Twelve Boston physicians and their composite portrait

Twelve portraits of Boston physicians, including photographer Henry Pickering Bowditch, and a composite portrait of the group

Dr. H. P. Bowditch took photographs of himself and eleven colleagues—all members of a physician’s dining club, the Kappa Pi Eta—in 1887 and again in 1892 and then devised a composite portrait of all twelve to isolate the common characteristics of a typical physician. “The face is distinctly intellectual in its character, and the apparent age is not far from the average age of the components…. The method of composite photography has, therefore, in this case, at any rate, produced a portrait which may be regarded as typical of the components, since its features fairly represent the group in respect to the only two qualities, namely, age and intelligence, in which the individual faces resemble each other.”

The original of this photograph was displayed with a number of other Bowditch composites at the Second International Exhibition of Eugenics in 1921.


Subject

Bowditch, H. P. (Henry Pickering), 1840-1911
Eugenics
Composite photographs
Portraits

Description

Dr. H. P. Bowditch took photographs of himself and eleven colleagues—all members of a physician’s dining club, the Kappa Pi Eta—in 1887 and again in 1892 and then devised a composite portrait of all twelve to isolate the common characteristics of a typical physician. “The face is distinctly intellectual in its character, and the apparent age is not far from the average age of the components…. The method of composite photography has, therefore, in this case, at any rate, produced a portrait which may be regarded as typical of the components, since its features fairly represent the group in respect to the only two qualities, namely, age and intelligence, in which the individual faces resemble each other.”

The original of this photograph was displayed with a number of other Bowditch composites at the Second International Exhibition of Eugenics in 1921.

Abstract

Twelve portraits of Boston physicians, including photographer Henry Pickering Bowditch, and a composite portrait of the group

Creator

Bowditch, H. P. (Henry Pickering), 1840-1911

Date Created

1892

Rights

The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all materials in this collection. For use information, consult Public Services at chm@hms.harvard.edu

Access Rights

Access to the original work depicted requires advance notice. Contact Public Services at chm@hms.harvard.edu for additional information

Is Part Of

Harvard Medical School Clubs and Associations Photographs, 1855-1977. Image 00094.016, location M013.17

References

An online guide to the collection is available. Click here.

Format

image

Extent

1 photographic print, mounted

Type

still image

Identifier

0001947

Provenance

Gift of Dr. Harold Bowditch to the Library of Harvard Medical School, 1950

Files

Citation

Bowditch, H. P. (Henry Pickering), 1840-1911, “Twelve Boston physicians and their composite portrait,” Center for the History of Medicine: OnView, accessed September 2, 2014, http://collections.countway.harvard.edu/onview/items/show/6212.

Item Relations

This item has no relations.

Transcribe This Item

  1. 0001947_ref.jpg