James Baynes Walker, MD, PhD

Continuing with the topic of health science and medicine from the Gilliland Labs...

While researching the history of Whitpain Township, I somehow approached this man. His name was James Baynes Walker (1846-1910): a physician, born and raised in Whitpain Township. Here are some information found about Walker in timeline form:

It is unknown where he lived in the township during youth, but he resided in Philadelphia during his medical career in the Spring Garden section.

Walker attended Friends' Central School in Wynnewood (Lower Merion Township), and graduated there in 1862.

He was an alumnus at the University of Pennsylvania (1867-1872), earning his MD degree, and a year later received his PhD (1873). While pursuing his PhD, he interned at the Philadelphia General Hospital. He was involved with Penn: he was a quiz-master* in material medica* from 1875-1877, and in obstetrics from the latter year to 1880, and a founder and president of Penn's 1st Chapter the Alpha Mu Pi Omega Medical Fraternity. While as a quiz-master, Walker also worked at St. Mary's Street Mission Dispensary as a physician, holding both of those positions for several years.


*Material medica is a Latin term from the history of pharmacy for the body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing (i.e.,medicines)

*Quiz-master is an outside tutor in medical school in the old days

From 1876-1880, Walker he was a visiting obstetrician to the Philadelphia General Hospital, then later as a visiting physician after 13 years being with the hospital.

Walker was a professor of the principles and practice in medicine at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania from 1879-1890.

For 15 years, Walker returned to his alma mater at the Friends' Central School as a lecturer on physiology and hygiene.

He was a consulting physician to the West Philadelphia Hospital for Women and Children*.



He was one of the founders of the American Clinical and Climatological Association as secretary for 11 years, and president in 1896.

He was a member to multiple organizations:

  • American Academy of Medicine (fellow)

  • Pennsylvania State Medical Association

  • Philadelphia County Medical and Northern Medical societies

  • College of Physicians of Philadelphia (fellow)

  • Philadelphia Pediatric Society

  • Pennsylvania Historical Society

  • Union League Club (board of directors)

Prepared papers for the medical societies, including:

  • “Complications in Typhoid Fever”

  • "Turpentine as a Remedial Agent”

In his personal life, he married Martha M. Abramson from Montgomery County, PA., and had 3 children: Helen Duer, Mary Baynes, and James Abraham

He, along with his family, were featured in the 1850 census of Whitpain Township. According to the census, his father Thomas was a farmer.

James Baynes Walker, MD, PhD (1846-1910)


American Climatological Association. Transactions of the American Climatological Association For The Year 1911, Volume 27. (Philadelphia: American Climatological Association, 1911), xxiv-xxvi.

Leonard, John W. Who's Who in America: A Biographical Dictionary of Living Men and Women of the United States, 1899-1900. (Chicago: A.N. Marquis & Company, 1899): 760.

Lewis Publishing Company. Encyclopedia Of Genealogy And Biography Of The State Of Pennsylvania With A Compendium Of History: A Record Of The Achievements Of Her People In The Making Of A Commonwealth And The Founding Of A Nation, Volume 2. (New York, Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1904), 911-913.

#pahistory #archive #googlebooks #whitpain #philly #Philadelphia #springgarden #friendscentralschool #upenn #Penn #healthscience #medicine #physician #doctor #hospital #1850censusdata

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