A Sketch of the Life of Lewis Condict, MD

The following is a period biography of Lewis Condict by a fellow physician. It appeared in A cyclopedia of American medical biography, comprising the lives of eminent deceased physicians and surgeons from 1610 to 1910, by Kelly, Howard A. (Howard Atwood), 1858-1943, published 1912

[The individual bio is available online here and continues here.–LSL]

 

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Condict, Lewis (1773-1862)

Lewis Condict, one of those who assisted in the first decennial revision of the United States Pharmacopoeia, was born in Morristown, New Jersey, March 3, 1772 and died in his native town in his nintieth year, May 26, 1862. He was a son of Peter Condict and a descendant of John Condict who emigrated to this coun- try from Wales and settled in Newark, New Jersey in 1678, and was the youngest of three children. His father died during his childhood, and his mother placed him under the care of his uncle, the Hon. Silas Condict of Morristown.

Although not college bred, he was well armed in his fourteenth year to begin the study of medicine with Dr. Timothy Johnes, of his native town. Subsequently he attended lectures at the University of Pennsylvania, where he took his M.D. in February, 1794, immediately beginning practice in Morristown, New Jersey, and living there until his death. In 1798 he married Martha, daughter of the Rev. Nathan Woodhull, D. D., of Newtown, Long Island. His second wife was Bettina [No! It was Martina.–LSL], a daughter of John Elmendorf of Millstone, New Jersey. Of his children three sons became physicians, all of whom were graduates of the College of New Jersey, Princeton, Silas L., Nathan W., and Lewis.

Through his intimacy with Benjamin Waterhouse, the friend and co-adjutor of Sir William Jenner, (then looked upon as a charlatan), Condict boldly vaccinated in one hand and inoculated with small-pox the other hand of his one-year-old daughter, the case becoming immune.

Subsequently an act was passed by Congress, through the instrumentality of Dr. Condict, which allowed vaccine virus to be passed through the mails free. From 1805 to 1810 he was a member of the State Legislature and speaker from 1808 to 1810.

In 1810 and again in 1819 he was president of the Medical Society of New Jersey, organized 1766, the first state medical society in the United States, its charter coming from George III.

On January 4, 1830, while again a member of Congress, he was elected president of the First Decennial Pharmacopoeial Convention held in Washing- ton, District of Columbia, and the president of the Pharmacopceial Convention which convened ten years later, in 1840.

In 1853 he was elected second vice-president of the American Medical Association and was an original member of the New Jersey Historical Society, contributing many papers of great value.

The responsibilities of political station did not diminish his interest in his profession, for he was always enthusiastic in laboring for its advancement His life was not only moral but consistently religious.

H. L. C.

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