Chicago University

Role(s)

Seminary period alum

Location(s)

Chicago, IL

Edwin Hartley Pratt 1900
'

Edwin Hartley Pratt was a student at Shimer College during the early Seminary period, attending from 1864 to 1865.

Shimer connectionsEdit

Quotations about ShimerEdit

  • in July 1895 Oread:
    I was so impressed with the measures of instruction, and such a spirit of earnestness prevailed in the school, that the memory of that year's work has never been dimmed by the rushing and turbulent experiences of the years that have since gone by, and I owe much of the success of my life—which, perhaps, has been more than is given to the majority of men—to the strengthening of all that is good in me which I sustained during the formative period of my life.


ProfiledEdit

  • in History of Homœopathy Biographies
  • in Edwin Hartley Pratt and orificial surgery: unorthodox surgical practice in nineteenth century
  • in "Edwin Hartley Pratt", The Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Representative Men of Chicago, St. Louis and the World's Columbian Exposition, Part 2, American Biographical Publishing Company, 1892, pp. 468-473:
    THE life and achievements of him whose name heads this biography worthily illustrate what may be attained by persistent and painstaking effort. Edwin Hartley Pratt is a native of Towanda, Pennsylvania, and was born November 6, 18-19, the son of Leonard Pratt, M. D., and Betsey (Belding) Pratt, both of whom are of English descent. The father, now a resident of San Jose, California, was formerly connected with Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago, and for many years was one of the most distinguished physicians in the Northwest. He is a man of progressive ideas, noted for nobility and integrity of character, gentleness of manner and promptness in all things. The maternal ancestors were long-lived people, and the mother of our subject inherited a rugged constitution. She is a woman of large stature, energetic and fearless, and persevering, and, when convinced of the rightness of a purpose or plan, allows no obstacle to stand in the way of its achievement. Our subject possesses a happy combination of many of the qualities and characteristics of both his parents. In physical organization he resembles most the Beldings, being large in stature, six feet tall, finely proportioned, and weighing two hundred and fifty pounds. In mental make-up he has the cheerfulness and hopefulness of his father, combined with his mother’s indomitable energy, courage and perseverance. His only living sister, Nettie L. Pratt, is a young lady noted for her unusual musical attainments. She resides at San Jose, California. Another sister, Hattie, died when thirteen years of age of malignant diphtheria, it being one of the first cases in this country. An only brother died in infancy.
    Prior to his fifteenth year Edwin attended the common schools, and then. spent a year at Mt. Carroll Seminary. In order to give him the advantage of a college education, his father now removed to Wheaton, Du Page county, Illinois, and he pursued the first year preparatory course at Wheaton College. Upon the opening of the second year, the college authorities learning that he had interested himself in the organization of a Good Templars’ Lodge, and being opposed to secret societies, demanded that he sever his connection with the lodge. He was only a day student, living at his own home, and his father was a member of the lodge, and feeling the injustice of the demand refused to comply with it and leaving the school at once entered the second-year class in the preparatory department of the University of Chicago. He remained at that institution six years, completing a thorough classical course of study, and graduating with the class of 1871, with the degree of A.B. In college he was known as a hard worker, and developed a special aptitude for geometry, logic, metaphysics, English grammar and rhetoric, and was especially fond of the Odes of Horace and Are Poetica, by reason of their help to him in writing and speaking. In the literary society to which he belonged, the “Tri Kappa, ” he was a leader in debate, and among the foremost writers and speakers, and made himself popular among his fellow students by entering heartily into the true spirit of college life. He was a prominent member of the “Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. He also had fine musical tastes and talents, and improved these by attending various musical schools during the summer vacations, giving special attention to the study of harmony and thorough-bass. His own choice was to fit himself for the practice of law, but knowing the disappointment his father would experience should he not enter the medical profession, he yielded his own wishes, and in October, 1871, entered Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago, and was graduated therefrom in the spring of 1873, with the degree of M. D. During his medical course he acted as quiz-master in connection with his father’s chair, that of special pathology and diagnosis, and also during his last year filled the position of demonstrator of anatomy under appointment of the incumbent of that chair. After listening to his valedictory address, the Board of Trustees of the college were so favorably impressed that they at once invited him to become demonstrator and adjunct professor of anatomy. In order to better qualify himself for the place, he visited Philadelphia and spent the spring term in Professor Keen’s School of Anatomy, and Jefferson Medical College. In the fall of 1873 he entered upon the duties as teacher, lecturing twice each week, and in addition filled the place of the professor of anatomy, when that gentleman was absent, and as he was present but twice during the entire winter, the responsibilities of that position devolved upon Dr. Pratt. Although the mental strain was severe, he bore up under it, and at the close of the year had the satisfaction of knowing that his work was highly satisfactory. As a mark of their appreciation, the students who had received the benefits of his teaching presented him with a beautiful goldheaded cane at the close of his last lecture.
    Dr. Pratt was now tendered the professorship of anatomy, but the desire to engage in active practice, and the thought that he could not afford to longer donate his services, led him to at first decline the offer. The college authorities, however, knowing the value of his services, were reluctant to let him go, and at once tendered him a salary of five hundred dollars a year. Under this arrangement he accepted the position, and filled it until the spring of 1876. At this time, owing to dissensions between the board of trustees of the college and the faculty, ten of the thirteen professors resigned and organized the Chicago Homoeopathic Medical College. With these Dr. Pratt sympathized most heartily, believing them to be in the right, and although the Hahnemann College desired him to continue his connection there at the same salary, a sense of duty impelled him to decline the offer and accept the professorship of the same chair in the new institution without remuneration. This chair he filled for seven years, during which time the homoeopathists were admitted to the wards of the Cook County Hospital. Dr. Pratt was elected a member of the hospital staff, and occupied a position first in the theory and practice department, later in the gynaecological department, and afterward was elected attending surgeon of the hospital. In 1883 a vacancy occurring in the chair of surgery in the college, Dr. Pratt, with the consent of the faculty, retired from the chair of anatomy, and accepted that of surgery. It was here, while handling the complicated and obscure cases at the college clinic that he discovered what has at once marked an era in the treatment of chronic diseases, and made his own name famous. It was the spring of 1876. While holding clinic, the thought came to him that he had found a satisfactory explanation of the existence of all forms of chronic diseases. Inspired by the thought of his discovery, he was about to announce it to his class, but a second thought prompted him to dismiss them with the announcement that his next lecture would be “Chronic Diseases from a Surgical Standpoint.” He had promised an article for a medical journal, and being pressed for time he employed a stenographer to report this lecture in fulfillment of that promise. His purpose of presenting something new had been noised about, and when he entered his lecture-room he found it crowded to its full capacity, among the audience being many visitors from other colleges. It was a moment of supreme importance to him, and as he advanced in his lecture the heavy, tired and restrained feeling which he experienced at the opening passed away, there came upon him a flood of light and he spoke as under the power of an inspiration, holding his auditors spell-bound to the close, when their breathless silence was broken by loud and long applause. Such was the effect of the lecture that, although it was within three weeks of the close of the term, and the students were busy with examinations and tired from their winter's work, during that time sixteen members of the class presented themselves for treatment under the new discovery, which the discoverer had named the Orificial Philosophy. The results of the treatment upon these cases were so satisfactory, and so many were cured, that the new philosophy was at once pronounced a marvellous success. From that time the surgical clinic of the college was conducted on the orificial principle, and fora year was visited by physicians of all schools from all parts of the United States, who came to witness the workings of the new philosophy. The spread of the new idea brought so many inquirers that Dr. Pratt found the drain upon his time and strength more than he could endure and keep up his private practice, and this led him to receive and instruct his professional brethren in orificial work in classes, instead of singly, as was at first his custom. He now holds these classes semi-annually for a week, and during that time he devotes the time to lectures and clinical work, allowing members of the class to bring their most difficult cases, upon which he publicly operates. After the second class of this kind, those present organized the National Association of Orificial Surgeons, electing Dr. Pratt as honorary member, and providing in their constitution that there never should be but one. This association has had a wonderful growth, and promises to be one of the largest medical societies in the United States, and such has been the effect of the new method of treating chronic diseases, that four fifths of the cases apparently incurable are speedily restored to health. In recognition of his services the Chicago Homoeopathic Medical College established a chair of Orificial Surgery, to be filled by Dr. Pratt. Other medical colleges followed the example, and now this new philosophy is taught in all the medical colleges of this country that pretend to keep up with the progress of the age.
    Dr. Pratt was honored with the degree of LL.D. by his Alma Mater in 188—. He is an honorary member of the Missouri Medical Society, the Ohio Medical Society, the Kentucky Medical Society and the Southern Association of Physicians, and an active member of the Illinois State Medical Association, the Chicago Academy of Medicine and the American Institute of Homoeopathy. Dr. Pratt has a very large and lucrative practice. He is a hard student, has an elegant library filled with several thousands of the choicest books, and contributes largely to current literature, and is author of a beautifully illustrated work on Orificial Surgery, now in its second edition.
    Dr. Pratt was married June 26, 1877, to Miss Isa M. Bailey, of Jersey Heights, New Jersey. Mrs. Pratt is a lady of unusual attainments. with literary and musical tastes and abilities of a very high order, and withal a woman of rare good sense. Both she and Dr. Pratt are members of the Apollo Club, of which the latter was one of the founders and is now a director. They have had two children. A daughter, Isabel, died when eighteen months old. A son, Edwin Bailey Pratt, is now ten years old, and a remarkably precocious child. He speaks German and French fluently, and shows peculiar aptitude for mathematics and philosophical studies.
  • in Portrait and Biographical Record of Cook and Dupage Counties, Illinois, Lake City Publishing Company, 1894, pp. 418-421:
    EDWIN HARTLEY PRATT, M. D., LL. D., the only surviving son of Dr. Leonard Pratt (see biography in this work), was bor n at Towanda, Pa., on the 6th of November, 1849. At the age of three years, in 1852, he came with his parents to Illinois, where he continued for thirteen years to reside in the township of Rock Creek, Carroll County. After some preparation in the district schools of that township, at the age of sixteen he entered Mt. Carroll Seminary, where he remained one year. On the removal of the family to Wheaton in 1865, he entered Wheaton College, an institution somewhat widely known as the seat of a single idea—suppression of secret societies. Soon after coming to Wheaton, Dr. Leonard Pratt joined the Independent Order of Good Templars, of which the son became also a member. On learning this, the president of the college insisted that young Pratt either leave the college or the lodge. To his credit be it said, young Pratt was equally firm with the college authorities in maintaining his principles, and chose the former alternative. He then entered the University of Chicago, from which he graduated in the full classical course in 1871. This institution subsequently conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, in recognition of his valuable discoveries.
    Our subject now took up the study of medicine in his father's office, and also began attendance at the Hahnemann Medical College of Chicago, from which he graduated in the spring of 1873, being valedictorian of his class. He shortly after took the chair of Anatomy in his alma mater, and pursued at the same time a special study of that branch of medical science under the tutelage of eastern colleges. At the end of three years he resigned, to take the same position in the Chicago Homeopathic College, then just organized. From this he was transferred, at his own request, seven years later, to the chair of Surgery in the same college. This position he filled for six years, when, as the result of his own investigations, discoveries and developments, the chair of Orificial Surgery was created for him in that institution, and this he has occupied to the present time.
    Dr. Pratt is an original thinker, and has made some revolutions in surgery as the outcome of his own investigation and practice. Naturally, he incurred the opposition and criticism of a large portion of the profession, but this he has almost wholly overcome with his tongue and pen and the demonstrations of the operating room. He has inherited much of the power of oratory of his maternal grandfather, and is a very forcible, succinct and convincing speaker. These qualities have given him great power in the class-room, and he has sent out large numbers of practitioners who are constantly spreading the fame and success of his discoveries. With his pen, Dr. Pratt is no less able and convincing than he is as a speaker, and it is a brave man who now attempts to controvert his theories or to detract from his success in the healing art. He is the founder and editor of the Journal of Orificial Surgery, a monthly publication which is now acknowledged as standard and widely quoted by other medical standards. Through his influence, a magnificent sanitarium has been established on the north side of the city of Chicago, facing Lincoln Park. This institution was incorporated in 1890, with Dr. Pratt as President and Surgeon-in-Chief, and an able corps of assistants, and here his specialties in surgery are put in practical operation, to the relief and cure of thousands of sufferers annually. This institution is a magnificent six-story structure, built of buff Bedford stone, 100x120 feet in dimension, occupying a beautiful site overlooking lovely Lincoln Park and Lake Michigan. Here is found every accessory of a comfortable, and even luxurious, home for the invalid. Dr. Pratt is also Professor of Surgery and Mental Training in the Lincoln Park Training School for Misses, located in the same section of the city. As is made apparent by the foregoing, his time is very fully taken up, but he is a man of great mental and physical energy, and is fully equal to the tasks which his ability and philanthropy have called down upon him.
    Dr. Pratt is a member of the American Institute of Homeopathy and of the Illinois State Association of that school, as well as an honorary member of many similar State associations. He is a member of the surgical staff of the Cook County Hospital, where his superior skill is often called into play. In his religious and political sentiments, he adheres to the precepts laid down by his honored father.
    In June, 1877, Dr. Pratt married Miss Isadora M. Bailey, a native of the State of New York, and a lady well fitted by nature and cultivation as a companion for her talented husband. A son and daughter were given to this couple, but both have been taken away, the former in childhood and the latter in infancy. In 1893 Dr. Pratt erected at Wheaton a beautiful home, to which he may retire in summer from the cares and burdens of his large practice and other duties in the city of Chicago.
  • in A History of the City of Chicago: Its Men and Institutions, Chicago Inter-Ocean, 1900, pp. 425-426:
    Edwin Hartley Pratt. A. M., M. D., LL. D., was born at Towanda. Bradford County. Pennsylvania. November 6, 1849, and is the son of Leonard Pratt, M. D., and Betsey (Belding) Pratt, both of whom were descended from an ancestry of English origin. Dr. Leonard Pratt, who for many years was one of the most distinguished physicians of the West, was naturally solicitous that his son should follow in the same profession, and in order that his subsequent career should be of the highest usefulness and honor, he was given all the advantages of a liberal and thorough education. Prior to his fifteenth year he attended a district school in Rock Creek, Carroll County, Illinois. after which he passed a year at Mount Carroll Seminary and a like period at Wheaton College. Following this he entered the secon1d-year class in the preparatory department of the Chicago University. and subsequently completed his collegiate education in the latter institution and was graduated with the class of '71, receiving the degree of bachelor of arts.
    It was his own choice to then fit himself for the practice of law. but, knowing the disappointment his father would experience, he yielded his own wishes. and in the following autumn entered Hahnemann Medical College. an institution with which his father had for many years been connected. Being graduated in 1873 as valedictorian of his class. Dr. Pratt was invited by the board of trustees of this college to become demonstrator and adjunct professor of anatomy. and, in order to better equip himself for this position, he visited Philadelphia and spent one term in Professor Keene's School of Anatomy and at Jefferson Medical College, after which he returned to Chicago and took up his duties as a teacher.
    In the spring of '74 Dr. Pratt was elected full professor of anatomy and demonstrator of anatomy, and continued in these positions until the spring term of '77. when he accepted an identical chair in the Chicago Homeopathic Medical College, resigning in 1883 to take the chair of surgery. It was during his initial period of service with this now well-known college that the members of the homeopathic school were admitted to the wards of the Cook County Hospital, and Dr. Pratt was then elected a member of the attending surgical staff of the hospital. a position he still fills.
    It was while handling the complicated and obscure cases of a college clinic that Dr. Pratt discovered what has at once marked an era in the treatment of chronic diseases and made his own name famous. This new method of treatment, to which Dr. Pratt gave the name orificial philosophy. was pronounced a marvelous success, and the spread of the new idea brought so many inquirers that he organized a class of his professional brethren in order to instruct them in this work. These classes, which have become a permanent feature of Dr. Pratt's practice, are now held semi-annually for one week, during which time he publicly operates on the difficult cases that are brought before him.
    His treatment is now so well known that the Chicago Homeopathic College has established a chair of orificial surgery. an example that has been followed by several of the foremost medical colleges in the country. He is also the founder, publisher and editor~in-chief of the Journal of Orificial Surgery, to which he contributes a monthly series of articles upon this branch of surgical work.
    For several years Dr. Pratt was at the head of the Lincoln Park Sanitarium, an institution that he established in 1889 for the treatment of difficult and critical cases by the new philosophy, and which attracted patients from all parts of the country. He also conducted at a later date the Pratt Sanitarium, on Diversey avenue, a smaller, although a well-known, resort for the treatment of chronic cases.
    As an example of the position held by Dr. Pratt in the medical circles of the country, it may be said that he is an honorary member of the Missouri State Medical Society, the Ohio Medical Society, the Kentucky Medical Society, and the Southern Association of Physicians and Surgeons. He is an active member of the Illinois State Medical Society, the Chicago Academy of Medicine and the American Institute of Homeopathy. He is also an honorary member in the National Association of Orificial Surgeons, one of the largest medical societies in the United States, and of which he is the only one to have been thus distinguished.
  • by Harry Gardner Cutler, in Medical and dental colleges of the west: historical and biographical: Chicago, 1896, pp. 320-327:
    EDWIN HARTLEY PRATT, A. M., M. D., LL. D.
    A native of Towanda, Pa., and born on November 6, 1849, Dr. Pratt is the son of Leonard Pratt, M. D., and Betsey (Belding) Pratt, both of whom are of English descent. The father, now a leading resident of San Jose, Cal., was formerly connected with Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago, and for many years was one of the most distinguished physicians in the Northwest. The maternal ancestors were noted for their longevity, and Dr. Pratt's mother partakes of their energetic, fearless and persevering characteristics.
    Dr. Pratt inherits his physical organization from his mother, being six feet in height, finely proportioned and weighing two hundred and fifty pounds. He has the mental elasticity of his father and the indomitable energy, courage and perseverance of his mother. His only living sister, Nettie L. Pratt, is a young lady of San Jose, Cal., noted for her unusual musical attainments.
    Prior to his fifteenth year Edwin attended the common schools and spent a year at Mt. Carroll (111.) Seminary. In order to give him the advantage of a collegiate education, his father removed to Wheaton, 111., where the boy took one year in the preparatory course of the college located at that point. He completed his courses, however, both preparatory and collegiate, at the University of Chicago, where he remained six years.
    In college he developed a marked aptitude for geometry, logic, metaphysics, grammar and rhetoric, and was especially fond of the "Odes of Horace" and "Ars Poetica," by reason of their help to him in writing and speaking. In the literary society to which he belonged, the " Tri Kappa," he was a leader in debate, and was, withal, a great favorite among his fellow students. He was a prominent member of the "Delta Kappa Epsilon " fraternity, and his musical tastes and talents were unusual.
    Graduating from the classical course in 1871, with the degree of A. B., his design was to fit himself for the practice of law, but yielding to his father's wishes, in October, 1871, he entered the Hahnemann Medical College, and was graduated in the Spring of 1873, with the degree of M. D. During his medical course he acted as quizmaster in connection with his father's chair, that of Special Pathology and Diagnosis, and also during his last year filled the position of Demonstrator of Anatomy. After listening to his valedictory address, the board of trustees of the college at once invited him to become Demonstrator and Adjunct Professor of Anatomy. In order to better qualify himself for the place, he visited Philadelphia and spent the Spring term in Professor Keen's School of Anatomy, and in Jefferson Medical College.
    In the Fall of 1873 he entered upon his career as a teacher in Hahnemann Medical College, lecturing twice each week, and in the absence of the Professor of Anatomy assuming the responsibilities of that position, and it may be added that they mainly devolved upon Dr. Pratt. As a result of his able and faithful work, he was tendered the professorship of Anatomy, but feeling that he could not afford to spend the time required for a conscientious performance of the duties connected with the chair, he declined the offer. As a tribute to the value of his services, however, a fair salary was attached to the position. Under this arrangement Dr. Pratt accepted it and filled the chair until the Spring of 1876.
    Sympathizing with the movement which resulted at this time in the organization of the Chicago Homeopathic College, Dr. Pratt severed his connection with Hahnemann and accepted in the new institution the professorship of the same chair he had so acceptably filled in the old. This position he occupied for seven years, during which time the homeopathists were admitted to the wards of the Cook County Hospital. Thereupon Dr. Pratt was elected a member of the hospital staff, and occupied a position first in the Theory and Practice department, later in the Gynecological department, being afterward elected Attending Surgeon of the hospital.
    In 1883 Dr. Pratt retired from the chair of Anatomy and accepted that of Surgery. This epoch in his life has been thus described: "It was here, while handling the complicated and obscure cases at the college clinic, that he discovered what has at once marked an era in the treatment of chronic diseases. Inspired by the thought of his new discovery, he was about to announce it to his class, but a second thought prompted him to dismiss them with the announcement that his next lecture would be 'Chronic Diseases from a Surgical Standpoint.' He had promised an article for a medical journal, and being pressed for time he employed a stenographer to report this lecture in fulfillment of that promise.
    "His purpose of presenting something new had been noised about, and when he entered the lecture-room he found it crowded to its fullest capacity, among the audience being many visitors from other colleges. It was a moment of supreme importance to him, and as he advanced in his lecture the heavy, tired and restrained feeling which he had experienced at the opening passed away, there came from him a flood of light and he spoke as under the power of inspiration, holding his auditors spellbound to the close, when their breathless silence was broken by loud and long applause. Such was the effect of the lecture that, although it was within three weeks of the close of the term, and the students were busy with examinations and tired from their Winter's work, sixteen members of the class presented themselves for treatment under the new discovery, which its author had named the Orificial Philosophy.
    "The result of the treatment upon these cases was so satisfactory, and so many were cured, that the new philosophy was at once pronounced a marvelous success. From that time the surgical clinic of the college was conducted on the orificial principle, and for a year was visited by physicians of all schools throughout the United States, who came to witness the workings of the new philosophy. The spread of the new idea brought so many inquirers that Dr. Pratt found the demands upon his time and strength more than he could endure and keep up his private practice, and this led him to receive and instruct his professional brethren in Orificial Surgery in classes instead of singly, as was at first his custom. He now holds these classes semi-annually for a week, and during that time he devotes the time to the lectures and clinical work, allowing members of the class to bring their most difficult cases, upon which he publicly operates.
    "After the second class of this kind, those present organized the National Association of Orificial Surgeons, electing Dr. Pratt as honorary member and providing in their constitution that there never should be but one. This association has had a wonderful growth and promises to be one of the largest medical societies in the United States. Such has been the effect of the new method for treating chronic cases that four-fifths of those apparently incurable are speedily restored to health. In recognition of his services, the Chicago Homeopathic College established a chair of Orificial Surgery, to be filled by Dr. Pratt."
    In 1886 Dr. Pratt was honored with the degree of LL. D. of his Alma Mater. He is an honorary member of the Missouri Medical, the Ohio Medical and the Kentucky Medical societies, and the Southern Association of Physicians, and an active member of the Illinois State Medical Association, the Chicago Academy of Medicine and the American Institute of Homeopathy. He has a very large and lucrative practice, is a hard student, and has an elegant library filled with several thousand of the choicest books. Dr. Pratt contributes largely to current literature, besides being the author of a beautifully illustrated work on " Orificial Surgery." He is also editor-in-chief of the Journal of Orificial Surgery, the able exponent of his philosophy which has made such rapid progress in the medical and surgical world.
    The Lincoln Park, subsequently the Pratt Sanitarium, has been established by Dr. Pratt for the many patients who come to be treated by the new system, and for the increasing throng of doctors who seek to master the principles and practice of Orificial Surgery. The patronage of the place is not only extensive but of a high grade. Dr. Pratt being assisted by an able corps of physicians and surgeons. Connected with the sanitarium is a large and well-organized training school for nurses.
    Dr. Pratt was married June 26, 1877, to Miss Ida M. Bailey, of Jersey Heights, N. J., his wife being a lady of unusual attainments. Both Dr. and Mrs. Pratt are members of the Apollo Club, of which the Doctor was one of the founders and is now a director. Their marriage has been blessed by two children.
  • by William Harvey King in History of homoeopathy and its institutions in America, volume 4, 1905, pp. 254-255:
    EDWIN HARTLEY PRATT, LL.D., Evanston, Illinois, was born November 6, 1849, in Towanda, Bradford county, Pennsylvania, son of Leonard Pratt and Betsey Belding, his wife, both of English descent. In boyhood he attended the district school at Rock Creek, Carroll county, Illinois, and in 1864 entered Mount Carroll Seminary, passing thence at the end of a year to Wheaton College. The following year he matriculated at the University of Chicago, from which institution he graduated in 1871, and from which he subsequently received the degree of LL.D., having previously been made A. M. He studied for his profession at Hahnemann Medical College, and graduated in 1873 with the degree of M. D. He attended at the same time the spring term at Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, and the Keene school of anatomy. During the first ten years of his professional career, he was engaged in general practice but has since devoted himself to surgery and chronic cases. For twenty years he has been attending surgeon to the Cook County Hospital. He is a member of the Illinois Homoeopathic Association, of which body he was president in 1902, and also belongs to the Chicago Automobile Club and the Evanston Century Club. He married, in 1877, Isadore Bailey, by whom he had two children, Isabel and Edward Pratt, both of whom are deceased. After the death of his wife he married in 1900, Charlotte Kelly.
  • in "Rites to be Held Today for Dr. Edwin H. Pratt", Chicago Daily Tribune, 1930-03-08, page 1:
    Funeral services for Dr. Edwin Hartley Pratt, Chicago physician, will be held at 1:30 p.m. today at the Graceland cemetery chapel. Dr. Pratt died on Thursday at the home of his wife's mother, Mrs. T.A. Kelly, in Galva, McHenry county. He was 80 years old and had been in ill health for some time. He was at one time connected with the Homeopathic Medical college and also the Hahnemann Medical college. He was formerly editor of the Journal of Orificial Surgery. He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Charlotte Kelly Pratt.

Brief descriptionEdit

Edwin Hartley Pratt 1893

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Edwin Hartley Pratt (1849–1930) was a homeopathic surgeon, and founder of the discipline of "orificial surgery," which argued that most illnesses were due to failings in the sympathetic nervous system which could be corrected through surgery of one or more orifices. Pratt studied at Shimer College, Wheaton College, and the first University of Chicago, and obtained his MD from Hahnemann Medical College. After ten years in general practice, he began to specialize in surgery, making the first public presentation of his ideas on orificial surgery in 1886. Pratt served for 20 years as attending surgeon for the Cook County Hospital, and also founded his own institute, the Lincoln Park Sanitarium. His ideas were extremely popular for a time, but fell into general disrepute in the early 20th century. (from Shimer College Wiki)

BiographyEdit


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Edwin Hartley Pratt (1849–1930) was a prominent American practitioner of homeopathic medicine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the inventor of the briefly popular practice of "orificial surgery," which sought to cure a variety of physical and psychological ills by surgery to the various orifices of the body. He was the founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Orificial Surgery.

Pratt served for 20 years as attending surgeon for the Cook County Hospital,[2] and also founded his own institute, the Lincoln Park Sanitarium. His ideas were extremely popular for a time, but fell into general disrepute by the early 20th century.

Early life and educationEdit

Edwin Hartley Pratt was born on November 6, 1849, in Towanda. His parents were Betsey Belding Pratt and the homeopathic physician Leonard Pratt.[3] In 1852, they moved to northwestern Illinois; in his boyhood, Pratt attended the district school in Rock Creek Township.[3]

At the age of 15 in 1864, Pratt attended the nearby Mount Carroll Seminary (later known as Shimer College). He remained there only one year, but thirty years later wrote that "I was so impressed with the measures of instruction, and such a spirit of earnestness prevailed in the school, that the memory of that year's work has never been dimmed by the rushing and turbulent experiences of the years that have since gone by".[4]

Pratt next enrolled in Wheaton College. At the time, the college was strongly identified with anti-Masonic beliefs, and forbade all students from joining secret societies.[5] When his father joined the Independent Order of Good Templars in 1865, Pratt joined him as a member of the order;[5] Soon thereafter, he was given the choice of expulsion or leaving the order, and chose expulsion.[5] His father sued the school over the expulsion, but ultimately lost before the Illinois Supreme Court in Pratt v. Wheaton College, which established the principle of in loco parentis in Illinois common law.[6]

Moving on from Wheaton, in 1866, Pratt enrolled at the old University of Chicago, in the second year of the preparatory department;[3] he completed the preparatory and baccalaureate courses and graduated in 1871. He was a member of the Tri Kappa literary society and Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.{[7]

Pratt had initially hoped to become a lawyer, but was prevailed upon by his physician father to enter into medicine instead.[3] In 1873 he received his MD from Hahnemann Medical College in Chicago, a homeopathic school where his father was teaching. He graduated as valedictorian.[3] Upon graduation he was invited to join the faculty as an adjunct professor, and did so after an additional term of study at Jefferson Medical College and "Keene's School of Anatomy" in Philadelphia.[3]

Medical careerEdit

For his first ten years as a homeopathic physician, Pratt worked in general practice, only later moving into surgery.[2] He became a full professor of anatomy at Hahnemann in 1874, leaving to take a professorship at the Chicago Homeopathic College in 1877.[3] In 1883, he resigned that position to take the chair of surgery, in which capacity he also oversaw the school's busy clinic.[3]

Pratt established the Lincoln Park Sanitarium in 1889, incorporating it in 1890. The Sanitarium occupied a six-story structure of Bedford limestone at the intersection of Lake View and Deming, overlooking Chicago's Lincoln Park.[5]

He closed the Lincoln Park Sanitarium in 1895 to open the "Pratt Sanatorium", which was a smaller operation located in a two-story building[8] on west Diversey Avenue in Chicago.[9] Pratt described his reason for closing the Lincoln Park Sanitarium as "purely a financial one", prompted by falling numbers of patients in the aftermath of the Panic of 1893.[9]

In 1902, Pratt served as president of the Illinois Homeopathic Association.[2]

Orificial surgeryEdit

Pratt rarely saw an orifice that was not in need of a surgeon's scalpel.
— Ira M. Rutkow[10]

Pratt's "orificial philosophy" held that most health problems were due to malformations of the orifices -- all orifices of the body, including the nose and mouth, but usually specifically those located below the waist. The numbers of those subjected to orificial surgery during its brief heyday are estimated in the tens of thousands.[10]

Pratt's ideas do not appear to have ever had any evidentiary backing. The remarkable success of his ideas, which drew hundreds of surgeons to the cause, has been attributed to his "salesmanship skills".[11]

There is one predisposing cause for all forms of chronic diseases, and that is a nerve-waste occasioned by orificial irritation at the lower openings of the body.
—E.H. Pratt, 1891[12]

According to his own much-retold account, Pratt came up with the idea of orificial surgery while supervising the Chicago Homeopathic College clinic, which he took over as head of surgery in 1883. He gave his first public lecture on the concept in 1886, on the topic of "Chronic Diseases from a Surgical Stand-Point".[13] As he spoke, "there came upon him a flood of light",[13] and he held his audience in rapt attention. His speech was sufficiently persuasive that "sixteen members of the class presented themselves for treatment under the new discovery".[13] The National Association of Orificial Surgeons was formed soon thereafter, with a constitutional provision that Dr. Prat would be the only one ever granted honorary membership.[13]

Pratt frequently prescribed circumcision and other adjustments of the genitals as a preventative for masturbation and other "unnatural" behaviors. He was a particularly strong advocate of circumcision as a cure for rape, opining that if only rapists "had received the proper orificial attention earlier in their lives their criminal career would undoubtedly have been prevented."[14] He advocated removal of the hood of the clitoris as a cure for female masturbation, and hysterectomies as a cure for female insanity.[14]

Other activitiesEdit

In 1877, Pratt married Isadore Bailey. They had two children, both of whom died young. Both of the Pratts were members of a Chicago musical society, the Apollo Club.[15] After Isadore's death, Pratt married Charlotte Kelly in 1900.[16]

Pratt was active in the New Thought movement. He contributed a glowing introduction to the 1907 publication of the Baha'i text The School of the Prophets, by Mirza Assad'u'llah.[17]

Death and legacyEdit

Pratt died after prolonged ill health on March 6, 1930, in Galva, Illinois.[18] His remains were conveyed to Chicago and laid to rest in the Graceland Cemetery.[18] He was survived by his wife Charlotte.

Pratt's medical ideas did not outlive him. As historian Ira Rutkow observed, "by the 1920s, orificial surgery had become little more than a vague memory".[10] The Journal of Orificial Surgery had closed down in 1901; the American Association of Orificial Surgeons continued meeting into the 1910s, but faded away soon thereafter,[10] closing down for good in 1925.[19]

To the extent that Pratt and his ideas are remembered at all in the present day, it is for their connection to debates on circumcision and female genital mutilation. Pratt's ideas are sometimes cited as evidence of the fallacious historical basis for male circumcision,[20] and particularly its connection with the desire to prevent masturbation.[21]

WritingsEdit

Works citedEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 King 1905, p. 254.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Inter-Ocean 1900, p. 425.
  4. "Kind Words from Former Students". Oread of Mount Carroll Seminary: p. 25. August 1895. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:Oread_August-July_1895.djvu/25. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Lake City 1894, p. 418.
  6. "Pratt v. Wheaton College". Wheaton History A to Z. Wheaton College. http://a2z.my.wheaton.edu/pratt-v-wheaton-college. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  7. American Biographical 1892, p. 471.
  8. "Lives are in Peril". Chicago Daily Tribune: p. 1. 1896-02-23. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/428342701.html?dids=428342701:428342701&FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:AI. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Special Announcement". Journal of Orificial Surgery 3 (10): 465. http://books.google.com/books?id=O0oVAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA465. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Orificial Surgery". Archives of Surgery 136: 1008. http://www.historyofcircumcision.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=52&Itemid=0. 
  11. Rutkow 1993.
  12. "The Philosophy of Orificial Surgery". Orificial surgery and its application to the treatment of chronic diseases. 1891. p. 5. http://books.google.com/books?id=AfNLAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA5. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 American Biographical 1892, p. 750.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Edwin Hartley Pratt (December 1893). "Editorial". Journal of Orificial Surgery 2 (6): 280-281. http://books.google.com/books?id=zppXAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA281. 
  15. American Biographical 1892, p. 473.
  16. King 1905, p. 255.
  17. Edwin Hartley Pratt. "Introduction". The School of the Prophets. pp. ix-xii. http://books.google.com/books?id=3KlUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PR9. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Rites to be Held Today for Dr. Edwin H. Pratt". Chicago Daily Tribune: p. 1. 1930-03-08. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/chicagotribune/access/458884842.html?dids=458884842:458884842&FMT=CITE&FMTS=CITE:AI. 
  19. Antti P. Balk (2012). Balderdash: A Treatise on Ethics. p. 464. ISBN 9525700402. http://books.google.com/books?id=ja3yjSy91mEC&pg=PA464. 
  20. Edward Wallerstein (1980). Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy. p. 228. ISBN 0826132405. http://books.google.com/books?id=C4s3AQAAIAAJ. 
  21. Robert Darby (2005). A Surgical Temptation: The Demonization of the Foreskin and the Rise of Circumcision in Britain. p. 11. ISBN 0226136450. http://books.google.com/books?id=BpQcBVKMMhIC&pg=PA11. 


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