Dr. John Warren (1753-1815)

Dublin Core


Dr. John Warren (1753-1815)


Warren, John, 1753-1815
Engravings (prints)


Surgeon and educator John Warren was born on July 27, 1753, the son of a Roxbury farmer. He attended Harvard College, graduating in 1771. After studying medicine with his older brother, Joseph Warren (1741-1775), he removed to Salem to work alongside Dr. Edward Augustus Holyoke.

Dr. John Warren was put in charge of a series of military hospitals during the Revolutionary War. After the end of the conflict, he opened his medical practice in Boston, specializing in anatomy and surgery, and held the presidency of the Massachusetts Medical Society. Dr. Warren performed one of the first abdominal operations in this country and was known for his amputations of the shoulder joint. He also was a trustee of the Massachusetts Charitable Society and one of the founders of the Massachusetts Humane Society.

In 1780, Dr. Warren delivered a private course of anatomical lectures on human dissection to colleagues. A second series, sponsored by the Boston Medical Society during the autumn and winter of 1781, drew some Harvard College students, as did a third. As a result, the president of Harvard asked Dr. Warren to organize a plan of medical study. He did so and, on November 22, 1782, Dr. John Warren was appointed to the professorship of anatomy and surgery—the first faculty member of the new medical institution. Benjamin Waterhouse and Aaron Dexter were soon added to the faculty, and the first lectures in the Harvard Medical School were delivered in 1783. In 1810, the school removed from Cambridge to Marlborough Street in Boston, and its students were able to use hospital facilities for clinical study.

Although his son, Dr. John Collins Warren (1778-1856) joined him in medical practice in 1802 and, seven years later, was appointed Adjunct Professor of Anatomy and Surgery at Harvard, Dr. John Warren found the dual labors of teaching and medical practice heavy. His health began to fail, and he died of an inflammation of the lungs leading to heart failure on April 14, 1815.


Engraving of Dr. John Warren (1753-1815)



Date Created



The Boston 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

Portrait Collection. Box 178, folder 11.




1 engraving


still image


From the collections of the Boston Medical Library





Unknown, “Dr. John Warren (1753-1815),” OnView, accessed July 18, 2024, https://collections.countway.harvard.edu/onview/items/show/12788.